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Apex files preliminary scoping statement for Heritage Wind in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2018 at 5:30 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Ben Yazman, Heritage Wind project developer, is pictured by the Barre water tower on Route 98 behind the firehall in this photo from May 2016.

BARRE – Apex Clean Energy today filed a preliminary scoping statement with the state Department of Public Service. The company seeks to build a 200-megawatt wind energy facility in Barre.

The PSS filing opens a 21-day public comment period for community members to submit comments on the scoping statement.

Apex calls its proposed Barre project, “Heritage Wind.” The company will compile and respond to the PSS comments, “and will make any necessary adjustments to the studies it proposes in connection with the project,” Project Development Manager Ben Yazman said in letter today to the Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary of the Public Service Commission.

Apex has been working in Barre for about two years. It has held several public meetings and has secured leases for 30 of the turbine sites. The company continues to discuss leases with landowners. Apex wants to have 47 sites under contract, Yazman told Orleans Hub.

The project would generate about $1.5 million in annual tax revenue for the town, county, school district and other public services, in addition to about $1 million annually to the landowners, Yazman said.

The company hopes to submit a full application later this year that would detail a preliminary layout of the turbine locations. That would likely be in the central to eastern part of the town, away from Pine Hill Airport. The company intends to apply for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need from the state’s Board on Electric Generating Siting and Environment.

Filing the PSS marks the beginning of a formal public scoping process. The document to follow will describe the environmental setting in the project area, and identify potential environmental and health impacts from the construction and operation of the turbines.

“There will be a bevy of studies,” Yazman said at the company Albion office, 49 North Main St.

The scoping document will outline proposed benefits of the project, proposed studies on potential impacts to birds and bats, and proposals to minimize environmental impacts and reasonable alternatives.

The PSS will detail the environmental impact analysis that Apex will conduct with the project, including potential impacts to land use, public health and safety, terrestrial ecology — including birds, bats and wetlands, water resources, aquatic ecology, communications systems, transportation and utilities, and cultural, historical and recreational resources.

Visual impacts to be studied include the potential for shadow flicker, should with electromagnetic fields, and the impact on the statewide electrical system.

“Importantly, the PSS document will not yet include specific details regarding the proposed facility or its potential impacts on and benefits to the environment and the community — that information will be developed through the studies and commitments outlined in the PSS, and submitted in the formal Article 10 Application later in this process,” Yasman wrote to Burgess today.

Feedback in the PSS will play an important role in the development of the project, he said.

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