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Galloo Island Wind Farm searches for power purchaser

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Galloo Island Wind Farm is shopping its electricity around to state and private buyers to keep the possibility of an underwater transmission line alive.

A representative of developer Upstate NY Power Corp. told parties on a conference call held by the Public Service Commission on Thursday morning that the developer isn’t giving up after the New York Power Authority scrapped its Great Lakes Offshore Wind project in September. The project, which requested proposals from developers for wind power projects in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, would give the developers purchase power agreements, providing a steady stream of income even as the electricity market ebbs and flows.

“It would have been the cleanest method for a PPA,” said Robert W. Burgdorf, attorney with Nixon Peabody, Rochester, and developer representative. “The company is frankly frustrated; it has incurred significant delay. The company believed it was the lowest bidder by far and it believed it had reason to be optimistic as recently as two months ago.”

The developer had told the parties in previous calls that it needed a PPA to make the project viable. But Mr. Burgdorf appeared to leave open the option to construct the 246-megawatt project without a PPA as long as an overland transmission route was pursued. He did not respond to a request for clarification Thursday.

But Upstate NY Power officials are not giving up on selling the project’s electricity to lay an underwater transmission cable, which is a more politically popular option. The underwater route would run along the Lake Ontario bed from Galloo Island to Scriba. An overland route would make landfall in Henderson, seven miles from the island, and cut through southern Jefferson County and Oswego County to a substation in Mexico.

“The company is willing to chase Plans B and C — to run these other options to ground,” Mr. Burgdorf said. “We want to accommodate the anti-transmission-line opponents, but I would remind them that we routinely receive pressure to proceed with the overhead line. We get calls from the unions, IDA, town, village and school district, asking us to proceed.”

The company has other options for marketplaces to sell the power.

“We are still going to pursue some alternative options for a PPA,” he said. “We have some potential state and private options. Contractually, we could not pursue our alternatives while GLOW was outstanding.”

When asked what other state options exist, Mr. Burgdorf referred to a conference call with officials from NYPA and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office.

“We have been invited to regroup and come back and have further discussions,” Mr. Burgdorf said.

Sackets Harbor Local Development Corp. President Donald L. DiMonda and Sackets Harbor Central School District Superintendent Frederick E. Hall asked Kevin J. Casutto, administrative law judge on the case, to give the developer the time necessary to pursue the options for a PPA.

“The project has unanimous support from the town board, village board and school district Board of Education,” Mr. DiMonda said. “We ask that consideration be given to the 118,000 residents of Jefferson County and host community.”

Mr. Burgdorf suggested a deadline of the end of June for the company to investigate options.

A status report will be given by conference call at 2 p.m. July 6. An interim status report will be April 4.

“We do not want this to drag on for 18 months like we did for the state,” Mr. Burgdorf said. “We think a reasonable time is through the first two quarters to find a solution or a prospect of a good solution to satisfy those who want it underwater.”

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