Tyrone Borough Council will not vote on Gamesa's proposed windfarm on Ice Mountain at Nov. 13 meeting
Tyrone Borough Council will not vote at the Tuesday, November 13 council meeting on whether or not the borough will allow Gamesa Energy USA (Gamesa) to lease property on its watershed on Ice Mountain, to place a proposed 10-15 windmills.
Mayor James Kilmartin and the rest of borough council are urging Gamesa to hold another public meeting that council will attend in order to hear the community out.
“This is a very significant decision that will have long lasting effects,” said the mayor. “Almost all council members and borough supervisors have gone to Blue Knob to see the windfarms first hand. We do not take this lightly, we have been researching this for a year now.”
The mayor also added that the community’s response is essential in this decision process, and he thanks all the members of the community for their emails thus far concerning the proposed windfarm, but he also urges the community to attend the public meeting by which a time and date will be published in The Daily Herald once it is set.
At the upcoming Tuesday, November 13 borough council meeting, council will not be taking comments on the proposed windfarm since there will be a specific public meeting on the matter.
Gamesa hopes to install a total of 25 units on the ridge tops. Gamesa would pay the borough $6,000 per windmill per year during the Operation Period, or three percent of the gross annual electricity revenue, whichever is greater. It is a guaranteed minimum of $60,000 to $90,000 per year.
During the Option Period, payment would be $1,500 per year ($3,000 for the first two years paid after execution of the agreement, and then $1,500 at each subsequent anniversary, if the lease is not exercised, for a maximum of five years). During the Construction Period, payment would be $3,000 per windmill (about $30,000 to $45,000 total; expected to last from 8-10 months).
The contract with Gamesa and Tyrone Borough would be for 29 years and 11 months, and borough officials state that the money generated would be used for the water department because of the windfarm’s location on the watershed.
According to Gamesa officials at several past borough council meetings, the construction and maintenance of the proposed windfarm is environmentally friendly and safe. Gamesa laid out a summary of lease and easement agreement terms that was published in the October 17 edition of The Daily Herald.
Organizations such as the Juniata Valley Audubon Society (JVAS) oppose the windmills on the borough’s property on Ice Mountain saying “the proposed windfarm site has very strong scientific certification from the Blair County National Heritage Inventory and the Pennsylvania Biological Survey as being a unique area of exceptional conservation value.”
JVAS President Stan Kotala stated, “It’s not that we oppose windfarm development, we oppose any kind of development on Ice Mountain.” Further saying, “At this site, the huge ecological costs of an industrial windfarm will far exceed the tiny environmental benefit that such a facility could provide.”
Last month, Kilmartin asked the community in a Herald interview for feedback and response to the proposed windfarm on the borough’s watershed property. And as the mayor stated, he has received numerous emails, which is one of the reasons why council has decided to not make a decision yet, in order to give the community another opportunity to ask questions and respond to Gamesa’s proposed windfarm on Ice Mountain.
The mayor said that there are pros and cons with the windmill decision because the structures will take up the ridge tops that people so tremendously love about this community and area, but there’s also the idea of clean energy – hence, the debate.
The windmills are 450 foot structures and if the borough decides to lease the property to Gamesa, those large structures will be on Ice Mountain’s ridge tops for 30 years.
By Kris Yaniello
8 November 2007
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