First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, recognized the fifth anniversary of successful commercial operations at its 125 megawatt (MW) Cohocton Wind project in Steuben County, New York. Construction of the 50 turbine project began in the fall of 2007, and Cohocton Wind began commercial operations in January of 2009. The project produces enough clean, cost-competitive energy to power over 35,000 homes each year.
'As our largest operating wind project in the Northeast, and our second project to achieve commercial operations in New York, Cohocton Wind has been an integral part of our generation portfolio and we are very proud to recognize this milestone,' said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. 'In the five years since the project went online, as well as in the development and construction periods, we are thrilled to see how this project has not only delivered renewable, cost-competitive energy to ratepayers, but has also served as a significant source to further local economic development for the Town of Cohocton and surrounding Steuben County communities while supporting New York's ambitious clean energy goals.'
Since 2009, the Cohocton Wind project has provided significant local revenue and benefits by generating more than 200 jobs during construction, providing for 10 permanent operational positions, and helping to stimulate the local business economy. Cohocton Wind also provides substantial tax revenue for the Town of Cohocton, generating a total of at least $14 million in tax payments over a period of 20 years, with almost $4 million paid in the first five years. It also serves as a source of tax revenue for local schools, Town of Cohocton Special Districts, and Steuben County government, thereby reducing pressure on property taxes while helping to improve schools and strengthen local services.
To date, the town of Cohocton has been able to reduce property taxes by 60 percent, purchase all new highway equipment, pay off all debts, improve the local community park, start a new paid ambulance service, rebuild aging infrastructure, and generally improve services. Below is a summary of some of the notable milestones achieved during the five years of successful commercial operations of the Cohocton Wind project.
Project Benefits and Highlights
- The renewable power generated has been supplying clean, renewable electricity to approximately 35,000 New York homes annually since the project went online.
- The Cohocton Wind project provides significant local revenue, including over $14 million in tax payments to the Town of Cohocton over the course of 20 years. The property tax revenues fund county infrastructure, conservation, and economic development projects.
- In addition to the payments to the Town, First Wind also makes annual lease payments to landowners.
- Based on data recently published by the U.S. EPA's Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (E-GRID), generating an equivalent amount of electric energy from a traditional fossil fuel burning facility would have required about 2,213,000 barrels of oil or 637,400 tons of coal over the five year period, yet has none of the associated toxicity, health, or cost issues.
- As an active member of the Cohocton community, First Wind has donated over $50,000 to local food pantries, the Cohocton Lego Robotics Club, the Cohocton Lions Club, the Cohocton Fire Department, the Cohocton Historical Society, the Sons of the American Legion Post 805, multiple Wayland Cohocton Central School programs, and others.
- First Wind provided $150,000 toward the revitalization of The Larrowe House, which is a local historic landmark.
- Each year First Wind has provided a $3,000 scholarship to a graduating senior from Wayland Cohocton Central School.
In addition to the 125 MW Cohocton Wind project, First Wind also operates the combined 35 MW Steel Winds I and II projects in Lackawanna and Hamburg Counties, New York, along the shores of Lake Erie.
About First Wind
First Wind develops, finances, builds and operates utility-scale renewable energy projects throughout the United States. Based in Boston, First Wind currently operates wind power facilities in the Northeast, the West and Hawaii, with combined capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) - enough to power about 300,000 U.S. homes each year. For more information on First Wind, please visit www.firstwind.com or follow us on Twitter @FirstWind.