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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Windmills are coming to Summerhill Township, with as many as 27 energy-producing turbines planned for outside Beaverdale. EverPower, formerly EverPower Renewables, is wheeling out Highland North Wind Farm. The company plans to have the turbines cranking out 62 megawatts of electricity - or enough power for 30,000 homes - by summer 2011.
There’s been plenty of bluster among the Northumberland County commissioners regarding a proposed wind farm, but residents had little to say about the project during a special public meeting Wednesday night. ...About 15 people attended Wednesday night’s meeting, but only Penn Wind CEO Justin Dunkelberger spoke up.
Wind-turbine manufacturer Gamesa Inc. is looking for a way to haul its huge blades out by rail, minimizing truck transport. Company spokesman Michael Peck said Friday no decisions have been made as to where a rail link could be made, but said the closer to the Ebensburg plant the better.
Two separate Northumberland County boards of commissioners were cautioned since 2006 by three legal advisers about "shortcomings" in a Sunbury firm's wind farm proposal. At issue is the land-lease agreement between the county and Penn Wind, a 29-year deal that is in the midst of being renewed and has been in jeopardy for months.
The co-owner and chief executive officer for Penn Wind LLC said he didn't attend Tuesday's commissioners' meeting because Commissioner Chairman Frank Sawicki informed one of his associates just prior to the session that the wind farm issue wasn't on the meeting agenda and probably wouldn't be discussed.
More than 50 people packed the meeting room at the county Administration Building to hear details of a land-lease agreement between the county and Penn Wind, of Sunbury. Instead, they saw the two majority Democrats, Chairman Frank Sawicki and Vinny Clausi, snipe at each other and got a glimpse into why the deal is on shaky ground.
Controversy, confusion and conflict came into play Tuesday afternoon as Northumberland County commissioners and residents expressed dissatisfaction with a lease agreement for a proposed wind farm in East Cameron and Coal townships. At the center of the debate are several issues, including the validity of the lease, how much acreage is involved with the agreement, and most importantly, whether the county is receiving its fair share.
Renegotiation of a lease that could lead to construction of a wind farm south of Shamokin has caused a rift between Northumberland County and Penn Wind LLC. The Sunbury firm three years ago negotiated a lease for 200 acres of county land in Coal and East Cameron townships. But the current board of commissioners has not approved the annual renewal of the contract, which expired in early December.
If wind turbines are ever proposed for Hanover Township, the board of commissioners wants to be ready. The board is holding a hearing on Feb. 17 to seek public comment on adding to its zoning ordinance of a provision to allow turbines in certain areas as a conditional use. After the public comments at the special meeting, the board could vote on the issue.
A lease deal between Northumberland County and Penn Wind LLC, of Sunbury, is up in the air today. Three years ago, county Commissioners Samuel Deitrick, Kurt Masser and Frank Sawicki approved an agreement with Penn Wind to lease 200 acres in Coal and East Cameron townships.