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NY siting board approves 124-MW wind farm

The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment on Dec. 16 approved a 124-MW wind farm to be developed by a Calpine Corp. subsidiary.

The Bluestone Wind Farm from Bluestone Wind LLC is to be built in Broome County, N.Y. The project will have up to 27 wind turbines, 23 in the town of Sanford and four in the town of Windsor. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, the project is expected to come online in December 2020.

The project also involves a substation in Sanford at the end of its 34.5-kV collection system and will include a 10-MW battery storage system. A second substation will be at the point of interconnection, which is next to an existing electric transmission line owned by New York State Electric & Gas Corp. A 200-foot, overhead 115-kV transmission line will link the two substations.

Siting Board Chair John Rhodes in a statement said approval of the project "carefully balances environmental, community, and policy considerations, and meaningfully advances us toward our goal of a zero-carbon emission electric sector by 2040." The carbon-free power system requirement was set in a law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in July.

Bluestone Wind filed its formal application with the board in September 2018.

In its order granting a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to construct and operate the project, the board agreed with findings from examiners in the case. These are that the facility "will promote the state's energy policy goals, will help improve fuel diversity and grid reliability, will decrease the production of greenhouse gasses, will support modernization of grid infrastructure, will provide air emissions reduction benefits including benefits of carbon dioxide emissions reductions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative."

The siting board's approval included the rejection of a town of Sanford zoning law that placed restrictions on the wind project, specifically on setbacks for wind towers. The zoning change was adopted Dec. 10, according to a report by the Binghamton (N.Y.) Press & Sun Bulletin, after the siting board had conducted its formal hearings.

Approval comes with conditions, including a requirement for Bluestone Wind to develop a net conservation benefit plan for bald and golden eagles and a post-construction avian and bat monitoring and adaptive management plan. (Case No. 16-F-0559)