MARTINSBURG — With site plan approval completed, construction on the 39-turbine Roaring Brook wind farm project may begin as soon as next year.
"We're hopeful we can start building there by the end of 2010," said Paul C. Copelman, a communications manager with Iberdrola Renewables.
In the best-case scenario, the proposed wind farm — in the southeastern portion of the town of Martinsburg — would be partially built in late 2010, Mr. Copelman said. Construction would commence again in spring 2011, allowing the 78-megawatt facility to be operational by the end of the year, he said.
"We think this is a good site for wind development and hope to build a wind project," Mr. Copelman said.
Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, is proposing the wind farm on 5,280 acres just south of the Maple Ridge Wind Farm. Iberdrola is part owner of that 195-turbine wind farm, which also extends into the towns of Harrisburg and Lowville.
The Roaring Brook project would include 30 turbines on land owned by Zeager Partnership Ltd. of Middletown, Pa., while the other nine would be on adjacent parcels.
The Martinsburg town Planning Board last week quietly approved a site plan for the project.
The board's approval was contingent on several conditions, including compliance with plans for decommissioning the wind farm, resolving complaints, addressing television interference and environmental management. Lighting on a proposed maintenance building also is to be directional and designed so it doesn't shine on adjacent properties.
Atlantic Wind now must obtain a wetlands permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and do more preliminary work before moving forward with the Roaring Brook project.
"We're still doing a number of development activities," Mr. Copelman said.
A payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement also must be negotiated between Atlantic Wind and the affected taxing jurisdictions: Lewis County, the town of Martinsburg and the Lowville Academy and Central School District.
While the Maple Ridge PILOT is handled by the county, local officials plan to have the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency administer the Roaring Brook deal.
Informal talks on the PILOT have taken place, said Ned E. Cole, LCIDA's executive director. However, no plan has been reached, and Atlantic Wind has yet to submit an application for such an agreement.
The Roaring Brook project would use 2-megawatt turbines with a maximum height at the blade tip of 476 feet. The 1.65-megawatt Maple Ridge turbines have a maximum height of about 400 feet.
The project also would include upgrades to 10 miles of forest roads and portions of French and Flat Rock roads, construction of five miles of gravel access roads, installation of 13 miles of underground electrical line and construction of a 100-foot-tall meteorological tower.
The wind farm would connect to the 115-kilovolt Taylor-Boonville power line near Lee Road through an additional 5.5 miles of buried electrical line and three miles of overhead line.