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Arkwright’s long awaited wind farm is making progress, as announced at a Town Hall press conference today.
The wind-powered electric generating facility is proposed by Arkwright Summit Wind Farm LLC, a company owned by EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDPR). The large scale wind project has been in the works for over ten years, initially sponsored by Horizon Wind Energy under the name “New Grange Wind Farm.” In 2007 global company EDP entered the US market with the acquisition of Horizon Wind Energy, LLC from Goldman Sachs and the rest is history. In 2011, Horizon Wind Energy was rebranded as EDP Renewables North America.
Since then EDPR more than doubled its wind-powered production, making it one of the world’s largest producers. The U.S. is one of EDPR’s largest markets in terms of installed capacity and production, with wind farms in 12 states.
During that time the company has been working to develop its first project in Chautauqua County, New York. The “Arkwright Summit Wind Farm” aims to produce clean, renewable electrical power by building 36 wind turbines with a maximum generating capacity of 78.4 megawatts- which is enough electricity to power approximately 31,500 households. The wind farm will span approximately 6500 acres of leased private land in the Towns of Arkwright and Pomfret.
In addition to the turbines, the wind farm will include one permanent meteorological tower, an operation and maintenance building, underground electrical lines and communication cables, an overhead generator lead line, and a system of gravel access roads, parking, landscaping and related improvements. Original plans called for the company to construct an operation and maintenance building. However, they have since identified an existing structure on Route 60 for renovation, decreasing their wetland impacts.
The approximately $156,000,000 wind farm project has received local municipal approval, and the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) Board of Directors also recently approved financial assistance for the project. The agency’s assistance may include exemptions from sales and use taxes, mortgage recording taxes and real property taxes (but not special assessments or ad valorem levies).
Jeffrey Nemeth, EDP Renewables, Associate Director of Development and manager of the project, commented that “the Arkwright Wind Farm will annually pay the County $313,600 to be distributed to the designated tax districts for the next 30 years. These funds will provide a vital and reliable stream of financial support to assist these communities as they provide school, fire, police and other municipal services.
Kevin Sanvidge, CCIDA Chief Executive Officer, noted the anticipated economic benefits of the project. “The PILOT revenues to local taxing jurisdictions along with the approximately $509,000 annual lease payments to participating land owners will have a significant positive economic impact on our local communities.” The taxing jurisdictions include Chautauqua County, Town of Pomfret, Town of Arkwright, Pine Valley Central School, Forestville Central School, and Fredonia Central School.
Additional expected economic benefits include reduced wholesale electricity price, and new employment opportunities in Chautauqua County. The company anticipates the creation of six permanent jobs in addition to 250 part time positions during the wind farm’s construction.
Sanvidge also credited Arkwright Town Supervisor Frederick (“Nick”) Norton as being “champion of the project for all these years.” Norton said, “The Town of Arkwright has been waiting for this annual infusion of revenue for over ten years. Being a rural town with no industry, and little commercial property and a large segment owned by the state, there is limited opportunity to develop a revenue base other than the residential real property tax. These wind mills represent a renaissance for the town – upgraded roads and town hall as well as a lower town tax.”
“Chautauqua County is on the move,” said Chautauqua County Executive Vincent Horrigan. “We are seeing significant new opportunities for economic growth in many areas here, including the renewable energy sector. The Arkwright Wind Farm is one of several ways our county is aligning with New York State’s call for increased renewable energy initiatives.”
Congressman Tom Reed said, “We care about helping our local communities thrive and about providing future generations of Americans with an all-of-the-above approach to energy security. Wind projects, like Arkwright, fulfill those goals and provide the critical jobs our communities need and deserve. This project is why we authored and supported tax policy for wind energy that allows this project to proceed.” Reed continued, “While we also worked to expedite approval with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), we appreciate the coordinated efforts from state and local leaders to ensure this project continued to move forward. This coordinated effort from federal, state and local officials as well as community stakeholders, was the right thing to do and will make this project a large success. We are truly proud to be a part of it.”
Arkwright Summit Wind Farm LLC continues to move forward with project plans. Construction is anticipated to commence in 2017.
About CCIDA – The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the State of New York to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live, and visit. They facilitate development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives – tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing – enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention by our businesses. For more information visit www.ccida.com.