Duke Energy Renewables is hosting a public information day Saturday March 12 to answer questions about its proposed $160 million Hillsdale Windpower Project that would generate 100-megawatts of electrical power over 12,000 acres in Reading, Cambria and Allen Townships, enough to power 30,000 homes.
The event will take place from 1 to 5 pm at Reading Elementary School. It will be similar to another public information day Duke Energy produced two months ago in Benzie County, where Duke is proposing the Gail Windpower Project, a $360 million network of wind turbines that could generate 200 megawatts of renewable electric power.
Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy based in Charlotte, North Carolina, filed both wind farm proposals in February with DTE Energy. If Duke gets a long-term power contract from DTE later this year, the company would plug the Hillsdale project into the electric grid in 2012, and the Gail project in 2013.
The informational meetings are meant to allay local residents concerns about wind turbines. Those concerns include excessive noise, bird kill by the blades, the shadow of the blades flickering across homes, and a decrease in land values. In January, Reading Township issued a six-month moratorium on issuing zoning permits to build the nearly 500-foot tall towers to review these concerns and write the appropriate zoning regulations.
“This project is pretty far along,” said Trisha Elizondo, Project Manager for Energy Renewable Partners. “We’ve been looking at this site for several years. We’ve collected almost two years of wind data for the site. It’s a very good site for wind energy.”
Elizondo said up to 44 of these 2.2 megawatt wind turbines would be built over about 10,000 acres. Some 10 to 20 percent of those turbines would be built by Northern Power Systems at its new factory in Saginaw, Elizondo said. The remainder would be supplied by Siemens.
“We have 85 percent of the land owners, about 8500 acres, under contract,” she said. “The Hillsdale Windpower Project would generate $25 million in tax revenue over the life of the project. It would also generate 10 to 15 full-time maintenance and 150 construction jobs.”
If you want to learn more, come to the open house at Reynolds Elementary School Gymnasium, 301 Chestnut St., Reading, from 1 – 5 pm Saturday.