The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will in the April 28 Federal Register announce its intent to prepare a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document for an anticipated Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application and associated draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) from Copenhagen Wind Farm LLC.
This application will cover construction and operation of a wind energy facility on private lands that provide potential habitat for the northern long-eared bat and the federally listed endangered Indiana bat. The northern long-eared bat has recently been proposed for listing as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Construction activities (e.g., tree clearing) and operation of wind turbines on these lands have the potential to incidentally take Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats. Therefore, Copenhagen Wind Farm is developing an ITP application and HCP.
In advance of receiving the ITP application for this project, the Service is providing this April 28 notice to request information from other agencies, Tribes, and the public on the scope of the NEPA review and issues to consider in the NEPA analysis and in development of the HCP. The comment period will last for 30 days. The Service will proceed with preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA), which it will use to evaluate, in conjunction with the public comments, whether any significant impacts would require further analysis in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Copenhagen Wind Farm plans a facility on approximately 11,250 acres of leased private lands in Lewis and Jefferson counties, New York. The project consists of two phases, which will deliver up to 79.9 MW and 24.9 MW respectively of electrical power to the New York State electric grid.
- Phase I consists of a 6,605-acre wind farm site and a 2,595-acre transmission site. The generation site will include 47 wind turbines, approximately 15.2 miles of access roads, 20.3 miles of 34.5-kV electrical collector lines, a collection substation, three meteorological towers, a construction staging area, and an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) facility, located in the Town of Denmark in Lewis County. The transmission site will include about 8.8 miles of overhead 115-kV electric transmission line, to be located in the Towns of Champion and Rutland, in Jefferson County, and a Point of Interconnect (POI) substation located next to the existing National Grid Black River–Lighthouse Hill 115-kV transmission line in the Town of Rutland, Jefferson County. Phase I construction is to begin with tree-clearing activities over the winter of 2015–2016, with access road and other construction commencing in the spring of 2016. Construction of Phase I is expected to be completed by December 2016.
- Phase II consists of up to 15 additional turbines, along with about 5.5 miles of access roads and 11 miles of collector lines, to be located on about 2,050 acres of leased private lands. The 34.5-kV electrical collector lines will gather the electricity from the turbines in the Town of Pinckney and deliver it to the collection substation in the Town of Denmark (to be constructed as part of Phase I). The turbines, access roads, and approximately 5.4 miles of the electrical collector lines will be in the Town of Pinckney, Lewis County. The remaining 5.6 miles of electrical collector lines will be in the Town of Denmark, in close proximity to infrastructure for Phase I. Phase II construction is to begin with tree-clearing activities over the winter of 2016–2017, with access road and other construction commencing in spring 2017. Phase II construction is to be completed by December 2017.
Phase I of the project has already undergone public review as part of the local permitting process. This process was initiated in May 2012, when Copenhagen Wind Farm submitted to the Town of Denmark Planning Board a full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) and an application for a special use permit. A draft EIS was accepted as complete in June 2013, and copies of the DEIS were delivered to involved/interested agencies, and posted to a web site managed by project developer OwnEnergy (http://www.ownenergy.net/project-development/ourprojects/copenhagen-wind-farm). The final EIS was accepted as complete in July 2014, and is also available at the project web site. Public review of Phase II has not yet been initiated. However, it is anticipated that the same local permitting process used for Phase I will be followed for Phase II, including the draft and final EIS reviews.