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Board gives update on Crab Orchard Wind  

Credit:  Crossville Chronicle | May 18, 2016 | www.crossville-chronicle.com ~~

The information below went out to Fairfield Glade residents May 11 via eblast.

Since this project was first announced on Jan. 12, there have been numerous rumors spreading around the community, some true, some false and many just conjecture of what might happen in the future. So we all can make an informed decision we are going to focus on the project facts in our weekly update.

1. The original public announcement indicated Apex Clean Energy would build a wind farm with between 20 and 23 wind turbines on 1,800 acres of the mountains above Crab Orchard. The investment would be over $100M, and generate a maximum of 71MegaWatts (MW).

2.Additional annual property taxes for the County are estimated at between $250,000 and $350,000.

3. Board members have met with Apex on two occasions, on Feb. 17 and March 30at which time we were shown provisional maps of the turbine locations between I-40 and the existing High Voltage Lines.

• It was explained that the exact locations and quantities of the turbines would be determined primarily based on wind study results, proximity to the existing high voltage lines and construction costs.

• We were informed that the wind turbines would be over 600 feet tall with three rotating blades. The maximum power of 71MW was confirmed and the provisional quantity of turbines was given as being in the 20 to 23 range. (The implication was that Apex wanted to keep the number of turbines to a minimum to reduce construction costs but they needed enough turbines to reliably generate 71MW under varying wind conditions.)

• The power from the wind farm would be delivered into the nearby Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) high voltage lines and distributed throughout the country.

• It was generally agreed that nearest homes in Fairfield Glade would be over 2 miles from the nearest turbine depending on the final locations of the turbines. There was a lot of discussion about the visual impact of the wind farm from locations throughout Fairfield Glade.

4. The Board members left those Apex meetings with the impression that this was a private company building the wind farm on private land and that there were no zoning restrictions so Apex only needed a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA. They have filed the application showing 29 locations. They also needed to work with the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation, TDEC, and Federal Environmental Agencies, to assure them that there were no significant environmental issues. No maps, pictures or other data was provided by Apex. The Board requested maps and pictures so that the impact, especially visually, could be determined. Apex has informed us these will be available at their Open Houses at the CCC on June 1 from 5:30-8 p.m. and June 2 from 8 a.m.-noon.

5. Apex representatives have also met privately with some small groups of residents to answer their questions.

6. Apex held open house meetings on April 21 and April 22 in Fairfield Glade and Crab Orchard to present the project details and to answer questions. These meetings were advertised in the local papers.

7. The Board decided not to take a stand for or against the project until more information could be learned about its impact on Fairfield Glade and until the opinions of property owners within Fairfield Glade could be assessed.

8. The Board decided not to provide information directly to the residents until information provided in multiple newspaper articles and published letters by supporters and opponents of the project could be evaluated and verified.

9. Representative Cameron Sexton attended the last Fairfield Glade Board meeting and spoke on the topic confirming that it was a private project with little government involvement but he would investigate what relevant state agencies were involved.

10. Some residents of Fairfield Glade have formed a group to oppose the construction of the wind farm. This group is called the Cumberland Mountain Preservation Coalition, CMPC, and meets in the Fairfield Glade Library every Thursday afternoon at 4:30pm. The leadership of this group met with the Board on May 5 and had a very productive meeting. We agreed to exchange factual and independent information to better understand this wind farm and potential impact to FG.

11. Once we all have a better understanding of the facts, the Board intends to conduct a survey of the residents to determine how they wish the Board of Directors to respond to this project.

In conclusion, the members of your board of directors are concerned about the impact of this project on Fairfield Glade, but we are also concerned about the impact of overreacting. We want to make sure we are making a decision based on facts and not emotion or conjecture.

There are risks associated with doing nothing and there are risks in overreacting. The Board is carefully evaluating these risks before recommending a course of action.

We will continue to provide weekly updates until this issue is resolved.

Thank you.

Board of Directors

Fairfield Glade Community Club

Source:  Crossville Chronicle | May 18, 2016 | www.crossville-chronicle.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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