Wind energy projects proposed by Pioneer Green Energy for Cherokee and Etowah counties will likely be delayed until 2015; that according to Patrick Buckley, the development manager for the Texas-based company.
The website al.com is reporting that Buckley says that Pioneer is still moving forward with those projects however they have both been pushed back due to the extra time needed to secure permits and agreements with utilities which would purchase the power generated. Following a meeting of the Etowah County Commission on Tuesday (November 12th, 2013) Buckley announced that the $40 million Cherokee County project which would consist of seven to eight turbines, would most likely not start until 2015 while the Etowah County project, consisting of as many as 45 turbines, would probably not start until the end of 2015.
Both projects are currently facing lawsuits from those wishing to stop the company from moving forward.
Buckley spoke during the Etowah County Commission planning session, held prior to Tuesday’s regular meeting; meanwhile Senator Phil Williams spoke with the Cherokee County Commission during their Tuesday planning session
The Senator then went on to explain Senate Bill 12, which has been pre-filed, and he submitted a copy to the commission for their review and consideration
Williams further elaborated on the need for a bond, that would ensure, that any area populated by windmills – would be restored should that project fail
Buckley says Pioneer Green is working on four years on wind data, and struck back at opposition claiming that the company is seeking to build the turbines only to receive government incentives, saying that to even receive a tax credit, any company must generate energy for 10 years at a wind farm site. He added that Pioneer Green feels proposed legislation which would regulate the wind energy industry in Alabama is, in his words, unreasonable.
Pioneer Green Energy on Wednesday issued an official statement on proposed wind legislation – you can read that statement in its entirety below
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 12, 2103
This July, a bill was pre-filed in the Alabama State Senate that would create a new regulation system for wind energy developments on private property in Alabama. The bill would create a new office in the ADEM in charge of deciding whether to approve any wind project in Alabama before it can be constructed. This bill purports to regulate wind energy development, but it actually would have the effect of making it near impossible for wind projects, and the jobs and investment they would bring, to be developed in the State of Alabama.
Pioneer Green Energy (PGE) is not opposed to regulatory legislation, and in fact we strongly support responsible wind project development practices. However, we feel this bill is actually intended to be a moratorium on wind energy development. The bill is not in line with other practical ordinances that have allowed for responsible and successful wind energy development in other states. For example, the bill requires an unreasonable setback of 2,500 feet from any turbine to the “nearest edge of the adjacent property,” which effectively prevents any private landowners who don’t own hundreds or thousands of acres of contiguous land from hosting a turbine on their land. This is in contrast to current Alabama coal mining permits, for instance, which require only a 300 foot setback from any residence from a coal mine (see http://surface-mining.alabama.gov/P3966/P3966%20Decision.pdf), and which even allow these setbacks to be waived.
The bill also requires a bond to be put in place that would cover the cost to remove turbines should they become inactive. It is notable that Pioneer has already addressed this issue in its leases with each of the landowners on the Noccalula and Shinbone projects. Each lease contains extensive requirements that any infrastructure placed on the land be removed upon termination of the project, and also includes provisions requiring bonds to secure the removal obligations.
Should this legislation be passed in its current state, it would prevent millions of dollars of future potential investment and economic benefits of wind energy from coming to Etowah and Cherokee Counties. It would prevent a new industry from coming to Alabama to create clean, domestic all-American energy and jobs. It would prevent learning opportunities for local schools and universities and new local spending from eco-tourism. PGE actively supports the very private property rights that bring benefit to so many residents of Etowah and Cherokee Counties and the State of Alabama and will continue to work with the community to bring Alabama its first wind energy projects. For these reasons Pioneer recommends that no resolution in support of anti-wind legislation in Alabama be approved.
Pioneer’s desire is to conduct business and develop projects that create economic benefits and clean, homegrown energy for Cherokee and Etowah Counties and the state of Alabama. We strive to perform at our best in all interactions with our team members, our communities and our shareholders. We are committed to cooperating and doing what is right for Alabama, the counties, our projects, our team members and our investors.
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Pioneer Green Energy (PGE) is an energy company focused on developing utility-scale wind, solar and other clean energy projects across the United States. Our specialized experience with innovative clean-energy technologies informs sophisticated, economically-beneficial wind and solar projects that help meet the growing demand for competitively-priced electricity, reduced US greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on foreign energy sources. For more information, visit pioneergreen.com.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on the latest developments as the story unfolds
(Information provided in part by al.com)