WEATHERLY – An engineer with experience designing and building wind farms said the turbines and farm proposed for the top of the Broad Mountain complies with all industry and safety standards.
Roark Lanning, engineering manager for renewable energy for WSP USA, Boulder, Colo., testified during the ninth evening of the hearing that the 21 wind turbines, 16 of them 656 feet high, meet all industry standards.
Even before Lanning began his testimony, attorney Bruce Anders, representing opponents of the plan, objected to Lanning being recognized as an expert – because he was never involved in a project in Pennsylvania, nor is he certified as an engineer in Pennsylvania. Packer Twp. Solicitor Robert Yurchak supported Anders on his objection.
However, Lanning was allowed to testify. Greg Mousseau, the solicitor for the zoning board, said the issue of Lanning being an expert will be taken up later in the hearing, based on what he says in his testimony.
Lanning said he has been working in the renewable energy field for a dozen years, on projects creating a total of 6 gigawatts of electricity. But he could not say how many turbines were involved in those projects.
Attorney Michael D. Klein, representing the developer, questioned Lanning, who testified about the contents of a report he filed which addressed the Packer Twp. ordinance concerning wind turbines.
The report addressed each aspect of the zoning ordinance concerning wind turbines.
Lanning said the 16 turbines 656 feet high, and the five smaller turbines were needed to generate 80 megawatts of power – all of the room PPL Electric Utilities has available on its 69-kilovolt power line, to connect the wind farm to the power grid.
The five smaller turbines were purchased under a “production tax credit” in 2016 when their smaller size was the industry standard. But the larger units are now the industry standard, Lanning said. The township zoning ordinance requires turbines to meet the industry standard.
The turbines would be safe, according to industry standards, Lanning said. Their design would prevent someone from climbing them, and the rotor blades would be 78 feet off the ground for the smaller turbines, and 185 feet for the larger turbines.
Anthony Caso, the zoning board chairman, recessed the hearing at 8 p.m. because of the warn temperature in the Weatherly Middle School cafeteria. Anders and Yurchak had not yet cross-examined Lanning.
Klein indicated another evening may be needed beyond the three scheduled to allow Lanning to complete his testimony.
The hearing will continue Monday at 6 p.m., when Dr. Robert McCunney, a medical expert, is scheduled to testify. On Aug. 7, Jack Coyle, President, Coyle, Lynch & Co., will return to offer testimony of the effect of wind turbines on property values.
The following Wednesday, Aug. 14, Kurt Westergaard will testify about the results of a balloon test at the wind farm site being held this weekend.
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