The New York State Siting Board has accepted as complete the Article 10 application for the proposed 340-megawatt Alle-Catt Wind Farm.
That starts a one-year public comment period on the project which includes more than 100 wind turbines — 600 feet in height — scattered across 20,000 acres in four towns in northern Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. The project would stretch into Arcade in Wyoming County.
The controversial Alle-Catt Wind Farm is being developed by Invenergy, a large international alternative energy company with several other wind turbine projects in New York state.
Two grassroots citizens groups, Farmersville United and Freedom United, formed to seek greater setbacks for the wind turbines as the town governments scrambled to raise the height limit to 600 feet from blade tip to the ground.
The Freedom Town Board approved a new wind law, 3-2, but the vote is being challenged in state Supreme Court. Farmersville’s Town Board hit a roadblock when the Cattaraugus County Planning Board denied its local law largely due to the height of the wind turbines.
The towns of Rushford and Centerville in Allegany County and Arcade in Wyoming County approved new laws requested by Invenergy.
The company is touting the $7 million in annual payments to local governments and school districts as well as landowners leasing property for wind turbines or other infrastructure. Invenergy also points to up to 200 construction jobs and up to 13 jobs to maintain the wind farm.
Invenergy issued a statement Thursday, saying, “The application submission begins a one-year public hearing comment period, during which time the New York State Siting Board will review the completed application and associated testimony and all public comments. Dates for the public hearings will be confirmed in the coming weeks.”
Alle-Catt Wind Farm is launching a months-long community outreach effort to continue to raise awareness of the economic benefits of New York-made renewable energy.
“The Alle-Catt Wind Farm will serve as a major economic driver for Western New York communities while delivering clean, locally-made energy to power the state’s future,” said Valessa Souter-Kline, project development manager for Invenergy. “We are proud to reach this critical milestone in our Article 10 application and look forward to delivering on the commitments made to Western New York communities.”
The 340-megawatt project will generate enough American-made clean energy to power 134,000 homes annually and help meet New York’s growing electricity demands, Souter- Kline said.
The Article 10 application is available on the project website at www. alle-catt.com and hard copies are available at the following locations: Arcade Town Hall; Arcade Free Library; Centerville Town Hall; Farmersville Town Hall; Freedom Town Hall; Rushford Town Hall; Rushford Free Library; and Machias Town Hall.
Attorneys representing Farmersville United and Freedom United expressed concern over the development, but are prepared for it.
One attorney, Ginger Schroder of Farmersville, said, “The Siting Board has simply decided that Invenergy’s application has complied with the minimum information requirements for applications. However, the substance of the application and its conclusions have not been reviewed.”
She added: “That begins now. We were very prepared for this. We have retained experts and we plan to explore deep deficiencies in substance and Invenergy’s conclusions with the Board, and to fully develop the record on all of the issues of great importance to our respective constituencies.”
Another attorney representing residents, Gary Abraham said, “The project is being modeled to achieve a 50 decibel sound limit at people’s homes. That is something the DEC would classify as intolerable given the quiet background noise level in this area.”