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.