N.Y. siting board to consider proposed amendments to wind project at Dec. 3 meeting

Cassadaga Wind LLC is requesting amendments to its certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to relocate the positioning of certain proposed facilities, including a point of interconnection with transmission lines owned by National Grid

The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment on Nov. 26 said that it will meet on Dec. 3 in Albany, N.Y., to consider Cassadaga Wind LLC’s request for amendments to its certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to relocate the positioning of certain proposed facilities, including a point of interconnection (POI) with transmission lines owned by National Grid, four access road segments, two portions of an electric collection line, and a segment of Cassadaga Wind’s transmission line.

As TransmissionHub reported, in a separate Oct. 7 filing, New York State Public Service Commission Secretary Kathleen Burgess noted that Cassadaga Wind recently filed two petitions to amend aspects of its certificate, with the first petition, filed in August, seeking to change the location of the POI station, and the second petition, filed in September, proposing to relocate several turbine site access roads, as well as electric collection and transmission lines.

Regulatory staff have reviewed both petitions and identified several changes in the location of various project components, Burgess said, noting that the POI location would be moved 700 feet from the location adopted by the certificate. In addition, Burgess said, five turbine access roads, two sections of underground collection line, and one section of 115-kV transmission line would shift outside of the 500-foot zone established in the regulation at 16 NYCRR 1000.2(ak).

Under “16 NYCRR 1000.16(c), I determine that the proposed changes constitute a revision,” Burgess said. “Further, as provided in the same regulation, a hearing will be held on the proposed revision. A notice initiating process will be issued shortly.”

According to a Nov. 26 recommended decision by Presiding Examiner Dakin Lecakes, administrative law judge (ALJ), state Department of Public Service (DPS), and Associate Examiner James McClymonds, ALJ, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the siting board in January 2018 issued an order granting a certificate to Cassadaga Wind to build and operate a commercial-scale, 126-MW wind energy project, located within the towns of Charlotte, Cherry Creek, Arkwright, and Stockton in Chautauqua County.

The ALJs said that they conducted an evidentiary hearing on the two petitions filed in August and September, and that they considered the post-hearing submission of the Concerned Citizens for the Cassadaga Wind Project (Concerned Citizens).

The ALJs said that they determine that no issues have been raised that need further development in the case and so no additional process is necessary. Based on the hearing record, the ALJs said that they recommend that the siting board grant the petitions to amend the certificate.

Cassadaga Wind’s petitions mostly request changes that it indicates are necessary to address interconnection requirements imposed on it by Niagara Mohawk Power d/b/a National Grid that it was not fully aware of until after the siting board issued the certificate, the ALJs said, adding that at the hearing, Niagara Mohawk agreed that the changes being made to the POI were supported by the utility and were necessary for Niagara Mohawk’s interconnection needs.

Concerned Citizens raised issues regarding the noise impacts of the location changes of the POI, the construction noise impacts of the change in location of the other project components, as well as the process and conclusions made by the State Historic Preservation Office.

Among other things, the ALJs added that Cassadaga Wind indicated that its POI did not involve any use of a transformer and so did not create any noise; that its noise impacts for construction were determined on a project-wide basis and not on the construction equipment located at individual construction sites; and that it followed the procedures required by the State Historic Preservation Office, identical to those it followed in submitting its initial application.

Concerned Citizens, in a Nov. 13 letter, indicated that it was withdrawing the issue of noise impacts related to the POI.

The ALJs added that having examined Cassadaga Wind’s application exhibit on noise impacts, they agree that the construction noise impacts will not be altered in that the project’s construction noise impacts were considered on a project-wide scale. In addition, the ALJs said that they do not see an anomaly in the procedures used by Cassadaga Wind to communicate with the State Historic Preservation Office, noting that the petitions contain that office’s findings that the project will result in impacts to certain areas of concern and refers Cassadaga Wind and the siting board to its required compliance with State Historic Preservation Office policies and procedures, as well as the siting board’s certificate conditions.