Articles from Pennsylvania
Debate over a proposed wind farm has ended with Northumberland County commissioners signing a 29-year lease with a Sunbury firm that more than doubles the amount the county had been slated to receive under the original contract. The deal will allow Penn Wind LLC to set up three wind turbines on county land in Coal and East Cameron townships.
During the meeting, Terry Wolfgang, an employee with the state Department of Environmental Protection Mine Safety division, asked the BP representatives if they are aware that Robert Rifkin, the landowner, has leased the same land to three or four different entities already - including a lease given for a timbering project, and mining previously done on the south end of the ridge included in the property.
Tyrone Borough Council gave Gamesa USA the green light this week for building 16 wind turbines on the borough's watershed. The primary area of concern was the potential for major land clearing to build access roads to the turbines, said James Casselberry of the State College-based Casselberry Associates, the firm hired by the borough to review Gamesa's site plans. But the plans have been changed to eliminate much of that work.
A federal agency and Audubon Pennsylvania are among about 40 conservation groups from around the world critical of a wind turbine project that's been approved for Turkey Hill along the Susquehanna River. All the concerns except one revolve around perceived threats 120-foot-long blades on twin turbines would pose to bald eagles, other birds of prey, waterfowl, including tundra swans, and shorebirds that use or migrate through the area.
There are plans moving forward rapidly by PPL Renewable Energy LLC, Allentown, and the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority to construct and operate two gigantic utility-scale wind turbines on top of Turkey Hill in Manor Township. ...Regretfully, there are significant wildlife and environmental problems associated with the proposed Frey Farm Landfill Wind Energy Project. To begin, common sense should dictate that plans are inappropriate to construct two gigantic wind turbines in the middle of such an exceptionally bird-rich location.
In response to Alan Manges' letter, "Windmills Equal Revenue" April 3, the record needs to be set straight. By law, wind turbines are totally exempt from any property taxes in Pennsylvania, including school taxes. Does anyone have any idea of the tax revenues schools and municipalities are losing because wind turbines enjoy tax exempt status?
The township has long been embroiled in litigation with Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC over that company's plans to construct 27 wind turbines in the Fountain Springs area. The project is strongly opposed by many residents, and one of the issues before the courts is the fact that at the time Broad Mountain developed its plan there was no specific mention of wind turbines in its ordinances.
Township supervisors on Thursday gave Gamesa Energy USA permission to use the 90-meter blades manufactured now in Ebensburg. Previous plans called for using 87-meter blades, manufactured outside of Pennsylvania. The difference in length is about 10 feet.
White-nose snydrome has the potential to devastate bats, which also are dying from impacts with wind turbines, Whidden said Feb. 25 during a lecture at Penn State Hazleton. Even before the new threats appeared to the nine species of bats regularly seen in Pennsylvania, one of them, the Indiana bat, was on the federal endangered species list, and that state listed the small-footed bat as threatened.
The Portage Township supervisors are attempting to streamline the permitting process and reduce the local costs of having an on-lot residential or small-business wind turbine. A revamped ordinance based on an original statute adopted in 2005 will be advertised next week with plans for adoption in April, Supervisor Kenneth Trimbath said.
The company that wants to build more wind turbines in Butler Township filed an appeal Monday in Schuylkill County Court challenging changes to the ordinance trying to restrict them. Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC, Gilberton, alleged the township supervisors did not follow the prescribed legal procedure in purporting to enact amendments to the zoning ordinance, thereby making them invalid.
"They stole our peace with a smile on their faces," says Judy. Hal has been speaking out about the unexpected noise problems from the newly erected turbines for a year now. The sound has been described as that of a jet engine taking off, an expressway, or the constant drone of a tractor. The Grahams say that leaseholders in Cohocton were told the sound of the turbines was likened to that of a refrigerator running, but that's not what they hear.
Although the publicity has died down, two large-scale industrial wind energy projects in northern Potter County are moving forward. Township governments have been adopting regulations that are accommodating to the wind turbines. By turning to the townships, wind developers have circumvented countywide regulations approved in 2008.
The Federal Aviation Administration is giving its OK to the proposed Shaffer Mountain Wind Farm, two months after voicing concerns that some turbines could potentially create problems for local airports. The FAA has issued a "determination of no hazard to air navigation" for the wind farm Gamesa USA wants to build on ridges along the Somerset-Bedford county line.
The Federal Aviation Administration says 15 of 30 wind turbines at a planned wind farm in southwestern Pennsylvania would not pose an aviation hazard as initially feared.
The federal government has concluded that building two wind turbines with 120-foot-long propellers atop Turkey Point does not threaten eagles, other raptors or bats. But some birding groups that missed the opportunity to weigh in on the project when public comment was invited believe the environmental impact assessment is flawed.
During a visit to the Gamesa Wind USA plant in Ebensburg, Gov. Edward Rendell announced $22.8 million in grants through the stimulus program that will not only put people to work at Gamesa, but also will create another 257 jobs at three large-scale wind farms. Among the grants is a $10 million allocation to Iberdrola Renewables' South Chestnut wind project to install 23 two-megawatt turbines in Fayette County.
Workers applauded as Gov. Ed Rendell on Thursday made it official – all 79 employees laid off three months ago from a Cambria County wind-turbine plant are back at work. And Spain-based Gamesa U.S.A. will be able to hire an additional 50 workers at its Ebensburg-area plant.
American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop found that foreign turbine makers have received about 80 percent of nearly $2 billion in stimulus wind-power funding. The workshop estimates about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas versus just a few hundred here.
By a two-to-one vote the supervisors approved an ordinance which some said will spell the end of wind turbines in the township. Supervisors Charlie Muth and Brian Hartzfeld voted in favor of adopting the ordinance while Chairman Darryl Beatty voted against it. Hartzfeld said he was voting in favor of the law but that he thought it could be amended in the future.