Be wary of pro-turbine pitches from leaseholders, who stand to gain financially from projects

Posted 1 November 2019 at 9:22 am


It is not surprising that a leaseholder would attack my cautionary letter to Barre as there can be very large sums of money involved for leaseholder residents. They are well paid for the impact that the turbines will have on their property.

Our experience from Apex in Somerset and Yates is that they consider leaseholders as project “participants,” have special meetings with them, and give them information others do not have.  This included information that Apex did not give to our town boards and town supervisors. The information that the PILOT Apex is seeking is 20 years actually makes my case stronger because that means that there is a far less financial benefit each year.

Notice that the Heritage Wind website mentions 30 years of benefits to leaseholders and a vague 25-year benefit to the region. It’s lack of clarity is not reassuring. And there is no guarantee as to how long these industrial wind turbines will actually operate.

The leaseholder made a great deal about the host community agreement but that is also included in the total dollar value Apex advertised. If Apex is planning to make a large settlement with the town that means they are planning on a smaller PILOT and there will be far less for the school. So, cut back on plans for the school items listed in the Apex ad.

Relying on the Apex website for Heritage Wind isn’t a thorough information source. Believing that the PILOT will increase over time does not take into account what has happened in Cazenovia with Fenner Wind or the Tug Hill Plateau with Maple Ridge. Those wind companies wanted to cut the value of their projects to a small fraction of their true value – a 97% reduction in the Maple Ridge case.

Maple Ridge is still pending and Fenner has settled for half of taxes the town expected after their original 15-year PILOT ended. This is happening with wind projects across the U.S. – California, Texas, Iowa – to lower the amount of money paid to the towns. Don’t hold your breath that your PILOT payments will increase. They may actually decrease over time.

The leaseholder advised people to visit the Apex website for Heritage Wind. If you are going to take the time to do that take a look at other Apex projects and you will see that each project’s website is a cookie cutter format of all the rest. Any site will do – just substitute the title Heritage Wind on any site.

After that viewing, visit the opposition websites and read about both sides of the issue – not just the Apex sales pitch. Read about sleep deprivation, infrasound, light flicker, turbine fires, ice throw, blade breakage and tower collapses (component liberation is the spin on that one), view one of the movies created by people who have the horror of living too near turbines, or read about the wholesale killing of eagles, bats, and migrating birds. Then remember that the turbines they are proposing for Barre are hundreds of feet taller (with substantially longer blades) than most in the United States.

I wrote my letter of caution because Apex has stated that they plan to build wind turbines from one end of Lake Ontario to the other. I do not want Western New York to be turned into an industrialized nightmare.

Industrial wind turbines produce only a tiny fraction of the electricity that they claim to and it is a highly subsidized product that cannot get to New York City where it is needed. There is much to be lost and not enough to be gained in either electricity or money. Leaseholders and shareholders will benefit, the rest will suffer. Beware of advice given by a leaseholder.

Elizabeth Wolanyk