Construction resumes on Cassadaga wind farm after brief shut down

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon Pictured is the Cassadaga Wind Farm’s point of intersection. The wind farm construction has been on hold for the last two weeks because a construction worker, who is from Texas, tested positive for COVID-19.

Construction work at the Cassadaga Wind project is back after being shut down for two weeks.

According to Tom Halligan, the business manager with Ironworkers Local 6 in West Seneca, the project had been shut down for 14 days because a contractor who was from Texas tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I don’t know if everything’s fully back, but our two guys are back,” he said during a phone interview Monday.

Halligan speculated there were dozen or so workers from out of state that are working on the wind project, which is planned to be a 125.5 MegaWatt wind farm in the towns of Arkwright, Charlotte and Cherry Creek.

He believes the project should use more local workers. “This is renewable energy that the governor has been touting it as a signature policy. It’s supposed to create all these construction jobs but there’s a bunch of out state guys taking our jobs,” he said.

At last check there were 34 states, plus Puerto Rico on New York’s COVID-19 travel advisory. One of those states is Texas.

According to the state Department of Health’s website, individuals who are traveling to New York from the select states must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, unless they are an essential worker. The state’s essential worker lists includes public and private utilities, which could be interpreted to include wind turbines.

The Department of Health’s website states that essential workers who are traveling to New York and are required to stay for several days should seek diagnostic testing for COVID-19 within 24 hours upon arrival. They are also required to monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distancing, clean and disinfect workspaces for a minimum of 14 days. They are also required to the extent possible, avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings for a period of at least seven days.

Halligan said the local contractors who are working on the wind project have been regularly tested for COVID-19. He thinks the out of state workers should have been required to quarantine for 14 days before beginning work. If that were required, then he believes more local contractors would have been hired for the project.

RWE Renewables, which is constructing the Cassadaga Wind Farm, states on its website the project is being built on mostly agricultural and recreational land and will include 37 turbines when completed. The project’s point of interconnection is National Grid’s 115kV lines 161 and 162 near the existing Moon Road substation in the Town of Stockton. Once built, the project will generate sufficient clean energy to power over 51,000 homes.


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