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News article from Apex meeting warrants some clarifications

Posted 4 October 2018 at 2:33 pm

Editor:

I wish to provide some clarification to your recent article regarding the Lighthouse Wind presentation at the Lyndonville School on October 2.

First, your article correctly states the nameplate rating of the facility at 197.4 megawatts (mW). Information regarding the actual output was conveniently omitted by Apex representatives.  Over the course of a year, output will average about 60 mW due to the variable nature of wind.  That’s about one tenth the capacity of the existing Somerset plant.  During the summer months, when wind speeds are generally lower, and when demand for electricity is highest, output will average 25 to 30 mW.  On those steamy calm summer days when you want to crank up your air conditioner and swimming pool pump, output will be near zero.

Mr. Williamson stated that the facility will make the towns “..a high value area to live and work.”  Hard to believe that people leaving a once quiet but now industrialized area would result in a high value area.

Mr. Williamson touted a 1.5 million dollar annual tax payment to the six taxing jurisdictions in the project area. That number is based on their proposed Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT).  Given the objections from the towns and counties affected by the project, it is highly unlikely that a PILOT arrangement will be accepted. More likely is the idea that the facility will be taxed as an industrial facility, which would result in 6 to 9 million dollars in annual revenue. That, at least, would result in some real benefit to the communities. You can be sure that Apex will fight tooth-and-nail to avoid that type of arrangement.

Apex advised that 200 to 300 construction jobs would be created over the course of 6 to 8 months of construction.  Conveniently missing from the discussion, although asked, was a response to a question regarding how many of those jobs would be from local workforces.  It is also worth asking whether those local jobs would be under prevailing wage agreements or at lowest possible wages.

The 41 studies that Apex must conduct as part of the Article X application are not all environmental studies.  In fact, only a few fit this category. Others deal with electrical production, construction and other unrelated areas.

Mr. Williamson pointed out at the beginning of the meeting that this public meeting was not part of the Article X process (read that as “we’re doing this out of the goodness of our hearts”) but at the conclusion of the meeting, stated that the notes from the meeting will be submitted to the DPS as part of their Article X requirements. Which one is it?

Finally, only a few questions were answered by the Apex panel of “experts” at the meeting.  No opportunity for public discussion was offered. The audience was advised that all (repeat all) unanswered questions will be answered on the Lighthouse Wind web site after November 2.  Anyone want to take a bet on that?

Steve Royce

Appleton