Developer pulls plug on wind farm plan

A representation of what Galloo Island would look like if 400 foot wind towers would look like from the east. The developer behind the project, Apex Clean Energy, withdrew its applications for state permits needed to build the wind farm.

The developer behind the Galloo Island Wind farm, Apex Clean Energy, has withdrawn its applications for state permits needed to build its project.

Apex’s attorney, James A. Muscato II of Young/Sommer LLC, wrote in a letter to the Public Service Commission Friday that the developer no longer intends to secure a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for its 108-megawatt project in the town of Hounsfield. Developers that want to build energy generation projects with a 25-megawatt nameplate capacity or more must earn certificates from the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment through the Article 10 review before they can begin construction.

The energy firm, based in Charlottesville, Va., also withdrew its application from the Article VII review, which was required before it could construct a 30-mile transmission line that would transmit energy from the facility on the island in Lake Ontario to a substation in the city of Oswego.

“We continuously review our development assets to maintain the proper balance of risk and opportunity in our nationwide portfolio of development assets, and when adjustments are required we make them,” said Dahvi Wilson, vice president of public affairs for Apex. “We are open to reinitiating the permitting process for Galloo Island Wind with the expectation of delivering the project when the time is right.”

The idea of developing a wind farm on Galloo Island has fluctuated through several variations over 12 years.

Upstate NY Power Corp. first proposed building a facility on the island with about 80 turbines, but abandoned it after it couldn’t find a buyer for its power. Hudson Energy Development LLC revived the project in 2015, then sold it to Apex Clean Energy in the same year.

Apex previously planned to erect 32 turbines on the island for its project, then reduced the number to 30 and then 24 in December after upgrading to a more advanced turbine model.

Before withdrawing its applications for state permits, the developer previously worked toward securing a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for its project through the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. The PILOT application was deemed complete, but the taxing jurisdictions and developer had not negotiated a deal.

The project has drawn opposition from Hounsfield’s neighbor, the town of Henderson, for years, causing litigation between the two towns multiple times. Henderson residents and officials have previously claimed the project would have adverse effects on the environment, bird populations, aesthetics, town’s character and recreational business ventures.

Prior to withdrawing its state permit applications, the examiners overseeing the Article 10 review for Apex’s project, upon agreement with the developer, decided to delay the review beyond its year-long time frame after the firm neglected to include the sighting of a bald eagle’s nest on the island in its application. The review extension would have delayed Apex’s potential start date for construction from 2020 to 2021.

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