SALIX – More wind turbines will be sprouting on mountaintops along Dunlo Dip Road after Adams Township supervisors gave final approval to a conditional use application Monday.
“I thought they addressed our concerns, as long as they stay true to the contract,” Supervisor Dennis Gdula said following the unanimous approval.
EverPower executives outlined the project for nine new turbines that will be located in Adams Township as part of Highland North Wind Farm, which will also include up to 26 more turbines near Beaverdale in neighboring Summerhill Township.
The project is expected to generate 62 megawatts of power by the end of next year.
Highland North is the company’s second phase of the 62.5-megawatt Highland Wind Project, which went online in 2009 with 25 turbines near Dunlo.
“The complaints have been minimal,” said Gdula, who lives in Dunlo.
A study predicting the additional noise levels shows a second phase of wind turbines will have little impact on most areas, Michael Speerschneider, EverPower’s director of development, told supervisors Monday during a public hearing.
“It is only along Dunlo Dip Road that you have any difference,” Speerschneider said. “Even there, it is only a couple decibels.”
Background noise from wind and nature peaked at 50 decibels during the study in February, Speerschneider said.
That is about the level of normal conversation. The additional “whoosh” of turbine blades would add no more than 15 decibels at the lower background noise levels in that area.
Supervisor Dennis Richards said he was more concerned with a squealing sound some of the turbines have been making.
It is being taken care of, site manager Brad Foy said, adding that the sound is not normal for the equipment.
“It is very comparable to the brake squealing on your car,” Foy said.
“We go up and do a brake job on the turbine as fast as we possibly can.”
Malfunctioning towers close to homes receive top priority, Foy said.
The manufacturer has developed a modification for the turbine brakes and is preparing to ship units for all existing turbines that will prevent squealing in the future.
Matt Estok of Nanty Glo presented the only opposition testimony. Explaining that he owns property and has family in Adams Township, Estok presented printouts of articles suggesting adverse health risks for those who live near turbines.
“The study isn’t conclusive,” Estok admitted, telling supervisors he wanted them to be aware of the issue.
Monday’s action finalized approval in Adams Township.
The approval was recommended by the township planning commission following two public meetings and another hearing.
Summerhill Township is scheduled to consider its portion of the project at the supervisors’ Sept. 21 meeting.
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