Lighthouse Wind submits scoping document for turbine project in Yates, Somerset

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Company says it will create 13 new jobs, pump $2.5M annually to local governments, leaseholders

Apex Clean Energy – This map, included in Apex Clean Energy’s Preliminary Scoping Document, shows the area where the company wants to put wind turbines in Yates and Somerset.

YATES – Apex Clean Energy has filed a preliminary scoping document with the NYS Public Service Commission for a wind turbine project along 12 miles of Lake Ontario shoreline in Yates and Somerset.

The project would extend inland by 3 to 4 miles, the company said, in a community with residential, agricultural, lakefront, and seasonal recreational land. The company has been working on the controversial project for more than a year.

Apex says Lighthouse Wind will be a 201 meagwatt project. It will have up to 71 turbines if they are 2.85 MW each or 61 turbines if they are 3.3 MWs.

The company says it will pay leaseholders $1 million annually and will direct $1.5 million annually in payments to the two towns, school districts and counties in the project area.

The Scoping Document can be viewed on the PSC website by clicking here. Apex also has links to documents on its website (click here).

The company in the scoping document  presents its studies and responses for environmental issues with noise and vibration; geology, seismology and soils; terrestrial ecology and wetlands; visual impacts; socioeconomic effects; and other issues.

The project will include temporary and permanent facilities, Apex says in the document, including wind turbines, access roads, buried electrical collection lines, a substation/point of interconnection with the NYS power grid, wind measurement towers, temporary construction staging and storage areas, and an operations and
maintenance facility.

Dan Spitzer, an attorney for the Town of Yates, has asked the Public Service Commission to extend the deadline beyond Dec. 14 for comments about the Public Scoping Document. He wrote a letter on Nov. 24 to Kathleen H. Burgess, secretary for the PSC. He asked for an additional 21 days until Jan. 6.

“It is respectfully submitted that this request for a 21-day extension is reasonable, will not delay these proceedings, nor result in prejudice to any party,” Spitzer said in his letter. “Conversely, without the extension, the Town’s ability to participate at this stage of the proceeding would be hindered.”

James Simon, who was elected Yates town supervisor earlier this month, asked that the Public Service Commission extend the comment deadline for 90 days. He sent a letter on Nov. 24 to Burgess.

“Given the results of the recent election in Yates and the very limited information being provided to the citizens of the town by Apex Clean Energy, I recommend the time period for filing PSS comments be extended to 90 days in order to allow for the newly constituted board (with two new members) to be able to consult experts and the citizens of the town as to whether the proposed studies and methodologies are adequate and exhaustive,” Simon writes in a letter to the Public Service Commission.

The state has a new way for siting large-scale wind energy projects. It gives the final say to a seven-member Siting Committee that includes two members from the local project area.

Yates and Orleans County officials have been given 15 days to nominate four people to be considered as local members of the committee. Simon has asked that the deadline for nominating local residents be pushed back to after Jan. 1 when the new Town Board takes office.

The ad hoc committee reviewing the project will be chaired by the state Department of Public Service and includes the leaders of four other state departments: Department of Environmental Conservation, NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), Empire State Development and the Department of Health.

State officials have five of the seven votes.

Somerset and Niagara County officials also can nominate local residents to be on the committee.