ELLENBURG — The Marble River Wind Farm in the towns of Ellenburg and Clinton could be operational by next fall.
Wind Farm Project Manager Dan Fitzgerald said work started last summer, and they are continuing to work on an electrical substation near Route 190 in the Ellenburg. That work is expected to be finished by spring, and turbine components should start to arrive in late May or early June.
"We are currently targeting an October operational date," he said.
The warm weather and lack of snow has allowed work to continue on surveying and clearing routes for roads in the wind park.
Plans call for 72 Vestas V112-3 3-megawatt wind turbines, 16 in the Town of Ellenburg and 56 in the Town of Clinton. The 492 foot wind towers are the largest ever approved in the state of New York.
The wind farm will be capable of producing up to 216 megawatts of power.
Marble River originally had approval from the New York State Public Service Commission for 109 2.1-megawatt wind turbines. The amended plan was approved in June.
The commission said in a press release at that time that the taller turbines are designed for more efficient energy generation through a new gearbox and control design. The increased height and blade-sweep area are designed to maximize generation potential at low and medium wind-speed sites.
In addition to fewer, taller turbines, the modified plan allowed for significant reductions in access roads, underground electrical collection lines and eliminated the need for overhead collection lines. It also reduced the impact on wetlands.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority awarded Marble River renewable energy credits for 45 megawatts of capacity last summer. That was on top of 171 megawatts of capacity it was awarded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in 2010.
'HAPPY WITH PROGRESS'
The company has a lay-down yard and construction offices on Route 189 just north of Route 11 in the Town of Clinton.
Fitzgerald said the company has yet to determine the transportation path for its turbine components. It is considering use of the CP Railyard in the Town of Plattsburgh now in use for a BP Wind Energy Project in Pennsylvania.
Horizon Spokesman Roby Roberts told the Press-Republican in June that the company is expected to provide $3.4 million a year to the local economy through land deals and payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements.
Ellenburg Town Supervisor David Leonard said he has learned a lot about the project since he took office in January.
"I would say the town is very happy with the progress they have made," he said.
Leonard said Marble River sends daily updates to the town office and other people on an email list on the latest developments.
"They're right on top of the situation and keeping the town informed," he said.
KEEPS TAXES DOWN
The people who own property where towers will be located receive lease fees and royalties based on energy production, Leonard said. And the town will also get a royalty fee for each wind turbine.
Leonard said the town has been able to keep its tax rate low and stable during the six years Noble Environmental Energy has operated its Ellenburg Wind Park, and that should only improve with the Marble River project.
Marble River Wind Farm is owned by Horizon Wind Energies and EDP Renewables, a subsidiary of Energias de Portugal.
In New York state, Horizon also co-owns the 322-megawatt Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County and owns the 11-megawatt Madison Wind Farm in Madison County.
According to the Public Service Commission, once Marble River is on line, Clinton County will have the most installed wind-turbine capacity in the state at 500 megawatts. That includes Noble Environmental Energy's 65-turbine, 97.5-megawatt Altona Wind Park, the 67-turbine, 100.5-megawatt Clinton Wind Park and the 54-turbine, 81-megawatt Ellenburg Wind Park.
Noble also has the 71-turbine, 106.5-megawatt Chateaugay Wind Park in Franklin County.
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