Heritage Wind is an industrial wind energy project by Apex Clean Energy. Apex wants to build +/- 33 Industrial Wind Turbines that are 650' - 680' in height in Barre, Orleans County, NY. They would be taller than any building in all of Western New York state and would be the tallest on land in the entire United States. The most recent project map by Apex proposes 33 turbines scattered across 22 square miles of residentially zoned countryside. Due to the flexibility given to Apex by NYS in the Article 10 process, the locations and sizes of the Industrial Wind Turbines could change without community input. We do not know their exact locations, size, how much electricity would be produced, or even who will ultimately own and operate the turbines because Apex has a history of selling projects after building them.
This interactive Google map lays out all the proposed turbines, land and easement leases that the current array includes. Note these are not the only leases signed, just the parcels that would be used in the current layout.
The Town of Barre has a population of ~2,200 people and only a fraction of land owners have signed a lease with Heritage Wind, LLC. Of the currently proposed 33 Industrial Wind Turbines, less than half of the land leases are with your Town of Barre neighbors. 18 land leases are with people who do NOT live in Barre and only 15 are with Barre residents. That is 55% of lease income going to non-Barre residents and outside our town. These are the 33 Proposed Industrial Wind Turbine Leaseholders as of September 26, 2019.
List of land lease and easement agreements on file as of September 26, 2019.
Apex Clean Energy, Inc. is an out of state corporation founded in 2009. They are based in Charlottesville, VA and operate as a subsidy of Apex Clean Energy Holdings, LLC. According to Apex representatives at a community meeting held in Albion on March 29, 2019, Apex only started building Industrial Wind Turbines in 2012 and has no experience with decommissioning them. Apex has a proven track record of developing industrial wind energy facilities and once it has qualified for the tax credits or incentives, it will then sell the project. Additionally, Apex has made serious ethical violations. Learn more about Apex's questionable ethics.
A map of Apex projects and status, updated by Apex.
The 2019 Town of Barre Wind Ordinance states, "The total tip height for each wind energy conversion unit cannot exceed 500 feet as measured from the base of the unit to the tip of the unit's longest blade." Apex should not be pursuing a project that is outside this ordinance.
The Town of Barre Zoning Ordinance currently states that the property line setback must be no less that 1.5x turbine tip height, which for a 650' - 680' Industrial Wind Turbine is only 975 - 1,020 feet. This is not enough and CSAB has determined that the setback should be increased to at least 6x turbine tip height. Improper setbacks result in a loss of property use and value.
In January 2019, the Barre Town Board voted not to change our wind ordinances, but instead to allow the state siting board to determine what turbine height and setbacks would be allowed in our town. We elected our town officials to make the best decisions for our town, and they handed that job over to the state, where residents will have little say.
In February 2021, the Barre Town Board controversially approved revisions to accommodate Heritage Wind, even though surveys have proven that the majority of the town is opposed to 700' tall Industrial Wind Turbines in Barre. Read more here.
Barre Town Board decides to let state determine turbine height, setbacks
No! We are not against renewable energy! We are against the negative health, environmental, and wildlife consequences that Industrial Wind Turbines would bring to our town. We are in support of the well-being of all Barre residents, including protecting their quality of life and property values. There are other renewable energy sources that are cleaner, more reliable, and have less negative impacts. For instance, hydroelectric power is the least expensive way to produce power and we have abundant sources of water to make this energy, including Niagara Falls and the Champlain Hudson Power Express. Solid waste energy can be harnessed from decomposing organic material of already-existing landfills. Research is even being done on generating wind power from already-existing highway underpasses and even trees. Scientists have recently developed a way to store solar energy for potentially decades! Read more about this exciting breakthough here and here. These are the technologies of the future, not wind turbines. IF turbines are built, they should be built in places that are already disturbed in some way, like on top of buildings, in order to preserve and reduce our footprint on the planet.
In the race to comply with Governor Cuomo's green initiative, officials are being forced to make the fastest choices, not the right ones for the state's citizens.
New York State has abundant sources of water to make hydropower, but not ideal wind for wind power.
Yes. Both professional realtors and certified independent property appraisers consistently find that property values are negatively impacted by Industrial Wind Turbines. Realtors have learned that with closer proximity to turbines, average days on the market (DOM) and homes that do not sell increase. Real estate sales data in these markets also show that of the homes that do sell, they sell for 25% - 40% less than comparable homes outside the turbine area. Here are some detailed analyses about wind turbine effects on property values, by independent professionals. We also hope you will watch this video presentation by an expert independent property appraiser. Download his presentation slides.
In a letter to our own Town of Barre Board, a new resident of Barre stated, "If we had known that there was a possibility that the tallest wind turbines on land in America would be 900 feet from our property line, if we had known that there would be five in a half mile radius of our home, I assure you that we would not have been fine with it and we would not have moved here." At the October Town Board meeting, this same new resident confirmed that he is moving away because of the proposed Industrial Wind Turbines.
Barre is an agricultural-residential community, not an industrial one.
If Apex or the leaseholders believe nearby property values will not be hurt by the presence of Industrial Wind Turbines, then they should have no problem with insuring neighbors with a property value guarantee (PVG). But they won't.
Over 53 acres of agricultural land would be lost to turbines, collection lines, access roads, permanent meteorological tower(s), and an operation/maintenance building. During construction, an additional 15 acres would be lost to a staging area and construction vehicles would have a negative effect on our roads, infrastructure, and traffic. Literally tons of rebar and concrete would be poured into the earth for turbine foundations, resulting in higher soil pH levels around each turbine. Some of the planned turbines would also cause deforestation and destroy wildlife habitats.
Additionally, Industrial Wind Turbines cause noise pollution (infrasound), shadow flicker effect and the turbines would have red flashing lights on them throughout the night. Dangers include ice throws, electromagnetic interference, turbine fires, lightening strikes, sinkholes, and possible stray voltage or soil and ground water contamination. Industrial Wind Turbines are proven to kill birds and bats in alarming numbers.
Finally, the amount of energy that would be generated does not justify the amount of energy, fossil fuels and natural resources required to construct the project or the energy they require when not in use.
Wind turbine substation and transmission lines, Clinton, NY. Photo via NWW by Christine Muschi/NYT
Aside from the audible sound, there is no question that Industrial Wind Turbines cause infrasound, the soundwaves with frequencies below what most humans can hear. But what you can't hear can hurt you. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that infrasound negatively affects sleep patterns, and other reported side effects include headache, anxiety, and depression. Poor sleep is linked to a number of serious physical and mental health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.
Shadow flicker occurs when the blades of the turbine pass across the sun, causing moving shadows. The repeating moving shadows have the potential to cause nausea, dizziness, and disorientation. The WHO concluded that the average risk for depression is increased by a rate of 40% in people who are affected by shadow flicker.
Because industrial wind technology is relatively new, long-term studies of health impacts have not been done. When there is conflicting data and a lack of long-term studies, it is not wise to risk our well-being, or that of our developing children. Just because health problems may be indirect does not make them less real and the current property setback of only 1.5x tip height is not enough to protect us from potential health problems.
“I have noticed that we have some children in our district that appear to be having some medical issues related to the wind turbines. Headaches, lack of sleep, and jaw issues seem to be the most common. The students also complain about not being able to sleep or not getting a full night’s sleep due to sound issues.”
-William Mulvaney, Superintendent of Armstrong Schools, Illinois
An estimated 573,000+ birds are killed each year by Industrial Wind Turbines in the United States, including federally-protected bald eagles. Barre is located in a major migratory flyway and near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, home to bald eagles and designated Important Bird Area (IBA) by the Audubon Society. Barre's proximity to an IBA makes it an unsuitable location for wind turbines.
The Heritage Wind website notes that cats are to blame for a decline in bird population, not wind turbines. However, cats do not kill federally-protected bald eagles or migrating Canadian geese, Industrial Wind Turbines do.
Bats are a valuable natural pesticide in our region and save over $1 billion worth of corn worldwide each year, but are being painfully killed in alarming numbers by Industrial Wind Turbines. Researchers are studying why bats seem to be drawn to wind turbines and how wind energy companies can reduce bat fatalities, but Apex has no plans to try to reduce bat mortality in our agricultural community.
By harming birds and bats at the top of the food chain, wind turbines cause a trickle-down effect, which harms whole ecosystems. Studies confirm this. Read more from Phys.org here. "We need to be smart about how we deploy green energy solutions. Let's reduce our footprint on the planet and put turbines in places that are already disturbed in some way—on buildings for example."
Wind turbines kill >573,000 birds each year in the US, including bald eagles. By J. Marjis/BigStock
We have already seen Barre change. An out of state corporation has come into our once quiet and friendly community and divided us. If Industrial Wind Turbines were to be constructed, our agricultural residential community would become an industrial community. Our peaceful landscape of fields, silos, farmhouses, and church steeples--the very reason people choose to live in Barre--would be littered with monstrous wind turbines that are the tallest on land in the entire United States. We would be hunting, plowing our fields, and playing with our children in the middle of industry with no escape. The homes that we have all worked hard to build equity in, for our future and our retirement, would depreciate in value while only a few residents receive payments from the wind company. We're already losing valuable members of our community who have chosen to move away from this situation, and we will continue to lose our dear friends and neighbors. Barre would be forever divided. It is time to move forward, come back together and heal... without Industrial Wind Turbines.
New York Community Divided Over Wind Farm
By Emily Le Coz & Lucille Sherman
GateHouse Media | Dec. 13, 2017
"As a town official, Wood said she feels torn. She wants to make everyone happy but realizes that will never happen. And the money Avangrid has offered is nice, she said, 'but at what cost to our community?'”
It is imperative that residents who oppose Heritage Wind write to DPS to let them know that you do not want Industrial Wind Turbines in Barre. These comments will be considered by the siting board when they make their decision, so make your voice heard before it's too late.
We understand many of you are afraid to speak out, but Barre is worth saving and needs you.
Clear Skies Above Barre, Inc. is a not for profit grassroots group of citizens who are concerned about the proposed Heritage Wind Project, working to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Barre, NY and surrounding communities that would be impacted by the proposed Industrial Wind Turbines.
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GateHouse Media, a team of investigative journalists without bias or affiliation with any groups that support or oppose wind energy development, released this investigative report about "how the wind industry angers landowners and divides communities in pursuit of billions of dollars of subsidies and other incentives."
As stated on their website, "We believe in holding powerful people and institutions accountable, telling stories that need attention, and providing coverage in both rural and metro communities."
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At the May Town Board meeting, Heritage Wind said that they will be submitting changes to the project to remove turbines 1-6, but adding four others in other locations. This is not over! CSAB will continue to educate and fight against this disastrous project. Please consider financially supporting CSAB.