Library from Pennsylvania
Gamesa USA's decision to furlough more than half its employees at the local turbine blade plant came as a surprise to many. But Gov. Ed Rendell remains optimistic the action is a bump in the renewable energy journey, a spokesman said Friday. ..."Not only does it hurt the families of these employees, but there is a spinoff in the economy as well." The Gamesa plant in Ebensburg was made possible through $9.3 million in state assistance.
A proposal to build wind turbines in central Bedford County took a step forward when the project developer submitted a construction permit application to the state recently. ...The 30-day public comment window for the permit closes at the end of November, but Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Theresa Candori said the agency has already received enough requests for a public meeting to warrant holding one. The meeting hasn't yet been scheduled.
The answer as to whether a combination wind turbine and cellular tower opposed by neighboring property owners is allowed to be built on a Franconia property is still blowing in the wind. But the township now has rules for any future plans to build windmills. The new rules were approved by the Franconia supervisors at their recent meeting.
Gamesa USA is reducing employment levels at its Cambria Township fiber blade plant by more than half, the result of the global financial crisis that has stalled many planned wind farm projects, company officials said Wednesday.
Gamesa USA will lay off 141 workers Jan. 1 at its wind turbine blade factory in Ebensburg because the global economic crisis led to a falloff in orders, a company spokesman said Wednesday. There are no new projects under contract because the crisis has delayed wind farm projects, halting orders for turbines, spokesman Michael Peck said. "We're sort of at the end of the food chain," Peck said.
A Sunbury-based company that plans to build a portion of a wind farm in Black Creek Township can start building infrastructure as soon as it gets local construction permits. Penn Wind LLC plans to build 22 turbines on Buck Mountain - four in Black Creek, Luzerne County, and 18 in neighboring Beaver Township, Columbia County. ...Turbine construction has to wait until the township grants Penn Wind final approval and issues a permit for each turbine.
Iron pyrite was among the risks to water quality that opponents of the Sandy Ridge Wind Farm pointed to during Monday's state Department of Environmental Protection public hearing. "Given the formations, there is a likelihood there's some up there," Michael J. Byle, a civil engineer who is working with Gamesa USA, said after the public meeting and hearing on the proposed wind farm. Core drilling has just begun, and the company is looking for the acid rock.
Opponents and supporters of a proposed wind farm in Centre and Blair counties used a public hearing Monday night to express their opinions about the turbines Gamesa Energy USA wants to build. The state Department of Environment Protection held the hearing specifically to take testimony on the national pollution discharge elimination system permit it handles. But, the limited topic did not stop those who spoke from commenting more generally about Gamesa's proposed Sandy Ridge Wind Farm.
Two out-of-state energy companies will present their plan for a wind farm in the county's west end to the public. GEOS Global, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and BP Wind Energy, Charlottesville, Va., want to put up electricity-generating wind turbines, commonly called windmills, on Rausch Creek land.
Another wind farm is planned for Schuylkill County. The proposal will come up Wednesday night at a zoning meeting at the North Schuylkill High School. There is opposition from people who live near the proposed site for the giant windmills. Even from a few miles away wind farms are hard to miss. They're usually located on mountaintops.
David Yoder's been farming for more than a third of a century. He's at least the fourth generation of his family who have lived and worked on the land on Cowpath Road near the border of Franconia and Salford townships that has been farmed "forever," Yoder said. Adding a 140-foot cellular tower and a power-generating wind turbine with a blade that reaches to a height of 163 feet will give the farm reduced electric bills and rental income from the cell tower and is similar to adding animals, crops or farm buildings, he said.
Bell Acres council has approved construction of an alternative energy center that will include a 60-foot wind turbine, but not without a few conditions. Several of the stipulations involve possible noise issues, while others are intended to address residents' concerns for dozens of great blue herons that nest about half a mile away on the Bell Acres-Economy line. In a 5-0 vote Monday, council gave the Alternative Energy Center permission to create an 80-by-80 foot display site for three alternative energy products.
A week after the Black Creek Township Zoning Hearing Board gave more time to a Sunbury firm looking to build wind turbines on Tomhicken Mountain, dozens of residents attended a township supervisors' meeting to both speak for and against Penn Wind's plans. Supervisors, however, discussed very little about Penn Wind's plans during the Friday meeting, which was rescheduled from Oct. 6. ...Sean Purdy of Penn Wind did not speak during the meeting. His company wants to install four turbines in Black Creek and 18 in neighboring Beaver Township, Columbia County.
The large wide load grounded Monday remained in town Tuesday, awaiting a part needed for repairs before it continues to West Virginia. Front Street remained closed from Route 54 to Mill Street, where the 150-foot-long, 100-ton windmill base sat on a trailer. The part for a damaged rear turning axle was ordered from Alabama and is expected to be delivered today, Danville Police Chief Eric Gill said.
Despite a recent report indicating Pennsylvania's significant growth in wind energy, local projects that once seemed imminent are all either dead or at a standstill. The state ranked second in growth with 29 percent, according to the American Wind Energy Association's report on the market for the third quarter of 2009. ...Two Luzerne County projects have withered on the vine, one dying after a very public legal fight and the other quietly.
Traffic on the Danville-Riverside Bridge was tied up for six hours Monday after a tractor-trailer carrying a wide load turned onto the bridge and got stuck. A crane was called in to move the trailer, which was hauling a section of a wind turbine tower. The truck became stuck at about 11:30 a.m. and was cleared from the bridge at about 5:30 p.m.
A Sunbury firm that wants to build wind turbines on Tomhicken Mountain now has more time to complete the project. Thursday night, the Black Creek Township Zoning Hearing Board voted 3-0 to grant Penn Wind LLC an extension from Dec. 31, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2011, to complete construction of four wind turbines in Black Creek Township. Penn Wind is building 18 additional windmills in neighboring Beaver Township, Columbia County.
Fayette County commissioners took no action following a hearing to make revisions to an ordinance that permits commercial and residential windmills and wind turbines as a permitted use, rather than by special exception, in areas zoned agricultural, light industrial or heavy industrial. Commissioners had approved the ordinance in June, but attorney Richard Bower, representing Iberdrola Renewables of Portland, Ore., said the ordinance required some minor revisions.
As has been the case for more than six months, the issue involving wind turbines again dominated the Butler Township supervisors meeting Tuesday evening. The township municipal building was again filled to standing-room only with township residents and others who oppose the proposed project planned by Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC, a Rich family company. Broad Mountain has a proposed locating 27 wind turbines in the Fountain Springs area, a plan strongly opposed by local residents.
Wind turbines on a ridge near Centralia, Columbia County in Pennsylvania.