Commissioners plan to make decision on turbines Monday

The second public hearing on the proposed turbine project will be held at 6:30 p.m. On Monday, Sept. 9 at the Adams County Courtroom.Posted September 6, 2013



Record Editor


The second public hearing on the proposed turbine project will be held at 6:30 p.m. On Monday, Sept. 9 at the Adams County Courtroom.

The county zoning and planning commission will hear from Thunder Spirit Wind, a company proposing to place up to 75 wind turbines in Duck Creek Township and a portion of Holt Township, and take input from the public.

“We plan to meet after the meeting and make a decision,” said Adams County Commission Chair Chuck Christianson. “We have had the information for four months, we were all present during the first public meeting and will all be at the meeting Monday.”

Christianson said the other option the commission has is to hold a special meeting in the future, and since they will all be present for the meeting, it makes sense to “make the decision to move forward or not,” so everyone involved can plan accordingly for the future.

The zoning commission is a recommending board only, and can’t make the final decision as far as the county is concerned, as to whether or not a project can continue. It will make its recommendation to the commissioners, who will then make the determination if they think the project is viable.

There were several concerns brought forth at the first meeting from landowners, including noise, flicker, and the possibility of long-term physical problems that may be caused by having the towers placed too near their homes.

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, bringing $650,000 annually 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.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has to also approve the project, and will be in Hettinger Sept. 19 to take public comment.

Thunder spirit also has to sell the electricity the turbines will create.