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No-spin zone: Proposed sale of wind farm keeps turbines at standstill

The proposed sale of the Chestnut Flats Wind Farm is keeping the wind turbine blades from turning, a representative for the wind farm project said.

Some wind turbine blades have gone through electrical testing and done a few spins since late December when construction wrapped up on the 19-turbine farm in Logan Township, Gamesa Project Development Director Greg Elko said Thursday.

But the commercial operation for the production of electricity, now targeted for the spring, won’t get started until the sale of the farm is complete, he said.

Chestnut Flats Wind LLC, the limited liability corporation formed to build the wind farm, has signed a sale agreement with an undisclosed buyer, Elko said.

Elko described the buyer as “an American owner/operator of renewable generation assets.”

The idea of a wind farm being built, then sold, is not new in Blair County.

A few years ago, representatives for Gamesa Energy USA put together plans for constructing the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm that spans five municipalities on the border of Blair and Cambria counties. After construction was completed, the farm was sold to Babcock & Brown, an Australia-based investment and advisory company.

When legal issues surfaced over noise caused by the turbines, the complaints were aimed not only at Gamesa but also at Babcock & Brown.

When Logan Township supervisors worked on ordinances and land development plans for the Chestnut Flats Wind Farm, they tried to put in provisions that would minimize the potential for noise and/or other complaints.

They included language requiring subsequent owners to meet same standards imposed during the construction process, such as maintaining fences around the site’s detention basins and providing access for emergency vehicles.

When supervisors approved the project’s land development plans in December 2009, then-Gamesa Project Developer Jon Baker said Logan Township established some of the more rigorous standards for his company to meet. Supervisors responded by praising Baker and his associates for meeting the standards.

When the wind turbine farm is fully operational, it’s expected to generate enough electricity to power 11,000 homes.