Library from Pennsylvania
In its meeting on Wednesday night, the Kidder Township Planning Commission voted to recommend that township supervisors table their discussion of amending zoning ordinances related to windmills, wind turbines and wind energy conversion systems until more questions can be answered. The amendments are required to approve a permit for David and Nancy Pfeil, owners of the Inn at Hickory Run, White Haven, who plan to erect a wind-powered turbine. ...Planning commission members admitted that they didn't have all the answers, but member Ellen Matt suggested that the Carbon County Conservation District be contacted by the applicant to provide more information about the impact of these structures on the environment.
Kidder Township's Planning Commission voted Wednesday to ask supervisors to postpone a hearing for a proposed windmill ordinance until planners can gather enough information to make a recommendation. The ordinance, which recently received a favorable recommendation from the Carbon County Planning Commission, would limit the number of wind turbines to one per property; set a minimum property size of 2 acres; and create a setback requirement of 110 percent of a windmill's height. ...Planner Charles Velzy asked whether the ordinance should allow turbines to be constructed in high- and medium-density residential areas, especially since the structures generally aren't well-received by neighbors.
A surcharge on electric bills in Delaware and surrounding states that was designed to increase generating capacity hasn't delivered on its promise, four states are arguing in a complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The states of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania filed the complaint late Friday, together with a coalition of electricity buyers and consumer advocates. They say the surcharge will overcharge electricity consumers in the 13-state territory in the PJM Interconnection grid by $12 billion between 2008 and 2011. As a share of that, Delmarva Power ratepayers in Delaware will overpay by about $125 million in "unjust and unreasonable" rates, the states claim.
They're too noisy, too big and too clunky. And they kill bats and birds. Those are key criticisms about harnessing the wind and converting Mother Nature's fury into energy via a wind turbine, which might be better known as a windmill. Karl Douglass, an engineer with a degree from Drexel University, went about trying to remedy those complaints and he believes he's done that. Sometime this summer, his Omniwind Energy Systems of Dublin in Central Bucks will begin production on a wind turbine that he says is quiet, relatively compact and environmentally friendly. ..."You wouldn't even have seen windmills in Pennsylvania not long ago, but still it's a small amount in the overall scheme," Wood added. "Solar, wind, biomass are nice, but they're a niche, they only fulfill a small percentage of our needs."
With a recent state Supreme Court ruling in its favor, Energy Unlimited believes its windpark project proposed for Penobscot Mountain is headed forward, but the Bear Creek Township solicitor says a previous court decision has already doomed the project. On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court denied a petition from a citizens group opposed to the project that challenged a township zoning board ruling. The ruling essentially cemented the company's assertion that the site near Crystal Lake "is generally a good place to put a wind farm," said Ed Schoener, a consultant on the project. ...The company's original land plan was rejected with about two dozen conditions the company had to satisfy. Before the company could submit a revised plan, the township passed a stricter windpark ordinance and said the company's new plan would be required to follow the new ordinance. The company argued the new ordinance made its plan impossible.
Franklin Township supervisors adopted a zoning ordinance amendment that permits wind turbines as a special exception making the requirements simpler for residents who want to have some of their homes power provided by a windmill. ...The windmills must be equipped with a redundant braking system and mechanical brakes. They will not be allowed to show advertising and must have reflectors on guy wires up to 10 feet from the ground. Applicants should not disrupt radio or television signals. The building for storage cells must not be more than 150 square feet or be taller than 15 feet. Only property where the wind is harnessed may use the energy.
A decision by the Fayette County commissioners to intervene in a lawsuit about a proposed wind turbine project and how the proceeds of the impending hotel tax will be distributed dominated public comment during Thursday's monthly meeting. Numerous people wearing "Fayette TNT, Trees Not Turbines" shirts spoke to the commissioners to express concern about a decision by Commissioners Vincent Zapotosky and Angela M. Zimmerlink to intervene in the case that involves appeal of denial that would have allowed construction of 18 wind-powered turbines in Georges and Springhill townships.
Stepanoff has requested Haycock allow him to install an 80-foot tall wind turbine - basically, a modern windmill - on his property. ..."Zoning in the 1970s was amended to add wind energy systems, and you could probably find some that have those provisions," said Lynn Bush, executive director of the Bucks County Planning Commission. "I think we were kind of lulled into thinking that energy would always be cheap and those ordinances were removed because nobody used them, so we have fewer of those ordinances around." Haycock's ordinance bans structures taller than 35 feet.
Cambria Township supervisors are delaying action on a proposed ordinance governing small, residential wind turbines until some sticky issues are resolved. The ordinance, similar to one passed by Portage and Jackson townships, calls for a $500 permit fee and as much as $1,500 annually if power generated by a household-use windmill is sold to a power company. Those fees have sparked objections and some misunderstandings, said Solicitor Dennis Govachini, and a workshop and public forum are needed before supervisors act. No date has been set, although the proposed ordinance was advertised last week.
Vermont-based Laurel Hill Wind Energy LLC has been granted a zoning permit to build electricity-generating wind turbines in northern Lycoming County, county zoning administrator Fred G. Pfeiffer said Wednesday. The company plans to build the turbines along a seven-mile section of the Laurel Hill ridge in Jackson and McIntyre townships. A zoning permit is required for any development or change of use of a property to ensure it is permitted in that zoning district and complies with zoning regulations.
Gamesa Project Developer Josh Framel was on hand to answer questions and update the proposed lease agreement with the borough. Tyrone resident Dave Panasiti addressed council during the public comment section of the agenda about his and other residents concerns over a wind farm site on watershed property. Panasiti expressed worry over council "jumping the gun" with a yes or no vote based on the informal survey taken by borough registered voters at the April 22 primary, that he termed as not being "scientific." "I would of taken the votes from people who pay real estate taxes for one thing," said Panasiti to council. "And I would of taken the votes from those who pay water bills."
A new wind farm coming to the township is one step closer to realization, supervisors said. Last July, supervisors announced that Airtricity Inc., a company that develops and operates wind farms across Europe and North America, had submitted a preliminary plan to construct turbines in the township. The company has now submitted a permit application to the township, said Chairman John Topka.
The company planning to construct wind turbines in Logan Township needs supervisors to enlarge the wind zone and to back away from stricter rules, a representative said Thursday. ...Supervisors said they want remedies addressing turbine noise. "You guys aren't going to pick up [the wind turbines] and move them," Supervisor Ed Frontino said. Supervisors Chairman Frank Meloy said he visited Todd and Jill Stull in Juniata Township ..."I would not want to live with that noise day in and day out," Meloy said.
Fayette County commissioners will intervene in a civil lawsuit over proposed windmills in Georges and Springhill townships, but not necessarily because they favor or oppose the project. Commissioners on Thursday voted 2-1 to file a notice of intervention in the lawsuit, which pits PPM Renewable Energy Corp. of Portland, Ore., against the county's zoning hearing board. PPM, which has offices in Perryopolis, filed the civil suit last month, after the zoning board denied its request for a special exception and variances for 24 wind turbines.
North Union Township may join other regional municipalities that have created or are creating wind turbine ordinances. At a supervisors' meeting this week, North Union Township Supervisor Gary Croll said a group from St. Francis University, Loretto, is interested in testing wind capacity with a meteorological tower in North Union. That group is investigating the potential for a commercial wind farm. ...The supervisors asked township solicitor Paul Domalakes to review turbine information further. Croll said he didn't want to discourage alternative energy but he doesn't want it to harm residents' quality of life either.
Several people in favor of a windmill project for Wharton, Springhill and Georges townships brought their case Tuesday to the Fayette County commissioners. Speaking during public comment of the commissioner's agenda meeting, people representing carpenter's unions and themselves spoke about the need for the county to have the South Chestnut Wind Project. In February, the county zoning hearing board unanimously denied a special exception request that would have allowed the construction of 18 wind-powered turbines in Georges and Springhill townships.
Cambria Township wants to be ready when residents who are fed up with rising energy prices start turning to small wind power. Residents won't be constructing giant Gamesa-style industrial turbines, but smaller versions that - in the right place - can power homes, farms, even small businesses. ...A 100-kilowatt turbine could power a large school, and last year about 7,000 were sold throughout the nation, the group says. They are shorter - usually less than 100 feet tall - and less noisy than commercial windmills.
A Blue Knob couple is seeking unspecified monetary compensation and is asking a court to intervene to reduce noise and vibration from energy generating turbines in the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm. A Pittsburgh attorney representing Todd and Jill Stull of Pine Springs Lane, Portage, filed a 14-page civil lawsuit in Blair County court naming Gamesa Energy USA, developers of the wind farm in Portage Township, Cambria County, and Juniata and Greenfield townships, Blair County. ...At the urging of residents, the Portage Township supervisors say they will hire a sound expert to determine whether the turbines are being operated in violation of the ordinance. Similar action already has been taken by Juniata Township officials.
The Juniata Township couple seeking relief from noisy wind turbines has taken their complaint to Blair County Court. Todd and Jill Stull, in a lawsuit filed at the courthouse, accuse Gamesa Energy USA LLC and the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm LLC of destroying their quality of life and damaging their health. They're seeking an injunction ordering the noise to be reduced. ...The lawsuit also accuses Gamesa and the wind farm of securing permits and approvals to build on the basis that the turbines would cause no noise.
Todd and Jill Stull filed a complaint for damages and injunctive relief against Gamesa and Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm LLC (Babcock and Brown) due to excessive noise, flicker and other nuisance that are causing irreparable harm to the Plaintiffs and robbing them of their enjoyment of their property. A portion of their filing is detailed below. The full filing can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page.