LYNDONVILLE – Progress toward a planned 200-megawatt wind turbine network in Yates and Somerset has slowed, but not for fear of impacts to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
Lighthouse Wind is working through the pre-application process under the state’s energy system siting policies, Apex Development Manager Taylor Quarles said. More than 20 stakeholders are developing stipulations for information that must be completed before a state-appointed committee decides to approve or reject the project, and that has gone slower than anticipated.
“We’ve had several sessions with state agencies and the towns,” said Quarles, who anticipates a stipulations document will be completed over the summer. “That will free us up to get the final application together later this year.”
Apex responded Friday to Save Ontario Shores, a citizens’ group opposing the project, and a billboard they purchased near the air base depicting a KC-135 tanker and a turbine with a message urging Cuomo to not gamble with the base’s future.
Quarles said linkage between wind mills and a potential base closure in future Department of Defense asset consolidation is unfounded.
“SOS is clearly questioning the authority and expertise of the U.S. military in reviewing renewable energy projects and their impact on military installations,” Quarles said. “DoD’s Siting Clearinghouse, which reviews wind projects for mission and safety compatibility, is managed by the same Assistant Secretary of Defense who manages BRAC. The DoD review process was designed so that DoD-approved wind farms would not negatively impact a base during BRAC.
“Leo Goff, who served in the Navy for 30 years and works on the Military Advisory Board with three and four star generals representing every branch of the armed forces, said, ‘Make no mistake, the Department of Defense is fully informed about projects like the wind farms in New York and will not approve them if they pose a risk to operations, nor will they impact future Base Realignment and Closure Decisions,’” Quarles’ statement continued.
Quarles said his company, which is also pursuing the Heritage Wind project in Barre, is putting up their billboards next week as part of outreach that includes sponsorships at the Orleans County 4-H Fair and other community events.
“Our messaging has been consistent about highlighting the benefits wind energy can have for education, for local landowners and communities,” Quarles said.