Memorandum in Support A.10087 (Rules; Ryan) / S.7489-A (Young)

Memorandum in Support

June 16, 2014

A.10087 (Rules; Ryan) / S.7489-A (Young) - AN ACT to authorize an easement on a portion of real property within the Boutwell Hill state forest in the county of Chautauqua for the location of electric collection or distribution facilities in connection with a wind powered electric generation project located in the towns of Charlotte and/or Cherry Creek

The Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. (IPPNY) is a trade association representing companies involved in the development of electric generating facilities, the generation, sale, and marketing of electric power, and the development of natural gas facilities in the State of New York. IPPNY represents almost 75 percent of the electric generating capacity in New York, such as renewable energy resources that include wind energy.

IPPNY supports the passage of A.10087 (Rules; Ryan) / S.7489-A (Young). A wind generation project, which is in the process of being proposed and developed in Chautauqua County involving the towns of Charlotte and Cherry Creek, potentially could generate up to 200 megawatts of renewable electricity. An electric collection and distribution line associated with this wind project would need to pass through a portion of real property immediately adjacent to or within the right-of-ways of public roads running through the Boutwell Hill State Forest.

This legislation would authorize the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to execute an easement agreement with the wind project developer for real property within the Boutwell Hill State Forest to allow for the collection and distribution line. The easement agreement would be contingent upon the certification of the wind project and the collection and distribution line pursuant to the comprehensive environmental review and public stakeholder involvement processes under the Power Plant Siting Law (Article 10 of the Public Service Law) and/or the Transmission Line Siting Law (Article 7 of the Public Service Law). The legislation limits the length of the line to 1,500 feet across the Boutwell Hill State Forest.

The Towns of Charlotte and Cherry Creek, where this electric collection and distribution line would run, as well as the Chautauqua County Legislature, all support this project and the enactment of this legislation. 

Commercial activity such as timber production already is allowed in the Boutwell Hill State Forest. Under existing State law, the leasing of reforestation lands for certain energy purposes is permissible, and the laying, operation and maintenance of utility lines pursuant to a lease to the Federal Government already is authorized. According to the DEC’s Chautauqua Unit Management Plan for State land areas that include the Towns of Charlotte and Cherry Creek, pipelines can be located immediately adjacent to Public Forest Access Roads and along pre-existing roads. This legislation would expand upon these existing energy-related authorizations to allow for the electric collection and distribution line associated with the wind project pursuant an easement to be granted by the DEC.

According to the New York State Energy Law, the State's energy policy is to obtain and maintain safe, reliable, and diverse energy supplies, accelerate the development and use of renewable energy resources, and increase its energy independence in order to promote the State's economic growth, to maintain the security of its energy supplies, and to protect its environmental values.  New York's existing generating resources are powered by cutting-edge technologies and a wide variety of fuel types such as wind. A diverse energy fuel portfolio protects the reliability of New York's energy system and provides benefits to consumers. Given the benefits of its existing fuel-diverse sources of supply, New York State has committed to expanding that mix further through means such as increasing renewable energy supplies. The wind project that is the subject of this legislation would enhance the ability of the State to improve the economy and to address climate change. 

For the reasons stated above, IPPNY supports A.10087 (Rules; Ryan) / S.7489-A (Young).

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