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Wind advocates sound off on project  

Susan Campbell, who lives in the Village of Lyndonville, said she purposely stayed away from the anti-side and pro-side. She said she read government literature. “I didn’t want any kind of bias. What I read made me realize this is an important thing to stand behind,” she said. “We have to do something before its too late to turn things around.” Now, she views them as “beautiful, peaceful turbines.”

Credit:  By Lauren D'Avolio | Niagara Gazette | www.niagara-gazette.com ~~

Like most residents of Somerset, Joe Fox has been thrust into the debate over the merits of the Lighthouse Wind project.

The project would place between 50 and 60 wind turbines in the area – about a third of them in Yates and two thirds of them in Somerset. The earliest they could start to go up would be 2020, Quarles said.

Fox, who has owned property in the town for 22 years and is a proponent for renewable energy, said he supports the project.

“I am pro the opportunity to have this kind of development in the town. We need a stabilizing tax base,” Fox said, later adding, “I have no interest in Apex whatsoever. I went to two wind farms and I found the turbines on those sites have extremely low impact. They’re silent, clean, very well-maintained.

“I’m not opposed to looking at them. That’s not a big deal to me. It’s not an intrusion. I don’t see that negatively impacting my property or anything else. It’s a non-starter.”

Susan Campbell, who lives in the Village of Lyndonville, said she purposely stayed away from the anti-side and pro-side. She said she read government literature.

“I didn’t want any kind of bias. What I read made me realize this is an important thing to stand behind,” she said. “We have to do something before its too late to turn things around.”

Now, she views them as “beautiful, peaceful turbines.” “Everyone will benefit because of the money that’s coming in,” she said. “It’s giving us income, especially in the Town of Yates. We’re pretty depressed here. We don’t have anything.”

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

John Knab, former town supervisor of Sheldon, in Wyoming County, said Sheldon has 75 windmills today. They’ve been able to eliminate town taxes for eight years. He said there are 284 windmills in Wyoming County.

This year, the windmills dropped about $1.5 million into Sheldon, he said.

“It’s been a real boost to the town,” Knab said. “And no one has had any adverse health effects because of the windmills.”

Floyd Koerner lives in Barker and describes himself as pro-wind. He grew up in Wyoming County and the Town of Eagle and others had windmills, he said.

As landowners, they’re talking two turbines. That means revenue for them, but also a tax base for the community, he said.

“I think windmills can be a symbiotic relationship between agriculture and wind energy production,” Koerner said. “From what I see in Wyoming County, they can farm right up to the windmills and the process of developing roads provides a good roadway for farmers to use in and out of their fields.”

OPPONENTS SOUND OFF

In response to this story, Pam Atwater of Save Our Shores issued a statement.

“The first evidentiary hearing was just held for a wind project under New York’s new siting law. The staff for the Public Service Commission has taken the position that an over-concentration of wind projects in Western New York makes new projects there unable to contribute meaningfully to the state’s environmental goals, and the adverse impacts on the local community and the local environment are significant and cannot be justified. It was shown, for example, that the developer’s noise assessment methods are novel and designed to reach the result the developer wants. But the agencies found the methods are not credible. Opponents of wind projects and New York agencies want to promote renewable energy, but they also have an obligation to site such projects responsibly. Putting a wind project in the midst of a migratory bird and bat flyway, too close to residential property, in a tourist area and within close proximity to an air base when the project cannot really contribute to environmental goals is bad policy and can be expected to elicit considerable opposition. It’s about siting.”

Previously, Virginia-based Apex spokeswoman Brooke Beaver dismissed SOS’ message as a case of “fearmongering.”

“The continued fearmongering regarding a potential BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure round) is unfounded and sensationalized. SOS is clearly questioning the authority and expertise of the U.S. military in reviewing renewable energy projects and their impact on military installations,” Beaver said in a written statement. “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.”

FINAL REPORT

For now, those on both sides of the project await the final project application, which will include details on the location and size of the turbines, Taylor Quarles, development manager for Apex on the Lighthouse Wind project. He expects a full year of review to follow.

Quarles said there will be 300 people working full-time for a year on the Lighthouse project. Later, there will be up to 13 full-time jobs for the life of the wind project. They’d all be hired locally. The majority of those 13 would be wind turbine technicians.

The total project investment would be between $300-$400 million, he said.

“Within the project area, we work with landowners of every size,” Quarles said. “We want every landowner regardless of their property size to benefit directly. My goal is that anyone who’s living in close proximity to a turbine should benefit from it.”

Source:  By Lauren D'Avolio | Niagara Gazette | www.niagara-gazette.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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