Candidate for Yates town supervisor sees better options for community than wind turbines

Posted 8 September 2015 at 12:00 am


The Town of Yates has a significant challenge and a monumental opportunity. The challenge is how to take advantage of the green revolution we are witnessing without destroying our town with massive 570-foot tall industrial wind turbines.

The opportunity is to restart the renewable energy conversation and have smart, unbiased experts collaborate with our town. I ask you to consider two issues: economics and solar energy.

Economics: As I go door-to-door talking to folks about the industrial wind turbine proposal of Apex, I find some people who believe that the economic benefits outweigh the negatives. On the one hand, yes – individual land owners who sign leases would benefit, and there would be a certain amount of payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) going to the town.

On the other hand, the economic facts about industrial wind tell another story.

Fact: One out of every three dollars that the Apex’s of the world spend on these projects is taxpayer money. So if it costs a million dollars to build a turbine, why not give the town back the $300,000 and let us pursue efficient and less-intrusive renewable energy?

Fact: The closer the wind turbines are to homes and real estate, the more they negatively affect real estate values. With lower real estate assessments, the town would be receiving less tax revenue. Any offset of town taxes resulting from the PILOT would be quickly dissipated by less tax revenue from property assessments. This is not to mention the land owners who would receive much less than they’d hoped for from the sale of their property before wind turbines were built.

Fact: According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, existing wind turbine projects in New York State only effectively operate 24.7% of the time. Not a good balance sheet regarding cost benefit analysis.

Solar Energy: With SolarCity in Buffalo and the strong possibility of major nanotechnology companies locating just beyond the southern edge of Orleans County in the Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park, our area is poised to be a leader with regard to solar energy.

Did you know that – according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory – it takes 32-acres of solar panels to provide electricity for 1,000 homes? No health issues, negligible impact on migratory birds, no reduction of low-level flying areas for C-130s out of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, and no massive impact on real estate values in our town.

Now of course we would have to consider that solar energy is only available to be gathered during the day and that we would have to use up a small portion of our farmland (or rooftops) to build such a solar panel system. And certainly it would be costly. But with the technology getting better and cheaper – and with cutting edge companies in our own backyard – we might want to consider alternatives to industrial wind turbines.

Don’t forget to vote on Thursday, Sept. 10, Noon to 9 p.m.

Please vote: Simon – Riggi – Pratt!


Jim Simon
Candidate for Yates Town Supervisor