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Town supervisor says Barre just now hearing about possible wind project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 April 2016 at 12:00 am

BARRE – Town Supervisor Mark Chamberlain said he is just learning this week about Apex Clean Energy’s new plan for a 200 Megawatt wind energy project focused in Barre and stretching into Elba, Albion and other neighboring communities.

Apex made the announcement on Wednesday. The company sent a letter to Barre town officials earlier this week, requesting a meeting to discuss the project.

Chamberlain said he hadn’t heard any talk of the project until this week.

“This is the first that the community has heard of it,” he said this afternoon. “This has all come very quickly and very fast.”

Barre was considered for a wind energy project about a decade ago, but the developer backed off after concerns turbines would be sited too close to the Pine Hill Airport.

Chamberlain said the Apex project appears to be away from the airport, with the new focus apparently in southeastern Barre.

Apex is proposing a project in Yates and Somerset that would include up to 71 turbines that would peak at 620 feet high. Those turbines are about 200 feet taller than the ones proposed in Barre a decade ago. Apex hasn’t detailed the size of Barre turbines.

There is a big change, compared to a decade ago, with the new “Heritage Wind” project proposed for Barre: the Article 10 process. That gives the majority of the siting power to state officials.

“It takes town input out of it,” Chamberlain said.

Apex said today it will have many public meetings with officials and residents in Barre, Albion and the rest of the project area.

“This is a process that has just begun, and we are reaching out to various stakeholders simultaneously, including officials with the Town of Barre, the Town and Village of Albion, Orleans County, and many others,” said Cat Mosely, Public Affairs manager for Apex.