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Wind power company offers grant program in Orleans County

Apex Clean Energy, the company planning to build a 33-turbine wind farm in the Orleans County town of Barre, has opened a community grant program. 

“This is a difficult time for all New Yorkers and we want to step up and do what we can to support both short-term needs and long-term investments in Barre and Orleans County,” said Carmen O’Keefe, project developer for Heritage Wind, the name of the wind farm project. “This grant program gives us a meaningful way to support the things that this community decides it needs most.”

The company is making $4,000 available for grants each quarter of the year, with applications for the first quarter due April 30. If an application demonstrates sufficient need, the company said it may not wait until the deadline to make an award. 

Grants will be considered for projects in Barre that promote these areas: healthy communities, economic development, environmental sustainability and promoting education. Details on the categories and information on how to apply are available online at

Apex has submitted its application to build the project to the state, which it expects will determine whether the application is sufficient or needs more information around June. Once the application is deemed complete, a company spokesman said, a 12-month clock begins in which the state decides whether to approve the project. 

Apex originally had also proposed another nearby project, Lighthouse Wind, in the nearby towns of Somerset, Niagara County,  and Yates, but has not submitted an application to the state for that project. 

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Wind project seeks construction approval in Orleans County

Heritage Wind is moving forward on its plans for a 33-tower wind farm in the Orleans County town of Barre and just gave public notice that it plans to submit a construction application to the state Jan. 31.

The project is one of two that Apex Clean Energy has under consideration for Western New York, though the Lighthouse Wind project in Somerset, Niagara County, and Yates, Orleans County, is temporarily on hold. A third project, Stockbridge Wind in Madison County, is also planned.

The Heritage Wind project, if built, would involve 33 wind turbines generating a combined 185 megawatts, or enough power to supply 45,000 homes. A spokesman said similar projects have taken three to six months to get to a public hearing stage. Public hearings would be held in the project area. Heritage would hope to begin construction in 2022.

The project would also provide revenue for landowners hosting the turbines and construction jobs.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced this month orders to the state Public Service Commission and the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority to develop reduced pricing structures for developers of alternative power projects such as wind in order to encourage further development of those energy sources.

Cuomo has set a goal of zero carbon emissions from the generation of electricity in New York by 2020. As a result, his policies have been shoring up wind and solar power as an alternative to burning coal, oil and gas.

Additional information on Heritage Wind’s application, which is going to a state siting board, was not available. Information on the company is available on the Heritage Wind website.

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Apex Clean Energy holds off on one wind power project, continues another

Apex Clean Energy has decided to put one of its two proposed wind power projects in Orleans and Niagara Counties on hold.

The company announced earlier this week that it will not seek a permit this year as planned for the Lighthouse Wind project, in the towns of Yates, Orleans County, and Somerset, Niagara County. However, the company still plans to move forward this year on its Heritage Wind project, in the town of Barre, Orleans County.

The Lighthouse Wind project as drawn now would install 47 turbines, with 39 of them in Somerset and eight in Yates. The Heritage Wind project is seeking 33 turbines, all in the town of Barre.

At least two groups have issued negative responses to the news, with one lamenting economic benefits that could be lost by stalling the project, and another saying the utility company should drop the Lighthouse project all together.

A statement sent by Susan Campbell, team coordinator  for the Lakeshore Mothers and Others Out Front, read in part, “We are disappointed to hear about Apex’s decision to not submit a permit application for Lighthouse Wind in 2019. This large scale renewable energy project holds great promise to bring economic opportunity to the towns of Somerset and Yates.  Upstate New York communities with local wind projects have experienced tax relief, increased school funding, and economic growth. Yet our town leaders have fought this economically and environmentally sound project for years.”

The Save Our Shores, which has staunchly opposed the turbines, issued a statement through a media spokesman saying, “We renew our call for Apex to end this project immediately.  (The) announcement causes further havoc, anxiety and unrest among residents who have clearly said they oppose installation of these massive industrial wind turbines. … Apex is not saying they’re pulling this project; once again, they’re simply pushing it back, as they’ve been doing for years.  Apex refuses to admit this project is done.  It’s time to end it, once and for all.”

Apex, based in Arlington, Va., did not explain its reason for holding off on the Lighthouse project.

“Though we are not able to offer a more specific application timeline, we will provide stakeholders with updated information regarding permitting actions, adjustments in design and anticipated scheduling as that information becomes available,” the company said in its statement.

“Lighthouse Wind website will remain active and project information will continue to be accessible at our consolidated Western New York development office at 49 North Main Street, Albion, NY.”

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