If all goes according to plan, that long-anticipated wind farm could be going up next spring in the Town of Allegany. But there are several “ifs” and question marks along the way to say at this point exactly what is going to happen. As is so often the case, timing appears to be a key factor with regard to the actual construction of 29 wind turbines among the hilltops, all contained within the Town of Allegany.
On Monday, May 14th, Allegany Wind LLC asked the Town of Allegany Planning Board for a one-year extension of their special use permit and site plan approval, two of the components necessary to keep the wind project moving. The current permit expires in July. The Planning Board decided to table the company’s request for possible action at their next meeting, on June 11th. Planning Board Chairman Frank DiFiore said the board is not necessarily obligated to grant a one-year extension, and that the length of time is up to the Planning Board.
One of the subjects to come up during the May 14th meeting involved roads to be used by the wind company to gain access to the wind farm sites. Allegany Wind executive Kevin Sheen said that Chipmonk Road will not be used. Residents who live along the road have long been concerned about truck traffic during wind farm construction. The company still has four or five possible routes, but apparently nothing final has been decided. Sheen indicated that the preferred plan is to use two different routes—one to bring in large wind turbine components, the other for trucking in sand, gravel, and other building materials.
Sheen also said his company would like to reach a road use agreement with the Town of Carrollton, noting that such an agreement is not now in place. Residents and town officials in Carrollton have said frequently that they are unhappy with their roads and culverts being considered for heavy truck traffic generated by wind farm construction, since they were not built to handle the weight.
Because of legal action brought against the wind farm project by Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County, Allegany Wind LLC says they cannot proceed with the necessary financing to proceed with construction. That’s according to environmental attorney James Muscato, who is representing the company. Litigation against the Allegany wind project remains “active,” according to Barry Miller of the Concerned Citizens group. Miller also said he’s concerned about the company changing to a larger, 117 meter rotor for the wind turbines, as opposed to using a 100 meter rotor.
Sheen once again stated that the failure of Congress to extend a production tax credit would doom all construction of new wind turbines in the U-S. Sheen does not expect to see approval before the November election, which is what he told the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency last month. Sheen also cited the price of natural gas as a concern to his company. He said those are the “bigger issues” at this point when compared with litigation against the wind project.