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Wind power project in Broome County nears completion

Bluestone Wind WEB

Officials from New York state and Northland Power celebrated the company’s near-completion of its nearly 112MW wind power project in the towns of Windsor and Sanford Wednesday.

Workers have started erecting the windmill towers and blades. Officials said the project could ultimately be tied into NYSEG’s electricity distribution system to power up to 54,000 homes. 

"It's just great,” Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said. “There's a lot of pride that people have from working on a project like this. Any time you work on a quarter-billion dollar project, there's a lot of pride invested in this. This is going to last a very long time and it's going to provide some really cool benefits. I mean this project is going to basically power all of Broome County, that's how big it is."

The Bluestone project was first submitted to the state Department of Public Service for approval in October of 2016 under the state’s previous regime for large-scale renewable energy projects. Since then, the state has adopted a new, more streamlined, procedure for approving wind and solar projects over 25MW.

Northland Power’s CEO, Mike Crawley, said he appreciated the help of state and local entities including the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Broome County.

"We found NYSERDA and all the regulators, and at the county level too, to be very pragmatic and very supportive," Crawley said. "We were able to work our way through it. There's always going to be barriers that you have to overcome to get a project like this done, as well there should be. It's a project that impacts a big area, but we found it a well-run process."

The project is coordinated with NYSERDA through a renewable energy certificate process. NYSERDA CEO Doreen Harris also attended Wednesday’s event and praised the project’s coordinators and local officials in the towns of Windsor and Sanford.

"These two towns are examples for the rest of the state in how to move forward projects that are responsible, cost-effective, and fairly and responsibly sited,” Harris said.

Harris added that the Bluestone wind farm is one of 120 ongoing large-scale renewable energy projects across New York.

The Bluestone project was initially met with opposition by some local residents and avian enthusiasts. An organization called Broome County Concerned Residents, as well as the Delaware-Otsego chapter of the Audubon Society, attempted to sue over the project. A judge denied that attempt.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.