CANISTEO – Funds to offset the cost of studying the supposed impacts of the proposed Canisteo Wind Farm, a project of Canisteo Wind Energy LLC (CWE), are now available to municipalities and other local interests.
On Nov. 2, the company filed an application seeking authority to build and operate a 290.7 megawatt (MW) wind electric generating facility with the New York State Siting Board. The proposed Canisteo Wind Farm would include up to 122 wind turbines together with associated electrical collection systems, access roads, collection substation components, meteorological towers, and operation and maintenance buildings to be located in the Towns of Cameron, Canisteo, Jasper, Greenwood, Troupsburg and West Union in Steuben County.
CWE will connect the Project to the power grid by constructing an electric transmission cable that would interconnect to New York State Electric and Gas Corporation’s Bennett substation in the Town of Hornellsville.
The citing board now has 60 days to determine whether or not the application is complete (Jan. 2), and 12 months from that date to issue or deny a siting certificate.
In the meantime, funds are available to eligible municipal and local parties for use in developing information for the final record, leading to a decision by the Siting Board. CWE submitted the required intervenor fee of $290,700 to be used to defray expenses incurred for expert witness, consultant, administrative, and some legal fees. At least 50 percent of the funds must be reserved for potential awards to municipalities.
To request intervenor funding, eligible municipal and local parties must use the “RFIF Form” available on the Siting Board web page at www.dps.ny.gov/SitingBoard.
Should the application be approved, a public hearing on who would be awarded intervenor funds would likely take place in February, according to company officials.
The application process has not been without some opposition, with groups like Citizens for Maintaining Our Rural Environment, Inc. stepping forward in hopes of halting the project.
“We are a citizens coalition of concerned residents and taxpayers focused on protecting and maintaining the predominantly rural, agricultural and natural character of communities in Steuben County, New York. We aim to identify and educate the general public regarding the true costs and impacts of several large-scale wind energy projects being proposed for our region. We want to ensure that the environmental costs of these energy and development projects are thoroughly reviewed and understood by residents and property owners,” their mission statement, posted to the website www.saveruralsteuben.com.
They argue that noise, shadows cast, bird and bat kills, cutting of forests, turbine heights and other factors will destroy the natural beauty of the area.
“We must stand up and protect our communities from this industrial onslaught before it’s too late,” one of their taglines urges.
However, a representative of Invenergy, parent company of Canisteo Wind Energy LLC, said that opposition was less than most projects they’ve been associated with in the past.
“There’s a few people who would not like to see turbines, but by-and-large, communities are very supportive.”
Going forward, company officials expect a mass of communication with municipalities and other stakeholders over findings.
“It’s a very involved process, and there’s a fair amount of back and forth. We expect that to continue,” he said.
Current projections have ground being broken in 2020, and systems being online by the end of that year.
Requests for intervenor funds must be submitted to the Examiners, Administrative Law Judges Maureen F. Leary (Maureen.Leary@dps.ny.gov) and Ashley Moreno of the Department of Public Service (Ashley.Moreno@dps.ny.gov) and to the Associate Examiner, Administrative Law Judge Lisa A. Wilkinson of the Department of Environmental Conservation (Lisa.Wilkinson@dec.ny.gov) by 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 14. Copies of requests for funds also must be filed with the Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary to the Siting Board, at Secretary@dps.ny.gov
Documents may also be mailed to the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223. A guide to intervenor funding and answers to frequently asked questions are available online on the Siting Board’s website.
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