ARCADE – Nine wind turbines may soon be coming to Arcade as part of a large-scale project primarily concerning four towns in Allegany and Cattaraugus counties.
The proposed Alle-Catt Wind Farm, coordinated by Chicago-based Invenergy, would involve construction of roughly 100 wind turbines in the three-county radius and, when complete, would provide 380 megawatts – that’s enough to power approximately 148,000 homes – of clean energy to existing communities.
The project is being developed on approximately 20,000 acres of private land leased in Arcade, Centerville, Farmersville, Freedom and Rushford, and will provide several million dollars in economic incentives annually, according to Marguerite Wells, a manager of renewable development for Invenergy’s local wind projects.
In the first 20 years of project operation, the Alle-Catt Wind Farm is projected to pay millions of dollars in property taxes, lease payments to landowners, salaries to employees and payments for local goods and services. A Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program would provide benefits to schools and town and county governments, as well, Wells said.
“There’s a lot of economic benefits to the counties, the towns and the school districts,” she said. “We expect to participate in what’s called a PILOT agreement with those entities, and landowners who participate will also be paid several million in revenue.”
According to Invenergy’s project website, www.allecattwind.invenergyll.com, the several million mentioned can be spelled out in terms of $64 million in landowner payments throughout the project’s first 20 years of operation. The wind farm will provide more local benefits, too, as the project will create new jobs within Arcade and the other towns, Wells said.
“Once the project is built and operating, generally we hire locally,” Wells said. “So we will hire some good folks and train them up, if needed, to work in the facilities on a permanent basis.”
The positions would include a project manager and several wind technicians who would be responsible for performing routine maintenance based out of a new operations building, which would be constructed somewhere within the project area, Wells said.
Throughout the duration of this year and some of next, Invenergy will continue to file the appropriate documents required by Article 10 of public service law, which provides for the siting review of new and repowered or modified major electric generating facilities in New York state by the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment in a unified proceeding.
“We filed the second of three documents for Article 10 on the 5th of January and will be filing the preliminary scoping statement this upcoming Monday,” Wells said.
If all goes as planned, construction is expected to begin in 2019.
This week marked the first that plans were formally presented to Arcade town officials, according to Town Supervisor Doug Berwanger of Arcade. Wells gave a project overview during the board’s Monday meeting.
“It’s still very, very early in the process,” Berwanger said. “This was the first formal presentation that the Town Board has had, so we are in the process of formulating our plan. There is a lot that goes into this – zoning regulations have to be met, there are a number of things – but we’re up to the challenge.”
Wells previously worked on the High Sheldon Wind Farm, which brought 75 turbines to the Town of Sheldon, and the Orangeville Wind Farm, which brought 58 to the Town of Orangeville. Both have served as a topic of great contention within their respective communities.
The corporation’s push to establish clean energy projects in New York comes courtesy of a state target to generate 50 percent of its electricity from renewable resources and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.
This summer, Invenergy will continue to host open houses regarding the project, Wells said.
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