Catt. County Green Future
New Solar and Wind Project Promises Green Future
Story by John Thomas
There were no new applications for CCIDA (Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency) projects at the agency’s June meeting, but several existing projects came up for discussion. The first was Six Smith’s project in the Village of Randolph. Mr. Smith plans on refurbishing two commercial buildings in the Village. There will be a Laundromat on the ground floor and four apartments on the second floor. Executive Director of the CCIDA Corey Wiktor said the laundry is the only one in that area and bringing it back to operation would be critical.
BQ Energy/Steel Winds LLC is seeking approval of a 15-year Energy PILOT program for a trio of Olean solar projects. The $21millon investment would be the first commercial project in the county. Mr. Wiktor said, “the project could put the county on the map for solar energy production.” The solar panels will be set up on brownfields in the Olean area. Between the three instillations, the project will generate 8.5 megawatts of electricity. BQ Energy has entered in to contract arraignments with Olean General Hospital, St. Bonaventure University, and the City of Olean. Energy generated by the panels will be put onto the grid. Because the three entities have agreed to purchase 100% green energy, they will be issued credits for the green power, enabling them to reduce their electricity costs. Olean General Hospital could save as much as $100,000 to 200,000 per year in electric power costs. In addition to the cost savings, the three solar projects can be built on brownfields. These toxic sites are challenging and expensive to remediate. The solar panels used by BQ do not need to be anchored in the ground. Instead, they sit on heavy concrete ballasts, without disturbing the top-cap of the location, keeping the toxins in the ground. This returns the land to productive use and puts the site back on the tax rolls.
Another green energy project was discussed. Still in the planning stage, a wind farm project is planned to stretch across the intersection of Livingston, Wyoming, and Allegany counties. The $150 million project could be started by as early as 2019. Mr. Wiktor said, “It’s interesting, the number of green, renewable energy projects that are coming around.
Other projects have “closed” (that is all the papers are signed) at the development agency. William Bursee’s Stillhouse Brewery on 219 is nearing completion and should be open in the next few months. In Little Valley, Peter Kreinheder’s brewing facility for EBC is starting construction. Said Mr. Wiktor, “It’s great to see these projects come to fruition.”