Six False Claims from the February 1 Wind Ordinance Hearing in Somerset

More than twenty people spoke out on February 1 against the proposed wind ordinance and in favor of the Lighthouse project. Their statements to the town board left no doubt that the law the board is proposing is in fact a ban on wind energy, and thus a ban on Somerset ever enjoying the benefits of a wind project.

A number of folks also spoke in favor of the wind ban, and in the process made quite a few misstatements. Below are just a few that we’d like to clarify...

1. Claim: The proposed wind law provides reasonable, well-crafted setbacks for wind projects in Somerset.

Truth: The proposed wind law is effectively an outright ban on wind energy. A careful analysis of the law shows that it would only allow for between 5 and 10 turbine locations in all of Somerset and would not allow those turbines to be connected to the grid, thus making them useless. The law is intended to ban Lighthouse and any other wind project from being built.

2. Claim: Turbines will create a climate that will deter business.

Truth: On the contrary, there are many established and cutting-edge businesses that have embraced the country’s move toward renewable energy. In the past decade, hundreds of small and large companies alike have committed to renewable energy, including Ikea, Facebook, Google, and Walmart. Innovation will bring interest and recognition to the area.

3. Claim: Wind turbines only produce power when wind speeds are 27 to 35 mph.

Truth: The minimum wind speed needed to generate usable power is typically between 7 and 10 mph for most turbines.

4. Claim: Apex is creating “secret agreements” with landowners and did so before ever saying anything to the town.

Truth: Memorandums of Agreement are filed with the county immediately after a lease is recorded and are available to the public for review. Each participating parcel and landowner is identified in this publicly available documentation kept by Orleans and Niagara Counties. Exact component locations will be clearly shown in the final application once all studies have been completed.

Apex introduced the project to town leaders in late 2013. Following this outreach, the project was mentioned in the November 2013 town board meeting minutes. It was not until over four months after these initial meetings, in April 2014, that the first lease with a landowner was signed. The Apex team has been, and will continue to be, transparent in our conversations with residents and other stakeholders.

5. Claim: Turbines have a 15-year lifespan.

Truth: Today’s turbines have been designed and built to last 25 or more years.

6. Claim: The new law doesn’t consider whether, if Apex sells the project, the term “applicant” will apply to the new owner and whether all landowner protections will stay in place.

Truth: The potential sale of this project to another entity should be no cause for concern. Every agreement and contract signed by the project prior to any potential transfer of ownership will remain in place if a transfer takes place. Commitments to landowners, local governments, and the State of New York will remain in place and fully enforceable under the law. Furthermore, if Lighthouse Wind were to be transferred to another owner, the project would still be required to meet all compliance requirements defined by the Article 10 Siting Board.