The New York State Public Service Commission recently approved the construction and operation of Ball Hill Wind Energy, LLC’s wind-generating facility in Chautauqua County. This utility-scale wind farm will generate enough electricity for more than 28,000 average-sized residential homes.
“New York State has ambitious clean energy goals that require the smart, aggressive development of renewable energy. Appropriately sited wind farms are a necessary component of our clean energy future,” said Commission Chair John B. Rhodes.
Ball Hill is expected to produce about 100 MW of clean, electric-generating capacity using wind turbines located in the towns of Villenova and Hanover, Chautauqua County. The wind farm will include 29 turbines, 23 of which will be built in Villenova and six in Hanover. In addition to the turbines, the facility will include an approximate 25.6-mile 34.5 kilovolt (mostly underground), electrical collection system and a new substation to interconnect with the National Grid 230 kV system in the town of Hanover.
According to the company, construction and operation of the facility is expected to infuse the area with sizable tax revenues and create up to 90 construction jobs. When operational, the wind farm will represent a large portion of the local tax base and create about five to seven permanent jobs. The wind facility will also serve the goals of improving fuel diversity, grid reliability, and modernization of grid infrastructure.
To secure Commission approval, Ball Hill demonstrated that it is financially viable and obtained all necessary municipal consents to construct and operate its facility. In December 2016, after undergoing a local environmental review and approval process under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, the Villenova and Hanover issued permits to Ball Hill.
Given the fact that the wind generation facility will be developed and operated on a merchant basis and will participate in the wholesale energy markets, the Commission granted Ball Hill a lightened ratemaking regulatory regime that is similar to the regulatory treatment granted to other merchant generators. The Commission’s approval, however, includes a condition that tightens the decommissioning obligations for Ball Hill.
Filed Under: Construction, News, Projects
Karen Engstrom says
Latest News from Ball Hill Wind in Chautauqua County New York (two stories):
Setbacks Noted In Ball Hill Wind Project
APR 27, 2022
Officials from Northland Power Inc. have indicated a renewable wind energy project that is under construction in the towns of Hanover and Villenova is already facing major facelifts.
According to a Facebook post, the company announced its contractor will be“performing some blasting activities on the Ball Hill Wind project site in the coming weeks.” The blasting was to begin on Thursday of last week and be done during the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Though company officials have yet to respond to OBSERVER and Post-Journal inquiries on Monday and Tuesday, the work is being done to concrete foundations for the turbines. They are reportedly defective and need to be removed. One local official noted he has heard about the frustration.
“I know they had problems with the foundation and our code officer is working on the new permit for the blasting,” said Lou Pelletter, Hanover Town Board member.
In development since 2006 when it was being overseen by former owner, Renewable Energy Systems, it is a 100-megawatt wind energy project consisting of 25 turbines. A special use permit from the towns of Hanover and Villenova led to construction commencing in June and work was on schedule for completion in late 2022, according to a Northlands Power Inc. statement.
Like other renewable efforts that have taken hold in Chautauqua County, this one had its share of advocates and opponents. The controversy that filled board rooms — and the Hamlet United Methodist Church in South Dayton for one hearing — also was tied to the resignation of one Town Board member.
In 2019, the Villenova Town Board approved a local law that would allow for the wind towers to be 599 feet. For a comparison, the Seneca One tower in Buffalo that is 39 stories high stands 529 feet.
Residents who are concerned about the work were advised to contact Melissa Scozzafava at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (518) 281-7084 to receive daily updates. Scozzafava has not returned emails or calls to the OBSERVER through Tuesday afternoon.
Northland says on its website that it has grown from a Canadian developer to a global organization with facilities generating electricity from renewable resources such as wind, solar and efficient natural gas in its 34 years of operation. With more than 2,200 megawatts of net operating capacity, an additional 130 MW under construction and another 1,645 MW in advanced development, Northland said it is “an experienced, capable and responsible power producer.”
Staff writer Anthony Dolce contributed to this story.
Ball Hill Wind Project Mistake Casts Doubts On Feasibility Of Freshwater Turbines
IN OUR OPINION
MAY 3, 2022
The hills of Chautauqua County were alive with the sounds of, well, blasting, late last week.
Such noise was necessary because the Ball Hill Wind project in Hanover and Villenova was created on defective foundations that have to be broken up and replaced. The project is a 100-megawatt wind energy project consisting of 25 turbines now faces as much as $15 million in remedial work while serving as an object lesson for wind power advocates.
Of course, the Ball Hill broke a day after state Senators on the Environment Committee decided not to pass Sen. George Borrello’s freshwater wind turbine moratorium on to the full state Senate for consideration. Senators said a NYSERDA study on the feasbility of freshwater wind turbines hasn’t been completed, so Borrello’s moratorium shouldn’t be considered until that study is completed. But, as Borrello has said in the past, the NYSERDA study seems to be populated with wind industry professionals with much less representation from those with concerns over freshwater wind turbines.
Last week’s news about Ball Hill immediately made many people wonder what would have happened if a similar situation happened on the floor of Lake Erie. After all, the Ball Hill project is your typical, run-of-the-mill small wind farm that has been done hundreds of times around the country. Having to blast foundations from the earth because they weren’t built correctly should never happen, right?
Society must move toward more renewable energy sources, but it must do so smartly. Rushing studies and shrugging off concerns as climate denial opens us up to making mistakes that will be difficult to fix — like blasting wind turbine foundations off the floor of Lake Erie because a contractor built them incorrectly.