Articles from New York
Large-scale solar and wind projects would be subject to a dramatically new permitting process controlled only by the Cuomo administration – a plan developers say would cut by years the time to it takes for large renewable energy facilities to be approved in New York. Local government officials, however, say it will sharply reduce the role communities now play in the process for siting larger energy projects.
Advocates for local governments are pushing back against a Cuomo administration plan to speed up the siting process for renewable-energy generating plants. ...supporters of local scrutiny say such projects shouldn't be forced into communities that object to them and they fear Cuomo's plan could alter the character of towns that want to have a say in the siting of proposed industrial-scale power generating stations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants 70% of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. That's got state agencies looking at ways to speed up permitting for wind and solar projects, worrying opponents of larger developments. Permitting for big wind farms could get a lot faster under new Cuomo proposals
That would apply only to county taxes, but school and town boards have passed similar bans for specific projects. State law gives automatic property tax abatements to renewable energy developers, unless localities opt out.
The Farmersville Town Board voted 3-2 on Jan. 6 to void the 2019 wind law, which town attorney Eric Firkel said was not properly adopted. The board’s action was demanded in a lawsuit filed by Farmersville United, which represents wind farm opponents. ...The lawsuit, filed Wednesday with Cattaraugus County Supreme Court Judge Terrance Parker, accused the Farmersville board of “attempting to invalidate” the town’s 2019 wind law by resolution voiding the law on Jan. 6.
Orsted and Eversource, which are jointly developing the proposed South Fork Wind Farm to be situated approximately 35 miles off Montauk, have filed an update to the project’s Construction and Operations Plan with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
“The Siting Board will meet to consider what appears to be a request by Invenergy for new rules governing Canisteo, Bluestone, Alle-Catt and other large-scale wind and solar projects operating or planned in New York,” Abraham said in an email to members of the groups. “It may be that rules will be changed regarding how local laws are applied,” Abraham said. The meeting will start at 9:45 a.m. Thursday.
The town board voted 3-2 last month to void the town’s 2019 wind law, which officials said left the town’s 2007 wind law in effect. That law includes a 450-foot height requirement, while the developer of the proposed Alle-Catt Wind Farm, which would include turbines in Farmersville, wants to install 600-foot turbines. The 2020 Farmersville Wind Energy Facilities Local Law includes greater setbacks from homes and property lines — 3,000 feet to a mile, a lower turbine height and more restrictive noise requirements. According to the supervisor, it was modeled after a local law in Enfield, N.Y. that board members considered more protective.
“Lake Erie is simply too small to sustain any industrial offshore wind project,” said Rich Davenport of Tonawanda, who is active with several sportsmen’s groups, such as the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and the Western New York Environmental Federation. “The towers will displace water currents for quite a radius around each turbine, impacting nearby spawning shoals (even if sited away from spawning areas, you cannot avoid the current change), coupled with the massive amounts of infrasound, or low frequency noise, each turbine will generate while operating.”
“Since Alle-Catt cannot be a party, based on the new order, and the existing parties have settled the case, the order closes this matter once and for all,” Abraham explained. Abraham predicted the judge’s decision “will have serious effects on the Alle-Catt project proposal.” While most of the electrical connections for the 117-turbine Alle-Catt Wind Farm passing through Freedom for interconnection points near Arcade, the town’s 2007 law won’t permit the 24 turbines proposed by Invenergy, Abraham said.
Some of the conditions Number Three questions relate to the project’s impact on threatened and endangered birds, noise and the role of the Site Engineering and Environment Plan, or SEEP. Number Three’s petition also accused the Siting Board of providing insufficient explanations for some of the decisions handed down and of not giving the company’s information the same consideration as that provided by other parties in the process, such as the DEC.
Myers Shearing said the 455-foot tip height was the smallest industrial turbine available. One of the prior objections of the planning board with the 600-foot height limit was that was not in keeping with the natural character of the county and would be visible far past the town line. The greater setbacks — 3,000 feet from a property line or residence and lower noise levels 42 dBA instead of 50 dBA under the old law. The 2019 law was 1.2 times tip height to a property line.
A coalition of Chenango and Otsego county residents filed a petition last week in New York State Supreme Court calling for the annulment of the town of Guilford’s renewable energy law and the removal of the town supervisor from office.
After getting approval from the Town Board to dig test pits along the roadways last winter, the company shelved the work in what its president called a “gesture of good faith” toward Wainscott residents who have organized in opposition to the company’s proposal. Ørsted, which purchased Deepwater Wind and the South Fork Wind Farm in 2018, said on Friday that it has renewed its request to the town to proceed with the test digging in March.
The blade broke on one of the wind turbines on Pine Hill Road in the Town of Cohocton. No one witnessed the blade fall, and no one was injured. Town Supervisor Judy Hall said there are three turbines in that area of Pine Hill Road, with three homes in the vicinity as well.
The narrow half of one of the three blades fell to the earth. Hall said it was her understanding that some debris ended up in a nearby wooded area. She said talks with a former wind company employee indicated the blade was likely spinning at the time of the failure.
The fate of a controversial wind turbine project proposed for the area of Somerset and Yates is still uncertain. APEX Clean Energy announced this past April the company no longer planned to submit its application in 2019 for a 47-turbine wind farm in Somerset and Yates and shut down a community office in Barker.
The Farmersville Town Board will meet in special session Monday to conduct a work session on the environmental assessment form (EAF) for the new proposed Wind Law.
But while energy and capacity market prices can go up and down, REC prices in New York are currently fixed when developers bid for projects through NYSERDA, the state agency responsible for centralized procurement of RECs. The difference with the new order is that instead of staying fixed, the indexed REC price will go up or down, depending on the direction of prices in the energy and capacity markets, to ensure there's a consistent amount of revenue for developers and projects always get what they need, Katofsky explained.
A long-brewing storm developed into a Category 5 hurricane at the Town of Sanford board meeting Tuesday night as tempers flared and a portion of the session turned into a raucous yelling match between a board member and wind farm opponents.