September 29, 2022

Energy en route: Wind turbine parts cross area

Cati Keith | Altoona Mirror | Sep 29, 2022 |

Loads of wind turbine blades and components began rolling toward Blair County on Wednesday, headed for the Sandy Ridge Wind Farm expansion project near Tyrone.

Tyrone Borough Manager Ardean Latchford said the trucks are bringing in parts, including blades, for the nine additional turbines that will be added to the 15 already existing on the Snyder Township portion of the farm.

Sandy Ridge, owned by Liberty Power of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., currently has 25 wind turbines, but part of the project is in Taylor Township, Centre County. According to an August 2021 Mirror article, the new project calls for construction of 11 wind turbines on three parcels within the footprint of the original Sandy Ridge wind project.

In a news release, PennDOT said windmill superloads would be passing through the area Wednesday and today, though the transport of all the parts is expected to take about six weeks.

Because of the size of the loads, escorts will accompany each transport. In addition, state police will be on hand as the transports will be going the wrong-way on some roads. Delays could be lengthy due to those movements, PennDOT stated.

According to the route information mapped out by PennDOT, loads of windmill blades left the Port of Erie at 11 a.m. and at 1 p.m. Wednesday and proceeded nonstop until they reached the Sandy Ridge Wind Farm.

The route to Tyrone included Interstate 80 from Falls Creek/On-ramp at Interchange 97 to Clearfield at Exit 120, Route 879 south to Route 322, Route 322 back to Route 879, Route 879 to Route 153, and Route 153 to Route 253/Route 453.

Today, four loads will leave from Falls Creek, two at 9 a.m., one at 11 a.m. and a fourth at noon.

The transports will feature a wrong-way movement involving the Clearfield Bypass (Route 879) and Route 322 near the Clearfield Mall. The transport will travel the wrong way onto Route 879 and continue until it reaches the Route 153 intersection, PennDOT stated.

Delivery of the blades for the latest turbine additions will not go through Tyrone Borough, though, Latchford said.

“There was a transportation study done, and they found it was not feasible to bring the blades through town,” he said.

According to an article in The Progress News, a property in Brisbin Borough at the corner of Swoope Street and Teutonic Avenue was recently purchased and the house demolished to allow the turbines to clear the sharp right turn there.

In addition, a left-hand turn in Smithmill, at the intersection of State Route 153 and Route 253/453 at the former Spike’s Tavern, was cleared to make way for the blades.

Those adjustments had to be made because the new wind turbines will be bigger than the current structures.

They’ll also put out more power, Latchford said, noting that each of the current wind turbines produce 2.5 megawatts of power but the new ones will put out 4 megawatts.

The original wind farm was completed in 2009 and at that time, the contract called for the borough to receive 4% in royalties from electricity produced there, Latchford said. That deal brings in about $100,000 a year, he added.

“With the expansion, the output will be greater and the royalties will be greater but the number is unknown at this time,” he said.

Latchford said the money received from the turbines will continue to be used for borough improvement projects.

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