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Siting board reaffirms support for nearby wind farm

The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment Board Friday reaffirmed its approval of Alle-Catt Wind Energy LLC to build and operate a wind farm in Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Wyoming counties. The Siting Board’s decision to deny petitions for rehearing follows a determination that the wind farm meets or exceeds all siting requirements.

“These rulings affirm that the Siting Board was correct in its earlier approval of the Alle-Catt … wind projects,” said Siting Board Chair John B. Rhodes. “Appropriately sited wind farms … provide clean and renewable energy as well as local economic benefits, and are essential as we continue on the road toward a zero-carbon emission electric sector by 2040.”

The 340 MW Alle-Catt wind project will be the State’s largest wind farm. It will consist of up to 116 wind turbines, in the Towns of Arcade, Centerville, Farmersville, Freedom, and Rushford.

The project will provide economic benefits by creating direct jobs, will generate revenues for local governments through payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreements, and will provide revenues for participating landowners through lease and other agreements. As described by the developer, the $454 million project would have a positive economic impact on the host communities, including a construction workforce of approximately 182 jobs with a payroll of $15 million, and will provide up to 13 permanent jobs during the operation of the facility.

Alle-Catt estimates the project will result in a significant increase to the local taxable property base. In the first year, the wind farm estimates $7 million in direct economic benefits to host communities for the PILOT, host community agreement payments, fire district taxes, and participating leaseholder payments. Once operational, Alle-Catt says it will pay more than $2.7 million annually to local landowners over the life of the project through annual lease payments. Overall, Alle-Catt estimates that annual property tax and tax-related payments include PILOT and host community agreement payments, and up to $3.2 million in local property taxes over the life of the project.

In the Alle-Catt proceeding, petitions for rehearing were submitted by Town of Farmersville and the Coalition of Concerned Citizens. The Town’s petition argued that the Siting Board failed to apply two substantive local laws that would have restricted development of the wind farm. The citizens’ group argued that the Siting Board failed to address the impact on the local Amish community, in addition to failing to consider other adverse impacts. After careful consideration of the rehearing petitions, the Siting Board reaffirmed the initial decision.