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BP to Clayton officials: Cape Vincent Wind Farm would be visible from river

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CLAYTON — Cape Vincent Wind Farm will be visible from the St. Lawrence River, according to the wind project’s manager who spoke at a Clayton village-town meeting Wednesday night.

Richard Chandler, BP’s director of business development for the Cape Vincent Wind Project, told Clayton officials that the company was looking to erect 495 feet tall wind turbines, considerably larger than Wolfe Island’s 410- foot turbines.

When asked by village Trustee Dennis H. Honeywell why BP cannot move the wind farm further inland and away from the water by five miles, Mr. Chandler suggested that the company does not consider that alternative an option at this stage.

“We’re kind of at the point where the company wants to move forward,” Mr. Chandler said.

Mr. Chandler also said shifting the wind farm five miles away from the waterfront would practically push the project out of Cape Vincent — and into the town of Lyme — and that Lyme’s wind moratorium prohibits any turbines within its township.

Ironically, one of the reasons BP had opted to follow a state Article X siting process, instead of seeking permission from the local governments, was to bypass Lyme and Cape Vincent’s stringent zoning restrictions against industrial wind development.

An Article X process generally imposes a 12-month deadline for the review of electric-generating facilities of 25 megawatts or higher and allows a state siting board to overrule what it deems to be unreasonable local laws.

Although they were not allowed to participate, at least half of the audience members Wednesday were residents of Cape Vincent.

Cape Vincent town and village officials in attendance — Councilmen Brooks J. Bragdon and Clifford P. Schneider and village Trustee Pamela Youngs — were given the opportunity to speak but declined to take part in the conversation Wednesday night.

Mr. Honeywell also asked whether BP would erect wind farms without federal subsidy.

“We’ve never looked at a wind project without Production Tax Credit in place,” Mr. Chandler said. “BP has not built a project without a PTC.”

The federal program, which expires at the end of the year, provides 2.2 cents per kilowatt of electricity generated for the first decade of a wind farm’s operation. BP’s proposed $300 million wind project, however, would not break ground in time to be eligible for the tax credit unless Congress extends it again.

The developer plans to submit its application to the state siting board this fall, and expects a ruling to be made next summer or fall.

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