Apex expects to submit applications to state in 2019 for projects in Orleans, Niagara

Photo by Tom Rivers: Dave Phillips, Apex Clean Energy’s vice president of environmental, speaks on Wednesday during an open house at Apex’s office on Main Street in Albion. About 50 people attended the 90-minute open house and were encouraged to ask environmental-related questions. About 50 people attended the open house.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 January 2019 at 1:05 pm

(UPDATED at 9:32 a.m. on Jan. 21 to report that Apex is planning 33 turbines in Barre, and not 47.)

ALBION – Apex Clean Energy is working to submit its applications this year to the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment.

The company expects to submit the application this spring for 33 turbines in Barre as part of Heritage Wind, said Paul Williamson, an Apex project manager.

The company also is working on Lighthouse Wind, a project that proposes 47 turbines with 8 in Yates and 39 in Somerset. Apex has been working on that project longer than the one in Barre, but still has some environmental studies to do this spring. Once the company has those results, it can make the final studies for its application, which it hopes to submit to the Siting Board in the summer, Williamson said.

Provided photo: This group was outside the Apex office on Wednesday, distributing information about environmental concerns with industrial-size turbines.

Those applications could take 18 months to 2 years to review and will be subject to public hearings. The company also has to provide intervenor funds for the local municipalities and citizens groups to hire experts to review the application.

The Siting Board includes five leaders of state agencies – the chairman of Department of Public Service, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, commissioner of the Department of Health, chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and commissioner of Economic Development. There are also two ad hoc public members from the municipality where the project is proposed.

Apex sent a news release earlier this week seeking to clarify comments from Ben Yazman, the Heritage Wind project manager. He was quoted in the Orleans Hub last week after the Barre Town Board opted not to change its zoning for wind turbines, keeping the maximum turbine height at 500 feet and also not changing the setbacks. Apex would like to have the turbines tip height peak at 591 feet in Barre. Yazman last week said the company would pursue a waiver for the height through the Siting Board.

“Like other interested parties, we were surprised by the board action, and we share the goal of updating the law to ensure that it is reasonable, clear and protective of the health and welfare of all Barre residents,” said Neil Habig, senior director of Project Development for Apex Clean Energy.

The 2008 wind ordinance was passed more than 10 years ago and does not reflects the state of the modern wind facilities and does not benefit from advances in siting standards that have developed over the past decade, he said.

The company would like Barre to revise the law. Apex hasn’t decided if it will pursue a waiver for height.

“We feel it is very important for us to correct that misstatement,” Habig said. “It is our strong preference to continue working with the Town and Clear Skies Above Barre to update the existing wind ordinance to reflect modern wind technology and siting standards. We recognize that siting a wind facility can be contentious and complex, and we are committed to ensuring that the Town Board has the necessary resources at its disposal to make informed decisions if they can be persuaded to reconsider the wind law wind ordinance.”

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