- Who is Apex?
- How is wind energy formed?
- Will Apex sell the wind farm once it is built?
- Will the federal government subsidize this project?
- Will the wind farm affect property values?
- Will the wind farm be harmful to birds?
- What does a wind farm sound like?
- What is low-frequency sound, and how will it affect the local community?
- What is shadow flicker?
- Will the turbines have lights on them at night?
- How will the wind farm impact local deer populations and hunting?
- If something happens to Apex, would the wind farm be abandoned?
Apex Clean Energy is an independent renewable energy company based in Charlottesville, Virginia. We develop, construct, own, and operate wind and solar energy facilities across the country. Our team has completed 1,600 MW of projects that are now operating.
Wind power captures the natural wind in our atmosphere and converts it into mechanical energy then electricity. People started using wind power centuries ago with windmills, which pumped water, ground grain, and did other work. Today's wind turbine is a highly evolved version of a windmill. Modern wind turbines harness wind's kinetic energy and convert it into electricity. Most wind turbines have three blades and sit atop a steel tubular tower, and they range in size from 80-foot-tall turbines that can power a single home to utility-scale turbines that are over 400 feet tall and power thousands of homes.
We do not yet know the answer to this question. Apex is a growing company of over 200 individuals with the capacity to excel in every phase of project realization, from site origination and financing to construction and asset management. Apex is led by a team of wind energy veterans with collective experience of over $10 billion in the development, financing, construction, and operation of wind and solar energy facilities now operating in the United States. The Apex team offers in-house expertise in wind resource assessment, development, permitting, wildlife biology, engineering, information technology, construction, and finance. We look forward to adding facility ownership to this set of attributes, and by the time Goose Creek Wind is built, we may be ready to do so.
That said, the sale of a project to another entity should create no cause for concern. Every agreement and contract signed by the project prior to any potential transfer of ownership will remain in place if a transfer takes place. Commitments to landowners, local governments, and the state of Illinois will remain in place and fully enforceable under the law.
Goose Creek will be developed purely with private capital. The federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy only kicks in after construction, much like a homeowner tax deduction is only applied after a home’s purchase. Just as the size of the homeowner deduction is proportional to the amount of mortgage interest paid that year, the IRS ties the PTC directly to the amount of energy verifiably produced by the project, and this credit is only available during the first 10 years of a project’s life.
All forms of energy are subsidized in some fashion. The PTC is a net economic benefit. Since 2008, the United States has seen over $100 billion in wind energy investment that continues to boost local, state, and federal tax revenues in excess of the PTC’s cost.
At the end of December 2015, Congress extended the PTC for five years, with a phase-down for wind energy. The phase-down means that each year, starting in 2017, the tax credit will decrease by 20%. This policy ensures stability and reliability throughout the wind industry for production.
The latest and most robust studies on property value impacts show that wind farms do not have long-term negative effects on property values. Furthermore, the majority of studies have found no conclusive evidence of any negative impact. On the other hand, it is well documented that wind farms drive community economic development and provide funding for local schools and services, which benefits all property owners in a hosting community.
A major independent study on this topic, released in August 2013 by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, analyzed more than 50,000 home sales near 67 wind facilities in 27 counties across nine U.S. states and was unable to uncover any impacts to nearby residential property values. Read the study here.
Despite claims to the contrary, wind energy projects are far from the most dangerous human-caused threat to birds. Buildings, cars, power lines, and radio and cell phone towers cause far more losses than wind turbines. House cats kill 2.4 billion birds a year alone.
Nonetheless, Apex works hard to minimize avian impacts through responsible siting. We are working in close consultation with federal and state environmental agencies and using appropriate conservation measures to ensure that Goose Creek Wind has no significant effects on bird or bat populations.
Apex projects adhere to all local, state, and federal safety regulations to protect the health and welfare of workers and the community. This includes regulations pertaining to sound.
As wind turbine blades pass through the air, they make a sound that is often described as a “whoosh.” Measurements of this sound show that it is no louder than a kitchen refrigerator or a standard air conditioning unit at a distance of 1,000 feet.
Inaudible low-frequency sound, or “infrasound,” produced by turbines is qualitatively no different than that which is generated by waves crashing on the beach or the sound of your own heart beating. Scientific evidence confirms this sound is not dangerous, and that any low-frequency waves produced are not harmful to those nearby.
As reported in a recent study by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:
“…the weight of the evidence suggests no association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health problems.”
This term refers to the shadows cast by wind turbine blades as they rotate in front of the sun, similar to the shadow cast by a tree blowing in the wind. By positioning wind turbines at a carefully calculated angle and distance from dwellings, Apex ensures that most homes in a project experience no shadowing at all. For those that do, shadowing will occur for no more than a few minutes per day, on average. Shadowing does not occur on cloudy or foggy days.
Some worry that this flicker can cause seizures in photosensitive individuals. However, according to the Epilepsy Foundation’s research, the rate at which wind turbine shadows “flicker” is far below the frequency associated with seizures.
Wind farms are required by law to mark their projects by lighting turbines to make them visible to airplanes. Republic Wind will employ the minimum amount of standard, nighttime, red safety lights, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. There will be no strobe lights attached to the wind turbines.
The operating wind farm will have no impact on the deer population or hunting. Just as deer adapt to construction of new homes, buildings, and other new sights and sounds near their habitats, the deer population also becomes accustomed to wind farms. It is not uncommon to find deer and other wildlife feeding or resting near the bases of turbines. Cattle, horses, goats, and other livestock are also 100% compatible with wind energy technology.
Commercial scale wind turbines typically have a life expectancy of 20-25 years. When a turbine reaches the end of its useful life it can be retrofitted or removed altogether.
The state of Illinois requires companies developing a wind farm to sign an Agricultural Impact Mitigation Agreement (AIMA) with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and file it with the host county. The purpose of the AIMA is to set out how decommissioning will be determined, conducted, and paid for when and if a project becomes inoperable. In all cases the company is required to provide long-term financial assurance to pay for decommissioning should it ever by required, accessible to either the county or individual landowners. This ensures the cost does not fall to the landowner or taxpayers.