Articles from Pennsylvania
Wind energy developer Gamesa Energy USA will have to revise plans for a 30-turbine project a third time, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. Despite being in the permitting process for nearly two years and encountering vocal opposition, company officials said they will continue to seek a permit for the proposed Shaffer Mountain Wind Farm.
On March 17, the state Department of Environmental Protection rejected for a third time Gamesa Energy's plan to install industrialized wind turbines on Shaffer Mountain. What part of "no" doesn't Gamesa - and Berwind Corp. - understand? DEP's eight-page "Technical Deficiency Letter" was sent to Timothy Vought of Shaffer Mountain Wind LLC and lists questions that must be answered if the permit application is to be resubmitted.
Wind turbines could be part of the landscape in Bedford County soon. A proposed wind energy project, in development since 2005, could place two dozen 405-foot-tall turbines on top of Dunning Mountain in the next couple of years - if approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection and supervisors in the four municipalities.
Blair County Judge Daniel Milliron in a 20-page ruling dismissed claims of negligence and conspiracy made by Jill and Todd Stull against Gamesa, producers of the windmills and developers of phase one of the windmill farm at the Cambria-Blair County line. Six other objections filed by Gamesa or Allegheny Ridge in response to the Stull's lawsuit were overruled by Milliron.
Construction is to begin on 35 new wind turbines in the mountains of eastern Somerset County. E.ON Climate and Renewables North America Inc. has received approval to place construction trailers at the Stonycreek Wind Farm site along Route 30 near Reels Corners.
A Blair County judge has upheld all but two civil charges brought against two wind companies by a Juniata Township couple, who have complained that 40 wind turbines on Blue Knob Mountain are noisy and cause light to flicker in their home. ...Milliron refused to strike a charge of fraudulent misrepresentation against Gamesa and a similar charge, plus others, against Allegheny Ridge.
PPL says the project would improve reliability of the power grid, but residents along the line are fighting the proposal. Especially in Saw Creek, where PPL runs a smaller line already. More than 300 people packed the 1 p.m. PUC hearing. Many, including a newborn baby, wore "Stop the Power Lines" buttons. State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, was the first to testify. She said the health effects of high electromagnetic fields are still debated, and property values would suffer from the lines.
This morning the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority board approved an application for a $175,000 state grant to help pay for continued study of the wind-to-energy project it intends to build with PPL and Turkey Hill Dairy. The application marks the beginning of a phase that will study the economics of situating two, 1.5-megawatt wind turbines.
Windmills are one step closer to a reality for Ice Mountain as Gamesa USA ponies up an extra quarter of a million dollars for Tyrone Borough. Borough Council voted 5 to 2 to sign on with wind developer Gamesa USA for what will be a 30-year lease of parts of its 3,800-acre watershed in Snyder Township.
Supervisors finalized the county's strictest wind turbine ordinance during a public meeting on Thursday attended by residents and a wind energy representative. Jeffrey Rinehart, project manager for Horizon Wind Energy, said the ordinance would affect the company's plan to build the largest wind farm in the county, some 42 turbines, in the northern part of the township. "As far as we're concerned, it's pretty tight," Rinehart said. "We have to go back and see how it impacts the useable property."
A new voice has entered Tyrone Borough's long debate over a proposed wind farm. Gov. Ed Rendell called Mayor Jim Kilmartin in early February to urge borough officials to approve a lease agreement with Sandy Ridge Wind Farm developer Gamesa. ...Rendell made it clear that Tyrone's lack of participation would counteract the state's multimillion dollar efforts that brought the Spain-based wind developer to Pennsylvania.
Construction of a wind farm of up to 87 turbines in the southwestern part of Wyoming County this spring may be on hold. With the nation in a recession, BP Alternative Energy business developer Kevin Davis said a good chance exists construction won't begin as originally scheduled. "We're hopeful we'll do the project this year, but if that doesn't happen, the plan would be to build the park the following year," Davis said. "We're evaluating the whole economic situation."
While planning to harvest the wind, the Hazleton City Authority wants to protect bats. The threat to bats will be weighed as the authority continues planning for a wind turbine that could provide electricity to its water treatment plant on Route 424. "There are rare species of bats in the area. There has been some concern with wind projects and bats across the country," Jay Carlis, marketing director for a company developing the wind turbine, said.
Supervisors put more than a year of work and discussion behind them by agreeing to a proposed wind turbine ordinance during Monday's meeting. The proposal goes beyond county code by imposing noise limits and extending the distance a turbine must be placed from property lines. Quemahoning will require developers to keep the nearest unit a minimum of four times the height of the turbine from the property line of a non-participating landowner. That equates to a little over 1,600 feet for a standard 2.1-megawatt turbine.
Birds are not being harmed by turbines though some bat populations are being affected, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and wind-energy companies indicate in their first annual report. It's too soon to draw any conclusions, said Tracey Librandi Mumma, a state wildlife biologist and wind energy project coordinator who worked on the study. ..."Oh my gosh, migratory bats are being killed in great numbers," Mumma said, recalling her initial reaction. ...Veterinarian Dr. Jeffrey Payne of Berlin is skeptical of large-scale wind farms and fears they will have a detrimental impact on wildlife and habitat. And while he appreciates that studies are being done, he's not satisfied that they are reporting the full depth of the situation.
Despite the impending layoff of 184 blade production employees, Gamesa Inc. will install new equipment at its Falls plant as it moves forward with other areas of production. ...The DEP discovered several violations at the plant and Gamesa was forced to pay $639,161 in state penalties. A compliance consent order was issued to ensure the installation of the oxidizer.
An effort to protect both wildlife and wind farm profits will benefit from an agreement by 20 wind energy companies to "avoid, minimize and mitigate" the impact of wind turbines on wild birds and mammals, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission said. Unlike Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Canada, Pennsylvania has no regulations for wind farm projects, relying instead on voluntary guidelines without enforcement provisions.
South Middleton Township supervisors Thursday adopted an ordinance to regulate the construction of wind energy facilities on both private and commercial sites. ..."We promote alternate sources of energy," said Chairman Bryan Gembusia. "Our goal is not to prohibit (windmills), we just don't want them to be obtrusive to the neighbors."
The request for an expansion of Logan Township's wind zone has been withdrawn because plans for a wind farm are being redesigned, Gamesa Energy USA representatives said Wednesday. ..."We are withdrawing our request," project manager Tim Vought said. "We've been looking at revising the project and sent a letter to the supervisors asking them not to vote at this time."
A wind farm proposed for Southwestern Wyoming County has some residents wondering how it may affect the county's watersheds. The 87-turbine farm proposed by BP Alternative Energy will encompass 14,861 acres in Eaton, Noxen, Forkston and Mehoopany townships. ..."The runoff is probably not going to be my problem, but it may be the problem of people who live at the bottom of the mountain," Mr. Ide said. "I'm concerned for the people below."