CANISTEO – The community had a chance to weigh in Wednesday on a proposed transmission line that would serve the Canisteo Wind Farm, transporting power from Jasper to Hornellsville.
An informational forum and public statement hearing on the proposed transmission line was held at the Canisteo Fire Department, with Invenergy officials laying out the project details during the forum. The project is currently in Article 7.
The proposed 115kV, 15-mile line would stretch from Jasper through Canisteo to Hornellsville, connecting the wind farm to the grid at an existing NYSEG substation off state Route 36 in Hornellsville.
Overall, the line would consist of 106 structures, some of which are multi-pole structures (2-3 poles per structure). The multipole structures are primarily in the southern half of the route over hilly terrain.
All the easements were negotiated and the route of the proposed line was submitted in January.
“The route of the line is following easements that we’ve negotiated with landowners,” said Director of Development Jeff Veazie.
Veazie said the first step in the process would be clearing the route, likely during the winter to avoid restrictions on wildlife habitat disturbances. The clearing would cover most of the right of way, 80 to 100 feet along the route.
A specific timeline is yet to be determined as the company awaits a permit to get started.
Post-clearing, Veazie said the next step would be following best management practices for wetlands, stabilizing soil, addressing crossings of waterways and bringing in the construction equipment. Some sites will require a concrete foundation while other poles will be directly embedded in the earth and stabilized.
“Once we’re done with construction, we don’t anticipate having any permanent roads along the right of way. We’ll be able to access it during the operating period without permanent roads,” Veazie said, adding a crew will go through at least once a year as part of the vegetation management plan to clear any encroaching brush and do a visual inspection of the line.
A collection substation is proposed in Jasper on Jackson Hill Road. It steps up wind farm energy output from 34.5 kilovolts to 115 kilovolts to be compatible with the grid interconnection in Hornellsville.
“The footprint for that substation is about 210 feet by 250 feet,” Project Developer Gordon Woodcock said.
The Point of Interconnection is an existing NYSEG substation off state Route 36 in Hornellsville. Two projects currently in development – Canisteo Wind by Invenergy and Eight Point Wind by Next Era – both plan to interconnect at the Hornellsville substation. Woodcock said the substation will receive some updates but does not require a “significant buildout” to accommodate the interconnections.
Woodcock answered several questions about the transmission line, which will run overhead rather than underground.
“It’s a transmission line like you see anywhere else, like the NYSEG line that already runs through the village. … Part of the route is dictated by what landowners are willing to have a transmission line on their property. There’s a payment to work with them and then ongoing revenue as part of the project,” he said.
A major question to arise during the question and answer portion of the presentation concerned landowner liability for the power transmission lines. One resident asked about potential liability should a fire occur along the line and the accompanying insurance ramifications.
Maureen Leary, an Administrative Law Judge from the Department of Public Service and the presiding examiner, said the question is a legal matter, rather than a technical one, that could not be answered fully without attorneys from the town and Invenergy present.
“This is not a question that can be answered right here. Should it be answered, absolutely,” Leary said.
Woodcock added that the cleared right of way should help mitigate those risks.
The transmission project would transport power generated by the Canisteo Wind Farm, which proposes turbines in Canisteo, Cameron, Jasper, Greenwood, Troupsburg and West Union in Steuben County.
Five individuals spoke during the subsequent public statement hearing. The five, hailing from Canisteo, Addison, Jasper, Howard and Tuscarora, all spoke passionately against the wind development.
They raised issues concerning noise levels, degradation of the countryside and scenic views, decreases in property values, and loss of trees and forest, as well as questions about the efficiency of windmills as a large power source. The comments will be entered into the official record during the Article 7 process.
Another public statement hearing and forum was scheduled for the evening session.
For more information on the project, visit www.canisteowind.com, call the local Invenergy office at 607-391-2647 or the New York hotline at 866-378-4580.
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