A lease agreement between the Arkwright Wind Energy Land Owner’s Association and Horizon Wind Energy was signed Saturday afternoon during a brief ceremony at Horizon Wind Energy’s office on Church Street in Fredonia.
The agreement comes just two days before the Arkwright Town Board is expected to vote on a proposed change that would incorporate wind energy regulations into the town zoning code.
Arkwright residents have been divided over the prospect of allowing wind towers to be built in a region where many consider the landscape to be an asset worth protecting against modern encroachment.
Wind power proponents point to the economic and “clean energy” benefits that wind towers can provide.
A news release issued at the lease signing stated several wind energy providers were considered before the agreement was made with Horizon.
“After a long and in-depth process, we chose to work with Horizon Wind Energy because we felt they offered the best package for landowners and the community and they have proven experience in building successful wind farms,” said Chris Cannon, president of the Arkwright Wind Energy Land Owner’s Association.
“We view today as the official beginning of our wind farm here in Arkwright and we are very exited,” Cannon said. “We see this as an investment that will pay significant economic, health, and environmental dividends for the people of this town, county, and surrounding areas and their children for generations to come.”
Plans call for the majority of the proposed wind farm to be located in the town of Arkwright. Each of the land owners in the association will receive annual income for the wind turbines on their property. In addition, Horizon Wind Energy will be offering an economic benefit package that will include a Payment in Lieu of Taxes to Chautauqua County, the town of Arkwright, and the Forestville Central School District. Horizon expects the PILOT agreement to put over $300,000 into the local economy for at least 10 years after construction of the wind farm.
Patrick Doyle, Horizon WInd Energy’s Director of Development encouraged Arkwright residents who support the wind energy project to attend Monday night’s town board meeting.
“It is vitally important that the Town Board hear from the entire community,” he said.
By Steven Yunghans
Observer Staff Writer
11 February 2007
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