Turbines have second zoning hearing

The courtroom at the Adams County Courthouse was mostly full several weeks ago when the planning and zoning commission held a public hearing on issuing a conditional use permit for 75 wind turbines to be placed in all of Duck Creek and portions of Holt Township.

Posted August 21, 2013

Wind Farm

By JAMIE SPAINHOWER

Record Editor

 

The courtroom at the Adams County Courthouse was mostly full several weeks ago when the planning and zoning commission held a public hearing on issuing a conditional use permit for 75 wind turbines to be placed in all of Duck Creek and portions of Holt Township.

A second public meeting is required, and is set for Monday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the same location.

Citizens voiced their concerns about issues ranging from noise to light flicker, to the possibility of long-term physical problems cause by having the towers placed too near their homes.

Many also felt the commission and county commissioners had not had enough time to review the materials presented by Thunder Spirit Wind, LLC, the company proposing the project.

Dan Albano of Thunder Spirit Wind explained at the first meeting Hettinger is a good location as far as wind consistency, in addition to meeting the harder qualification of being able to transmit the electricity out of the area.

“Producing the electricity is not the problem, but the transmission of the power is – if there is enough capacity available on existing transmission lines and the cost to upgrade the existing or build new lines is not too prohibitive,” he said. “One of the greatest attributes is close to transmission lines and substations. We can do a 150 mega-watt project for just over $1 million. It’s not unusual for $20 million for same project. We have great wind and a solid and enthusiastic group of landowners. We think it’s a great place to build for those reasons.”

The company has done extensive research in the area since 2006, he said, spending the time speaking with landowners and studying wind patterns.

The project is expected to have a life span of 24 years, brining $650,000 annual to the county’s tax base, and $800,000 to the landowners in lease payments. Albano said after the initial building project is completed, there would be about a half dozen full time jobs.

At this time, Wind Spirit still had to sell the power it proposes to create, and needs to have the stamp of approval of the Pubic Service Commission (PSC). The PSC has scheduled a public meeting in Hettinger for Sept. 19.

The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and voice their opinions on the project. The zoning commission is a recommending board, and the county commissioners will make the final decision to move forward, in part based on what the commission decides.