Windmills are coming to Summerhill Township, with as many as 27 energy-producing turbines planned for outside Beaverdale.
EverPower, formerly EverPower Renewables, is wheeling out Highland North Wind Farm.
The company plans to have the turbines cranking out 62 megawatts of electricity – or enough power for 30,000 homes – by summer 2011.
An additional nine turbines are planned for Adams Township, which is already home to the first phase of the Highland Wind Project.
That first phase – located off Dunlo Dip Road in the area of an abandoned strip mine – began producing power last year.
Phase Two is still in the permitting phase, but EverPower officials anticipate few problems at the county or state levels.
“The second half of the year, we hope to start bringing our stuff in,” said Mike Speerschneider, EverPower’s vice president of development.
An application for the project’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit is in the hands of the Cambria County Conservation District. It will then go to the state.
“It should get approval a couple of months after that,” Speerschneider said.
Local officials said the turbines and the host fees they promise are good news for financially strapped Summerhill Township. The supervisors say they stand to gain about $3,000 a year in taxes and fees from each of the structures.
“We’re going to get as much as we can,” said Supervisor Earl Wherry. “It’s going to help out.”
An ordinance spelling out acceptable noise levels is being developed.
The ordinances would also set limits for setbacks from homes and businesses and other elements geared at minimizing impact on township residents, the supervisors said.
“We met with our attorney on a windmill ordinance and he’s working on it now,” board Chairman Leland Bassett said.
Township Solicitor William Barbin is also reviewing ordinances adopted in recent years by Adams and Portage townships as he crafts the document, Bassett said.
Contractors will not be using any Summerhill Township roads to move materials and blades to the site. However, they may need to use a road in Portage Township.
William Spencer, EverPower’s manager of development, and Speerschneider met with Portage Township officials recently to lobby for approval to use one township-owned road to get to the windmill site.
While plans are still being finalized, indications are the equipment will be transported on a state road then onto Popish Road and then through to Summerhill Township.
The wind farm developer will purchase a bond to cover any damage to the 2,770 feet of Popish Road, and may make improvements prior to starting the project, if the road is to be used, Speerschneider said.
“We’ll do engineering studies,” he said.
Portage Township Supervisor James Kovach raised concerns that the base of the road may not be sufficient to handle the weight of the trucks.
A number of the turbines will be on property owned by Highland Sewer and Water Authority, with the remainder on private land, Spencer said.
Specific locations for the Summerhill turbines are still in the planning stage. But Spencer described the general site of the farm as north and east of
Route 869 outside Beaverdale.
The nine planned for Adams Township will be along the Dunlo Dip Road, near the existing site, he said.
EverPower is working on licensing wind farms in Ohio, upper New York and on the West Coast, Spencer said.
“We’re looking at other projects in the state,” he said, “but this (Adams Township) is our first wind farm.”
As with the first phase of the Highland project, the turbines will be 260 feet tall, significantly lower than some of the 350- to 400-foot turbines elsewhere in the region.
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