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Wind turbines closer to reality

BP Alternative Energy will begin to seek permits from the state later this month into early June for a wind turbine facility it hopes to have in operation in the southern part of Wyoming County by the end of 2009.

Speaking during a “Mehoopany Wind Energy Project” open house at the Triton Hose Co. in Tunkhannock, Pa., on Thursday, BP Alternative Energy business developer Kevin Davis said that testing with meteorological towers has determined that the area around South Mountain in Noxen has enough wind resources.

“We were just evaluating the project and now we’re at the point where we believe the project can be done,” Davis said. “Ideally, construction would start in the first quarter of 2009 and we’ll be up and running by the end of 2009.”

The company has been using five meteorological towers in Noxen, Forkston and Eaton townships, among other locations, to determine the wind resources.

“We will always put a meteorological tower where we think a turbine can be located,” Davis said.

He added that the open house was a part of BP’s effort to introduce the project to the public.

During the open house, placards depicted potential transmission line routes, as well as from where turbines could be seen in Wyoming County.

“There will be certain spots where you can see them (turbines) from Route 29,” Davis said.

The turbines could also be seen from Sugar Hollow Road, as well as from the intersection of Route 6 and Route 29, according to BP. At the Eaton Township municipal building on Route 29 south of Tunkhannock, a motorist would also be able to see a turbine on a distant mountain ridge.

“It’s going to be a change to the rural landscape,” Eaton Township Supervisor Randy Ehrenzeller said. “People around here are used to seeing their mountains uncluttered and this will be a big change.”

He, however, also said that wind energy is a viable alternative resource that the nation should explore.

Rebecca Lesko of the Endless Mountains Nature Center west of Tunkhannock also said that wind power is a form of sustainable energy that she supports and is less damaging than fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

She added that she has worked with BP to identify Bald Eagle nests in the county.

One of the transmission line routes being considered by BP would cross a trail at the nature center, which is located just south of Route 6.

“We’re not thrilled about the transmission lines,” Lesko said. BP expects to connect the 75-150 megawatt facility with a substation at Procter & Gamble off Route 87. The facility may have 35-90 turbines.

According to BP, the $250 million project would employ about 150 people during the construction phase and generate enough electricity annually to power 25,000-40,000 homes.

“The power will be used locally,” Davis said. Despite the public outreach on Thursday by BP, some people who attended the open house remained skeptical about the project, such as Carl Crispell, who owns 178 acres on South Mountain. He said that he has a hunting cabin on the mountain and is working with BP to lease his land for turbines.

Asked why he will be leasing his land despite his skepticism, Crispell said he feels he doesn’t have much of a choice because the turbines “will be all around us anyway.”

Josh Mrozinski
Times-Shamrock Writer

Daily & Sunday Review

10 May 2008