Five years after first announcing a plan to build an industrial wind turbine development on high-altitude farm and forest land in northern Potter County, international energy giant AES Corporation has still not broken ground.
Plans for the Fox Hill Wind Energy Project earlier this year were divided into phases, with the initial section to include construction of 21 turbines in Ulysses Township and 12 in neighboring Hector Township. Each of the machines would stand taller than 400 feet and generate up to 1.5 megawatts of electricity.
An earlier plan called for 55 turbines in Ulysses Township and 15 in Hector Township.
Initially, AES had planned to seek Potter County Planning Commission approval for the development. However, boards of supervisors in Ulysses and Hector townships circumvented the county’s subdivision and land development ordinance by passing their own regulations.
AES alleged that the county ordinance’s noise limits, designed to protect neighboring homeowners, were too restrictive.
Elected supervisors in both townships were offered financial incentives, through proposed “host community agreements,” to adopt regulatons that were more accommodating to wind energy.
The developer has faced other challenges, including changes in economic and political trends as well as a maze of government regulations.
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