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IDA moves ahead with area wind projects

JAMESTOWN – The County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency approved two resolutions for wind projects in Chautauqua County Tuesday.

During an IDA board meeting, a deviation hearing was held and a resolution ratifying and reaffirming agency action for the Ball Hill Wind Energy project was approved. The wind project will be located in the towns of Villenova and Hanover.

During the deviation hearing, two people spoke against the project, including Angelo Graziano, town of Villenova councilman. Graziano said he was the only member of the town of Villenova to vote against the project. He added that he felt several questions weren’t answered about the project prior to the board voting.

George Borrello, IDA board member and county legislator, said the vote in the town of Hanover was split between their four council members, with the town supervisor, Todd Johnson, breaking the tie to approve the project. Borrello voted against both wind projects discussed during the IDA meeting.

Rich Dixon, IDA chief financial officer, said both Villenova and Hanover can proceed with the project without IDA financial assistance. In December, the IDA board approved an environmental quality review statement and to authorize a payment in lieu of taxes agreement for the wind project.

The wind project will see the placement of 23 turbines in Villenova and six turbines in Hanover. The project, which was initiated in 2008, set out with plans to place 40 turbines in the rural area. Plans include utilizing the Vestas V126-3.45-megawatt turbine. Earlier proposals looked at the Vestas V110-2.2 megawatt and a 2.3 megawatt General Electric turbine.

The wind farm is expected to bring more than $300,000 a year to the county, towns of Hanover and Villenova and schools within the towns. The lifespan of the project is 25 years plus. A decommission plan is in place where money will be held in an escrow for the towns in event the company walks away from the project.

The IDA board also approved a resolution toward acquisition and straight leasing for the Cassadaga Wind Project. Bill Spencer, Everpower of Pittsburgh development manager, spoke about the project. He said the 126-megawatt wind farm is a $220 million capital project that will need 120 workers during the construction and six full-time employees once it is completed. He said construction is slated to start in 2019 and be operational by the end of the year.

He added they have completed host agreements with the four municipalities involved – Cherry Creek, Charlotte, Arkwright and Stockton. He said the municipalities will be benefiting from $750,000 annually in royalties from the wind farm.

Spanning approximately 40,000 acres of mostly farmland and recreational land, the wind facility is expected to have up to 58 wind turbines and generate enough electricity to meet the average annual consumption of approximately 36,791 to 55,187 households.