December 30, 2020

Supervisors deny wind turbine application

By Mike Putz | December 30, 2020 |

Citing a need to remain consistent with the county ordinance, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors denied a request from Con Edison for variances on a proposed wind turbine project in Prairie Township at its Dec. 21 meeting.

The Con Edison project calls for three wind turbines along driveways from 230th St., connected with an underground collection line that follows east along 230th St. to 167th Ave.

While the supervisors agreed to revisit the project at a future date, for now, the project is on hold.

The two issues of the project that are at odds with the county ordinance governing wind turbines are a performance bond requirement for construction and turbine blade length.

Supervisors and Con Edison officials discussed the issues at the supervisors’ Nov. 16 meeting where supervisors told the Con Edison representatives a performance bond requiring 130% of the project costs would be required. In addition, the county’s blade requirement is 75 feet clearance when the blade is in the six o’clock position. Con Edison officials had asked that they be allowed to use a blade with 72.2 feet of clearance, citing the fact that they had already purchased a turbine with that length of blade.

At the meeting, Con Edison representative Sean Waslow heard the supervisors say they are not willing to move on the performance bond requirement.

“We are attempting to lower the scope of the performance bond,” Waslow, speaking by phone from California, told the supervisors. “The reason we are doing this is to make the costs lower so we can do the project more easily.”

Supervisor Jeff Madlom responded, “We are dealing with three separate turbine projects in the county. What we do with you would have to reflect what we do for the other two, I think it’s important we stay consistent.”

Supervisor Shirley Helmrichs told Waslow the county is in the process of gathering information from other counties faced with repurposing turbines. She cited Winnebago and Floyd counties as examples. “We are gathering information from counties that have had turbines long enough that they are now in the process of some being repurposed. It’s been presented to us that we do need to upgrade our ordinance so it includes repurposing.”

Helmrichs told Waslow she agreed with Madlom. “The performance bond needs to be for the total project costs. We had one project that tried to bail on the turbines before they were done. We don’t want to see that happen to any of our residents again. So I am not willing to budge on that.”

Waslow then asked the board to consider the blade length variance.

“I understand you have already purchased one system that does not comply with our ordinance,” Madlom told Waslow. “I am sorry to tell you I don’t take that into consideration. You should have checked with the board about what you were buying that was not in compliance with us.”

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