Library filed under Impact on Economy from Pennsylvania
Energy Ventures Analysis critiqued Black and Veatch's assessment of a 15 percent Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard for the State of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania House Bill 80/Senate Bill 92 considers increasing Pennsylvania’s Tier I Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) from 8% to 15% of retail sales by 2022 with a special 3 percent solar set-aside. The AEPS expansion would also include a new 3 percent of retail sales requirement to be supplied by coal plants retrofitted with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology.
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.
The plan to erect wind turbines on the Burnside Mountain south of Shamokin has been stalled because of the sour economy. Penn Wind LLC is still actively pursuing the project, but the failure of some of the nation's largest financial institutions makes the market for the important tax-credit piece of financing for such a large project a tough one ...While Penn Wind is a small Sunbury-based company, it is affiliated with an international alternative energy giant in German renewable energy company Juwi GmbH.
The Wall Street Journal recently noted that increasing wind power to 20 percent in the next two decades alone would require a $2 trillion investment. Energy costs already strain household budgets, especially those of lower-income families and individuals. This year, U.S. households bringing home less than $50,000 a year - that is, half of households - will spend a quarter of their after-tax income on energy, double the percentage they spent in 2001.
Reed said the economic benefits were not sufficient to make a compelling case for a municipal wind farm at this time, due in part to the uncertain availability of any federal incentives for municipally owned wind projects.
State officials got an earful and more on opposition to Gamesa Energy USA's proposal to site 30 turbines on Somerset County's Shaffer Mountain at a public hearing Tuesday night. A crowd of more than 450 heckled, cheered and jeered as speakers took the stand at a packed Shade High School gymnasium....A busload of about 40 employees from Gamesa's Ebensburg plant arrived in Gamesa ballcaps to sit together and provide most of the company's backing in the tough crowd.
The Lycoming County Planning Commission postponed a decision Thursday on whether to recommend an amendment to the county zoning ordinance to significantly change where electricity generating wind turbines may be built. Planning Commission staff had put together an amendment that, if approved by the county commissioners, would allow wind turbines in resource protection and agriculture districts by right and in countryside districts by special exception granted by the county zoning hearing board.
A citizens' group opposed to the location of massive wind-energy plant in northern Potter County is pressuring Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to stop the plan. However, with Gov. Rendell pushing for renewable energy projects in Pennsylvania, the "Save God's Country" (SGC) group could face an uphill struggle. An SGC spokesman said the location of wind turbines in the region is at odds with the governor's strong support for the Pennsylvania Wilds tourist promotion plan. "Are hundreds of industrial wind turbines something that will tempt people to visit the Pennsylvania Wilds?" asked Dan Howe. "It seems incongruous, and yet this is what is happening in Potter, Cameron, McKean, Lycoming and Tioga counties, all designated as the Pennsylvania Wilds."
Portage and Washington township officials are giving Gamesa Energy approval to begin work on the second phase of a sprawling Allegheny Ridge wind farm. But with the first phase all but finished, approval this time, particularly in Washington Township, is coming with new stipulations. One of them is that the company makes sure the mess left behind from last year's work is cleaned up. Dust, road damage and a perceived lack of immediate response from Gamesa are at the top of Washington Township's list of concerns, supervisors told company officials at a Wednesday meeting. "We just need to respect the people that live up there. They moved up there for a reason," Supervisor Chairman Ray Guzic Jr. said of about a half-dozen or so Mountain Road homes.
Tourism brochures tout the region’s mountains, lakes, ski slopes and trails. But some officials think those promotional guides should start including windmill sites. While the turbines popping up on the Cambria-Somerset horizon may not have the charm of the backyard devices among the tulip fields of Holland, these structures already are playing a role in drawing tourists to Somerset County. Some believe the windmills could do a lot more than generate power. “It’s how you sell it and how you market yourself,” said Erik Foley, director of the Renewable Energy Center at St. Francis University. “We could become the clean energy capital of the world.”
If Luzerne County tax officials get their way, the new wind farm atop Bald Mountain will pump out more than half a million dollars in new tax revenue each year. The county last week mailed a bill with new assessments that equate to $133,660 in annual tax dollars for the county and $411,259 for the Wilkes-Barre Area School District from wind farm landowners Anthony and Lillian Lupas and Edward and Joyce Banaszek, said county assessor’s office director Tony Alu. But school and county leaders can’t bank the money yet because the taxation of wind farms is still somewhat uncharted territory and the property owners have 40 days to appeal to the county Board of Assessment Appeals, Alu said. He declined to say how the county calculated the Bald Mountain bill.
In many ways, the atmosphere is like a gold rush. With the backing of an enthusiastic Rendell administration, wind-energy companies have quietly but aggressively been negotiating leases for land on mountaintops, especially in Bedford and Somerset counties. Several developers hope to build hundreds, if not thousands, of windmills on the ridge lines of west-central Pennsylvania. Typical wind turbines stand nearly 375 feet tall -- about 70 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty -- and can be seen from 15 to 20 miles away. Some people question whether development of wind energy on this scale is appropriate for Pennsylvania, even though wind often is touted as a renewable, nonpolluting way to generate electricity. Longtime residents of Somerset County, where the building is more advanced, say the construction and operation of turbines have damaged the environment. They say the development offers little in return from jobs or taxes. "It's not quite what they tell you in the brochure," Todd Hutzell of Rockwood said.
This is a comprehensive, well documented and thoughtful presentation on a wide range of industrial wind issues by Dan Boone, Consulting Conservation Biologist, at the public meeting held by Save Our Allegheny Ridges in Bedford, PA on September 18, 2006
BEDFORD — The county’s visitors bureau has spoken out against wind turbines, saying they will not boost tourism.