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State’s Siting Board approves first wind turbine project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 January 2018 at 3:50 pm

‘Cassadaga Wind’ includes 48 turbines in Chautauqua County

ALBANY – A siting board in Albany approved a large-scale wind turbine project today in Chautauqua County, the first project to be approved by the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment.

This is the board that will determine whether the turbines projects proposed in Yates-Somerset and Barre will go forward. Those projects haven’t reached the final application to go before the Siting Board.

Many local and state officials don’t like the new “Article 10” review process, where a state board has the final say on a project instead of a local government. Elected officials see Article 10 as usurping “Home Rule.”

The Alliance for Clean Energy called the decision today “a milestone” that followed “a comprehensive multi-year review process.”

The Cassadaga Wind Project will be 126 megawatts, up to 48 wind turbines, and will be located in Chautauqua County in the towns of Charlotte, Cherry Creek, Arkwright and Stockton. The project has been under development since 2009. The developer, Everpower Renewables, submitted its first Article 10 filing, the Public Involvement Program (PIP) in November 2014. The Preliminary Scoping Statement was submitted in September 2015, and the application in May 2016.

“Approval of the Cassadaga Wind Farm is the first under the 2011 siting law, and will set the bar for future energy projects,” said Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. “We are pleased that the first project has reached the end of the review process, since New York is striving to achieve its ambitious 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 goal.”

John Droz, an anti-wind-power activist and founder of Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions, said it was “bad news” for Western New York that the Cassadaga project will move forward.

Towns need “a well-written genuinely protective local wind ordinance” if they want to keep out the large-scale turbines, Droz said.

“In this situation, there was no such local wind ordinance to defend, so the Article 10 result was effectively pre-determined,” he said.

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