101 MW Clean Energy Facility Approved for Lewis and Jefferson Counties Will Produce Enough Electricity to Power 25,000 Average-Sized Homes Per Year
Wind Farm Will Generate up to $24 Million in Local Property Tax Revenues Over 30 Years; Local Governments to Receive up to $800,000 Annually in Payments from Wind Farm
ALBANY, NY — The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (Siting Board) today granted approval to Atlantic Wind, LLC to build and operate a wind farm in Lewis and Jefferson counties.
The Siting Board’s decision follows a detailed review and robust public participation process to ensure that the North Country wind farm meets or exceeds all siting requirements. Deer River Wind and other wind and solar projects currently under development are vital to meet the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s (CLCPA) aggressive carbon reduction and clean energy targets.
“In keeping with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ambitious goals for carbon reduction and for a clean-energy economy, we must develop the clean energy resources in New York State needed to help all New Yorkers,” said Siting Board Chair John B. Rhodes. “Our decision today to approve Deer River will help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and demonstrates that renewable energy works in New York and helps move us toward a clean energy future.”
Atlantic Wind will build and operate a wind farm generating facility consisting of 25 wind turbines located in the Towns of Pinckney (21 turbines) and Harrisburg (four turbines), in Lewis County, New York, and a point of interconnection in the Town of Rodman in Jefferson County. Nineteen of the turbines would have a total tip height of approximately 568 to 590 feet and six would have a total tip height of approximately 492 feet.
According to Deer River’s developer, the 101 MW project is expected to create 115 construction jobs, and opportunities for local construction and construction supply vendors as well as five permanent, full-time jobs. More than $500,000 annually in direct lease, easement and neighbor agreement payments to landowners ($15 million over 30 years). Up to $800,000 annually in increased revenues to county and local municipal tax bases to help defray costs for schools, public safety and county services ($24 million over 30 years) and $3 million estimated project spending on local goods and services during development and construction.
In the northwestern part of Lewis County, two existing wind facilities, Maple Ridge Wind and Copenhagen Wind, respectively, and one certified, but not-yet-built wind facility, Number Three Wind, are directly adjacent or near to Deer River. The Maple Ridge Wind facility, located in the Towns of Lowville, Harrisburg, Martinsburg and Watson, has 195 turbines and a total generating capacity of 321 MW. The Copenhagen Wind facility, located in the Village of Copenhagen and the Town of Denmark (just northwest of Lowville), has 40 turbines and a total generating capacity of 80 MW. The Number Three Wind project, located in the Towns of Lowville and Harrisburg, will consist of up to 31 turbines with a generating capacity of 105.8 MW.
The facility will be located on approximately 6,000 acres of privately leased land and will enable landowners to continue with existing land uses; the permanent structures will occupy less than 150 acres. The project will provide economic benefits by creating direct jobs, will generate revenues for local governments through payments in lieu of taxes agreements, and will provide revenues for participating landowners through lease and other agreements. The municipalities in the proceeding supported the recommended decision issued in the proceeding on March 20, 2020.
The Siting Board examiners determined that the wind farm will be consistent with the energy policies and long-range planning objectives and strategies contained in the most recent State Energy Plan. Based on this, and based on its consideration of other relevant social, economic and other factors, the Siting Board determined that the project will be a beneficial addition to the electric generation capacity of the State, and will also serve the goals of improving fuel diversity, grid reliability, and modernization of grid infrastructure.
Deer River’s formal application to the Siting Board was deemed compliant on July 3, 2019. The 24 active parties to the proceeding included local municipalities, community groups, local residents, and several state agencies. The record includes 48 public comments. The Siting Board held two on-the-record public statement hearings and conducted two days of evidentiary hearings at which expert and factual testimony was taken. Municipalities and community groups that sought intervention in the case were eligible to receive $211,400 in intervenor funds to participate in the development of the record.
The Deer River facility is approximately 10 miles south of the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Drum. Atlantic Wind consulted with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to evaluate potential impacts from the facility on military resources and operations. Potentially affected operations included DoD radar, National Weather Service (NWS) NEXRAD radar in the Town of Montague, air traffic control radar and both civilian and military aviation operations including military airspace. During consultations with DoD and NWS, Atlantic Wind agreed to remove three turbines from the initial facility layout to avoid conflicts with the NEXRAD radar, made other changes to turbine heights and locations requested by DoD to avoid interference with Ft. Drum operations, and entered into negotiations with DoD on a mitigation agreement.
Today’s decision demonstrates how New York is working to achieve Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal — the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, putting the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy and establishing a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any other state. Additionally, the CLCPA mandates the Green New Deal’s national leading clean energy targets: nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030, while calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy.
The CLCPA directs New York State agencies and authorities to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 and aim to invest 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities.
Today’s decision may be obtained by going to the Documents section of the Department of Public Service’s Web site at www.dps.ny.gov and entering Case Number 16-F-0267 in the input box labeled “Search for Case/Matter Number”. Commission documents may also be obtained from the Commission’s Files Office, 14th floor, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).
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