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Tour of Sheldon wind farm confirmed concerns about project in Barre

Posted 2 May 2019 at 3:24 pm

Editor:

On Monday April 29, 2019, Heritage Wind LLC. hosted a tour of the High Sheldon Wind Farm to expose the community of the proposed Heritage Wind Project to the supposed benefits of an industrial wind project. There were about 42 people in attendance: 6 employed by Apex (and a relative), 2 friends of Apex employees, 8 lease signers from the proposed project area, others from the Yates area, and Sierra Club members.  My estimate is that, including myself, there were only 5 residents of Barre who were not lease signers.

I was not able to actively participate in the entire process, as I had my children with me and drove separately.  I missed the presentations that occurred on the bus. I also went to the address given to me for the second location and due to a “miscommunication” missed the actual tour of the 389’ tall industrial wind turbine located at a different address. During the lunch presentation we heard from the Invenergy Administrative Assistant, and Town of Sheldon Supervisor Brian Becker, who stated that he has family members who have signed leases. I was told by Cat Mosley, Apex Public Affairs Manager, that we would have the opportunity to speak with a leaseholder or residents of the community, but that was not the case.

Here is a comparison of the 2 projects as presented on February 28, 2019:

Town of Sheldon Proposed for the Town of Barre
Tip Height of the Turbines

Blade Length

389’

127’

680’

246’

Turbine Manufacturer GE (US Company) Nordex (German Company)
Turbine MW 1.5MW 4.6MW
Elevation The elevation of Sheldon is 1,512 feet. Sheldon appears on the Strykersville U.S. Geological Survey Map ~650ft
Company Invenergy- Company that built the project and has owned it for entire life of the project Apex Clean Energy (Heritage Wind LLC) does not own a single operating energy facility (has about 85 in development and recently sold 2 projects in the Midwest, before they were operating)
Number of Turbines 75 About 33
Pilot + Host Community Agreement ~$10,000/ MW plus % increase every year Amount proposed/ shared with the public from Heritage Wind LLC. $7500/MW in PILOT (nothing shared publicly about Host Community Agreement)

Sean Pogue, Barre town supervisor, made a comment to Spectrum News recently that he does not want to live in a “ghost town,” implying that he believes the turbines will increase our population, or at a minimum maintain.

After Sheldon Supervisor Becker shared his thoughts on how much the High Sheldon project has benefited his community, I asked if the population in the Town of Sheldon has grown since the project began. His response was that it was decreasing prior to the project, it has continued to decrease and that the age of the population has increased steadily.

He operates a bus garage, and the number of students he transports has decreased from over 600 students to now about 300 students. I asked him if business in the community has grown since the project began. His response was that it has not. In addition, Supervisor Becker said there are community members/families who after ten years are still adamantly opposed to the project.

When asked about the impact of turbines on birds and bats, an Invenergy administrative assistant explained that a study performed in the area didn’t show high mortality rates.  However, she stated that developers have learned not to site projects in known migratory pathways after seeing heavy bird mortality at California industrial wind project located within such an area. According to a radar study performed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the spring of 2013 (Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report Niagara, Genesee, Wayne and Jefferson Counties, New York), Barre is located in a large migratory bird pathway. This should be cause for concern.

Why Apex feels that touring people around the High Sheldon Wind Farm would make anyone a supporter of the Heritage Wind project is beyond me. If Sheldon is experiencing declining student and general population numbers and no business growth with turbines that are substantially smaller than those proposed in Barre, what does the future hold for us?

Kerri Richardson

President of Clear Skies Above Barre