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Company puts Fayette wind turbines on hold

An Oregon-based company on Wednesday temporarily withdrew its zoning application to erect wind turbines in two Fayette County townships until its engineers review the project.

PPM Atlantic Renewable Energy has been seeking a special-exception permit from the county’s zoning hearing board to install a wind-powered facility for electricity generation in Georges and Springhill on properties zoned agricultural.

The company is based in Portland, Ore., but has an office in Perryopolis.

PPM Atlantic applied for a permit to construct 12 turbines in those two townships, but the entire project is estimated to include 20 to 25 windmills in three municipalities, including Wharton Township.

Neither Georges nor Springhill has an ordinance covering turbines, so the county’s zoning ordinance takes effect for those communities.

Wharton supervisors are considering an amendment to the township’s ordinance governing the construction of turbines.

One of the issues involves the size of the windmills, said Daniel Rullo, a Somerset attorney representing PPM Atlantic. While the county’s ordinance allows for turbines to be 250 feet high, PPM Atlantic’s plan estimated their heights at 262 feet.

A company spokeswoman was traveling yesterday and not available for an interview about the scope of the project.

Last week, state officials dedicated the Locust Ridge project in Schuylkill County as Pennsylvania’s seventh wind farm.

FPL Energy operates three of them in Somerset County, and runs a fourth in Fayette featuring 10 turbines in Springfield and Stewart townships.

By Chris Foreman

Tribune-Review

28 June 2007