The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting (Siting Board) and the Environment has granted approval to Cassadaga Wind LLC to build and operate a wind farm in Chautauqua County, New York. The Siting Board’s decision follows a rigorous review and public participation process to ensure that the wind farm meets or exceeds all siting requirements.
“In keeping with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal to develop clean energy resources in New York State, we are proud to approve construction of this appropriately sited wind farm,” said Siting Board Chair John B. Rhodes. “Wind energy is a clean fuel source. It doesn’t pollute the air like power plants that rely on fossil fuels and it’s renewable. Our decision today demonstrates once again that New York is a national leader in creating a clean-energy economy in New York.”
The 126-MW Cassadaga wind farm as approved will consist of up to 48 high-capacity, 500-foot tall wind turbines, together with associated transmission lines (both underground and above ground collection lines), access roads, meteorological towers, O&M building, collection and point of interconnect substations, and related facilities, located in the Towns of Cherry Creek, Charlotte, Stockton, and Arkwright. It will interconnect to the state’s electrical grid along the Dunkirk-Moon 115-kV transmission line.
The majority of facility components will be located on private land, except a portion of the collection lines located on state-owned land. Once built, the project would occupy about 77 acres. The developer, EverPower Wind Holdings, had initially proposed installing up to 62 turbines, but scaled back the number during the public review process.
In making its determination, the Siting Board studied the environmental impacts of the construction and operation of the facility, including impacts on ecology, air, ground and surface water, wildlife, and habitat, as well as public health and safety, along with other criteria. The examiners determined that the wind farm will be a beneficial addition to the electric generation capacity of the state, and is consistent with the state’s energy policy and planning objectives.
The wind facility will also serve the goals of improving fuel diversity, grid reliability, and modernization of grid infrastructure. As described by the developer, the project would have a major positive economic impact on the host communities, including creating nearly 470 construction and full-time jobs with an annual payroll of more than $80 million — while paying more than $10 million to local governments and school districts over a 20-year period.
This decision is a testament to how New York is working to achieve its New York’s Clean Energy Standard, the most comprehensive and ambitious clean-energy mandate in the state’s history. The CES, requires 50% of New York’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030. By 2030, the 50% renewable mandate will be a critical component in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and by 80% by 2050.
The Siting Board determined that impacts to the environment largely consisted of the temporary and permanent disturbance to plants, vegetation, and forests for construction of turbine locations, access roads, collection lines, the 115-kV generator lead line, and substations. Post-construction impacts to vegetation are expected to be limited, consisting mostly of disturbances to vegetation resulting from routine maintenance and occasional repairs.
EverPower filed its formal application with the Siting Board in May 2016. The Siting Board consists of five permanent members and two members drawn from the local community. Stakeholders in the proceeding included the Towns of Charlotte, Cherry Creek, Stockton, and Arkwright; community advocates, including Concerned Citizens of the Cassadaga Wind Project; and several state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
The Siting Board held one public statement hearing, two conferences, and one evidentiary hearing regarding the project, and it received more than 250 public comments. The Siting Board’s decision includes a number of conditions to reflect resolution of parties’ concerns.
The decision may be obtained by going to the Documents section of the Department of Public Services Web site and entering Case Number 14-F-0490 in the input box labeled “Search for Case/Matter Number.”