Stephen Repasch, executive director of the Bethlehem Water Authority explained how the authority came to consider using the property in Penn Forest Township to collect wind energy.
“In 2009 we were approached by Delsea Energy out of New Jersey,” Repasch said. “They were in the process of studying wind all along the East Coast. It was their belief that our ridges would be a good place to produce energy.”
According to Repasch, the authority had never considered a wind farm before being contacted by Delsea. After speaking to Delsea the authority entertained several companies’ proposals.
“We were going to select Delsea, but they pulled out,” Repasch said. “I believe they went out of business.”
EneXco was the second company the watershed considered, but EneXco pulled out because the company didn’t believe that the project was “developable.”
The third company to submit a proposal was Iberdrola Renewables. The authority eventually signed a licensing agreement with Iberdrola to conduct testing. The agreement permits Iberdrola to proceed into a lease agreement if its testing proved successful.
Under the terms of the lease Iberdrola will pay all taxes on the property, which is currently tax exempt. Additionally, Iberdrola will pay the authority $100,000 or 3 percent of its gross revenue yearly in rental fees.
The lease does not permit the authority to withdraw from it. Only Iberdrola can walk away from the project. Iberdrola is responsible for any environmental issues that might arise, according to Respach.
Respach did say that Iberdrola must meet every requirement of any of the 14 agencies that will review permits to meet the terms of the lease.
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