NYPA Selects Proposals for Wind Power Purchases to Help Support Two Projects Upstate

Michael Saltzman

June 24, 2003 


HOLTSVILLE—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has selected proposals from two wind power developers for purchase of up to 50 megawatts (mw) of electricity from projects to be built in Western New York and the Finger Lakes region, as part of the state’s efforts under Governor George E. Pataki to promote environmentally clean power, a more diversified mix of electric-generating facilities and reduced dependence on foreign oil.

The NYPA Trustees, meeting at the Richard M. Flynn Power Plant here Tuesday, authorized Power Authority staff to proceed with final negotiations and execution of agreements with Chautauqua Windpower, LLC, and Windfarm Prattsburgh, LLC, for them to provide wind energy for the 10-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2005.

“Wind energy potential in various parts of New York State, combined with continued improvements in the technology, support development of this renewable source of power,” said Louis P. Ciminelli, NYPA chairman. “The benefits go well beyond improved air quality and energy security, since new wind turbine generators also mean more construction jobs and increased revenues for landowners, businesses and local governments.”

In his 2003 State of the State Address, Governor Pataki proposed that New York State establish standards to ensure that at least 25 percent of the electricity purchased in the state by 2013 is generated from renewable resources such as wind power. He cited the goal of making New York one of the leading states in the country in generating “green power.”

The Power Authority’s purchase of 50 mw would be divided between Chautauqua Windpower and Windfarm Prattsburgh, with the total amount no more than half of the rated output of the wind power projects involved. The remainder would be sold by the two developers to private-sector customers.

The trustees’ action follows NYPA staff’s competitive review of bids by nine companies, submitted in response to the Authority’s Request for Proposals (RFPs) last December for the wind power.

Various criteria entered into the selection of the two winning bidders. They included cost of power; economic benefits to local areas from new wind projects, e.g., additional jobs; demonstrated financial and technical ability to advance proposed projects; and environmental license considerations.

Chautauqua Windpower, a subsidiary of Jasper Energy, LLC, will be installing 34 wind turbine generators on a 1,700-acre site straddling the Towns of Westfield and Ripley in Chautauqua County, for a total generating capacity of 51 mw.

Windfarm Prattsburgh, LLC, a joint venture of UPC Wind Partners, LLC, Global Winds Harvest, Inc., and Natsource, LLC, will be installing up to 67 turbine generators on multiple sites, totaling about 2,400 acres, several miles north and west of the Town of  Prattsburgh in Steuben County in the Finger Lakes region. The project will have a total capacity of up to 100 mw.

Both Chautauqua Windpower and Windfarm Prattsburgh will use 1-1/2-mw wind turbine generators whose variable-speed operation is designed to capture maximum amounts of energy and convert it to electrical power.

The two wind power projects will involve scores of new construction jobs, with the developers leasing the land for the turbine generators in rural areas from mostly local property owners. Before construction can begin, environmental assessments of the projects’ potential impacts must be completed, in accordance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

“One of the attractions of wind power and other renewable energy sources is that they keep energy dollars in the United States, instead of sending them overseas,” said Chairman Ciminelli. “That strengthens the economy, as well as the diversity of available sources of power and the overall reliability of electric systems.”

“Competitive cost of power received much attention in our competitive review of the wind power proposals,” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “However, various other factors were also considered, including timely completion of planned generating projects, local land-use impacts and the extent of potential economic benefits to localities and the state. We want to be sure that the power will be available when planned and that benefits accrue to the host communities.”

In 2002, the New York State Energy Planning Board approved a state energy plan recommending that NYPA competitively solicit bids for purchase of 100 mw of electric capacity from renewable energy sources.  

Governor Pataki has been steering a consistent course toward increasing the state’s reliance on renewable energy. In 2001, he issued Executive Order No. 111 requiring state agencies to use renewables for 10 percent of their electricity by 2005 and 20 percent by 2010.

NYPA’s wind power purchases will be part of a portfolio of renewable power provided to its Southeastern New York governmental customers who are subject to the requirements of the executive order. The power may also be offered to other Authority customers who are interested in renewable energy.

The Power Authority’s involvement with wind power complements its various other clean energy initiatives under the Governor’s leadership, including solar power installations, landfill gas power projects and hydrogen-based fuel-cell generating facilities.

The Power Authority is the nation’s largest nonfederal public power organization. Its five trustees are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate.