Board index Our Community Community Discussions Windmills on Ice Mountain - Gamesa Wind Turbines

Windmills on Ice Mountain - Gamesa Wind Turbines

Anything in our community you would like to discuss? Post it here.

My2Cents MVP Member

Posts: 1132
Location: Tyrone, PA
In the meantime, has anyone noticed ?? Trees are being cut down up on the ridge top and they are not wasting any time in doing so. It's a d*mn shame !!!


Posts: 53
My2Cents wrote:
In the meantime, has anyone noticed ?? Trees are being cut down up on the ridge top and they are not wasting any time in doing so. It's a d*mn shame !!!


It's illegal to begin work on the project until Gamesa (Sandy Ridge Wind LLC) has received an NPDES permit from the DEP. The Blair and Centre County Conservation Districts have already told Gamesa that its application is deficient, so Gamesa's going back to the drawing boards. In addition, the FAA prohibited 6 of the turbines slated for Tyrone Borough property.

I will notify the Blair County Conservation District of the violations that My2Cents is reporting.
Image

My2Cents MVP Member

Posts: 1132
Location: Tyrone, PA
"they" may not be the big "G," Irish. However, someone is cutting them down, for some reason, and they're not wasting any time in doing so. Go up into Northwood and over the bridge that crosses over I99 for a perfect view.


Posts: 53
My2Cents wrote:
"they" may not be the big "G," Irish. However, someone is cutting them down, for some reason, and they're not wasting any time in doing so. Go up into Northwood and over the bridge that crosses over I99 for a perfect view.


I'll check it out tomorrow morning and ask around regarding what's going on. According to the Centre County Conservation District rep that I talked to, Gamesa's got to submit a new erosion and sedimentation plan and a new stormwater plan because both were "grossly inadequate." They disagree with the Casselberry report, BTW.
Image

Ice Man MVP Member

Posts: 467
Huge industrial windmills on ridge tops a bad idea

August 27, 2009 by David Gantt in Citizen-Times

We are blessed in Western N.C. with breathtaking views of layer upon layer of Appalachian ridge tops. In 1983, Sugar Top Condos were built on the top of Sugar Mountain in Avery County. Sugar Top Condos rise 131 feet above the ridgeline and can be seen for several miles. These towering condos were so devastating to the scenic splendor of the mountains that the General Assembly wisely enacted strict ridge top laws to stop these monstrosities from appearing throughout our mountains. While the statewide law was too late for Sugar Mountain, the law stopped similar projects of shocking heights and destruction of the mountains. Sugar Top Condos is a permanent reminder that once a structure is built on our mountain tops, we cannot unbuild it.

Our General Assembly has been debating the possibility of large-scale development of a different kind on our ridge tops - industrial wind turbins. The impetus for the debate is whether the 1983 ridge top law should be amended to permit industrial-sized wind farms on top of the mountains. All research indicates that the best place for wind farms are on the highest ridge tops at the highest elevations available. The best type of turbine to harness the wind and create energy would be as tall as Sugar Top Condos - twice as tall as the BB&T building in downtown Asheville. A proposed Mitchell County wind farm would have as many as 20 of these 400-foot-tall structures. I am very proud of Sens. Nesbitt, Queen and Snow for standing up for our mountains and questioning the scope and size of this proposal.

Installation of most of these turbines will also require use of any existing roads as well as construction of additional roads along the ridge tops and space cut up the sides of mountains for the transmission lines. After the proposed permit process, a one-to-three-year impact study of the wind, environment, birds, bats and other wildlife will begin. A July 15 article in the The Mitchell News Journal stated that construction of the wind farm would create 100-plus jobs for one to one and a half years, but only three to seven full-time jobs once operational.

In my view, the argument is not whether wind energy is a preferable alternative to coal-burning power plants. Nor is it about the creation of badly needed jobs. The concern is with the potential to permanently alter, influence and degrade another precious resource: our mountains. A massive change in these mountains would not only affect the natural habitats of birds, bats, bears and other wildlife, but could also impact private land that would be broken up by eminent domain in order to build transmission lines and roads.

I believe that we do not need to rush through permitting wind farms that will not be operational for a minimum of two years and possibly much longer, depending on the length of time it takes to install the turbines, build the road and create the transmission lines.

We should take a hard look at the alternative of small-scale community wind turbines (rather than an industrial wind farm) that will be allowed under the proposed legislation. Can we not create an acquisition process for residential wind turbines that is reasonable for individuals and create jobs that will last longer than one to two years? There are other alternative sources of energy: solar and landfill gas to name only two that can be used both residentially and on a large scale.

We need to give ourselves time to make sure the energy supplied by a wind farm or any other large-scale alternative energy source will intelligently and thoughtfully replace the energy currently created by coal, and not just merely aid our overconsumption and ultimately maintain the status quo. With development of innovative energy-efficiency technologies, the need for any type of energy generation can be reduced and potentially eliminated. I encourage Sens. Nesbitt, Queen and Snow to continue their good fight to preserve and protect our mountaintops. We don't want to repeat the mistakes of 1983. Sugar Top Condos is a permanent reminder of how the ridge tops we all love and cherish can be changed forever.



David Gantt is a Buncombe County commissioner and lawyer in Asheville. He lives in the Limestone area of Buncombe County.

stringone New Member

Posts: 3
In response to (My Two Cents) , If you are talking about the trees on the left going up the mountain ,They are being taken out due to Gypsy Moth Damage. That is what a gentleman from Penndot told me a couple of weeks ago .

My2Cents MVP Member

Posts: 1132
Location: Tyrone, PA
Thanks stringone.... even if that's the.... "reason".... it's a shame that the area was not sprayed, and that it was let go for so long that they reverted to cutting down trees. Turbine devastation and Gypsy Moth devastation.... my, what a pretty picture.

RedhairNFreckles User avatar
Senior Member

Posts: 140
Location: Western NC
Thanks Ice Man for posting the informative article from the Asheville Citizen Times. I've been hearing whispers of Wind Energy for a couple of years here in Franklin and other Western North Carolina towns. I fear it's coming, sooner or later. Especially since our present Administration thinks it's the answer.... :(

Ice Man MVP Member

Posts: 467
RedhairNFreckles wrote:
Thanks Ice Man for posting the informative article from the Asheville Citizen Times. I've been hearing whispers of Wind Energy for a couple of years here in Franklin and other Western North Carolina towns. I fear it's coming, sooner or later. Especially since our present Administration thinks it's the answer.... :(


You're welcome.

Fortunately for you, it seems like people in NC do want to protect their ridges. See http://keepersoftheblueridge.com/

Gamesa's proposed Sandy Ridge Wind Farm is an example of that company's disregard for our natural heritage. Ice Mountain and its surrounding landscape are the ONLY place in western Blair County that merits the designation BLAIR COUNTY NATURAL HERITAGE AREA OF EXCEPTIONAL CONSERVATION VALUE. It is so designated in the Blair County Natural Heritage Inventory because of the extent of its unfragmented forests.

Gamesa intends to construct about 25 industrial scale turbines in this area, with access roads, transmission line clearings, substations, and accessory buildings. 9 miles of forest roadway will be massively widened, with extensive cuts and fills. 5 miles of new heavy duty roadway will be built. 2 miles of this road will be along Big Fill Run, an Exceptional Value trout stream.

EVERY CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION IN OUR AREA OPPOSES THE SANDY RIDGE WIND FARM.

see http://www.jvas.org/news_hot.html

LOCAL CONSERVATION GROUPS OPPOSE SANDY RIDGE WIND FARM PERMIT

The DEP currently is considering an NPDES permit for the Sandy Ridge Wind Farm in Snyder Township, Blair County, and in Rush and Taylor Townships, Centre County. The Moshannon Group of the Sierra Club, the Little Juniata River Association, Save Our Allegheny Ridges, Juniata Valley Audubon, and SAVE ICE MOUNTAIN are opposed to the issuance of this permit and request a public hearing.

The concerns of these local conservation organizations include particulate, chemical, and thermal pollution of special protection waters; increased surface runoff resulting in altered hydrology; and severe degradation of a Blair County Natural Heritage Area described as being “of exceptional conservation value” in the Blair County Natural Heritage Inventory because of its unfragmented forests.

The developer (Gamesa) proposes to widen 9 miles of insignificant forest road and construct 5 miles of new road in this forested Blair County Natural Heritage Area. Adjacent to the road, the developer proposes to construct transmission line corridors, resulting in clearings averaging 60' in diameter but approaching 300' with cuts and fills in sensitive areas. Up to 28 industrial-scale wind turbines will be placed in clearings bulldozed in this forest and additional scalping of the mountainside will take place to accommodate substations and accessory buildings.

Big Fill Run in the project area is classified as Exceptional Value (EV), the highest water quality level that can be designated. Given our resource energy practices of the past, the Allegheny Front region of Blair and Centre possesses few waters that achieve this status. The EV status of Big Fill Run mandates that permit reviews of projects in its watershed undergo more strenuous examination including an antidegradation review. The developer must demonstrate that their activity will maintain and not degrade water quality without exception. We believe that the developer has failed to meet this requirement.

The developer's NPDES Permit Application underestimates the exact limits of earth disturbance. We are particularly concerned with the wide and steep road that the developer intends to cut into the northern slope of Gardner Mountain (Taylor Township, Centre County) in the headwaters of Big Fill Run, just a short distance upslope from this EV stream. Bulldozing a roadway into the extremely steep hillside will result in either cut slopes or fill slopes that vary as they tie into the existing topography.

A review of the disturbance limits shown in the developer's application indicates several areas where direct impacts (i.e., fill placement or excavation) to aquatic resources are likely:

1. Crossing of Sink Run tributary by two parallel roads near the SGL 60 boundary in Snyder Township.

2. Crossing of Vanscoyoc Run in Snyder Township.

3. Crossing of several Big Fill Run tributaries in Taylor Township.

There also are locations within the proposed project area where indirect impacts (effects to the hydraulic forces or hydrologic regime of a resource) to wetlands, springs, and seeps appear not only likely, but unavoidable under the current design. This design would not only permanently reduce the amount of water available to some of the area's wetlands, springs, and seeps, but would also permanently increase the surface flow of water into adjacent tributaries. This increase in surface water volume would change the hydraulic characteristics of the stream flow, risking increased channelization, bank erosion, and sediment loading in these currently stable tributaries. This impact will be particularly severe along Big Fill Run (EV), which will be bordered by a steep and wide heavy-duty roadway for close to two miles up its narrow originating hollow. The developer's plans for containing this excess water flow are grossly inadequate.

In addition to the direct and indirect impacts described above, high potential exists throughout the project area for sediment impacts to the Exceptional Value and High Quality coldwater fishery aquatic resources. The proposed roadway alignments themselves seem to invite aquatic resource degradation from sedimentation. Again, this is particularly true for the steep and wide roadway proposed along Big Fill Run and its headwaters.

Because of impacts to EV wetlands (wetlands associated with HQ and EV waterways), this permit application will require a detailed alternatives analysis, including the analysis of off-site and no-build alternatives for the proposed project. Thus, the developer must look at different areas for access and/or site locations for avoidance.

The Moshannon Group of the Sierra Club, Save Our Allegheny Ridges, the Little Juniata River Association, Juniata Valley Audubon, and SAVE ICE MOUNTAIN call for a public hearing to address the inadequacies of Gamesa's NPDES permit application for the Sandy Ridge Wind Farm. We believe that this application, in its present form, should be denied.

Contact Information:

Little Juniata River Association — President Bill Anderson
bjuniata@verizon.net | 814-684-5922

Juniata Valley Audubon — President Terry Wentz
twentz2@verizon.net | 814-693-6563

SAVE ICE MOUNTAIN — spokesman Stan Kotala
ccwiba@keyconn.net | 814-946-8840

Sierra Club, Moshannon Group — Chairman Gary Thornbloom
bearknob@verizon.net | 814-353-3466

Save Our Allegheny Ridges — Chairwoman Laura Jackson
mljackson2@embarqmail.com | 814-652-9268


http://www.jvas.org/news_hot.html

tyroniepa Member

Posts: 34
OMG let is rest already, almost 200 pages now?? Seriously???

RedhairNFreckles User avatar
Senior Member

Posts: 140
Location: Western NC
Actually, I appreciate the wealth of information this whole thread contains. I can appreciate the passion most of you Tyroners have to save your beautiful area from these rapists, for lack of a better word. I have saved this whole thread into a file just in case WNC, for whatever reasoning, takes another look at wind energy. I personally appreciate and thank all of you posters who have taken the time to share your knowledge, articles, agency reports, etc. to make us all aware of the consequences of allowing them to "get one foot in the door".

One lone voice New Member

Posts: 17
Location: TYRONE
RedhairNFreckles , I too hope that NC doesn't buy into the windmill fallacy. I have made several trips down the Blue Ridge Parkway. I think it is one of the most beautiful areas in the country, and it would be a shame if they would build a windplant and blight the view (which is the main reasons for travelling the BRP). Tourism in that region would drop drastically... after all, you can see the ridgetops full of towers cropping up all over, so why bother doing the "Drive" if that's all you are going to see. Good luck.

Something to say MVP Member

Posts: 486
tyroniepa wrote:
OMG let is rest already, almost 200 pages now?? Seriously???


You would think that nearly 200 pages would have grabbed the attention of the governing body in Tyrone, as it did yours, but ...nope. I actually find it quite refreshing that folks came together to take a stand for something and held their ground. For many people living in Tyrone and many others that appreciate Ice Mountain for its conservational and aesthetic value, including me, this development is a sore spot.

The people that opposed the windfarm on Ice Mountain....STILL...oppose the windfarm on Ice Mountain.

sammie Member

Posts: 94
Altoona Mirror
Friday, September 18, 2009

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Wind benefits questioned

I read the Sept. 2 Mirror article headline "Windfarm generates $42 million in funds" several times in order to attempt to find anything that resembled the "generation" of anything positive, for any citizen in our region.

I read about tens of millions of additional dollars in taxpayer money going into the hands of investors who already have been subsidized millions of dollars for their initial investment in area wind turbines and no new jobs for our region. This is simply a reduction of the investors debt.

This story highlights the insult that the wind industry and our state government has pulled over on us - the citizens, municipalities and elected officials who live here in the front range of the Alleghenies. We have no excuse; there have been many concerned citizens warning us of this scam for the last several years.

Just visit a township meeting where an industrial wind turbine project is proposed. You will see hundreds of concerned taxpayers willing to fight these projects packed into township meeting rooms, but elected officials are frightened by the threat of lawsuits by foreign energy companies and our state backing them up.

Foreign companies and hidden investors are plied with taxpayer money to destroy our ridgetops, assult our migratory birds and raptors, create increased erosion and flood risk, all while permanently ruining our vistas and property values, forcing us to listen to the thump and wooshing and watching the strobe effect of sun glinting through the enormous blades 400 feet in the sky.

How can Sens. Robert Casey and Arlen Spector call this a jobs creator for Pennsylvania with only eight jobs - "with some talent being brought in from other areas" included in the eight jobs?

These industrial wind factories are a fitting place for a portion of the stimulous money. Why not reduce the already subsidized project investors another $42 million for the eight existing jobs? This money will follow other money - right into the pockets of hidden investors at the expense of the residents of our region.

The real question may be with all this new energy created from area wind turbines, how many coal or nuclear power plants have been taken off line? How much less energy do we create from our existing coal and nuclear facilities with this new source? The answer is none. Wind energy is not dependable enough in Pennsylvania to reduce the other supplies and maintain a reliable power source, and we have no technology to store electricity in battery form for this scale.

A headline of "$42 million more diverted" would be more fitting. I wish the Mirror would have chosen an expose on this entire wind turbine scandal, rather than a celebratory headline about something good for our area.

Doug Wolf, Altoona

sandstone MVP Member

Posts: 461
Location: Sinking Valley
RedhairNFreckles wrote:
Actually, I appreciate the wealth of information this whole thread contains. I can appreciate the passion most of you Tyroners have to save your beautiful area from these rapists, for lack of a better word. I have saved this whole thread into a file just in case WNC, for whatever reasoning, takes another look at wind energy. I personally appreciate and thank all of you posters who have taken the time to share your knowledge, articles, agency reports, etc. to make us all aware of the consequences of allowing them to "get one foot in the door".


Thanks for your kind words, RedhairNFreckles. I've heard similar comments from many in our community.

Below is an article from USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/env ... arms_N.htm.

Note the advice by Sec Salazar to keep windplants out of migratory corridors and off of ridgelines. Note that Tyrone Borough Councilwomen Jennifer Bryan, Virgie Werner, Pat Stoner, Mark Kosoglow, and Jim Grazier ignored that same advice, as did Snyder Township Supervisors Charles Diehl and Robert Nelson. Gamesa dismissed that advice as early as spring 2006. All the individuals and municipalities were approached multiple times with pleas from thousands in our community, including independent scientists from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Gamesa, the Tyrone municipal leaders mentioned above, and the Snyder Township municipal leaders mentioned above all ignored the science and lunged for the money (although not as much money as hoped for, since the FAA knocked out almost half of the turbines slated for Tyrone Borough land!).



Bird deaths present problem at wind farms

Environmentalists have said they want 20% of the nation's electricity generated through wind by 2030. Currently, about 1% is.

For years, a huge wind farm in California's San Joaquin Valley was slaughtering thousands of birds, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and burrowing owls.

The raptors would get sliced up by the blades on the 5,400 turbines in Altamont Pass, or electrocuted by the wind farm's power lines. Scientists, wildlife agencies and turbine experts came together in an attempt to solve the problem. The result?

Protective measures put in place in an effort to reduce deaths by 50% failed. Deaths in fact soared for three of four bird species studied, said the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area Bird Fatality Study.

The slaughter at Altamont Pass is being raised by avian scientists who say the drive among environmentalists to rapidly boost U.S. wind-farm power 20 times could lead to massive bird losses and even extinctions.

New wind projects "have the potential of killing a lot of migratory birds," said Michael Fry, director of conservation advocacy at the American Bird Conservancy in Washington.

Wind projects are being proposed for the Texas Gulf, the Atlantic Coast, the Great Plains and Upper Midwest. President Obama said in April that he would allow turbines along the Atlantic as one way to help meet a goal by environmentalists and the industry of generating 20% of the nation's electricity through wind by 2030. Currently about 1% of U.S. power comes from wind, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

"There's concern because of the scale of what we're talking about," said Shawn Smallwood, a Davis, Calif., ecologist and researcher. "Just the sheer numbers of turbines … we're going to be killing so many raptors until there are no more raptors."

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is aware of the problem and says the administration is working with energy companies and wildlife groups to help lessen the deaths.

"I think we will be able to minimize the number of birds being killed, just in terms of sheer numbers," Salazar said. "The fact that some birds will be killed is a reality."

Officials in the wind-energy industry say migratory birds and birds of prey, including eagles, are killed each year at some of the nation's biggest wind farms, but they say the concerns are overstated.

Laurie Jodziewicz, manager of siting policy for the American Wind Energy Association, said the industry has taken steps to reduce bird deaths.

"We have hundreds and hundreds of projects all over the country that are not having those impacts," she said, referring to Altamont.

Bird deaths cannot be completely eliminated, Jodziewicz said. "There will be some birds that are killed because they do collide with so many structures," Jodziewicz said.

Salazar said new technology in the design of turbines and more careful placement, such as outside of migratory paths and away from ridgelines, can reduce bird deaths.

Fry says other methods include using radar to detect and shut down turbines when migratory birds approach, building towers higher and with more space between them, and placing them away from areas where raptors hunt for small animals.

"Technology has evolved over the last several decades in significant ways," Salazar said. "We know how to do wind farms in ways that minimize and mitigate the effect on birds."

Some see a double standard for wind farms.

ExxonMobil pleaded guilty in federal court in August to the deaths of 85 birds at its operations in several states, according to the Department of Justice. The birds were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and Exxon agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees. In July, the PacifiCorp utility of Oregon had to pay $10.5 million in fines, restitution and improvements to their equipment after 232 eagles were killed by running into power lines in Wyoming, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

That is far fewer than the estimated 10,000 birds (nearly all protected by the migratory bird law) that are being killed every year at Altamont, according to Robert Bryce, author of Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence." Bryce says that follows a decades-long double-standard where oil and gas companies face prosecution, but "politically popular" forms of energy get a pass.

Salazar said his department's Fish and Wildlife Service task force will recommend guidelines for wind farms that are friendlier to birds.

Bird advocates raise doubts about the impact, because the guidelines are voluntary.

"It's still entirely up to power companies where to place towers," said Gavin Shire, spokesman for the American Bird Conservancy.

PreviousNext

Return to Community Discussions

cron