In the past, most wind energy plants were located in the middle of the Great Plains areas of the country. Today they are beginning to move closer to towns for transmission lines to transport the power, such as the one proposed for Cherokee County to be located near Rock Village.
David Savage, vice president of Pioneer Green Energy discussed the company’s proposal for wind turbines in this area during the January Breakfast meeting of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce.
“We need clean energy sources and the way to do that is put smaller wind energy plants and solar plants as well closer to communities,” noted savage.
“This project ( in Cherokee County) is currently designed to be about eight turbines, a little under 20 megawatts,” said Savage. “We have leased the land for that. It is almost entirely a private land project. There is a part involving Cherokee Rock Village that is obviously public land we would like to include, but 90 percent of that is private land.”
“TVA has agreed to buy the power,” said Savage. “Utilities that need to buy the power will buy it over a 20-year period over a long term contract and they have executed a contract with us to buy the power. That is subject to a series of studies they will do and they are talking about environmental issues. We have to make sure it is a good place for a plant to be placed. We will have computer simulations of what the turbines will look like. We are doing a study now of what the sound that the turbines will generate so people will see how it will dissipate over space whether you won’t hear them or it will be a really low sound and we will make those available for an open house we are planning to do next month.”
Savage said the project would also bring jobs to this area, particularly during the construction period. And after the plant is up and running, personnel will be needed to maintain the machines, operate computer boards. “There would be a small operation and maintenance building,” Savage noted.
“The hope is that if the park board decides to put a turbine on its property and decides to try to integrate it into the mission of the park, then JSU believes that will add sort of a tourism component and bring people into the county to come and see the turbines,” said Savage. “They are pretty amazing machines. Even Patrick and I who have seen them hundreds of times, we still crane our necks when we see them because they are amazing machines and most people want to see what they are.”
“This is something that I know is very important to the county, very important to communities around the county,” said Savage.
“Rock Village has been there for decades. It is a stunningly beautiful place and we are proposing to have a turbine, the last of the string, if you will at the very back end of the park on the parkland.”
“The idea is that you come to the park and you are able to do everything you once could in the park climb the rocks, look at the view, all of that would continue,” said Savage.
“We have an agreement with the parks board to investigate the feasibility of this project,” said Savage. “It would mean a healthy amount of money for the county to earn.”
For more information on the project, view the Jacksonville State University website at shinbonewind.com.
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