On September 18, 2018, Bluestone Wind, LLC filed an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need seeking approval under Article 10 of the Public Service Law (PSL) to construct and operate a 124-megawatt (MW) wind-powered electric generating facility (Project). The Project is proposed to be located in the Towns of Sanford and Windsor, in Broome County, New York.
Informational Forums and Public Statement Hearings
On December 27, 2018, the Chair of the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (Siting Board) determined that the Application complied with the Siting Board’s filing requirements and fixed the date of January 29, 2019 for the commencement of the public hearing process on the Application. Interested members of the public are invited to attend public statement hearings and provide their comments on the proposed Project.
Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) from the New York State Departments of Public Service (DPS) and Environmental Conservation (DEC) will serve as Examiners for the proceeding and will preside over the public statement hearings. Comments made at the hearings will be transcribed and become part of the formal record and will be presented to the Siting Board for its consideration of the proposed Project. It is not necessary to make an appointment in advance or present written materials in order to speak at the hearing.*
Each hearing will be preceded by an informational forum. At the forums, the ALJs will provide a brief overview of the Article 10 siting review process and the Applicant will describe the Project. Members of the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and view maps of the proposed Project area at that time.
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Description of the Project
Bluestone Wind (Applicant) proposes to construct and operate a wind-powered electric generation facility to be located in the Towns of Sanford and Windsor, Broome County. The proposal consists of a 124 MW wind-powered electric generation facility including the installation and operation of:
A collection substation will be located in Sanford at the end of the Project’s 34.5 kilovolt (kV) collection system. A second substation will be located at the point of interconnection, adjacent to an existing New York State Electric and Gas Corporation transmission line. The two substations will be connected by a 200-foot long span of overhead 115-kV transmission line.
- up to 33 commercial-scale wind turbines;
- underground medium voltage collection lines;
- access roads;
- a collection system that will include a 10 MW battery storage system;
- two permanent meteorological tower(s);
- an operation and maintenance building.
Additional details are set forth in the Project Application, which is available at www.dps.ny.gov. To access information regarding the Project, click on “Search” and then enter case number 16-F-0559. Hard copies of the Application can be found at the Windsor Library and the Deposit Free Library.
Summary of the Article 10 Process
There are five phases to the Article 10 process: pre-application, application, administrative hearings, Siting Board decision, and compliance.
- Pre-Application: In this phase, an Applicant submits two documents: a Public Involvement Program (PIP) Plan and a Preliminary Scoping Statement (PSS). The PIP Plan is filed at least 150 days in advance of the PSS and the PSS must be submitted at least 90 days before the Application is filed. In this case, the Bluestone Wind PIP Plan was filed in October 2016 and summarized activities to educate, inform and involve the public in the Article 10 process. The PSS, submitted in August 2017, described information the Applicant proposed to include in the application for this Project. The PSS included a description of the proposed Facility and reasonable alternatives, potential significant environmental and health impacts, proposed studies to evaluate the potential impacts and measures to avoid or mitigate the impacts.
In this case, there were opportunities for public involvement during the pre-application phase designed to facilitate communication between the Applicant and interested or potentially affected parties. When the PSS was filed, the Applicant paid a fee to fund a pre-Application intervenor account which provides money to assist intervenor efforts in hiring consultants and lawyers.
- Application: The Application includes a description of the Project, public involvement activities, and benefits of the Project. The Application contains an analysis of the potential impacts of construction and operation on, among other things, the environment, land use, public health and safety, communications, transportation, cultural and historic resources, and the statewide electric system.
Results from studies conducted, and proposed measures to minimize impacts are also provided. The Bluestone Wind Application, filed in September 2018, was accompanied by intervenor funds, which are available to support local participation in the review of the proposed Project. In December 2018, the Chairman of the Siting Board determined that the Application complied with all filing requirements.
- Administrative Hearings and Procedural Conference: Upon determining the Application compliant, the Chairman of the Siting Board set a date for public hearings. Public statement hearings provide an opportunity for anyone interested in the Project to make comments on the record for consideration by the Siting Board. The public statement hearings for the Bluestone Wind Project are scheduled for Tuesday, February 19, 2019, beginning at 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM at the Village of Windsor Community House Meeting Room. A notice of availability of intervenor funds will be issued, and a deadline for requesting funds will be established. A procedural conference will be held the following day at 1:00 pm at the same location. The purpose of the conference is to identify interested parties and issues for adjudication, to discuss a procedural schedule, to allow the Examiners to ask questions and make rulings on requests for intervenor funds, and to consider any other matters appropriately raised at the procedural conference.
Evidentiary hearings to consider the evidence provided by the Applicant and any participating parties will be scheduled by the Examiners at a later date, as needed. After the conclusion of evidentiary hearings and consideration of summaries of parties’ positions, the Examiners may issue a recommended decision for the Siting Board’s consideration.
Methods for Commenting on the Case
There are opportunities to attend public outreach events to learn about the proposed Project and provide comments. Comments may be made at the public statement hearing to be held on February 19, 2019, or may be submitted through the methods below:
- Compliance: If a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need is granted for the Project, it moves into the compliance phase. This phase includes three elements: pre-construction compliance, DPS on-site compliance and long-term compliance. The pre-construction element includes filing and review of final engineering and design documents and obtaining permits and approvals prior to construction. Upon commencement of construction, DPS Staff inspects site conditions and construction practices to ensure compliance requirements are met. Finally, a project’s Certificate may require long term compliance regarding the operation, maintenance and decommissioning of the project.
- Via the Department Website: Comments may be entered directly into the case via the www.dps.ny.gov website, by entering Case 16-F-0559 in the Search option found on the homepage. After opening the case, enter comments in the “Post Comments” section located at the top of the page.
Comments submitted via these alternate means are requested by February 28, 2019, but comments may be submitted and will be considered throughout the pendency of this proceeding. All comments will become part of the record considered by the Siting Board.
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- Via Mail or E-Mail: Submit comments electronically to Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at email@example.com or by mail to Secretary Burgess at the New York State Department of Public Service, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223-1350. Comments delivered in these manners should reference the Bluestone Wind Project (Case 16-F-0559).
- Via the Toll-free Opinion Line: Individuals may choose to submit comments by calling the Commission’s toll-free Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This line is set up to receive in-state calls 24 hours a day. Callers leaving comments should reference Case 16-F-0559, Bluestone Wind Project. Comments received via the Opinion Line are not transcribed, but a summary is provided to the Siting Board for their consideration.