ST. LUCIE COUNTY – Florida Power & Light Co. is exploring whether there is enough wind to justify building turbines in western St. Lucie County.
FPL wants the county to let it build meteorological towers that will gauge wind conditions and would show whether wind speed is sufficient for producing energy.
FPL has not picked an exact site for potential turbines should the testing show the wind conditions will work, FPL Spokesperson Jackie Anderson said.
Anderson said the company has not cancelled plans to put six turbines on Hutchinson Island near the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant. FPL, however, is awaiting a public hearing before the county on the plan. County officials have not scheduled a public hearing.
“We are evaluating other potential sites in the county if we are unable to move forward with the site at our St. Lucie Nuclear Plant,” Anderson. “We are still waiting for the county to move forward with the public hearing on the project. In the meantime, we’re looking at other potential sites.
“We don’t have any specific properties determined. We’re just doing some meteorological testing to see what the wind potential is in that area.”
The company’s next step is to go before the county’s planning and zoning board Thursday.
If approved, the towers could not be more than 200 feet in height and must be taken down within three years. The towers and equipment could not be more than 500 feet in area and must be enclosed by at least a 6-foot high fence.
The towers do not generate noise, fumes or odors, according to the county’s staff report.
Currently, the county’s policy does not allow for 200-foot structures in lands zoned as Agricultural-5.
County staff is recommending the exception be allowed because the request is not in conflict with the county’s comprehensive plan. The matter could be before county commissioners within the next two months.
In 2009, the county adopted a policy containing goals, strategies and actions to create a sustainable economy. The policy include a section on renewable sources of energy, and FPL’s plan follows that code.
“More specifically, one of the goals contained in this document supports energy conservation and clean energy alternatives that result in a cleaner, healthier environment and higher quailty of life,” County Senior Planner Jeffrey Johnson wrote in a memo.
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