Lighthouse Wind argues at New York PSC against delay of review for its project

Lighthouse Wind LLC on Dec. 30 filed with the New York State Public Service Commission a rebuttal to the requests by the Town of Somerset, Jim Simon and Save Ontario Shores (SOS) to strike Lighthouse Wind’s Preliminary Scoping Statement (PSS) on the claimed basis that the PSS does not provide adequate details regarding the Lighthouse Wind Project.

In addition, Lighthouse Wind opposes the alternative relief requested by these moving parties that the PSS comment period be suspended or otherwise extended.

“Neither Public Service Law Article 10 nor its implementing regulations provide for motions by stakeholders to ‘strike’ the PSS and reject its filing,” said the company. “The Article 10 regulations permit the Moving Parties, as well as any other interested person, to submit comments on the PSS by the appointed deadline, and the Applicant to provide a summary of all comments received and responses. The Applicant will address the Moving Parties’ substantive comments regarding the PSS, as well as comments filed by all other parties, in the Applicant’s comment summary and responsiveness document, as required by the regulations.”

The moving parties complain that the PSS does not provide the exact location of the turbines and details regarding their characteristics and size. However, this does not provide a basis to strike the PSS as this is not a requirement of Article 10’s pre-application phase, said Lighthouse Wind. In terms of location, the applicant has satisfied the requirements of Article 10 by providing a map and detailed description of the proposed project location and the project study area. This information provides the potential locations of all project components, including wind turbine generators, access roads, interconnection and other electrical lines. As stated in the PSS, the exact locations of the proposed wind turbine generators are not available at this time as contractual negotiations and discussions with landowners are ongoing.

The PSS notes that the project will be up to a 201-MW facility, which, depending on the turbine selected will include up to 71 turbines. The final information regarding turbine design and size will be determined based on the results of the studies to be conducted prior to submission of the application. “Turbine technology is evolving quickly, and it is impossible to guarantee the availability of a turbine for a project that will not commence construction until calendar year 20I7, at the earliest, based on the timeframes provided in Article 10,” said the company. “Instead, the PSS provides details regarding the range of turbines under consideration which provides the information to assess potential impacts as well as to ensure flexibility for the ultimate design of the Project.”

The moving parties request, in the alternative, that the comment period on the PSS be suspended until the applicant provides details regarding the turbine layout, or that the moving parties be provided an additional 90 days to comment on the PSS. However, both of these requests should be denied as there is no stated reason for the additional requests for time to comment on the PSS and there has been no showing by the moving parties of any need for an extension, said Lighthouse Wind.

The PSS was originally filed on Nov. 23, 2015. The moving parties requested extensions of time as long as 90 days to file comments on the PSS, and the PSC secretary granted an initial extension to Jan. 6, 2016. Jim Simon requested a second extension of time, which was granted to Jan. 12, 2016. In all, the moving parties will have had over 50 days to review and comment on the PSS. This is despite the fact that the Article 10 regulations provide a 21-day comment period, said the company. “Additional extensions, or a suspension of the comment period, would be inappropriate; the Moving Parties’ requests on these matters must be denied,” it added.

Lighthouse Wind, a subsidiary of Apex Clean Energy Holdings LLC, intends to apply for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (CEPCN) for construction of this project, to be located in the Town of Somerset, Niagara County, New York, and the Town of Yates, Orleans County, New York. The project would interconnect with the electric system at the 345-kV Kintigh Substation in Somerset. The project site is situated parallel to approximately 12 miles of Lake Ontario shoreline and extends approximately three to four miles south of Lake Ontario.

On Nov. 23, Lighthouse filed a PSS in this proceeding. The preliminary scoping phase will determine the nature and scope of the studies Lighthouse must undertake to develop the information that must be included in Lighthouse’s formal application for a CEPCN. In general, such studies will identify and evaluate the potential impacts of a project on the environment, public health, and other public interest factors.

Lighthouse’s designated representative is: Dan Fitzgerald, Senior Development Manager, Court Square Building, 3104th Street NE, Suite 200, Charlottesville, VA 22902; Telephone: (716) 562-4262; Fax: (434) 220-3712; danfitzgerald@apexcleanenergy.com. The project website is at: www.lighthousewind.com.

Incidentally, the PSC on Dec. 30 issued a notice that it expects that Lighthouse, persons and parties that have previously submitted requests for pre-application intervenor funds, and persons or parties interested in pursuing stipulations will attend and participate in a Jan. 21 status conference in this case.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.