WELLSBORO – A hearing on the appeal filed by the Tioga Preservation Group against the Tioga County Planning Commission’s decision to grant a conditional approval to a 124-turbine wind farm project has not yet been scheduled, and it could be some time before any decision is made.
And, no hearing will be scheduled soon, according to Ron Kamzelski, a member of the group that filed the appeal in Tioga County Court to change the decision about AES’s project.
“All the parties involved met with the judge in April so he could set ground rules and they agreed to prepare briefs in the case,” Kamzelski said.
“I met with our attorney last week and her brief is not due for another week or so, so it could be a couple months yet,” he added.
During the June planning commission meeting last week, Tioga County planner Jim Weaver said changes will be made to some of the plans for the project.
According to Weaver, the company will not build a substation in Tioga County nor will it need transmission lines in the county.
“They said they will not go with NY/ISO grid and will not build an overhead transmission line or substation in Tioga County,” Weaver said in a phone interview Monday.
“It will all be in Bradford County, all going to Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Maryland line, the largest electric grid in the United States,” Weaver said.
AES also said it plans to break up the project into separate phases, Weaver added.
This was confirmed by project director Bob White, who said phase one will include 67 to 95 turbines constructed beginning this fall, with total project completion and commercial transmission by Fall 2009.
Weaver said the planning commission is continuing its review of the entire project.
“This extends the timeline for the period they will be under construction,” he said.
According to Weaver, AES had anticipated a June 2008 start, with completion by November.
“Now, they said construction would be phased with turbines being built on the base of the Armenia Mountain facing north first, then continue with the construction of the remainder of the turbines as time and weather permit in Phase II,” Weaver said
White said the appeal still is in the court process but “has not caused us to stop moving forward.”
“We will take the power through one of the other lines and they are both in Bradford County,” he said, insisting that the project has not been affected by any local opposition.
“We always had three options, we just decided one of the other two options was better for the project, and we do not anticipate it will change or add any costs to the project,” he added.
The 30 acres in Tioga County AES purchased now will be used for an operations and maintenance building only and not a substation as originally was planned.
We had two structures planned, one in Bradford County, and one in Tioga County, we will retain the one in Bradford County and not the one in Tioga County,” White said.
By Cheryl R. Clarke
17 June 2008
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