By Rick Miller | Olean Times Herald | March 16, 2022 | www.oleantimesherald.com
The Alle-Catt Wind Farm reached another milestone with the state Public Service Commission determining the developer’s application for a 10-mile transmission line was complete.
It starts a 12-month review process over whether the proposed electric line in the Cattaraugus County towns of Freedom and Yorkshire is in the public interest.
The proposed 340-megawatt wind farm will cost the developer, Invenergy, more than $455 million. It will consist of 117 wind turbines up to 600 feet tall in Freedom and Farmersville, as well as two Allegany County towns, Rushford and Centerville, and Arcade in Wyoming County.
The 45kV transmission line will be built to connect Alle-Catt Wind to National Grid’s transmission system, bringing renewable electricity to New York homes and businesses.
“Completing the Article VII process will be an important step forward for the Alle-Catt Wind project,” said Sean Perry, Alle-Catt Wind Farm project representative.
More than 400 construction jobs will be created during the building of the wind farm, although only about a dozen permanent jobs will be needed to maintain it. The project will bring more than $9 million in annual revenue in the form of taxes, landowner payments, salaries and local purchasing, Perry said. It includes $3.2 million for annual payments in lieu of taxes to towns, schools and the counties and $2.7 million for landowner payments.
Project information is available on the Alle-Catt Wind Farm website: https://allecattwind.invenergy.com/
Gary Abraham, an environmental attorney representing area residents opposed to the wind farm, said the project is anything but a done deal.
“The Public Service Commission must decide whether the transmission line is in the public interest, whether impacts on farmland are minimal, and whether the activity complies with local laws,” he said. “This will take 12 months, and is subject to public comments.”
Apart from the transmission line, Alle-Catt has not obtained approval to construct the wind farm, Abraham noted.
“Alle-Catt recently asked for a fifth extension of time to show it has offset environmental impacts by creating grassland and eagle habitat elsewhere to replace the habitat its project would harm,” he said. “There are more than 100 additional conditions in its wind farm permit that must be satisfied before PSC will authorize construction.”
Abraham added that, locally, Alle-Catt is in litigation with Farmersville and Freedom over what local laws apply to its project. The company needs a road use agreement from the Cattaraugus County. The company also needs financial assistance from the Cattaraugus County IDA, which has a policy of declining to finance large-scale wind farms.
“The county government, the IDA and the towns have concluded the project is incompatible with rural life and the local environment, and their land use plans call for preservation of rural amenities for their residents and tourists,” he said.
Abraham thinks the subsidies that Alle-Catt is dependent on won’t last and New York City – where the electricity needs are greatest – will find other means to power the city, including hydropower from Canada and offshore wind.
“Whether Alle-Catt can and will overcome these challenges is an open question,” Abraham said.
URL to article: https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2022/03/17/alle-catt-transmission-line-application-deemed-complete/