Washington Township supervisors have approved the transfer of ownership of the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm from Gamesa USA to Australia-based Babcock & Brown.
In granting the OK, Supervisors Ray Guzic and Leslie Devett agreed the 40-turbine farm complies with the terms of the development agreement reached with Gamesa, and that the transfer does not violate the deal.
“In no way will this provide any additional burden on the township,” township Solicitor Thomas Swope told local officials at a special meeting Thursday.
“This is necessary for them to complete the transfer to Babcock & Brown.”
Similar approval came from Portage Township supervisors Dec. 6. Cresson Township is to consider the issue Jan. 11.
The sale involves the first phase of what has been described as three phases of turbine construction through the Mainline area of Cambria County and Greenfield and Juniata townships in Blair County by Gamesa.
By late 2008, as many as 90 windmills will be generating power along the ridge ““ stretching about 13 miles from the Blue Knob area of Portage Township north to Cresson.
Former Supervisor Tony Funari said he would like to see more details about the second phase of the development, expected to put more turbines in Washington Township.
“They (developers) are already after more landowners for more room,” Funari said.
But siting details have not been provided by Gamesa, Guzic said. Two weeks ago, Gamesa’s Terry Nichols told Cresson Township officials that 90 windmills in all were planned. He said it was premature to provide maps or more specific details about where they will be.
The second phase will involve construction of 35 turbines in Portage, Washington, Cresson, Juniata and Greenfield townships.
The third phase of 15 will be in what was termed by Nichols as Cresson Township and surrounding area.
Nichols said more specific details for the second and third phases should be available in the spring, at about the time the first phase will be dedicated.
Still in the works is a transfer in the sponsorship of a letter of credit to Washington Township from Gamesa to Babcock & Brown, Swope said. The letter provides financial security that the turbines will be decommissioned following industry standards when they are no longer operable.
Swope said he is still working on language issues that he anticipates will take 30 to 60 days.
The transaction on the first phase is awaiting approval by the Federal Energy Regulation Administration before it becomes final.
Babcock & Brown is one of the world’s largest owners of wind farms.
By Kathy Mellott
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