May 3, 2011

St. Lucie County Commission delays hearing on FPL wind towers

By Eric Pfahler, 3 May 2011

ST. LUCIE COUNTY – County commissioners pushed back a public hearing to discuss Florida Power & Light Co.’s request to gather wind data in western St. Lucie County.

The company proposed putting up meteorological towers to test wind speeds and get other data. The information would be used to tell whether the company could justify building wind turbines out west. But FPL asked commissioners to delay the hearing Tuesday.

Commissioners could not vote to approve the change Tuesday, though they could have set up a second public hearing. The item will be moved to July 5.

County staff has recommended approving the 200-foot towers. According to the staff report, the towers would not create noise or create fumes and would be relatively small compared to the turbines. The planning and zoning board unanimously recommended approval with a 7-0 vote at the March 17 meeting. Any structures must be taken down within three years.

FPL has not selected land for the towers.

In 2009, the county adopted a policy containing goals, strategies and actions to create a sustainable economy. The policy includes a section on renewable sources of energy, and FPL’s plan follows that code, according to the staff report.

FPL still wants to put six wind turbines on Hutchinson Island near the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant. But the company and county are stuck in a holding pattern after the county asked FPL to pay for data from an independent third party.

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