In this newsletter, we want to go back to some of the basics about what an industrial wind turbine siting would mean for our communities. The New York Power Up plan from which we get Article 10 is an example of policy being planned far from those who will live with the consequences.
Existing Projects in New York
There are currently 15 industrial wind projects over 50 MW that have been built in New York. They are located in 20 rural towns.
The largest of the existing projects is the Maple Ridge Wind Project with 195 turbines. The following is from a 2008 NPR article and the quotes are from people who live in the midst of this project:
John Yancey says, "You'll hear that whoosh, whoosh, whoosh," says Yancey, imitating the spinning blades of the turbines. The noise is not as loud as city traffic or low-flying airplanes, but Yancey says when the wind comes from the right direction, the sound penetrates his house, his bedroom, his consciousness.
"I don't sleep," he says.
John and a couple of his brothers are angry at their father for allowing seven turbines on his land. One brother grows corn and hay on his father's farm. He says the wind towers and their access roads have fragmented the land and made farming "a nightmare."
Then there's their brother Gordon, who owns a nearby inn that's popular with snowmobilers. He used to enjoy an unobstructed view of the Adirondacks. Now he looks out on the wind towers.
"They've taken away my peacefulness, my serenity, my ability to walk outside on my property and enjoy the quietness of the morning sun, the quietness of the setting sun," he says. Gordon Yancey barely speaks to his father anymore. "I feel that he sold the family out."
His father, Ed Yancey, says there's a simple reason he agreed to windmills on his land: He receives lease payments of more than $45,000 a year. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89432191
Proposed Projects in New York
In addition to the existing 15 projects in 20 towns there are currently 30 industrial wind projects over 50 MW that are in the NYISO queue that are proposed to be built in 61 rural towns across the state. This includes four towns that have more than one project proposed. Eight new wind projects were filed in the NYISO interconnection queue in 2016.
The 61 towns include towns with populations from 78 to 8500 people. Sixty-one towns spanning 19 counties! That is more than triple the existing projects and more than triple the towns in which these will be located.
As well as the volume of existing and proposed projects, there is the issue of the size of the turbines. In the same way that new projects are multiplying in number, industrial wind turbines are also increasing in size every six months. Existing turbine towers in NY are largely the GE 1.5 MW models and those have a height of between 325 and 390 feet to the tip of the blade. The Maple Ridge Wind Project spans 4 towns, covers an area the size of Manhattan and has 195 turbines. It uses the Vestas V82 turbines that stand at 364 feet tall. Some of the newer projects use the 2.5 MW turbines that stand about 425 feet tall.
The turbines of today are well past 500 feet and may be as tall as 700 feet by the time upcoming projects are approved by the DPS. An Apex representative told our community that it would put in the largest land based turbine available at the time of the application and the models increase every 6 months. Apex has mentioned 615 feet or 654 feet but we know there are now designs over 700 feet tall.
New York City is the only place where you can get a sense of the size of these towers. There about 100 buildings over 600 feet tall in NY City. However, it cannot give you a sense of what it will mean to take 30 or 50 or 100 of these buildings and scatter them over the rural landscape. The rotor swept area is like taking a football field including the end zones and placing it up in the sky and spinning it so the tips go 200 miles per hour. And all with blinking lights at the top. These are much larger than the existing wind turbines you may have driven by in New York State; there is nothing on land to make a fair comparison.
That is the state we are in. No rural town is immune from these mammoth factories. As more wind projects are established, the information grows relating to the unintended consequences of living with industrial wind turbines near you. https://eerscmap.usgs.gov/windfarm/.
Our Continuing Fundraising Efforts: Why do we keep asking for money and why aren't we tax exempt? Every step of this process has meant that we must gather quality information to refute the claims made by Apex. We volunteer time, attend meetings and write letters but do not have all the expertise needed – we are volunteers who live in these communities. With your financial help we hire experts to help us determine how best to fight Lighthouse Wind, and to gather information and challenge statements made by Apex. If we didn't do this there would be a great deal more misinformation out there. Our work continues; your donations make it happen. Thank you so much!
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