Library from Pennsylvania
Barbara Green, president of the Carbon County resort, told the Lower Towamensing Township Planning Commission on Thursday that she's agreed to work with St. Francis University in Cambria County to see how much power could be produced. Blue Mountain spends $1.2 million annually buying electricity from PPL, and a renewable energy source could make a huge dent in the resort's bill, Green said. During the spring, summer and fall when the mountain is closed, the power produced by a wind turbine would be sold to PPL.
Action by the Fayette County commissioners could clear the way for future wind turbine projects in the county. The commissioners unanimously approved a motion Thursday to direct the county planning office to begin the procedure through the planning commission to amend the zoning ordinance regarding wind turbines and to make any recommendations the commission deems necessary. The action was different than the proposal put forth during Tuesday's agenda meeting, which specifically stated possibly changing the allowable height of wind turbines from 250 feet to 262.5 feet to reflect current industry standards.
During his testimony, Piccolella alleged instances in which Pfeiffer approved the application while it was incomplete. In fact, pages were missing in the application, he said. He also said Pfeiffer erred in approving the application because resource protection zones do not allow intensive development. Other residents testified, including Gene Koonz, who argued that the ordinance simply was a way of appeasing a wealthy company at the expense of a beautiful ridgeline. Koonz said he did not believe the wind energy project would "pay its way."
A Springhill Township man concerned that his sound recording equipment may be rendered useless if a proposed wind turbine project is built near his home brought his concerns Tuesday to the Fayette County commissioners. Thomas John Bozek III, who lives on Wymps Gap Road, asked the commissioners to "consider the people the proposed project is going to affect." "I'm asking you to protect my investment, my property and my life. All I want to do is be left alone and play my music," Bozek said.
At least two of the three Fayette County commissioners are interested in amending the county's zoning ordinance to increase the allowable height of wind turbines to match the current industry standards. Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky said Monday he supports an initiative by Commissioner Angela M. Zimmerlink to increase the height referenced in the zoning ordinance. "It should be done to reflect the standard. We need to amend it," Zapotosky said.
In an effort to satisfy the concerns of neighbors and officials affected by a wind turbine project in Georges and Springhill townships, the company has offered concessions in the form of removing some turbines from its list and changing the location of other proposed windmills. PPM Atlantic Renewable Energy Corp. also has drafted an agreement that would establish a scholarship fund for local students.
Gamesa Project Developer Josh Framel has been involved with Gamesa's proposal to the borough since its inception. Framel once again made his trek from Gamesa's Philadelphia location to Tyrone Monday night to ask council to vote on the Ice Mountain turbine site. Once again, Framel was turned down by council. Mayor Jim Kilmartin and borough solicitor Larry Clapper informed him that council wants to have all of its members present when voting on the wind farm issue. The council seats will not be full until the September 8 meeting.
County Council on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution calling on the utility to hold a hearing in one of the county townships that would be affected by the possible route. Lehigh, Moore, Bushkill, Plainfield, Washington and Lower Mount Bethel townships are along the route. ...''We welcome all input and we are still taking public comment. Any resolution will be considered carefully by us,'' Wirth said, adding PPL has heard ''loud and clear'' the opposition to Route C in Northampton County. ''We understand that and are taking that into account before making a decision,'' he said.
A Pennsylvania couple has filed a lawsuit over noise emanating from at least six utility-scale wind turbines erected near their home. The suit was filed against Gamesa Energy USA LLC and Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, LLC. This is a recent news report on the issue. Their documents filed with the court can be viewed by clicking here. Duration: 1 minute 36 seconds
''I feel it's a pretty good ordinance,'' Charlie Diehl, chairman of the three-man board of supervisors, said Monday after the unanimous vote to approve the 21-page ordinance. Diehl said he thought the regulations were fair, and he stressed that although they're not perfect, the rules are meant to look after the interests of the residents while allowing for the development of wind power in the township. Gamesa USA has proposed a 25-turbine wind farm that would be situated predominately in Snyder Township.
The Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm is currently Pennsylvania's largest wind farm with 40 wind turbines, each at 2 megawatt capacity. The site was slated to become operational October, 2007. Built by Gamesa, the project covers parts of Cambria and Blair counties near Altoona.
The Stulls first filed a lawsuit in April, but according to Jill Stull, after Gamesa objected to their claims that the noise coming from those turbines has been more than a nuisance, it has impacted their health, they've refiled. Stull said this time they have an environmentalist and a sound engineer on board. While their problems are still the same, they hope the words from the experts carry a little more weight.
But before you go all wacky for wind power, certain opposition groups like the Industrial Wind Action Group and National Wind Watch want you to hear their side of the story. Their claims are more than just not-in-my-backyard, wet-blanket-complaints. They believe the wind energy industry is spinning lies along with the turbines, luring large public subsidies for a system that is, at best, secondary to fossil fuels.
"Symbolism aside, Potter and Tioga County mountain ridges may not be as impressive as Yosemite's El Capitan, or the Grand Tetons, but something very real would be sacrificed on the questionable altar of Renewable Energy for Profit. Potter and Tioga county mountain ridges are not just a backyard. They are a heritage and a legacy. And they are as good a place as any to make a stand." Preserve the beauty of our region, say no to industrial wind.
The Penn Forest Zoning Hearing Board met Thursday night to determine whether to grant a special exception to the township's building ordinance for a wind turbine. ...Township zoning officer Joseph Steber said the ordinance was written to allow wind turbines, which he said are being heavily promoted by both the state and federal governments, but that it requires homeowners to apply for and receive a special exception from the zoning hearing board before a wind turbine can be erected.
Airtricty Stonycreek Wind Farm is looking to build four electricity-generating wind turbines in Allegheny Township -- part of a broader project that includes 28 wind turbines in Stonycreek Township and three in Shade Township. The project since has been taken over by E.ON Climate & Renewable, a German energy company. E.ON recently purchased the North American operations of Airtricty, which is based in Ireland. The three townships in Somerset County were chosen for the project, set for next year, for several reasons. "Wind, transmission and land," said Douglas Colbeck, E.ON's vice president of Northeast development.
Residents will get their chance to speak up about a proposed power line route through Springfield at three public hearings this month hosted by the Public Utility Commission. The supervisors have taken a stand against PPL's plans for the "cross-country route" and substation. They say the route will negatively affect environmentally sensitive areas and should be moved closer to Route 309 or the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority railroad corridor. The proposed line crosses woodlands, wetlands, flood plains and agricultural land through rural parts of Springfield and Richland.
Supervisors on Tuesday approved an agreement that could provide $40,000 each year for a wind farm BP Alternative Energy wants to build in the township. Under the "voluntary host community agreement," Noxen will receive a one-time upfront payment of $50,000 payable within 30 days of the installation of the first wind turbine.
A possible wind farm atop Ice Mountain in Blair County has caused a flurry of controversy, with residents even signing petitions and casting ballots in favor or against it. However, it looks like all that buzz might not even matter. Officials said some companies have found natural gas on Ice Mountain in Snyder Township, just outside of Tyrone. Although there's nothing set in stone, it could be an alternative to those windmills.
"You have to have some kind of guidelines," said William "B.J." Smith, Adams chairman. "But we wouldn't want to deny anybody the right to run their own home." Barbin's residential wind-turbine ordinance is based on those enacted by other municipalities. It would requre setbacks from the owner's property line to be at at least equal to tower's height plus 15 feet. Most residential wind turbines are less than 150 feet tall, according to the American Wind Energy Association.