On Wednesday, the developer of a Mahanoy Township wind farm testified before the Schuylkill County Zoning Hearing board about his next project.
Joseph B. Green, a Shenandoah resident and senior project developer for Locust Ridge Wind Farm, is seeking a special exception to erect 16 additional wind turbines to create Locust Ridge Wind Farm II, located north of Mahanoy City off State Route 339. Green went before the board for a special exception for the first 13 windmills in January 2005.
“The zoning ordinance does not specifically allow for the development of a wind energy project in the conservation residential district,” Green said during a five-minute recess. “It’s the only way to get approval.”
Green was there on behalf of Community Energy Inc., Wayne, Delaware County, the project developer.
On the stand, Green was questioned by his attorney, Harry B. Crosswell, Pottsville, about the project.
Green said the area considered for the site is 2,030 acres, but the project would develop less than 5 percent of the site, or 101.5 acres.
“There are a number of variables that can change the location (of the turbines,)” Green said. “One thing I can say, it would not encroach any more than 2,000 feet to the nearest home.”
During the testimony, Green said that while he was developing the first wind farm, he had plans to develop a second one. Community Energy provided additional funding Green needed for the second project.
Green said he’s currently working on a lease agreement with the owners of the property, Girard Estate and Mahanoy Township Water Authority.
Upon completion, the 256-foot-tall wind turbines would provide electricity into a power-grid centralized in Norristown. Green estimated the wind farm could produce enough electricity for 8,000 homes.
The only drawback was that it could interfere with television reception, but not cable or satellite subscribers.
Also taking the stand in support of the project was Frank J. Zukas, executive director of the Schuylkill Economic Development Corp. and the Schuylkill County Industrial Development Authority.
“The county’s comprehensive plan notes the need for alternative energy and support for this project as well as others,” he said.
The board is expected to render its verdict next month.
Green must also secure permits from the Federal Aviation Administration, state Department of Environmental Protection and Mahanoy Township.
By Kimm R. Montone, Staff Writer
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding