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Copenhagen Wind Farm environmental review under way

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COPENHAGEN — A Brooklyn company is moving forward with environmental review of its proposed “community wind” project here.

“Copenhagen is a project we are committed to continuing to develop for the foreseeable future,” OwnEnergy Inc. project manager James Damon wrote in an email message.

The developer in December installed a 197-foot-tall meteorological tower at the Lyndon W. and Patricia F. Moser farm on Wilson Road to test wind speed and direction.

Since then, the Denmark town Planning Board has become the lead agency for the state Environmental Quality Review process and is now reviewing a draft scoping document prepared by the company. Environmental studies are to continue through the fall, with a draft Environmental Impact Statement expected to be available for review and public comment in December.

The Copenhagen Wind Farm project, to be sited north of the 195-turbine Maple Ridge Wind Farm, will be located on up to 62 private parcels in the town of Denmark. While the scoping document cites a maximum generating capacity of 102 megawatts, Mr. Damon said the expected limit remains at 80 megawatts, or up to 49 turbines. It is common to permit more turbine sites than necessary to provide more flexibility when determining final layout, he said.

OwnEnergy is also proposing to construct a substation off Plank Road in the town of Denmark and run a roughly nine-mile, 115-kilovolt overhead power line into the towns of Champion, Rutland and Watertown to connect the wind farm to a National Grid substation near Burrville.

According to the draft scoping document, the environmental review will study the project’s impact on such items as water, animals, birds and bats, air quality, visual and historic resources, sound, public safety, television signals and transportation, including flight patterns at nearby Fort Drum.

Project managers have also held preliminary discussions with local officials and the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency concerning a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, but have yet to submit a formal proposal, Mr. Damon said.

“To date, the community has been extremely supportive of the project,” he wrote. “This is, in part, due to how OwnEnergy is developing the project. The company is partnering with a longtime resident of the community to jointly develop the project — something unique among wind development companies — and remains in close contact with town officials and other community leaders.”

The local partner, town of Denmark resident Jerry Wichelns, and other project officials over the summer also helped form WinDenmark, a group of eight civic and business leaders from the Copenhagen, Castorland and Denmark areas, Mr. Damon said.

That new organization, which includes no elected officials, is to receive an annual donation from Copenhagen Wind Farm to use toward community projects and matching grants, he said. While exact amounts have not been determined, the project manager estimated yearly funding at $10,000 to $20,000.

“The group is completely autonomous in their decision making, and neither the project nor OwnEnergy has any influence on how or where WinDenmark will choose to appropriate the funds,” Mr. Damon wrote.

Public comments on the Copenhagen Wind Farm scoping document will be accepted through Thursday.

Copies are available for review at the Denmark town and Copenhagen village offices and the Lewis County office building in Lowville, and they are also accessible on Denmark’s website at www.townofdenmarkny.com.

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