Press-Republican

June 26, 2013

Wind farm makes first payments in lieu of taxes

EDP delivered $1,291,500 to county, towns, districts

JOE LoTEMPLIO Press-Republican
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — The first of many checks to come from a major wind farm was delivered Tuesday.

With the funds — a total $1,291,500 — came the promise of a long-term, bountiful relationship.



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“We don’t want to be the people who just write the checks and then leave,” said Adam Renz, external communications associate for EDP Renewables North America LLC of Houston, Texas, which operates Marble River Wind Farm in the towns of Ellenburg and Clinton.

“We may not have Birkenstocks on, but the vast majority of us are in renewables because we like it.”

70 TALL TURBINES

The check is the first payment in lieu of taxes to be shared by Clinton County, the towns of Ellenburg and Clinton and the school districts of Northern Adirondack and Chateaugay.

The company’s farm features 70 Vestas wind turbines along the Route 11 corridor in northwestern Clinton County.

In addition to providing the municipalities and school districts with funding, the company also has deals with private-property owners for use of their land or right-of-ways.

The 492-foot towers that dominate the landscape are the tallest of their kind in North America, Renz said at a news conference on Tuesday.

“They are the crown jewel in our portfolio.”

20-YEAR PACT

The project went online last fall, and Tuesday’s payments were the first of an agreement that will stretch out over 20 years.

EDP Tax Manager John Taylor said the deal was hammered out during meetings with the taxing jurisdictions, as well as the County of Clinton Industrial Development Agency.

“These payments will continue for 20 years, and this agreement can be escalated after that,” Taylor said.

Of the nearly $1.3 million, the county will get about $185,000; Northern Adirondack, almost $600,000; the Town of Ellenburg, $88,500; the Town of Clinton, $396,000; and Chateaugay School District, about $22,000.

The payments are based on the number of turbines and the percentage of taxable property they cover.

LOOKING AHEAD

Renz said the county is prime for more wind-farm developments as the need for more power grows across the country and globe.

“About 42 percent of all new energy last year came from wind farms,” he said, adding that as increasing numbers of people use technology, the demand for power continues to rise.

“We are consuming more and more, and we’ve got to find a way to power our lives.”

TRAINING WORKERS

In addition to supplying power and making payments, EDP is in the process of partnering with local education at the secondary and higher levels to teach the craft of renewable energy.

Investing in educational programs ensures the company of a talent pool in the future, Renz said.

“As a good neighbor, we are always looking for ways to engage in the community.”

State Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru), who helped EDP navigate the state permitting process to establish the project, said the wind-turbine program at Clinton Community College is one of the finest in the country.

“I’ve been a big supporter of wind, and there is still a great need for it,” she said.

‘VERY PLEASED’

Erika Nelson, operations administrator for EDP in Churubusco, said the Marble River project will continue to benefit both the company and the community for years to come.

“We want a partnership where we want to know not only what we did well but what we may need to improve on,” she said.

County Administrator Michael Zurlo said the IDA worked well with EDP to come up with the PILOT agreement.

“We are very pleased with the relationship we have and are very happy that it progressed to this point.”

Email Joe LoTemplio:

jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com