Industrial Wind Siting: Getting Tough (Part 1: New York)

Abstract: Governor Andrew Cuomo, who supports an energy quotaforcing New York to buy half of its energy from qualifying renewables by 2030, does not see the problems that would be caused by coating Upstate, Central and Western New York with sprawling, low-output, intrusive, bird-unfriendly wind turbines. All would be paying for the high upfront costs of the unneeded investment, including additional power lines that will be necessary to run the intermittent, unreliable wind energy from rural New York to New York City. Fortunately, the people are fighting back with proposed ordinances against wind turbines. This is not only good for residents and the environment, it is good for ratepayers across the state and taxpayers across the nation. (Part II tomorrow will overview Ohio’s wind turbine siting debate.)

The New York towns of Yates and Somerset are faced with the prospect of up to 70 massive turbines, 600–630 feet tall, which would tower over everything else. The project by APEX Clean Energy, Lighthouse Wind LLC, now has to deal with the implications of a new 54-page bylaw by Somerset that could well prove to be insurmountable.

Yates has already unanimously rejected the project. Stated Town Supervisor James Simon: “It puts the political and municipal opposition all in a monolithic setting.Both towns, both counties, both boards of health, Sen. Ortt, U.S. Congressman Collins, they’re against this project.”

Enter Somerset’s strongly placed and well researched proposed bylaw. The WIND ENERGY zoning bylaw is being viewed as thoughtful and detailed.  Here are some of our favorite inclusions or clauses (at times paraphrased or variously quoted). (The entire bylaw proposal, to be revisited Feb 1, is here.)

The preamble states the importance of what communities have faced with industrial wind proliferation:

read more: Master Resource,By Sherri Lange — February 2, 2016

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