Library from Pennsylvania
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.
Infigen shut down all 40 turbines as a temporary precaution. It is unclear what caused the blade to break ...Infigen and Gamesa have locked horns in the past over the bill for repairs and lost production resulting from various warranty-related disputes
A large part of one of the wind turbine blades at Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm broke off over the weekend, forcing the owners to shut down the operation. The blade came off for no apparent reason, said a spokesman for Infigen Energy, which has owned the wind farm for the past several years.
Exelon Corp., the Chicago parent company of Peco Energy Co. and one of the nation's largest power generators, led opposition to the production tax credit. Though Exelon is also a major wind-farm operator, it opposed the tax credit for distorting energy markets and driving down margins at competitive power producers.
Zoning board Chairman Larry Umholtz and members Jim Artz and John Johns voted Dec. 12 for the denial, following a hearing that lasted a little more than an hour and included testimony from citizens and BP representatives. About 40 people, including Hegins Township Zoning Officer Allan Swab, attended the hearing held in the Hegins Area Ambulance Association building on Gap Street.
It requires that 8 percent come from renewable energy resources - like solar and wind - and another 10 percent come from alternative energy sources, including waste coal and large-scale hydroelectric power. The problem for consumers is that those types of energy are more expensive to produce than such traditional types as natural gas or coal.
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."
Along with tax credit fights, the wind industry often faces opposition from conservationists. Save the Mountain contested a plan by Gamesa to put windmills on Shaffer Mountain in Somerset County, a migrating path for hawks, bats and eagles. The group also did not want construction to destroy the hill's pristine wilderness or high-quality trout streams.
A wind turbine contractor was injured at the Twin Ridges Wind Farm in Wellersburg Tuesday afternoon when a large piece of steel fell on him. The Wellersburg fire department and Meyersdale EMS were dispatched at 3:30 p.m., according to Somerset County Control.
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.
"In the past there was more of a calculation by the majority of the developers that it would get extended. There were more of them willing to make that bet and move forward with their projects. The shift in political tone, the increasing gridlock, the harsher rhetoric against incentive for renewable energy, has really had an impact."
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.