Library from Pennsylvania
A noisy rotor problem on some turbines in the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm was described Tuesday as "minor," and localized to just some of the 40 turbines at the Cambria-Blair county farm. "We have been working with Babcock & Brown and we have a schedule set up for repair," said Ellen Lutz, Gamesa Inc.'s director of development for the Atlantic Region. ...But residents - including Myrle Baum - are not optimistic. Baum said at times the operating windmills sound like a jet going over his house. ...A sound study done by the residents shows times when the turbines were producing levels topping 70 decibels.
About 30 wind turbines will be coming to the hills over Dunlo after Adams Township supervisors approved the Krayn Wind Corp.'s request for the Highland Wind Farm. The approval Tuesday at the supervisors' regular meeting followed a final public hearing on Krayn's conditional use application under the township's zoning ordinance. ...The quiet meeting was in contrast to the first Sept. 17 hearing - when a line of residents spoke of their concerns about the wind farm. Most expressed concerns about reduced values for their property near the proposed turbines, but Barbin noted the supervisors only can apply the existing regulations on the project.
Juniata Township supervisors will ask the companies that own and maintain wind turbines within their municipality to reduce turbine noise generating complaints from residents. Supervisors agreed Monday to have solicitor Michael Routch send letters to Babcock & Brown, the company that owns the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, and Gamesa Energy USA, which maintains it. They want to know why the turbines are generating noise louder than 45 decibels and what will be done to lessen that.
The borough is advancing its exploration of energy options. The Pine Grove Township Zoning Hearing Board gave approval Monday night for erection of a 197-foot wind monitoring tower, on 216 acres of Pine Grove borough property, to gather data to determine if the area would be a good location for a wind farm. Gamesa Energy USA, Philadelphia, will construct the tower on a site located above the borough's well field in the Black Creek Valley north of Second Mountain.
The owner/operator of the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm said Monday it has discovered at least some of the turbines at the Cambria-Blair county line are noisier than anticipated, and a solution is being worked on. But residents upset by the noise, including some in Portage Township, said they are weary of excuses and have proof the turbines are operating at noise levels far exceeding the 45 decibels allowed by local law. ...The Juniata Township supervisors agreed Monday to hire Paul Heishman, a sound engineer of Harrisburg to document sound levels from the windmills. In addition, letters will be sent to Babcock & Brown and Gamesa seeking immediate action to quiet them.
Tyrone Borough Council will not vote at the Tuesday, November 13 council meeting on whether or not the borough will allow Gamesa Energy USA (Gamesa) to lease property on its watershed on Ice Mountain, to place a proposed 10-15 windmills. Mayor James Kilmartin and the rest of borough council are urging Gamesa to hold another public meeting that council will attend in order to hear the community out. "This is a very significant decision that will have long lasting effects," said the mayor. "Almost all council members and borough supervisors have gone to Blue Knob to see the windfarms first hand. We do not take this lightly, we have been researching this for a year now."
Gamesa Energy USA is sidelining preliminary plans to put up to 30 turbines on land in Gallitzin Township, a representative of the Spain-Based wind energy company said Monday. The Gallitzin Township site, owned by the borough, does not have the wind speed needed for a wind farm, said Ellen Lutz, Gamesa's director of development for the Atlantic region. "It was not economical for us to build in Gallitzin Township," she said of the yearlong anemometer testing on the land. The distance of the site from the main electric transmission lines also is greater than Gamesa wanted, adding to the cost, Lutz said.
A Canadian trucking company that was issued $84,295 in citations by state police last week plans to appeal, saying it was penalized over a technicality and has never had any problems transporting oversized loads in Pennsylvania. ...The trucks were carrying turbines to a windmill farm outside Meyersdale, about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Police said all eight loads were found to be too heavy, too tall and too wide to be traveling without the permits.
Letter to Tyrone Mayor James Kilmartin in response to Mayor Kilmartin's request for community input on a potential wind facility. Gamesa is proposing to erect 10-15 wind turbines on borough property located on Ice Mountain for a total of 25 units on the ridge tops in the area.
Pennsylvania State Police stopped eight commercial vehicles hauling components for windmills that had improper special hauling permits. They issued 50 citations with fines totaling more than $84,000. ...“I contacted an individual at the site and issued a verbal warning,” Pivirotto said. “He assured me the complaints were not legitimate.” Calls to the wind farm site for comment were not returned. Casselman WindPower LLC of Richmond, Va., filed the plans to erect seven turbines in Summit and Black townships, according to the county planning commission. The project is being constructed by PPM Energy, Oregon.
Municipal officials riding a tour bus this week along Route 39 toward the town of Eagle first spotted several 300-feet-high wind turbines at a distance of about two miles away. A tour of the Bliss wind turbine park, sponsored by the Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Board, was set up to provide town officials in Cattaraugus County a variety of aspects on wind turbines. Proposals for wind turbine farms have been reviewed locally in communities that include the towns of Allegany and Carrollton as well as across the state line in Potter County. ..."This is my view now," he said pointing to the large wind turbines looming high above the tree lines. "This looks like the ‘War of the Worlds' out here, I mean I previously had a pristine, gorgeous view. "I can see 13 of these (wind towers) out here, and they say ‘your property value is going to increase' but do you think that's going to increase my property value," he asked.
Plans for a proposed 34-turbine wind farm in Bear Creek Township will start back at the beginning of the approval process. The state Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear an appeal of Energy Unlimited's case to place 25 of a proposed 34 wind turbines on county-owned Theta land in the township. Ed Shoener, EUI's project manager, said the company would resubmit an application with the township, though fewer turbines would be allowed at the site because of a new zoning ordinance in the township. ...Supervisor Ruth Koval said she has no problem with EUI submitting new plans. "If they submit a plan that is correct and we can work with, I have no problem with it at all - as long as they follow our ordinances," Koval said.
Plans for a proposed 36-turbine wind farm in Bear Creek Township hit another snag for Energy Unlimited Inc. The state Supreme Court decided to not hear the company's appeal for the front 25 turbines. In February, Commonwealth Court upheld township supervisors' assertion that the EUI's plans were too incomplete. Project Manager Ed Shoener said the company will refile its preliminary plan with the township to move the project forward.
The fate of a proposed amendment to the county zoning ordinance as it pertains to wind energy is in the hands of the Lycoming County commissioners, who will vote on the amendment on Nov. 15. The commissioners Monday hosted a public hearing at Pennsylvania College of Technology to hear comments about the amendment, which, if approved, would allow commercial electricity-generating wind turbines by right in resource protection, agriculture and countryside zoning districts.
The county seized Highpoint from a Lancaster County developer in hopes it would become part of an approximately 725-acre heritage park. A jury is expected to convene at a yet-unscheduled date to determine how much the county will have to pay for it. With the price expected to be so high, Grove would support the construction of more than three dozen windmills on the riverside property to generate money for the county, he said. Besides paying for Highpoint, selling the electricity could help the county keep property taxes under control in the future. ...When it comes to Highpoint, Grove's idea for the property would represent perhaps the most radical change. Its stunning view of the Susquehanna River and surrounding countryside were the primary reasons Mitrick and Kilgore approved seizing it for the park project.
Clean energy, no greenhouse gases, less dependence on foreign oil, guaranteed revenue for Tyrone - what's the catch? Well, there are many definite and possible catches. Gamesa promises no negative impacts to Tyrone's drinking water, but I wonder if they can really build all of those giant wind turbines without erosion taking place. There is always the possibility of an accident as well. According to Stan Kotala, spokesperson for the Juniata Valley Audubon Society, the small environmental gain from building the windmills would be offset by a huge ecological cost. Sandy Ridge has been identified as an Important Bird Area and a greenway. The wind turbines threaten birds and building them causes forest fragmentation. Mayor Kilmartin points out in his analysis, "... the structures will take up the ridge tops that people so tremendously love about this community." And these are big structures, too. One can't really comprehend their 450-foot height until you get close.
Those speaking Monday during a public hearing regarding a proposed change to Lycoming County's zoning ordinance as it pertains to wind energy will have to follow conduct guidelines. On Thursday, the Lycoming County commissioners adopted the new rules. ...If approved, the [zoning] amendment would allow commercial electricity-generating wind turbines in resource protection, countryside and agricultural zoning districts by right.
Recent articles, stated the project will enhance the water quality at this site. Also, Gamesa states that protecting natural resources and wildlife is a "shared priority" with the community. If this is so, then why was there a rattlesnake study of the area done in November (when snakes are hibernating)? Why did Gamesa do a study on bird migration in July, when bird migration doesn't start until late August, September and October? How does bringing in large equipment to clear-cut the forest and building new roads improve water quality of streams that are already of the highest quality in the state?
Council members Thursday voted 3-1 to adopt an ordinance to restrict the use of windmill turbines, big and small, to get "some degree of regulation on the books" before requests come in. The ordinance establishes restrictive regulations both for commercial wind energy facilities - with towers 300 feet or higher and huge turbine blades - and for small turbines that generate 60 kilowatts or less primarily drawn by the property on which it is located. "I would not want Mount Nittany to have wind turbines on top of it," councilman Daniel Klees said. "I look at this as being a starting point. I'm confident about being a little more restrictive now because we haven't had a request."
Justin Dunkelberger, chief executive officer of Penn Wind LLC, said his company entered into an "exploratory agreement" with the county last year to examine the feasibility of using wind-powered turbines to generate electricity on Burnside Mountain near Gowen City. After a year of testing, he went before the county commissioners Tuesday to request a lease agreement so his company can begin construction next year. ...Penn Wind LLC, based in Sunbury, is a joint venture of DGP Power and Juwi GmbH and was founded in March 2006 to find and develop land to create wind and solar energy. Mr. Dunkelberger said they already have secured several sites across the country, including land in New York, Ohio, Maryland, Iowa and Kansas.