LOWVILLE — Area residents were able to get a closer look at the Number Three Wind Farm project at a pair of open house sessions Wednesday and Thursday.
“We try to be transparent,” Harrison T. Godfrey, eastern manager of state government affairs at Invenergy LLC, said during a three-hour session Thursday morning at the company’s new office, 7586 S. State St.
About 50 or 60 people attended an open house Wednesday night at the Harrisburg town office and roughly 30 more had come in during the first hour on Thursday, he said.
While wind power is controversial in other areas, Mr. Godfrey said he hadn’t run into anyone at either session who expressed concerns about siting more turbines in the Tug Hill region.
Invenergy, based in Chicago, Ill., is proposing 35 to 50 turbines in the towns of Harrisburg, Lowville and Denmark, as well as up to 100 acres of photovoltaic solar panels, with a 115-kilovolt substation to tie into the power grid proposed on farmland off Route 812 just northeast of the village of Lowville. Tentative plans would be to start construction in 2019.
The project area is just north of the 195-turbine Maple Ridge Wind Farm and sandwiched amongst three other proposed wind projects — Copenhagen Wind Farm, Deer River Wind Farm and Roaring Brook Wind Farm — on the Tug Hill Plateau.
“Having Maple Ridge here definitely helps,” Mr. Godfrey said.
With residents already familiar with wind turbines, he said, questions at the open houses often centered on where towers could be located in relation to people’s properties and the potential for getting more towers on their land.
Invenergy officials prepared a map with 51 potential turbine sites, along with push pins and elliptical cutouts showing how much distance is needed between towers to avoid turbulence interference based on wind direction.
Mr. Godfrey said the number of towers would probably end up in the 35 to 45 range, depending on the size chosen for the turbines. Developers are eyeing ones that generate between 2.3 and 3.4 megawatts, and the project capacity is to be 126 megawatts.
A solar component is also possible, but no specific area has been set for that yet, Mr. Godfrey said.
The project, if undertaken, is to provide 50 temporary construction jobs and five long-term operations and maintenance positions, along with roughly $2.2 million to the community through landowner payments, taxes and payments-in-lieu-of-taxes to government entities and operations and maintenance spending, according to a project fact sheet.
“I think we as a town board are excited about the project being proposed,” Lowville Town Supervisor Randall A. Schell said after attending the session here. “We’ve been very happy with how open they’ve been with our board and the community.”
Mr. Schell said he looks forward to meeting with other representatives of other local taxing jurisdictions to come up with a fair distribution of any future PILOT payments.
For more information on the project, visit www.numberthreewind.com.