Sierra Club states its support for Lighthouse Wind project
The NYS Sierra Club’s Atlantic Chapter Executive Committee unanimously endorsed the Apex Clean Energy, Inc. wind project as environmentally sound. Apex’s October 2 presentation outlined issues of property values, siting, environmental questions, jobs, tax benefits to localities, and the lengthy approval process itself. These studies are available on the Apex website.
Some 47 Vestas 4.2 megawatt turbines are proposed for a capacity of 197 megawatts. Farmers and landowners will be paid substantial royalties for turbine leases which will help keep farming profitable and maintain the agricultural nature of the region. The agrarian productivity will be maintained up to the turbine towers. Apex must maintain a bond to cover the unlikely event that the turbines would need to be removed.
There have been over 10 major studies in the United States and Canada of property values near wind turbines, including a review of 122,000 home sales in densely populated Massachusetts. Wind farms are without effect, or a slightly increased home values. Wind farms expand the local economic pie driven by their tax and community benefit payments.
Setback distances of homes and businesses of non-participating landowners will be at least 1/3 mile, and their property lines will be more than 650 feet from a turbine. The Barker School would be located more than a mile from the turbines.
Non-participating landowners will experience – at most – a sound level equivalent to that emitted by an air conditioning system in a large school hall, or a babbling brook.
Apex is regulated by NYS requirements of Articles 10 and 11, the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Apex is using the results of over 250 studies – including their own 2-year study – of avian migration and habitat, to minimize impacts. These include reducing or halting operations during migratory periods, and continuous avian monitoring. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation are coordinating with Apex’s studies. The National Audubon Society reports that climate change is by far the greatest threat to birds. Independent studies find that fossil fuel production causes many more bird losses than wind turbines per generated megawatt of electricity.
The Sierra Club sees the development of sustainable, renewable energy as necessary. With the threat of climate change highlighted by the National Climate Assessment – written by 13 Federal agencies including the Department of Defense – Apex’s wind project is one of many important pieces to the solution.
Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter
Energy Committee Chair