ARKWRIGHT - The extensive studies required for the final phase of Arkwright's proposed wind farm have been completed.
The draft report on the environmental impact statement for Horizon Energy's Arkwright Summit Wind Farm will be presented to the Arkwright Town Board at its next meeting April 13 at 7 p.m.
Horizon project manager Tom Stebbins said the report is being reviewed by attorney Daniel Spitzer and Conestoga-Rovers engineer Robert Adams, both of whom represent Arkwright's interests in this project.
Cattle graze in a pasture on the Smoky Hill Wind Project near Wilson, Kansas.
Once the report is accepted by these representatives, it will be referred to the town board, the zoning board of appeals and the planning board for possible final approval.
Supervisor Fred Norton said the report is extensive. "One supplement covers close to 1,000 pages," he said.
Stebbins said once everything is finalized and accepted, Horizon is prepared to start building the Arkwright wind farm in April 2010.
"The turbine locations have remained the same and the transmission line location has been finalized," he said.
The plans call for 44 sites for the location of the wind generator towers in the Town of Arkwright.
"This is the maximum number and we are not looking for any more sites," Stebbins said.
When asked if Horizon had the funds to cover the project, he said the parent company, EDP, is in a very strong position, financially.
"EDP is a utility which makes it less venerable to fluctuating markets," he said.
And, in response to a question about when negotiations over Pilot and host community agreements would take place, Stebbins said talks are currently being held with the county's Industrial Development Agency on the Pilot agreement.
This Pilot agreement would cover payment in lieu of taxes with the county and the local school districts that would be involved.
The proposed project has generated concern among Arkwright community residents.
Basically, these individuals have questioned the environmental impact and the esthetic interference the wind turbines would create.
Discussions on these issues dominated a number of town board sessions but have abated as the project progressed.
The Arkwright project has gone through changes since it was first introduced including its name.
"We had to drop the Arkwright Grange name because the Grange organization did not want its name associated with the project so we have changed it to Arkwright Summit," Stebbins said.
Noting Horizon has worked closely with local landowners and the community to explain the project in detail and address concerns about potential impacts, Stebbins said "We will continue to be responsive to the community's needs and adjust our plans to minimize environmental impacts."
A copy of the DEIS which outlines Horizon's responses to the environmental impacts and community concerns can be seen by appointment at Arkwright Town Clerk Janice Rundell's office.
"The proposed Arkwright Summit Wind Farm will deliver significant benefits to the community while producing clean renewable electricity to meet New York's renewable energy goals," Horizon's Northeast Development Director Patrick Doyle said.
When the Arkwright Summit Wind Farm becomes a reality, Doyle said, Horizon expects to invest as much as $40 million in local labor and materials to construct the project and create 10 to 15 permanent jobs for the community.
In addition, he said, the project will pay out approximately $640,000 annually to local taxing jurisdictions and schools that can be used to invest in new infrastructure or to reduce local taxes.
Arkwright Supervisor Fred Norton believes the wind farm will benefit the community.
He anticipates the host agreement with Horizon will provide the town with an increased revenue base without cost to the residents.
In addition, he said, Horizon's lease agreements with individual property owners will generate welcomed income.
"The revenue the Arkwright Summit Wind Farm will generate for the town will stabilize taxes, provide funding for infrastructure improvements (road repairs) and perhaps a new or improved town hall," he said.
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