Western New York’s tallest building stands in downtown Buffalo, and the Xerox Tower in Rochester is just under 450 feet tall. However, the cluster of turbines on a giant wind farm planned for Orleans County would eclipse those buildings by another 15 stories.
“We are giving farmers another source of income. They can farm the wind,” said Cat Mosley of Apex Clean Energy.
Should Apex Energy be granted its planned wind farm in the heart of Orleans County, it would supply 200 megawatts worth of power and cover 10,000 acres.
“For a project like this, we can bring over $1 million yearly to the community, to the town, to the county, and to the school district,” Mosley continued.
After concern arose from community members, Apex responded by cutting the number of turbines in half. But to do that without the rolling hills that help windfarms like the one in Wyoming County, Apex proposed building the tallest windmills the land can hold.
The top of the blade span would rise beyond 650 feet.
Kerri Richardson takes a model on the road with her to help neighbors understand what could be coming.
“This would be an industrialization of our community,” said Richardson said.
The head of Clear Skies Above Barre would see one turbine built across the street from her 19th century farmhouse. Six more would wind in the field beyond her barn.
“Don’t get confused and think this is an extension of agriculture, because it’s not agricultural,” said Richardson. “This is an industrializaton. This is energy production.”
Barre’s leaders hold the cards. For Heritage to roll, they would have to alter law that restricts tubine height. Supervisor Sean Pogue doesn’t want to run a ghost town.
“I think we could see a big financial boost, for everybody, not just the select few who have signed leases and get the extra money from Apex,” said Progue.
Apex will need a deal to make way for its giants. It hopes to submit a plan to the state in May, which could open the fields of Barre to wind energy in 2021.
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