GUILFORD – Guilford residents are watching the preliminary stages of a private multi-million dollar investment that will inevitably alter the town’s landscape.
High Bridge Wind, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Calpine Corporation, is proposing construction of a 100 megawatt wind powered electric generating facility that would call for construction of 25-30 wind turbines in Guilford’s north-east region, somewhere between Guilford Lake and Route 8.
The project – the first of its kind in Chenango County – proposes to interconnect into an existing New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG) transmission line, transferring power into the New York State power grid.
The Calpine Corporation is currently reaching out to landowners, local officials, and area residents. Initial outreach began in 2017 and has since led to talks of leasing options with several landowners in the area.
The project itself is a New York State level project that’s under Article 10 rule, meaning final decisions are outside the purview of the Guilford Town Board. Nevertheless, Calpine is working closely with board members to keep the community up to speed. The company presented details of the project at a public meeting in June.
“As we move through this process, we want to continue to engage the town,” said Alec Jarvis, Calpine’s northeast development director. “We’re at the very beginning stages of project development … By no means is this a done deal. All of these projects need lots of support, lots of studies done, approvals, and permits to be constructed.”
While Calpine says the project aligns with New York State’s clean energy initiatives, some residents have worries about the environmental impact of the project, noise generated, and the aesthetics of wind turbines, most of which range from 600-650 feet from base to blade tip. There’s also fears that a wind turbine project will negatively impact property assessments – a theory that’s been largely debunked by public surveys.
Guilford Town Supervisor George Seneck has been working with the town board to address these and other concerns.
“People have been coming in and asking why the town isn’t advertising or doing other things, and I tell them that it’s not our project,” Seneck said, stressing that the undertaking falls under Article 10 jurisdiction. “At our end, we’ve been doing what we can to get information,” he said. “My goal right now is to try to educate the town board as much as possible on the pros and cons of this and the impact it will have to the community.”..