ALLEGANY, N.Y. – Recent news that the proposed wind turbine farm in Allegany may come to a halt hasn’t brought comfort to a local group opposed to the project.
During a meeting this week, members of Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County said they were encouraged that an appeal filed by EverPower Wind Holdings Inc. was dismissed by a state appellate court. The news was followed by EverPower’s announcement that the proposed 29-wind turbine farm may come to a halt in its present form.
Concerned Citizens’ leaders said they are wary of future action that could be taken by EverPower, however, if the government reinstates Production Tax Credit (PTC) funds for renewable electricity projects. EverPower’s spokesperson Chris Shears had stated the company may also consider repackaging the site for an application through the new State Article 10 process.
Article 10, signed into law in 2011, provides for the siting review of new and repowered or modified major electric generating facilities by the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment Siting Board. The unified proceeding would be used instead of requiring a developer or owner of such a facility to apply for numerous state and local permits
Gary Abraham, a member of Concerned Citizens, said he will have concerns “only if Congress renews the Production Tax Credit.
“The court found that (EverPower) was attempting to gain the timetables so they could qualify for the Production Tax Credit before it expired Dec. 31,” Abraham said. Therefore, it is vital that the PTC be reinstated by Congress for EverPower to continue on with the project.
Abraham and Kathy Boser, president of Concerned Citizens, said area residents can help by sending their concerns in writing to the subcommittee on Energy, Policy, Health, Care and Entitlements in the House of Representatives.
“If there is any chance of the PTCs being renewed, I think it will be another opportunity for (EverPower),” Boser said.
Abraham added, “And that would be about 50 percent of (EverPower’s) revenues” gained from the project.
Kathy Martin, spokesperson for Allegany FREE, a local group in favor of the wind farm, also commented on the turn of events.
“At this point, EverPower has not made a decision on whether to pursue the Allegany wind farm, whether under Article 10 or otherwise,” she said. “Until they do, Allegany FREE will remain a group of Allegany residents who support the project and be available to promote positive input regarding renewable energy and economic development for our community.”
In responding to Concerned Citizens’ encouragement of residents to contact legislators, Martin said, “New York State has made very clear that it understands how vital renewable energy is to a sustainable future and will do whatever is necessary to make that a reality.
“There are a multitude of opportunities in New York State to produce energy from renewable sources, including solar, geothermal and wind,” she said. “It would be a shame for those opportunities throughout the state to be discouraged due to the efforts of one small group trying to keep one project out of one community.”
EverPower’s $160 million wind farm had been approved in 2011 by the Allegany Town Board for the hilltop areas of Chipmonk and Knapp Creek. The project was initially delayed by Concerned Citizens’ lawsuit, which was dropped in July 2012.
In its ruling, the appellate court rejected EverPower’s contention that a lawsuit filed by Concerned Citizens had made it impossible for the company to obtain financing for the project, thereby delaying the project. The court also dismissed EverPower’s appeal due to the company’s considered use of alternate wind turbines for the proposed wind turbine farm.
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