A $300 million investment
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PORTFOLIO STANDARDS
Pennsylvania passed Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards in 2004, requiring electricity providers to supply 18 percent of their energy sales from alternative energy sources by 2021. According to the state’s Public Utility Commission, the percentage of renewable energy in Pennsylvania’s generation portfolio currently
stands at 15.2 percent. More wind facilities are needed to meet the portfolio standards both now and in the future.
DECADES OF PROVEN OPERATION
Tens of thousands of wind turbines, operating hundreds of millions of hours, have been installed across the United States and the world over the past 20 years, and they have proven to be good neighbors for the communities that host them. The industry is heavily regulated, and no construction can begin without extensive wildlife and environmental studies. Regulatory agencies provide clearance letters only after impacts and mitigations meet legal requirements designed to protect wildlife, the environment and the public health, safety and welfare.
THE ANTHRACITE RIDGE SITE
The 12,000-plus acre Anthracite Ridge wind farm site has been used for industrial purposes for generations. Coal mining and reclamation, quarrying, fly-ash disposal, acid mine drainage remediation, coal
refuse-fired power generation and even farming fertilized by composted municipal waste are just some of the industrial activities taking place around the project. This exciting enhanced use will boost the tax base of what are now low-use, mined-out and timbered mountain tops, restoring them as high-value taxable real estate assets.
JOBS AND CAPITAL INVESTMENT
Approximately a dozen Pennsylvania-based firms are currently working on the project, with millions of preconstruction dollars last year alone invested. During the 18-month construction period, expected to begin soon, the project will employ approximately
250 people, largely residents of this region. Upwards of $150 million of contracts will be awarded to local vendors. Once construction is completed, the facility will provide over one dozen high-wage, family-sustaining jobs, and it will also rely on dozens of local vendors during its entire operational life.
Anthracite Ridge LLC is a project owned by Global Energy Generation LLC, a U.S.-based operation for Doral Renewable Energy Resource Group, Ltd. and Clean Air Generation LLC. Doral is an Israeli leading owner-operator of renewable energy projects in Israel. Operating hundreds of renewable facilities, Doral was the first company to commercialize a solar facility in Israel, 12 years ago. Clean Air Generation LLC is a developer of utility scale energy projects in the U.S. with its key principal, having 15 years of experience in the market.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What upsides are there for me or my community?
The project will infuse more than $150 million into the local community for jobs, commerce at local businesses and contracts with vendors. About 250 jobs will be created during the 18-month construction period and more than a dozen full-time jobs will be created during operations. The 30-year operating period will also employ numerous local vendors. The project also creates a new tax source that improves the income to the county, local municipalities and school districts. As a long-term neighbor, the project can be relied on to support local funding requests and other good will.
How much noise do wind turbines make?
Zoning regulations set strict standards that the project must meet in order to be allowed to operate. According to the American Wind Energy Association, two people can typically carry on a conversation at normal voice levels even while standing directly below a turbine. Moreover, highly conservative setback requirements already in place make it unlikely that even those very few neighbors living near the base of the ridge will detect or otherwise be affected by any noise when turbines are in operation.
Will there be vibrations?
Not that can be felt or otherwise affect anyone outside the wind farm site.
What is wind energy’s impact on the environment and wildlife?
Wind power is less harmful to the environment and wildlife than legacy energy sources. Studies have shown wind energy’s impacts to be one of the lowest among all energy sources, as it emits no air or water pollution, requires no mining or drilling for fuel, uses no water in the generation of electricity, and creates no hazardous or radioactive waste requiring permanent storage. Years of wildlife and environmental studies are required as part of the very stringent permitting process enforced by multiple state and federal agencies.
What about birds?
Wildlife agencies require extensive bird studies. Mitigation methods are used to lower the risk to birds. Procedures monitored by wildlife agencies during operations to track the wind farm’s wildlife safety record assure that responsible practices are used in the operations of the farm. According to the National Audubon Society, cats – by far – are the greatest cause of bird deaths, next to habitat loss. Windows of buildings are next, followed by automobiles and power lines. Mitigation strategies and technologies are employed based on the wildlife studies and regulations. For example, there are certain key times that bats fly and wind turbines are required to shut down to assure no harm comes to the wildlife.
Are wind farms a hazard for air traffic?
No. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates this issue through a process that evaluates each wind turbine. Wind farm developers must work with the FAA and other stakeholders to mitigate potential hazards and maintain public safety.
Do wind farms interfere with the mission of military bases?
The mission cannot be compromised. The Department of Defense (DOD) has a robust review process that was established by Congress to ensure proposed wind farms won’t harm military readiness or operations, including radars, flight operations, research, development, testing, evaluation and training activities. During the review, local base commanders (including the National Guard), individual military services, and DOD evaluate proposed energy projects. If concerns exist, private developers and the military discuss, through the process, how concerns can be addressed. The process has been proven with more than 19,000 reviews resulting in a lot of smart solutions.
Will ice be thrown from the blades?
No. Special heating technologies do not allow ice to accumulate on the blades. The technology also senses any irregularities affecting blades and does not permit the blades to spin unless all readings are normal.
What if the turbine catches on fire?
A flame event is very unusual, and turbines now come with fire suppression technology. However, even if a turbine were to catch on fire, it would automatically shut down and the problem would be isolated to the turbine location, not affecting anyone.
Will medevac helicopters be at risk?
The FAA regulates all flying activity and medivac helicopters follow these rules. Since each wind turbine must receive clearance from FAA, no hazard exists for any aircraft, including medivac helicopters.
How can local elected officials be able to protect us from potential hazards?
Federal and state regulatory agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the PA Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers and others are responsible for regulating
the safety of energy projects. Local elected officials and zoning are responsible for making sure that construction does not begin before all necessary approvals, from the expert regulatory agencies, have been issued. Local officials also enforce
zoning regulations that are designed to promote public health, safety and welfare among other things.