TCI Pulling Plug on Local Environmental Review, Plan to Ask State to Permit Turbines
The developers of a proposed industrial wind farm that is looking to locate in Cortland County have decided to abandon seeking local planning and zoning approvals for the project and instead are appealing to the state to review and site the towers.
According to Cortland County Legislative Chair Mike Park T-C-I Renewables has said that it is withdrawing from the local environmental review process and instead will attempt to have the State Public Service Commission, the D-E-C and other involved state agencies review the project and grant the necessary approvals.
Park said he received a call from company representitves last week who indicated they plan to by pass the local environmental review process and instead take their project to the state for consideration. Park said he expected to get a letter to that effect sometime this week.
In 2011, New York State passed the Power NY Act which created a multi agency siting board tasked with streamlining the permitting process for power generating facilities the produce 25 megawatts or more of electricity. The Legislation includes a section known as Article X, which allows energy developers to have the state review projects rather than local municipalities.
T-C-I has been working on its wind to energy project known as the Crown City Wind Farm for more than five years; the project has faced several delays in connection with the current environmental review process. The County rejected the company’s draft environmental assessment multiple times after lawmakers and residents found errors in the report as well as missing or incomplete data.
T-C-I’s current plan calls for the installation 44 wind turbines in Homer, Cortlandville, Truxton, and Solon.
T-C-I says as currently designed the $150 million dollar wind project would involve up to 75 hundred acres of land, only 56 acres would actually contain permanent structures. The towers would require the construction of 19 miles of gravel access roads.
The 44 turbines could generate up to 71 megawatts of power, but the company’s wind studies say the towers would likely only produce 35% of that amount of electricity or 25 megawatts; which is enough energy to power 25 thousand homes.
Cortlandville and Truxton have passed regulations governing wind turbines that include substantial setbacks for the towers. T-C-I has said the large setbacks make their project unworkable because of the extra land the company would have to lease or purchase. The Town of Homer wind committee is set to make a final recommendation on its wind law tonight.
Representatives from T-C-I were unavailable for comment on their decision to withdraw from the local environmental review. Up to this point the company has spent close to $100 thousand dollars on studies and engineering reports.