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Wind farm application process continues  

Babcock & Brown has submitted applications for Special Use Permits to the Towns of Westfield and Ripley for the proposed Ripley-Westfield Wind Farm Project. The project involves the construction and operation of wind turbine generators with a capacity of up to 125-megawatts.

Babcock & Brown officials have indicated that a specific number of wind turbine generators has not yet been determined. The application includes a proposal for 83 potential wind turbine generator sites. There are, according to the project description included in the application, 47 potential wind turbine sites in Westfield and 36 potential sites in Ripley. According to Babcock & Brown, the number of wind turbines and their location will be dictated by wind data currently being captured at the installed meteorological towers, engineering studies and the comprehensive environmental review process.

Each wind turbine would consist of an enclosed monopole support tower with a three-bladed rotor and would have a capacity of between 1.5 and 2.5 megawatts. While a specific design for the wind turbines has not been selected, the turbines will have a maximum height (with rotor extending to its highest point) of 445 feet. The diameter of the rotor blades themselves would not exceed 335 feet.

The project also includes the construction of approximately 11 miles of project access roads in Westfield and 9 miles of access roads in Ripley.

A coordinated environmental review will include input and permitting from several involved agencies including Chautauqua County, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the US Army Corps of Engineers. A Joint Wetland Permit Application will be filed with the NYSDEC the Army Corps for impacts to wetland areas.

There are both state and federally-jurisdictional wetland areas on the project site. A wetland delineation will be performed as part of the environmental review process.

The first step in the review process is the establishment of lead agency. The lead agency will spearhead the coordinated environmental review of the proposed project. A proposed project timeline included in the Special Use Permit applications suggests that final permitting decisions on the proposed project will come in the fall of 2009.

By Sara Herrmann

Westfield Republican

15 May 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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