Winds on the region’s mountaintops vary, and that’s dealt a blow to Gallitzin Borough’s plans to turn unused land into a revenue generator.
Gamesa Energy USA is sidelining preliminary plans to put up to 30 turbines on land in Gallitzin Township, a representative of the Spain-Based wind energy company said Monday.
The Gallitzin Township site, owned by the borough, does not have the wind speed needed for a wind farm, said Ellen Lutz, Gamesa’s director of development for the Atlantic region.
“It was not economical for us to build in Gallitzin Township,” she said of the yearlong anemometer testing on the land.
The distance of the site from the main electric transmission lines also is greater than Gamesa wanted, adding to the cost, Lutz said.
The news is disappointing to borough officials – including Mayor Nancy Knee, a go-between with Gamesa and Borough Council since the possibility surfaced in spring 2006.
Knee – who is seeking re-election for mayor today against challenger Raymond Osmolin-ski – estimated that the transmission line is seven to 10 miles away from the proposed turbine site.
“The council is still very hopeful that there can be some use for the land so that we can generate revenue,” Knee said. Turbines would have generated so-called host fees for the landowner.
Knee said the borough will continue to use the land for timbering as tree size allows. Timbering has generated income for the borough in the past.
Meanwhile, Lutz said Gamesa has not completely ruled out Gallitzin property.
“I still would continue to say it’s on the back burner. You never know,” she said. “We would never discount it completely. We could look at it in a couple years.”
By Kathy Mellott
5 November 2007
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