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State representatives are on a fact-finding mission to determine the impacts of a federal push toward alternative energy, and namely the projected growth of Pennsylvania’s wind turbine industry, as the technology’s long-held reputation as a clean energy source gets a little dirtier.
The last Gamesa wind farm was completed about six years ago and on Monday the Spain-based company will usher out the last of the employees of the fiber blade plant, closing the doors for a final time. ...The employment numbers had dropped from about 250 workers six years ago to less than a quarter of that.
The plan to construct nearly 70 wind turbines in Ulysses and Hector Townships has been scrapped. According to Jim Hoopes, a leaseholder in the project, letters were sent out recently by AES Corporation, the company planning to build the facilities, terminating the rental agreements. Hoopes said about 25 landowners had rental agreements.
When Spanish wind developer Gamesa Corp. said Wednesday it would close its western Pennsylvania shop, it didn’t just lay off employees. The maker of wind blades also set off a debate as to the future of the production tax credit given to wind energy.
Gamesa USA officials said Tuesday morning it will close the 8-year-old plant, located in the Cambria County Industrial Park, as the company looks to move south and west. The Madrid-based company said the move was necessary to keep energy costs low and maintain a strong market presence. Gamesa's business model, which relied heavily on federal green-energy and tax-credit subsidies, was not sustainable - even with a favorable local business environment.
BELLEVILLE - About 200 people were seated in the auditorium of the Locust Grove Mennonite Church, Friday evening to hear the different perspectives on the proposed wind turbines for Jacks and Stone mountains.
A $56 million court battle over costly delays to the Mehoopany Wind Farm last year has a contractor sparring with BP Wind Energy in two states, with subcontractors and area landowners caught in the crossfire. Colorado-based RES Americas filed suit against BP Wind and a related firm in Wyoming County Court, seeking $56,189,303 that the contractor says it is owed.
Texas-based Pioneer Green Energy began leasing property for a commercial wind farm south of Interstate 90 two years ago. Its original plan to build as many as 75 turbines to power about 45,000 homes recently was pared to 10 to 20 turbines, company officials said.
The Union Township Planning Commission listened to concerned residents about potential wind turbines being constructed on Jack's Mountain at its Monday night meeting. Volkswind, a German wind farm development company, has not submitted anything to the planning commission.
The group, called Neighbors for a Responsible North East and led by Matt Putman and Paul Crowe, is lobbying for limits on the size of wind turbines that can be built in the township and a ban on commercial turbines, or windmills, within 1 mile of any neighborhood.
Some advocates of renewable energy wonder whether Pennsylvania will ever reach the wind energy levels of Iowa and some other leaders. "My view is, probably not," said George Jugovic, president of PennFuture, an environmental group. "I think it's just economics." Jugovic supports wind energy and still believes it will grow here, just not at the scale of other states.
Matt Putman, of Neighbors for a Responsible North East, said the proposed setbacks are insufficient and are less than some turbine manufacturers recommend. Turbines should be at least 1,300 feet from roads and property lines and more than a mile from any neighborhood to reduce potential noise and "shadow flicker," he said.
Some northwestern Pennsylvania residents want limits placed on the size of wind turbines that can be built in their area and a ban on commercial windmills within a mile of any neighborhood.
While the deal would allow Iberdrola up to 10 years to study the area and obtain licenses and permits for the turbines, Repasch said he would likely know which direction the city was heading within five years. The agreement calls for Iberdrola to pay $10,000 a year during the permitting and studying phases and $100,000 a year by the fifth year.
But after Gamesa completes the order for 25 windmills, around the end of February, there are no other jobs in the pipeline for the company's seven-year-old factory in Fairless Hills. The domestic market for new wind turbines has stalled. "We probably won't see any orders for several months," said David J. Rosenberg, the vice president of marketing for Gamesa.
Zoning board Chairman Larry Umholtz, and members Jim Artz and John Johns voted December 12 for the denial, following a hearing that lasted a little more than an hour and included testimony from citizens and BP representatives. ..."We, the board, do not feel BP has shown justification for this variance to be granted."
EON AG agreed to sell a 50 percent stake in three U.S. wind farms to Danish pension fund PensionDanmark as Germany's biggest utility seeks to free up capital. ..."The return is very similar to what we can get on listed equities, though with a very limited downside risk," thanks to fixed prices negotiated on the power generated by the turbines over the next 15 years."
Possible measures would include seasonable restrictions on timber cutting in areas with bat maternity sites, restrictions on human entry in areas where bats are hibernating and restrictions on wind turbine operations, also identified in a contributing factor in bat mortalities.
The news follows a May announcement that Gamesa would halt the installation of a test wind turbine that it had been planning off the coast of Virginia. The company said it was "extremely difficult" to justify the cost of the project due to the lack of a mature offshore wind-energy market in the U.S.
A total of 165 employees at Gamesa's production facilities in Bucks and Cambria counties are expected to be laid off starting in late August or early September, Gamesa spokesman David Rosenberg said. "Basically, we're adjusting our production capacity at the two facilities to reflect the current U.S. market conditions," Rosenberg said.