UPPER THUMB — Developing NextEra Wind Energy Resources’ Pegasus Wind Energy Center farm is on hold until federal regulations are met.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a “presumed hazard” notice on 46 of the proposed wind farm’s 62 turbines in Juniata and Fairgrove townships because of the Tuscola Area Airport in neighboring Indianfields Township.
“This is just a temporary setback. It was not unexpected. We’ve dealt with this kind of issue before on our other projects,” said Bryan Garner, NextEra spokesperson. “A ‘presumed hazard’ notice just means that the turbine sites doesn’t meet FFA’s guidelines for automatic approval.
“We will be meeting with the FAA soon and working on the issue to review site plans.”
The turbines for this project will be 490-feet tall instead of 350- to 450-feet tall like in other wind farms. And NextEra plans to use the newest technology with the turbines having radar controlled lighting.
Instead of the constant blinking red lights on current turbines, this project will have radar-controlled lights that are only activated when an airplane is near, Garner explained.
The proposed Pegasus Wind Energy Center project calls for building 31 turbines in Juniata Township and 31 turbines in Fairgrove Township.
“While this is a setback, the goal is still to complete the project by the end of the year,” said Garner. “We look forward to working through the permitting process and building the Pegasus Wind Energy Center.”
If the FAA gives approval, there would be 350 construction jobs and about 10 full-time jobs.
The plan is for Pegasus Energy Center to tie in with NextEra’s Tuscola Wind I and Tuscola Wind II in Tuscola County, and with the Pheasant Run wind farm in Huron County.
“When completed, it will be a tremendous benefit to the area with good jobs, tax benefits, landowner payments, and clean energy,” he said.
Garner added it is a $200 million project, which is expected to generate about $35 million in tax revenue for the area and $33 million in landowner payments over 30 years.
If an agreement can be reached with the FAA on the project, the next step would be taking the site plans before the Tuscola Area Airport Zoning Board of Appeals for its approval.
NextEra Energy Resources LLC is the largest generator of wind energy in the world. It operates 120 wind projects in 25 states and in Canada.