BEAVERDALE – The state treasury is kicking in $6 million toward construction of the $122 million Highland North Wind Project in Adams and Summerhill townships.
The Clean and Alternative Energy Grant Program funding was approved Thursday by Commonwealth Financing Agency, state Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, and stateRep. Gary Haluska, D-Patton, announced.
“This project will make Cambria County a leader in clean-energy production while giving the local economy a boost,” Wozniak said. “Dependence on foreign oil is a danger to our national security and our local communities are contributing significantly to the solution.”
“The expansion will increase the amount of wind energy capacity in Pennsylvania by 10 percent,” Haluska said. “This additional, clean and renewable power will be sold to the grid and will continue to move Pennsylvania forward as a leader in alternative and clean energy production and use.”
New York-based EverPower expects to begin construction in the spring, with the wind turbines becoming operational by year’s end, spokesman Michael Speerschneider said.
Speerschneider commended the state’s support.
“It is a great program and a great investment,” Speerschneider said. “It is something we pursued to help with some of the financing of the project development and construction.”
Plans approved by both townships call for 30 new turbines in addition to 25 built in in Adams Township in 2009. The expansion is located on a former strip mine and property owned by Highland Sewer and Water Authority near its Lloydell Reservoir.
Haluska said there is strong local support for the project, adding that wind farms are beneficial to rural areas.
“These projects create jobs and increase the economic value of the land on which they are located,” he said.
“In addition, since the wind turbines have such a small footprint, most of the land around them can still be farmed or used for other purposes and income.”
EverPower expects to employ 100 construction workers next year and expand its permanent work force to about 12 employees when the turbines come on line, Speerschneider said.
“Wind energy also is beneficial to the environment and health,” Haluska said. “One of these wind turbines, as opposed to energy created by burning fossil fuels, prevents about 2,700 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted.”
Townships expect to receive about $4,000 a year in fees from each turbine, with addition revenue paid to Forest Hills School District and Cambria County.
Highland North turbines will be about 70 feet taller than the first phase towers, reaching up to 490 feet at the tip.
“Taller structures generate more energy with the same amount of wind,” Speerschneider said.
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