PINE GROVE – A representative from Gamesa Energy USA, Philadelphia, updated the borough council Thursday on the progress of a potential wind farm on Second Mountain and Sharp Mountain in Pine Grove Township.
Sharon P. Barr, a senior project developer for Gamesa, said the wind farms will not be erected for at least a year because of environmental concerns.
In November, the Pine Grove Township Zoning Hearing Board approved the erection of a 197-foot wind monitoring tower on more than 216 -acres of Pine Grove borough property to determine if the area would be a good location for a wind farm.
She said the company was waiting for the cold weather to break to begin construction.
Gamesa also erected a wind testing tower on land owned by Blackwood, Inc. on the Sharp Mountain. The company plans to put another 80-meter tower there soon, Barr said.
Barr said the company will potentially erect 14 turbines at 2 megawatts each on Second Mountain and 25 turbines on Sharp Mountain.
“We have been in extensive discussion with a few landowners up there,” she said.
Barr said a company that performs environmental studies for wind farm developers must study spring and fall bird migrations to determine where and how many turbines should be placed.
The studies are part of a voluntary agreement through the Pennsylvania Game Commission and is the first step in the wind farm permitting process, Barr said.
“If it does (interfere) it doesn’t necessarily mean the project is dead, it just determines how many turbines we place and how far apart,” Barr said. “The idea is in a year you get a general sense of seasonal changes and place your turbines accordingly.”
Although Gamesa has two separate leases with the borough and Blackwood, Inc. for the projects, the company is working to develop them together since they are on neighboring mountains, Barr said.
“They won’t be physically interconnected … It’s more that we are developing them together. From our company’s point of view it’s a single project…” she said.
The lease is 20 years with two five-year renewal options, Barr said during the meeting. Gamesa is required by the lease to deconstruct the equipment, she said.
By Stephanie LaSota
11 April 2008
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