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Why Somerset is sought for Lighthouse Wind project

Location is everything when it comes to Apex’s siting of the Lighthouse Wind Project.

Taylor Quarles, development manager for Apex on the Lighthouse Wind project, said because of the way wind flows between Lakes Erie and Ontario, the area in Somerset and Yates is a good spot for wind turbines.

There’s also access to transmission, like electric lines to the grid, within the project area.

“This wind project and the coal plant in Barker can easily operate simultaneously, because the electric lines are big enough to handle both,” Quarles said.

Also, the area is primarily agricultural – close to 80 percent of the land area in their proposed project is agricultural.

“Wind and agricultural land go hand-in-hand,” Quarles said. “You can’t just put up a wind project anywhere.”

Each turbine will take up approximately 1/2 an acre, including its access road, Quarles said.

“For an agricultural land owner, we’re taking very little of their land away and giving them guaranteed revenue, which is drought resistant,” Quarles said. “They can count on the turbines.”

Quarles estimates the project will provide taxing jurisdictions a total of more than $1.5 million per year.

“That’s money that can go toward improving services in the town, money they can contribute to schools, infrastructure, emergency services, and ultimately contribute in a big way to the tax base,” he said.

Quarles said New York has 25 operating wind projects. He encourages anyone to visit one.

“These are, by and large, well-received,” he said.

Wind energy is also the cleanest and cheapest form of energy you can build in Western New York, he said. “Turbines make the wind project net positive in six months.”