There’s no need for Ball Hill turbines

Is there a reason for Ball Hill Wind to exist?

That was the question asked by county residents last week at a state Public Service Commission hearing to approve or deny a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” for the Villenova-Hanover project, which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/idqtx04hZJo

Certainly there is no need in Western New York for more electricity.

The power to be produced is minimal: The nameplate capacity claimed by turbine builders RES for Ball Hill Wind is 100 MW. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) states, “Inland wind sites in New York ‘effective capacities,’ … are about 10 percent, due to both the seasonal and daily patterns of the wind generation being largely ‘out of phase’ with the NYISO load patterns.”

NYSERDA further states that infrastructure for additional power in Western New York does not exist. See the NRG gas fired turbine data showing a lack of regional transmission capacity.

Residents explained to the state PSC judge that it is not in the public interest to commit large financial resources to build a project that will produce — in real terms — 10 MW of power. The result is increased costs to ratepayers for unneeded transmission apparatus and minimal power production and increased taxes for the subsidies.

In September 2018 Arkwright Wind LLC turbines began operation. Arkwright Wind turbines are adjacent to the proposed Ball Hill and Cassadaga Wind projects.

Many people of Arkwright are experiencing negative health impacts since the turbines began operation. Ball Hill Wind LLC was sited by the state before the Arkwright Wind project health evidence was available and must be reassessed based on what has occurred to the people of Arkwright.

It is not in the public interest to expose people to infrasound, unrelenting noise and flicker.

There is increasing opposition to wind projects in rural residential areas of Western New York because people are suffering.

The Western New York Public Health Alliance of county health departments has issued a statement of concern for the increasing number of cases of “wind turbine illness” in the region: “Our local boards of health home rule ability to take steps to safeguard the health and wellness of our residents and protect the environment within our counties has been put at risk. What is the state’s position and plan to ensure that our residents’ health is protected and the impacts on our local environment have been reviewed and vetted through the standard state assessments for projects of this magnitude?

“Our membership believes that any project of this nature and magnitude only be considered following a complete and transparent process including all the standard environmental and health impact studies and local input. The WNYPHA, lacking both the resource and expertise in this very broad matter, believe it is both reasonable and prudent to require a full SEQRA environmental review of all turbine projects.”

The legislatures of Chautauqua, Jefferson, Oswego and Cattaraugus counties have shown their disapproval of turbine projects by instructing their IDA’s to fully tax these massive wind projects. In their no PILOT resolutions all four legislatures state: “Wind energy projects, regardless of their capital investment, produce few permanent jobs for the local economy beyond their construction phase; result in little secondary expenditure in the local economy; do not produce a multiplier effect in the regional economy, and might well have a net negative effect on the economy of a host community.”

These three projects in Chautauqua County — back to back — will have cumulative effects, compounding the health, environmental and negative economic impacts.

Because correct procedures were not followed regarding environmental studies requested by the Chautauqua County Planning Board, because electricity rates will increase as a result of paying for low power producing wind projects and long distance transmission — with greater loss of power the farther it is transmitted — and because the health and well being of the residents is at risk: There is no good reason for Ball Hill Wind to exist.

Karen Engstrom is a Mayville resident.

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