N.Y. siting board seeks comments by March 20 on recommended conditional approval of wind project

The siting board on March 3 said that it expects to make its decision in May

The New York State Board of Electric Generation Siting and the Environment on March 3 said that it is seeking comments from the public by March 20 regarding a recommended decision that was issued on Feb. 27 and calls for the approval of Alle-Catt Wind Energy, LLC’s (ACWE) 340-MW wind generating facility in the towns of Arcade, Centerville, Rushford, Farmersville, and Freedom in Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Wyoming counties in New York.

According to the board’s notice seeking comment, the facility would consist of up to 116 turbines and associated facilities, with numerous conditions designed to minimize the impacts on the local community.

The public may enter comments online at www.dps.ny.gov (case number 17-F-0282); by email to secretary@dps.ny.gov; by mail to Secretary Michelle L. Phillips, New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York, 12223-1350; and by telephone at 1-800-335-2120.

As noted in the recommended decision by state Department of Public Service Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) Dakin Lecakes and Gregg Sayre as well as state Department of Environmental Conservation Administrative Law Judge Michael Caruso, ACWE proposes to build 13 turbines in the Town of Arcade, 36 turbines in the Town of Centerville, 13 turbines in the Town of Rushford, 21 turbines in the Town of Farmersville, and 33 turbines in the Town of Freedom.

The turbines would be located on privately leased property that would continue to be used for farming, forestry, and other compatible purposes after the facility is built.

The ALJs also noted that ACWE proposes to use one or more of these turbine models: GE 2.3-116; GE 2.5-116; GE 3.6-137; GE 3.8-130; GE 3.8-137; Vestas V136-3.6/4.0/4.2, or Vestas V150-4.0/4.2. Those turbine models have a rated power level ranging between 2.3 MW and 4.2 MW, a hub height ranging from 80 meters (262 feet) to 131 meters (365 feet), a rotor blade diameter of between 116 meters (380 feet) and 150 meters (492 feet), and a total height — measured from the base of the tower to the tip of the blade oriented in its highest position — ranging between 138 meters (453 feet) and 180 meters (591 feet).

The ALJs added that the facility would also include a collection substation to be located in the Town of Freedom, a new point-of-interconnection (POI) 345-kV switchyard, about nine miles of overhead 345-kV interconnection line running between the collection substation and the POI, an operations and maintenance (O&M) building to be built in the Town of Freedom, about 69 access roads, three permanent meteorological towers about 200 feet in height, as well as a temporary concrete batch plant and laydown yard that would be removed after construction ends.

Electricity generated at the turbines would be sent over 34.5-kV collection lines to the collection substation. The ALJs added that from there, it would be increased to 345 kV and transmitted to the switchyard and then interconnected to the New York state transmission system over lines owned and operated by National Grid.

Among other things, the ALJs said that they recommend that the board adopt the proposed certificate conditions included in the recommended decision and issue a certificate, subject to those conditions, that authorizes ACWE to build and operate the project. The ALJs said that the recommended certificate conditions include:

The certificate holder has acknowledged that it does not have the power of eminent domain to acquire real property easements or other permanent or temporary property rights and has asserted that the feasibility of the project does not rely in any way upon the certificate holder or any other entity having the power of eminent domain or exercising the power of eminent domain to acquire permanent or temporary real property rights of any kind for the facility or for any of the access roads, construction staging areas, or interconnections necessary to build or service the facility
  • The certificate will automatically expire in five years from the date of issuance of the certificate unless the certificate holder has completed construction and began commercial operation of the facility prior to said expiration date
  • Replacement of major facility components, including wind turbines, with different make, model, size, or other material modification, is to be subject to review and approval under appropriate authority of the board

According to the notice, the examiners’ recommendations in the recommended decision must be reviewed and voted on by the board, which will issue any certificate and final order. The board’s decision is expected to be made in May, the notice said.