Town su­per­vi­sors say On­tario wind project ap­pears to be dead

The Buffalo News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Thomas J. Pro­haska N E WS STA F F R EPORT ER

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.

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