Wind-park plan examined; Noxen Twp. supervisors agree to redraft proposed ordinance for turbine site
NOXEN TWP. – Supervisors agreed at a special meeting on Wednesday night to redraft a proposed wind-park ordinance including suggestions from a model submitted by BP Alternative Energy.
The company is considering installing a nearly 100-turbine generation site that would encompass several high ridges in Eaton, Noxen and Forkston townships and be routed onto the electrical grid through a transmission station in Mehoopany Township.
Though the company has discussed the topic with each municipality, all of which were “open to listening,” according to BP Alternative Energy business developer Kevin Davis, the company has only faced public comment here because the township is considering the wind-park ordinance.
After a lengthy executive session to discuss the suggestions, the supervisors began by appointing Denise Hosey to fill the supervisor seat of Harry Creasing, who died recently. The four-year seat will be up for election in November, but Hosey will serve out the remainder of this year.
Ed Shoener, an environmental consultant hired by BP Alternative Energy, described governmental regulations regarding storm-water management of developed sites, assuring that such water will be infiltrated into the ground and that land disturbances will be minimized.
Michael Klein, a Harrisburg attorney representing BP Alternative Energy, said the company started with a state-approved model ordinance and “tried to take as many provisions of the township ordinance and add them to the model ordinance as possible.”
Supervisors Thomas Nalbone Jr. and Carl Shook and solicitor Ron Kamage indicated that some of the suggestions were sensible.
“There’s some things that we like and dislike about your ordinance,” Kamage said. “We’re going to make up a new ordinance based on the two we have.”
The new ordinance could be available for public review at the September supervisors meeting.
“We’re not taking an ordinance that’s stripping away any of the protections we’re trying to afford,” Nalbone said.
Shook noted several concerns with the suggestions, including no proposed timeframe for land restoration after the site is deactivated. Davis said the project under consideration would start with a 25-year lifetime to correspond with the usual lifespan of turbines. Continued utilization of the site would be based on the price competitiveness of the energy produced.
The presentations didn’t allay the concerns of some residents.
Doug Ayers, who also is the chairman of the North Branch Land Trust, questioned the productivity potential of wind resources compared with expected increase in storm-water runoff. Rick Wilson complained that residents will be “getting nothing out of this.”
Davis countered that the township will receive tax revenue based on the appraised real-estate value of each turbine site within its borders.
The plan being considered would start producing energy by as early as late 2009.
By Rory Sweeney
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