Yates councilman urges Apex to formally end turbine project

Posted 20 January 2020 at 11:41 am


In 2013, Apex Clean Energy (a Charlottesville, Virginia-based renewable energy developer) quietly began approaching farmers and landowners in the rural, pristine towns of Yates and Somerset, New York to sign leases for an Industrial Wind Energy Project.

Historically, Yates and Somerset have always been rural, farming communities on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Residents of these towns as well as most of rural Western New York are fiercely self-reliant folks that bristle at any governmental agency telling them what is best for their communities.

Nevertheless, Apex covertly imposed itself on the communities of Yates and Somerset in 2013 with the proposed Lighthouse Wind Project. This project is a massive 201 MW, 47 wind turbine installation currently being discussed with the New York State Department of Service (NYSDPS) under the New York State Article 10 Administrative Law.

Article 10 was enacted by New York State Governor Cuomo in 2011 to meet a 50/30 initiative that would require New York to generate 50% of its energy via renewable sources by 2030.

As the Towns of Yates and Somerset became aware of the project in October 2014 (twelve months after leases began to be signed), a massive opposition to the project began in these towns that has grown dramatically over the ensuing six years.

Not only has the opposition force known as Save Ontario Shores (SOS) grown in size and strength, both Yates and Somerset Town Boards have remained unanimously opposed to APEX’s Lighthouse Wind Industrial Wind Turbine Emplacement Project.

Our towns were, are and will continue to remain fully and fervently opposed to Apex’s imposition on our communities. Clearly, given the strength of local laws and our “no Payment in Lieu of Taxes” (PILOT) resolution, the company is hoping that the State will allow waiving of local laws and regulations, as well as local constituent protections so that they overrun our towns with their unwanted and unwarranted Lighthouse Wind Project.

Due to our successful opposition, Apex informed their leaseholders in early 2019 that an Article 10 application would not be filed in 2019. Imagine, therefore, our collective dismay at Apex statements in the January 16, 2020 edition of Lockport New York Union Sun and Journal: “Apex…does not have an update as to whether it will submit an application in 2020.”

My question to the readers:

If the town where you choose to live your life is threatened by an industrialization project that will directly impact your health, livelihood, property value and environment, would you not be at least anxious about these proposed changes to your very quality of life? Now imagine that this question has hung over your town for the last six years with no end in sight, due to developer’s self-interest and State disinterest?

This is where we are in Yates and Somerset and enough is enough.

We call on APEX to:

1. Immediately withdraw the Lighthouse Wind Project (NYSDPS Matter:  14-F-0485) from the NYSDPS Article 10 process.

2. Immediately withdraw the Lighthouse Wind Project from the New York Independent System Operator Project Interconnection Queue.

3. Immediately remove the remaining Meteorological (MET) Tower from the Lighthouse Wind project area.

4. Immediately cancel all leases and pay the leaseholders what they are owed through the end of their lease contracts.

The majority of our town’s constituencies may have been on different sides of this issue with the leaseholders, but we are all neighbors. We have all suffered through this Apex era together and they deserve the lease payments they are owed.

Apex, six years is enough. Time for you to pull the plug on Lighthouse Wind.

John Riggi


Town of Yates