Dix wind project faces Catlin hurdles
DIX--The future of a proposed wind-farm project that could potentially bring 50 to 75 wind turbines to Dix and Catlin is now in question following efforts from the town of Catlin to ban wind farms. The proposed $200 million project from NextEra Energy has faced recent public opposition to the project in Catlin, and the future of the project remains unclear. The town of Catlin will be meeting again to discuss the issueThursday, Dec. 11.
"I don't know if we can do our [wind turbines] standalone or not because Catlin was going to be the majority of the project," said Dix Supervisor Harold Russell. "Whether they want to continue on with just a few towers in the town of Dix, I don't know the answer to that. Apparently they want 50 to 75 towers to do a project so with Catlin out, by default we probably are too. But that's just an estimate on my part."
With the developing situation, it has brought into question if Dix would continue to be a viable site without Catlin involved.
"We have been working with the town of Catlin for a number of years concerning the potential for a wind project there," said Steven Stengel of NextEra. "The town's consideration of a ban is concerning and is something we will take into strong consideration in siting the turbines. Since we are in such an early stage of development, we have not ruled out other locations. What is important for the town of Catlin residents to remember is the benefits that this development would bring to the town, such as over $6 million in tax revenue through the [payment in lieu of taxes] (PILOT) and host community agreements, $11 million in lease payments to Catlin residents, 200-plus jobs during construction, four to five good-paying careers, and rebuilt town roads and associated infrastructure. Furthermore, hosting a wind project will not cost the town of Catlin one penny."
From an economic development standpoint, having one of the towns back out of the project could impact whether NextEra still wants to make the investment in the area.
"It is tied together, just because quite frankly when you look at putting together that kind of investment in wind technology, you want to maximize your space and you want to maximize that investment," said Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED). "Anything that would reduce the project size of course impacts the whole region. While Schuyler County originally had the bulk of the turbines, when the additional detailed study was done it was actually found that Catlin had greater wind resources."
Cherry said she is uncertain how much of an impact a ban would have upon the project for Schuyler, as Catlin had not yet discussed the issue with her.
"The community of Catlin has not reached out to me, so I am not aware of that officially from them," Cherry said. "I would have to wait until I heard from them and then I would have to really see what the impact would be, if any, upon Schuyler County."