Company announces wind farm plans
By Sarah L. Reiber, The Somerset Daily American, 7 July 2007
SHADE TOWNSHIP — Supervisors have announced the possibility of a new wind farm coming to the township.
Airtricity Inc., a company that develops and operates wind farms across Europe and North America, has submitted a preliminary plan to supervisors and plans to apply for a permit, said Chairman John Topka.
“This is strictly an announcement,” he said. “We’ll have to wait for the application.”
The project is proposed on the Swallow Farm property, with three turbines in Shade Township and the remainder in Stonycreek Township, he said.
Airtricity’s permit application will be subject to the guidelines outlined in the township’s ordinance on windmills, he said, which includes a limit on the number of turbines built in one area and decibel levels they emit.
While on the issue of wind farms, residents inquired as to whether the supervisors had considered taking a public stance on Gamesa’s proposed Shaffer Mountain wind farm project. Many surrounding municipalities have gone on record to oppose the project, which has been subject to controversy over the possible destruction of the natural watershed area in which it is to be located.
“I understand why people are against it. It is a natural, untouched area,” Topka said. “I think it’s something we could discuss and act on at the next meeting, in August. But it might be one of those situations where you lose no matter what you decide.”
He explained that the Shaffer Mountain project was proposed before the township’s ordinance went into effect. “Those fell under the Somerset County Planning Commission. We don’t have any say over them,” he said.
As far as the Airtricity project or any other future project is concerned, he said, the board will have to remain neutral. “As long as they’re going to follow the guidelines, we pretty much have to grant them the permit,” he said.
HT: National Wind Watch