County planners back 3 met towers in Barre for Heritage Wind

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 January 2017 at 10:17 pm

BARRE – The Orleans County Planning Board voted this evening in favor of three meteorological towers in the Town of Barre.

The towers will will measure wind strength and direction, gathering data that will be critical in siting turbines for the proposed Heritage Wind, project developer Ben Yazman told the Planning Board.

The board’s vote is an advisory opinion for the Barre Town Board. Barre will have a public hearing on the application for the three met towers at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8 in the Barre Town Hall.

Town Supervisor Mark Chamberlain said the three towers all meet the town’s zoning code. Barre also requested fencing by the guy wires to help prevent anyone from accident hitting the wires, including snowmobilers.

The tower locations include:

• A 262.5-foot high tower on a 9-acre lot at 5149 Oak Orchard Rd. The tower would be on land owned by Justin Weese, between Puzzey and Cushing roads.

• A 196.7-foot met tower on a 121-acre lot on the south side of Thorpe Road at its intersection with Culver Road. The land is owned by Kirk Mathes.

• A 196.7-foot met tower on a 71-acre lot on the south side of West Lee Road, near Eagle Harbor Road. The tower would be behind an apple orchard owned by Chris Watt.

Heritage Wind is a 200-megawatt project proposed by Apex Clean Energy. The company worked with its own meteorologist who recommended the tower locations and elevations, trying to get a sense of wind strength at different heights and also on different topography, Yazman told the County Planning Board.

The towers are planned to be up for a year and then removed. If Apex wants them up longer, the company would need to apply for additional time for the met tower.

Apex has two met towers installed for its proposed project in the towns of Yates and Somerset, with one in both towns. The company would like to have three more in those two towns.

(Editor’s Note: This story was updated to say Apex used its own meteorologist and a not a consultant in picking the locations for the met towers. The story also was updated to say there are two met towers in Yates-Somerset.)

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