We who oppose the Apex “Clean Energy” project Lighthouse Wind, a proposed 600-foot, 70-unit commercial wind turbine installation in the townships of Somerset and Yates, have been accused of repeating myths about wind power that have been discredited by scientific research. Wrong!
After reviewing the current state of the commercial wind turbine industry, we have identified many undeniable facts attesting to the negative impact that a commercial wind turbine installation will have on our community. Further, we have made contact with individuals who have experienced firsthand the problems that are created by such installations, as they were unfortunate enough to reside among the turbines. Some have fled those areas. Others cannot.
We have concluded that Lighthouse Wind will inflict irreparable damage to our community and must be stopped. Regardless, myths and half truths exist which are self-serving to Apex “Clean Energy” and promoted by them.
These huge installations are called “wind farms,” thus instilling in our minds the mythical image of a quiet pastoral scene of cultivated lands and rolling pastures, perhaps with a few cows happily grazing. That is the image Apex wants to project. What they do is contrary to this image. Farming is about tilling the land, not killing the land. Lighthouse Wind is about killing the land.
We are told by Apex that Lighthouse Wind will generate enough power to supply 53,000 homes. This is at best a half truth. We are not told what happens when there is insufficient wind to generate meaningful power, which is about 70 percent of the time. We are not told that back-up power must be on standby. We are not told that the cost of standby power raises our electrical rates.
A trip to Tug Hill, to visit the Maple Ridge commercial wind turbine installation in Lewis County, is suggested to Lighthouse Wind opponents. There are many differences between Maple Ridge and Lighthouse Wind, making comparisons invalid. Maple Ridge is a complex of 195 commercial wind turbines located approximately 20 miles inland of the Lake Ontario shoreline, as opposed to Niagara and Orleans counties being shoreline communities. Lewis County is the fourth least-populated county in the state of New York, with a population density of 19 people per square mile, as opposed to the Somerset/Yates population densities of 67 to 72 people per square mile. The wind turbines at Maple Ridge are 390 feet high, as opposed to Lighthouse Wind turbines which will be as high or higher than 600 feet. Further, there is a stark difference between driving through an industrial wind turbine complex and actually living and working among the turbines. One Lewis County farmer is quoted as saying, “wind towers and their access roads have made farming a nightmare.”
With regard to the carbon footprint of commercial wind turbines, a study was completed in 2013 by STT that concluded, “wind turbines will incur far more carbon dioxide emissions in their manufacture and installation than what their operational life will ever save.” The methodology behind this study is solid. Information such as this should not be trivialized.
The effects on wildlife have been found to be particularly significant for Lighthouse Wind, as has already been pointed out to Apex in a letter dated May 6, 2015, from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The letter states, in part, “The project is proposed in an area that is known to have very high avian activity as evidenced by studies completed to date. Based on that information the risk to wildlife from operating wind turbines could rise to severe levels.” The service also recommends in that same letter, “wind energy projects be constructed at least three miles from the shoreline of the Great Lakes to reduce this risk.” Ignoring this advice, Apex pushes on in a highly unsuitable location.