Rebuttal to Buffalo News Lighthouse Wind Project Article on January 17, 2019

Your article “Lake Ontario wind power developer downplays critics, promises ‘windfall’ for community” published on January 17th, is another example of Mr. Thomas J. Prohaska’s “journalistic integrity” in representing all residents in the Towns of Yates and Somerset with “neutrality“.

Why does Mr. Prohaska not seek comments from residents in Yates, who are besides themselves and outraged over Supervisor Simon, and former Save Ontario Shores President, and current Yates Councilman, John Riggi’s decision to “share” the $280,000 in debt Supervisor Engert’s leadership has racked up?

What about the $15,000 they hoodwinked the Niagara County Legislature into handing over to Save Ontario Shore’s lapdog, The Town of Somerset last summer?  Wouldn’t $15,000 be better spent on more beneficial projects within Niagara County’s District 14? What did Niagara County taxpayers get from this “investment” in our communities?  Is our region so rich we can fund groups who are fighting to keep economic development out of our area?

niagara county districts & project areas

Why has Mr. Prohaska never responded to my outreach to him months ago to discuss the benefits of other energy projects in the Western New York area?  Projects that are complimentary to the wind projects in Yates, Somerset and Barre.  These include electric substation and grid projects in Lockport and Alabama (Genessee County), which will facilitate needed economic development within our region.

Mr. Prohaska has again rolled out past and current surveys conducted by sometimes Yates’ Town Councilman, sometimes Save Ontario Shores [not to be remembered] President, John Riggi, as undisputed “facts”.  The de facto assumption being, they were conducted with a degree of independent methodology.  They were not.

I have analyzed one of those “surveys” and posted my initial findings in the OrleansHub on October 18th, 2018.  This “survey” has been compiled and widely publicized in local media on a quarterly basis by SOS/Councilman Riggi, such as here.  The data for this “survey”, is NYS Department of Public Service “comments”, which were never intended to be used as a metric of public support or opposition, a “survey” conceived of by SOS President Riggi after calling for SOS members to “break 1,000 comments” on the DPS website.


This quarterly “duty” was recently handed over to Appleton resident Steven Royce to report 4th Quarter 2018 results.  Mr. Royce recently filed a legal motion against Lighthouse Wind, LLC claiming “Astroturfing” at Somerset taxpayer expense.  It was unequivocally denied “Relief” by the NYS Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment on January 10th.  Yet another frivolous Save Ontario Shores expense added to Somerset’s ballooning debt.

My analysis is available for any concerned person to read on the NYS Department of Public Service website. It is under Matter # 14-F-0845, Application of Lighthouse Wind, LLC, titled “DPS_LWP_Data-Analysis_011018.pdf” under the Public Comments tab, dated 01/09/19 available at this link.  I have posted an online version here.

For reference, I have openly acknowledged appreciation for the Somerset coal plant as a long-ago student in Barker.  However, it has no future, as I discussed here and here.  Since 1996, I have worked within the electric utilities industry and energy sectors throughout the US and around the world.  Now, having returned to the area, it is clear to me, we cannot have an honest, non-confrontational discussion about energy projects, allowing all stakeholders to consider potential benefits and legitimate concerns, equally.

Why can we not get neutral coverage in the regional media about economic development opportunities, not just endless misinformation campaigns afforded far greater public visibility as again was demonstrated by Mr. Prohaska’s article?

Incidentally, but not surprisingly, one day prior, The Buffalo News printed an article from “North American Platform Against Wind Power“, trashing wind power and taking aim at The Sierra Club.  Did The Buffalo News editorial department perform a single Google search of this organization to verify its legitimacy, substantiate any assertions made or verify the address of the “CEO” – Sherri Lange?  I suspect not, as I did.

The website, is nothing more than an aggregation of anti-wind “groups” and articles from around the world.  Its posting in The Buffalo News, lent it far more visibility than it deserves, and as usual, anti-wind trolls from all over the country crawled out from under their bridges, posted more unsubstantiated “facts” in the comment section, then could not defend their positions when I challenged them.  So much for following any Buffalo News guidelines for submissions, damage done twice in two days.

Hans Hyde

Lockport, New York

January 18th2019

The views expressed above are my own.  I have received no compensation from any companies or organizations with stakes in New York State energy projects.  A version of this article was submitted for first print to the Buffalo News on 18 January, 2019 via email.  If you believe I have written something in error, I am more than happy to make corrections when appropriate.  I can be reached through my LinkedIn profile, which also verifies my professional experience in the energy sector, and is available here.

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