State approves permit for wind turbine project in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 January 2022 at 9:47 am

BARRE – The State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) has issued a siting permit for Heritage Wind to build 33 turbines in the Town of Barre that will have the capacity to generate 184.8 megawatts of electricity.

Houtan Moaveni, ORES executive director, issued the decision on Jan. 13.

The project will contribute approximately $54 million in host community benefits and payments in lieu of taxes to the Town of Barre, Orleans County, and local schools over the course of 25 years.

The turbines would have a maximum blade tip height of 675 feet, making them the largest land-based turbines in the state. Each turbine will be able to produce 5.6 megawatts of power.

The project also includes 12 miles of access roads, two permanent meteorological towers, approximately 36 miles of collection lines from the wind turbines to the collection substation, a temporary construction laydown yard of approximately 13 acres, an operations and maintenance facility consisting of two buildings totaling approximately 4,000 square feet, and other components.

Moaveni, the ORES director, said six turbines within 2 miles of Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area will be subject to greater scrutiny for avian impacts.

He cited the benefits of the project in providing $54 million to the local communities over 25 years and also contributing the state’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and no less than 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. The Barre project will offset up to 112,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Barre tractor parade cancelled due to high winds

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 December 2021 at 10:37 am

BARRE – The lighted tractor parade scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today in Barre has been cancelled due to the threat of high winds.

A high wind warning is in effect today from 1 to 11 p.m. with southwesterly winds from 35 to 45 miles per hour with gusts of 65 to 70 mph expected.

The Barre Betterment Committee has been planning the 4th Annual Lighted Tractor Parade. It can’t reschedule the event because the permit from the state DOT is for today.

Barre town meetings go virtual only due to Covid spread in community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 December 2021 at 9:21 am

BARRE – The Barre town meetings will be virtual only until further notice due to the community spread of Covid and the threat of a new variant for the virus, said Town Supervisor Sean Pogue.

The meetings won’t allow in-person attendance from the public, but they can still use the town’s YouTube channel or call in by phone to hear the meeting.

This includes Town Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings.

The Town Board has a workshop meeting today at 5 p.m. and regular board meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Planning Board meets the second Monday of the month.

To call in for the Town Board meetings, dial (585) 589-5100, enter 5 once the auto-attendant plays, with a pin of 4321 followed by #.

For the Planning Board meetings, call (585) 589-5100, then dial 402 when the auto-attendant answers followed by a pin of 6543 #.

For more information, click here to be directed to the town website.

Santa and Barre firefighters make holiday deliveries

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2021 at 12:19 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

BARRE – Santa Claus helps Jaxson Stefaniak, 3, unwrap a present of an Iron Man toy this morning as part of the Barre Volunteer Fire Company’s annual Santa Express.

Firefighters escorted Santa around town to visit 30 families and deliver presents.

Santa steps out of the fire truck to visit a family on Root Road. This is the seventh year the fire company has run the Santa Express.

People dropped off gift-wrapped presents at the firehall and those gifts are then delivered by firefighters and Santa.

Jaxson Stefaniak is excited to Santa standing on the family’s front lawn.

Jaxson and the other children also were given a chance to sit in the fire truck.

Firefighters say the Santa Express gives them a chance to see families for a good reason, rather than an emergency. It also helps children to meet the firefighters, who act as Santa’s elves today while delivering the gifts.

John Egloff, left, served as one of Santa’s elves and hands a gift to Gabe Rice, 6. Santa helped Gabe open the gift on the back of the fire truck.

Gabe Rice, 6, is happy to receive a toy train for a present.

The Barre firefighters split into two groups today while making their deliveries with Santa.

Heritage Wind announces community grant awards

Posted 30 November 2021 at 7:47 pm

Press Release, Heritage Wind/Apex Clean Energy

ALBION – In recognition of “Giving Tuesday,” Heritage Wind announced the latest round of grant awards from the Heritage Wind Community Grant Program.

The program, launched in 2020, supports community organizations throughout Orleans County working to build healthy communities, support economic development, foster environmental sustainability, and promote education.

“We are thankful that Orleans County is home to so many motivated individuals and innovative groups doing everything they can to support their community,” said Carmen O’Keefe, Development Manager with Apex Clean Energy. “We are proud to support their work and are committed to being a long-term partner to the Town of Barre and all of Orleans County.”

Counting this year’s recipients, the grant program has awarded nearly $50,000 to community causes and non-profit organizations since its inception.

Some of the grants announced today include $2,879 for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County, $1,554 for Orleans County Adult Learning Services, $1,245 for Beds from Brian Inc., $1,000 for Albion Betterment Committee and $600 for Lee-Whedon Memorial Library.

Beds from Brian is a non-profit organization that works with local partner agencies to ensure all children have a bed to call their own. A Heritage Wind community grant will provide enough funds to provide beds and bedding to five children in partnership with the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern.

“We appreciate being the recipient of a Heritage Wind Community Grant. The generous amount will allow us to purchase new beds and bedding for children in Orleans County,” said Beds from Brian Founder and President Doreen LaFluer. “Thank you for helping us fulfil our Mission of ‘Comforting children with warm and cozy beds and bedding’ and for keeping our Vision of ‘For every child in our area to have a bed to call their own’ at the forefront of what we strive to do.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County will receive a grant to purchase new interactive educational displays to engage children at events such as the Orleans County Fair. Among a variety of agricultural-themed activities, the displays will also include a renewable energy puzzle game.

“We are incredible grateful for the support. Heritage Wind has allowed us to do some excellent educational activities in the past and has again supported that mission,” said Robert Batt, President of the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension. “The proposed learning through play exhibit will provide families at the fair and other events a free, interactive experience that educates both about agriculture and is fun to do. We look forward to seeing people playing and learning together thanks to this funding.”

A grant to the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library will fund new discovery kits that can be borrowed from the library for use by children and families looking to explore nature, science, and the world around them. Library Director Kristine Mostyn thanked Apex Clean Energy for supporting the project, saying “Lee-Whedon Memorial Library greatly appreciates receiving this grant from Apex. We will be using the funds to create discovery kits, such as stargazing and geocaching, to be used around the community. The kits will benefit homeschoolers as well as anyone interested in nature or the sciences.”

Orleans County Adult Learning Services (OCALS) will receive a grant to help train and supply five new tutors for their digital literacy mentoring project. “The Orleans County Adult Learning Services Program is grateful and proud to receive this grant from Heritage Wind,” said OCALS Vice President and Treasurer Don Colquhoun. “It will be used to provide digital literacy services to County residents to enhance their skills and help them to become computer literate and connected to the power of the internet. It is a perfect complement to the tutoring services the agency has provided since 2006.”

The Orleans County United Way assisted OCALS with the grant application and is helping administer the funds.

“The Orleans County United Way is pleased by the generosity of Heritage Wind in helping OCALS with their request for equipment. We assisted in the grant application. These funds will help more community mentors assist their neighbors with Digital Literacy,” added Orleans County United Way Executive Director Dean Bellack. “The Orleans Digital Literacy Initiative has begun training Orleans County Residents and our goal is to have one on one training with 2000-3000 Orleans County residents to improve their skills.”

Other grants included a donation to the Albion Betterment Committee as part of their Charles W. Howard statue fundraising effort, and donations to Christ Church Community Kitchen, Community Action of Orleans and Genesee, and Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance (COVA) in recognition of their consistent service and support to the community.

As the project approaches construction, Heritage Wind will continue its commitment to being a strong community partner to local governments, area businesses, and non-profits working to improve people’s lives across the region. To learn more about the program, or apply for a future round of grant funding, click here.

Lighted tractor parade is back in Barre on Dec. 11

Photo by Tom Rivers: Shaw Farms in Byron joined the lighted tractor parade last year on Dec. 12. The parade included trucks, tractors and smaller all-terrain vehicles.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2021 at 8:18 am

BARRE – A procession of lighted tractor, trucks and all-terrain vehicles will be back for a parade on Dec. 11 in Barre.

The Barre Betterment Committee welcomes the community to the 4th Annual Lighted Tractor Parade. It starts at 5:30 p.m.

The parade will begin at the corner of Route 98 and East Barre Road and will head north ending at the Barre Town Park. After the parade there will be Christmas caroling.

Participants in the parade should bring their tractor or farm vehicle to East Barre Road by the VanLieshout Farm by 5:15 p.m.  No registration is required.

“Simply decorate your tractor and join the fun,” the Barre Betterment Committee said in announcing the event.

About 20 tractors and trucks were decorated in lights for the third annual Barre Lighted Tractor Parade last year. This group of tractors includes one driven by Kurt Dudley in center.

After absentees counted, Pogue’s lead grows in Barre; Suhr tops Lauricella in Yates

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2021 at 10:12 am

The absentee ballots were counted Tuesday for two close races in Orleans County. Those ballots increased the lead for Sean Pogue in Barre and Harold Suhr in Yates.

Pogue received 18 absentees and Gerald Solazzo had 13 for Barre town supervisor. Pogue, the incumbent Republican, led Solazzo 289 to 258 after the in-person ballots were counted from early voting and on Nov. 9. With the absentees, Pogue is now at 307 votes to 271 for Solazzo who ran under the independent “Voice of the Citizens.” The results are still unofficial.

There are also about 20 affidavit ballots to be counted throughout Orleans County. The deadline to certify the results is Nov. 26.

The town of Yates also had a very close race that was up in the air until the absentees were counted.

Harold Suhr had a 3-vote lead over Paul Lauricella, 256 to 253, after the early voting and Nov. 2 ballots were counted.

With the absentees, Suhr picked up 11 more votes and Lauricella gained 3 more, putting Suhr ahead 267 to 256.

Those results are unofficial and there will be a manual recount.

The write-in results from other races in the county also are still be tabulated with the results unavailable at this time.

Barre town meeting Wednesday will be virtual only due to Covid spread

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 November 2021 at 12:59 pm

BARRE – The Town Board meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday will be virtual only with no one allowed to attend in-person.

Three of the five Town Board members are currently in Covid quarantine, Town Supervisor Sean Pogue said.

He also is concerned about the high community spread of Covid in Orleans County.

People can observe the meeting live through Barre’s YouTube channel or they can call in to hear the session. More information about calling in is available on the Town website (click here).

Absentees will be counted Nov. 9 in close Barre, Yates races

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 November 2021 at 10:39 am

The winners for some of the elected positions in Barre and Yates won’t be known until Nov. 9 when absentee ballots are counted by the Orleans County Board of Elections.

Yates has the closest race right now after the ballots were counted from early voting and at the polls on Tuesday. Harold Suhr is ahead of Paul Lauricella by 3 votes, 256 to 253, for a spot on the Yates Town Board.

The Board of Elections has received 18 absentees so far from Yates voters and 31 were sent out.

In Barre, Sean Pogue has a 31-vote lead over Gerald Solazzo for town supervisor, 289 to 258. The Board of Elections has received 26 absentees so far and 45 were sent out so the number received could increase.

The Board of Elections today will also be counting the write-in votes throughout the county. In Barre, there were 427 write-ins. Steve Harling and Tom Decker ran a write-in campaign together for the Town Board. George McKenna, 346 votes, and David Waters, 336, combined have 682 votes, well ahead the write-in tally.

In town races, Pogue has lead for Barre town supervisor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 November 2021 at 10:47 pm

Suhr and Lauricella is close battle for Yates Town Board

The town races were fairly quiet this year with many of the candidates unopposed. However, Barre had the most contested races and incumbent Sean Pogue is ahead 289 to 258 over Gerald Solazzo.

Among the Town Board candidates, George McKenna has 346 votes and David Waters 336 for two seats. Steve Harling and Tom Decker mounted a write-in campaign and 427 write-ins were totaled. A breakdown isn’t available.

McKenna and Waters had the Republican line and also the independent “Voice of the Citizens.” Solazzo also ran with the “Voice of the Citizens.”

In other town results:

Albion — All of the candidates are unopposed.

  • Richard Remley, town supervisor – 444
  • Sandra Bensley, town councilman – 410
  • Arnold Allen Jr., town councilman – 397

Carlton – Two are vying for town clerk with incumbent Karen Narburgh having the Republican and Conservative lines while Dori Goetze runs under the independent “Be the Change.” Other Carlton candidates are unopposed: Kevin Hurley for town justice, Jeff Gifaldi and Debbie Yokel for Town Board, and Kurt Van Wyke for highway superintendent.

  • Town Clerk – Karen Narburgh, 409; Dori Goetze, 211
  • Town Justice – Kevin Hurley, 469
  • Town Board – Jeff Gifaldi, 435; Debbie Yockel, 433
  • Highway Superintendent – Kurt Van Wyke, 495

Clarendon – Richard Moy is unopposed for another term as town supervisor, while three candidates seek two spots on the Town Board. Chris Caufield and Marc Major are backed by the Republican Party and William Fox is running as a Democrat.

  • Town Supervisor – Richard Moy, 501
  • Town Board – Chris Caufield, 479; Marc Major, 460; and William Fox, 94

Gaines – The Republicans are all unopposed including Tyler Allport for town supervisor, Susan Heard for town clerk, Charles Prentice for town justice, and James Kirby and Kenneth Rush for Town Board.

  • Town Supervisor – Tyler Allport, 309
  • Town Board – James Kirby, 337; Kenneth Rush, 314.
  • Town Clerk – Susan Heard, 341
  • Town Justice – Charles Prentice, 332

Kendall – The candidates, all running under the Republican Party line, are unopposed including Anthony Cammarata for town supervisor, Amy Richardson for town clerk, Debra Kluth and Robert Fagan for town justice, Wayne Martin and Paul Jennings for Town Board, and Warren Kruger for highway superintendent.

  • Town Supervisor – Anthony Cammarata, 476
  • Town Board – Wayne Martin, 472; and Paul Jennings, 444
  • Town Clerk – Amy Richardson, 516
  • Town Justice – Debra Kluth, 473; and Robert Fagan, 443
  • Highway Superintendent – Warren Kruger, 478

Murray – The candidates are all unopposed on the ballot, including Joe Sidonio for town supervisor, Cindy Oliver for town clerk, Gary Passarell for town justice, Michael Mele and Paul Hendel for Town Board, and Dirk Lammes Jr. for highway superintendent. However, Ron Vendetti mounted a write-in campaign for town supervisor and Art Knab sought write-in support for the Town Board.

  • Town Supervisor – Joe Sidonio, 454; write-ins, 157
  • Town Clerk – Cindy Oliver, 553
  • Town Justice – Gary Passarell, 539
  • Town Board – Michael Mele, 513; Paul Hendel, 460; write-in, 49
  • Highway Superintendent – Dirk Lammes Jr., 546

Ridgeway – There were races for town clerk and the Town Board. For town clerk, Hannah Hill ran under the Republican line and independent “Hannah Hill for a Better Ridgeway” against Laurie Kilburn, who was endorsed by the Conservative Party and also ran under the independent “Laurie Kilburn for the People of Ridgeway.”

Three sought two spots on the Town Board including Jeff Toussaint and Cliff Barber, who ran as Republicans against David Stalker, who was backed by the Conservative Party. John Olinger was unopposed for highway superintendent.

  • Town Clerk – Hannah Hill, 695; Kilburn, 222
  • Town Board – Jeff Toussaint, 729; Cliff Barber, 705; David Stalker, 213
  • Highway Superintendent – John Olinger, 762

Shelby – Jeff Smith was uncontested for town supervisor and Stephen Seitz Sr. and Edward Zelazny ran unopposed for the Town Board.

  • Town Supervisor – Jeff Smith, 509
  • Town Board – Stephen Seitz, Sr., 474; Edward Zelazny, 481

Yates – Three sought two spots as town councilmen with Harold Suhr and Terry Chaffee Jr. running as Republicans against Paul Lauricella Jr., who was backed by the Conservative Party and also ran under the independent “Lyndonville Taxpayers First Party.” Jim Simon was unopposed for town supervisor and Donald Grabowski was uncontested for town justice.

  • Town Supervisor – Jim Simon, 330
  • Town Board – Terry Chaffee Jr., 286; Harold Suhr, 256; and Paul Lauricella, 253
  • Town Justice – Donald Grabowski, 397

Barre Betterment hosting Trunk or Treat on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 October 2021 at 9:06 am

BARRE – The Barre Betterment Committee will be hosting its second annual “Trunk or Treat” this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Barre Town Park on Route 98.

Parents are welcome to bring children in costume to the event. Residents also are encouraged to dress their vehicles up in costume, too.  There is no charge for this event.

More information is available on the Barre Betterment Committee’s Facebook page.

Heritage Wind touts $54 million in new revenue for local governments over 25 years

Posted 19 October 2021 at 5:10 pm

Press Release, Heritage Wind

BARRE – Over $54 million in new revenue will be generated for the Town of Barre, Orleans County, and local school districts under the terms of two agreements approved this month between local jurisdictions and Heritage Wind.

On October 13, the Barre Town Board voted to approve a Host Community Agreement (HCA) with Heritage Wind that will bring more than $40 million in new revenue to the community over the next 25 years. Payments will increase annually from $1.2 million in the first year of operation to $2.1 million by year 25. These annual payments are based on the installed nameplate capacity in megawatts of the turbine model, resulting in stable, guaranteed payments each year that increase over time.

The Town of Barre collected just under $1.2 million in total property taxes in 2021, meaning the Heritage Wind HCA will effectively double the town’s annual collections, providing much-needed revenue to invest in local priorities, including property tax relief.

In addition to new revenue for the Town of Barre, the project will benefit local schools and county services through a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) agreement. On October 8, the County of Orleans Industrial Development Agency (COIDA) unanimously approved an inducement resolution to enter into a PILOT agreement. Under the agreement, Heritage Wind will pay $13.5 million to Orleans County and local school districts over the next 25 years. That revenue would be allocated as follows:

  • $6.7 million to Orleans County
  • $6.6 million to Albion Central School
  • $200,000 to Oakfield-Alabama Central School

Annual payments for both the PILOT and HCA increase by 2% each year for the first 15 years and by 2.5% annually from years 15-25. Payment amounts are based on a nameplate installed capacity of 184.8 megawatt (MW).

Now that local governments have approved the project’s community benefit agreements, road use agreements, and decommissioning agreements, the project is only awaiting final approval from the state before construction can commence next year.

“It is great to see such a collaborative effort with the jurisdictions come to fruition. We look forward to getting this project permitted and starting construction in 2022,” said Heritage Wind Development Manager Carmen O’Keefe.

Heritage Wind accepting applications for community grants

Posted 16 September 2021 at 9:13 am

Press Release, Heritage Wind

BARRE – The Heritage Wind Community Grant Program is now accepting applications for its Fall 2021 grant cycle.

The program provided more than $9,000 during its last cycle to support local organizations working to build healthy communities, increase environmental sustainability, foster economic development, and promote education, including Community Action of Orleans and Genesee, Supportive Care of Orleans, The Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern, Medina Fire Department, Town of Barre (Powering the Park), Orleans Community Health Foundation, Orleans-Recovery Hope Begins Here, Christ Church Community Kitchen and United Way of Orleans County.

Local organizations working in the Town of Barre or the broader Orleans County community are encouraged to apply. Grants are typically awarded in $250 to $4,000 increments, with priority given to proposals that demonstrate meaningful impacts to the greatest number of area residents.

We will be accepting applications until October 29 on our website (click here).

The four focus areas for the Heritage Wind Community Grant Program are:

  • Building Healthy Communities – Programs that support public health, good government, open communication, citizen resources, and/or enhance the quality of life in the community.
  • Economic Development – Apex Clean Energy supports and encourages the entrepreneurial spirit. It is part of our mission to serve as a catalyst for economic opportunity and development within the communities where we operate.
  • Environmental Sustainability – Programs that possess a strong link to environmental revitalization, sustainability, or education thereof, empower residents to be stewards of the environment, and/or encourage partnerships to address environmental concerns and sustainability.
  • Promoting Education – Programs that support educational institutions, the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and training programs for careers in the wind industry. This may include curriculum development, literacy, school readiness, and other initiatives that help students grow into young leaders. Vocational training institutions that help build a skilled workforce are also included and encouraged to apply.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Brian O’Shea at, by phone at (952) 393-2986 or Anna Mathes at or (585) 590-2254.

Public hearing on Oct. 4 for Heritage Wind PILOT

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 September 2021 at 4:26 pm

Heritage Wind would pay county, 2 school districts about $400,000 annually; PILOT doesn’t include over $1.2 million to Town of Barre

BARRE – There will be a public hearing at 10 a.m. on Oct. 4 at Barre Town Hall about a proposed PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) plan from Heritage Wind, where the company will pay over $400,000 annually to Orleans County, Albion Central School and the Oakfield-Alabama school district.

The PILOT doesn’t include the Town of Barre, where 33 proposed turbines would be located. The town negotiated a separate host community agreement with Heritage Wind’s parent company, Apex Clean Energy.

That agreement gives Barre 75 percent of the local municipal revenue for the project or more than $1.2 million annually. Barre also will receive an upfront payment of $250,000 if the project is approved by the state, and the host community agreement would also provide about $75,000 annually to the Barre Fire District.

Apex proposed $9,000 per megawatt annually or $1,663,200 in total municipal revenue in year one of the project to be divvied up among the Town of Barre, Orleans County, Albion school district (where 32 turbines would be located) and Oakfield-Alabama (which would have one turbine).

Barre would receive $6,750 per megawatt or 75 percent of that total of the 184.8 megawatt project or $1,247,400.

The other taxing entities would share $2,250 per megawatt capacity through the PILOT or $415,800 in year one. That increases by 2 percent each year through year 14, and then 2.5 percent annually for years 15 to 25.

The details of the PILOT haven’t been made public yet. But the Albion Board of Education in December 2020 voted to accept the PILOT agreement with Apex.

In December the terms of the PILOT called for to receive $1,091.91 per megawatt annually or $201,600. One of the 33 turbines also is proposed to be in the Oakfield-Alabama school district, which would receive $34.09 per megawatt or $6,300 annually.

Orleans County would receive $1,125 per megawatt for $207,900 in the first year.

Heritage Wind, back in December, also agreed to $50,000 to the Albion school district for a one-time “Heritage Wind Renewables Ecology, Clean Energy, and Sustainability Scholarship and Education Support Fund.” The money is to be spent at the discretion of the district. It could be used for scholarships, science fairs, student research projects, financial support for faculty in renewable energy field, a STEM lab or “however the district deems fit.” The $50,000 is to be paid within 15 days after completion of the project.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency will be leading the Oct. 4 public hearing and administering the PILOT. The agency on Friday agreed to pay $5,750 to the Center for Governmental Research to review Apex’s Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) wind model and to provide an estimate of the employment, earnings and output estimate for the project.

CGR also will estimate the difference between tax revenue anticipated under the PILOT agreement and the tax revenue that would be received, were the development fully taxable. The report also is to include the value of lease payments to property owners that would host the Heritage turbines. CGR is to provide the report by Oct. 1.

Heritage is projecting 201 construction jobs paying $14.7 million for the project, another 218 job impacts through the turbine and the supply chain at $16.3 million, 90 other positions affected though “induced impacts” at $6.3 million, and five more jobs for construction-related services at $600,000. The company puts the entire construction impact for jobs at 514 workers earning $37.9 million.

Annual operation and maintenance is forecast by the company to include eight onsite jobs at $800,000, 14 other jobs impacted through “local revenue & supply chain impacts” at $1.1 million, and 10 other jobs through “induced impacts” at $800,000 for an annual reoccurring impact of 31 jobs total at $2.6 million.

The eight local jobs by Apex include two administrative/secretarial at $18.60 per hour, two technicians at $29.06 per hour, and two site management positions at $46.50 per hour, according to an Apex filing with the state.

State approves $167K from solar company to Shelby, Barre for review of 200 megawatt project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 September 2021 at 1:09 pm

BARRE – Two state administrative law judges have awarded $167,200 in intervenor funding to the towns of Barre and Shelby for its legal and engineering expenses to review an application for a 200 megawatt solar project covering about 2,000 acres in the two towns.

Michele M. Stefanucci and Anthony Belsito, administrative law judges, on Sept. 2 awarded $122,200 to Barre and $55,000 to Shelby. That was the exact request from each town.

As part of the application through the state Office of Renewable Energy Siting, the solar company needs to provide up to $1,000 per megawatt or up to $200,000 total for municipalities, non-profit organizations and other groups that apply for some of the funding to hire experts to review the application.

Community Energy Solar is proposing to construct and operate “Hemlock Ridge Solar.” The project was initially presented as “Orleans Solar” but Community Energy has modified the name. (Many of the solar arrays are proposed to be along Hemlock Ridge Road in Barre.)

The project is proposed to be about 80 percent in Barre and 20 percent in Shelby in a sparsely populated part of the two towns near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. A substation would also be in Barre for the project.

The facility site will be located on approximately 2,094 acres, of which approximately 1,268 acres will be occupied by facility infrastructure and maintained for the life of the project, estimated to be at least 30 years, the company states in a filing with ORES. (Click here to see documents submitted to the NYS Department of Public Service about the project.)

The two towns, in their letters to the state requesting intervenor funds, said the money would allow the towns to defray “the cost of legal, environmental and engineering consulting services.”

The consultants will assist the towns in determining whether the proposed facility is designed to be sited, constructed, and operated in compliance with applicable local laws and regulations. Lawyers hired with the intervenor funds can also assist the towns with developing a host community agreement and a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes), which is revenue to be shared among the local taxing entities.