Wind turbines 1260x800

Some area towns are doing all they can to prevent large wind farms from blowing into their borders.

Clarence and Tonawanda are crafting laws to prohibit all large-scale industrial-sized wind farms that generate power to sell back to the grid.

The Tonawanda Planning Board is expected to talk about proposed laws to ban large wind farms at its meeting Wednesday night, July 5.

The town "doesn't want to end up like Somerset or Lackawanna," Planning Board Chairman Kenneth Swanekamp said.

In the Town of Somerset in Niagara County, officials have included funding in the town's 2018 budget for attorney fees to fight Apex Clean Energy, which has proposed building 70 wind turbines along Lake Ontario in Somerset and the Town of Yates. After it became embroiled in the issue, Somerset adopted a 54-page wind energy law which serves to severely restrict the wind power industry from moving forward there.

Somerset Supervisor Daniel Engert said he knows of no other towns that have prohibited wind farms. He called it risky, especially in light of Article X, which appoints a state siting board for any large-scale energy project that generates over 25 megawatts.

"When a developer files an application their local laws are reviewed and the state has the authority to overrule a local law if it can be determined to be unreasonably burdensome," said Engert.

Zack Dufresne, a spokesperson for the Alliance for Clean Energy of New York, was unsure if any other towns had moved to ban wind farms, but he called town moratoriums on wind turbines a trend they are "very much aware of." He said the goal of the Alliance, which supports wind energy projects, is to try to fight the backlash and the opposition groups.

In the City of Lackawanna, zoning laws limit wind energy facilities to a selected area west of the canal. Lackawanna's zoning law was amended in 2008, after Steel Winds was permitted to begin operating. Currently Steel Winds, located in a brownfield area of the Bethlehem Steel site, has 14 wind turbines, eight which began operating in 2007 and an additional six in 2012, which stretch from Lackawanna to Hamburg, along the Lake Erie shoreline.

JLCNY Calendar

No events

Recent Stories