Town supervisors say Ontario wind project appears to be dead
The developers of a planned wind power project in Somerset and Yates informed town officials Wednesday night that they will not submit a formal application for state approval this year.
Although Apex Clean Energy won’t say so, Somerset Supervisor Daniel M. Engert said Thursday he believes the Lighthouse Wind project is dead.
“They’re pulling out,” Engert said. “I just wish they would do it in a more transparent fashion.”
“I think it’s over, but they just won’t admit it,” Yates Supervisor James J. Simon said. He called on Apex to officially cancel the plan out of “professional courtesy.”
Last Friday, Engert emailed Paul Williamson, senior development manager for Lighthouse Wind, saying he had heard the company was giving up after five years of trying to build a cluster of wind turbines near Lake Ontario.
“Apex Clean Energy has decided not to advance the Lighthouse Wind permit application for a 2019 submittal at this time,” Williamson responded. “We will provide both Somerset and Yates with updated information regarding permitting actions, adjustments in design, and anticipated scheduling as that information becomes available.”
Williamson did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.
Somerset, with some aid from Niagara County, has spent about $300,000 on legal fees and expert witnesses to fight the project.
An anti-Apex citizen group, Save Ontario Shores, issued a statement criticizing the company’s announcement for causing “further havoc, anxiety and unrest among residents” by pushing back the project instead of abandoning it. “It’s time to end it, once and for all,” the group said.
A pro-wind group in Orleans County, Lakeshore Mothers and Others Out Front, said it was “disappointed” by Apex’s announcement, which it called a “pause.” Upstate New York communities with local wind projects have experienced tax relief, increased school funding, and economic growth,” coordinator Susan Campbell contended.
Last October, Apex unveiled a plan for locating 47 wind turbines in the two towns along the Lake Ontario shore: 39 in Somerset and eight in Yates. Each was to be 591 feet tall, including the rotors. Their total electrical output was to be 197 megawatts.
Both towns fought the project after taking surveys that showed about twothirds of their residents opposed it. But others signed leases with Apex for potential turbine sites or pathways for infrastructure to connect the turbines with the power grid.