Deer River wind project hearings scheduled

LOWVILLE — Residents and other stakeholders can voice their thoughts on the Deer River Wind Farm at two hearings on Aug. 6 at the Lowville Academy and Central School District auditorium.

Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of developer Avangrid Renewables, plans to erect 25 wind turbines for its 101.4-megawatt project in the towns of Pinckney and Harrisburg.

Before construction can begin, however, the developer must earn a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need from the state through its Article 10 review process.

The Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, which reviews large-scale energy projects through Article 10, will host public statement hearings for the project at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Anyone wishing to speak must complete a request card beforehand according to a news release from the board.

Before the public statement hearings, the siting board will hold informational forums at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. when the developer will describe its the 101.4-megawatt wind farm and the board will discuss the certification process.

“The (administrative law judge) overseeing the proceeding originally asked support staff to schedule the hearing in Pinckney or Harrisburg, but staff determined that neither location had a venue that would be large enough (100 plus) for the potential audience nor did the locations have the necessary audiovisual equipment,” said James Denn, a spokesman for the siting board, in an emailed statement. “The hearing scheduled at the Lowville Academy can seat 100-plus people and will have audiovisual equipment available.”

After the hearings hosted Aug. 6, administrative law judges involved in reviewing the project will hold a procedural conference at 10 a.m. Aug. 7 at the Harrisburg Town Hall, 7886 Cobb Road.

Atlantic Wind previously planned to erect 40 turbines and build a portion of its project in the town of Montague, but it reduced the turbine count to 25. The developer removed turbines from Montague for “environmental concerns, constructability, setback distances, landowner participation constraints and discussions with Fort Drum,” a spokesman previously stated. It also relocated some turbines to avoid damaging wetlands.

The developer, however, also explored purchasing taller turbines for its wind farm. The project still will connect to National Grid’s 115-kilovolt transmission line in Rodman.

The siting board deemed Atlantic Wind’s Article 10 application complete last month, and awarded intervenor funding, which provides financial support for stakeholders participating in the review, to Pinckney, Harrisburg and the The Tug Hill Alliance for Rural Preservation. Pinckney and THARP were awarded $45,000 each, while Harrisburg was awarded $25,400.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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