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Setbacks noted in Ball Hill wind project

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Officials from Northland Power Inc. have indicated a renewable wind energy project that is under construction in the towns of Hanover and Villenova is already facing major facelifts.

According to a Facebook post, the company announced its contractor will be “performing some blasting activities on the Ball Hill Wind project site in the coming weeks.” The blasting was to begin on Thursday of last week and be done during the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Though company officials have yet to respond to OBSERVER and Post-Journal inquiries on Monday and Tuesday, the work is being done to concrete foundations for the turbines. They are reportedly defective and need to be removed. One local official noted he has heard about the frustration.

“I know they had problems with the foundation and our code officer is working on the new permit for the blasting,” said Lou Pelletter, Hanover Town Board member.

In development since 2006 when it was being overseen by former owner, Renewable Energy Systems, it is a 100-megawatt wind energy project consisting of 25 turbines. A special use permit from the towns of Hanover and Villenova led to construction commencing in June and work was on schedule for completion in late 2022, according to a Northlands Power Inc. statement.

Like other renewable efforts that have taken hold in Chautauqua County, this one had its share of advocates and opponents. The controversy that filled board rooms — and the Hamlet United Methodist Church in South Dayton for one hearing — also was tied to the resignation of one Town Board member.

In 2019, the Villenova Town Board approved a local law that would allow for the wind towers to be 599 feet. For a comparison, the Seneca One tower in Buffalo that is 39 stories high stands 529 feet.

Residents who are concerned about the work were advised to contact Melissa Scozzafava at melissa.scozzafava@northlandpower.com or at (518) 281-7084 to receive daily updates. Scozzafava has not returned emails or calls to the OBSERVER through Tuesday afternoon.

Northland says on its website that it has grown from a Canadian developer to a global organization with facilities generating electricity from renewable resources such as wind, solar and efficient natural gas in its 34 years of operation. With more than 2,200 megawatts of net operating capacity, an additional 130 MW under construction and another 1,645 MW in advanced development, Northland said it is “an experienced, capable and responsible power producer.”

OBSERVER Staff Writer Anthony Dolce contributed to this report.

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