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Tyrone approves wind farm study to be done by Gamesa

For the last two months, Tyrone Borough officials have been working on the possibility of leasing some of its land on Ice Mountain for a wind farm study.
Now that possibility has become a reality. Borough Council agreed on Monday to enter into a two-year lease with Gamesa Energy USA, LLC to allow the company to use a portion of borough land to conduct the study to see if it is feasible to construct a wind farm at the chosen location. Gamesa is a Spanish wind-energy company that chose Pennsylvania for its United States-based operations. Those operations are based in Philadelphia.
The lease agreement with Tyrone Borough also gives Gamesa the right to renew the lease for an additional two years if it deems it is necessary. The cost of the lease is $1,000 each year for the first two years with a $2,000 charge per year during the third and fourth year if Gamesa decides to pick up the option.
Solicitor Larry Clapper said, “This (the lease) does not commit the borough whatsoever to allowing the wind farm to go up on borough property. This is just the study. If the company wants to put a wind farm in, it has to ask the borough’s permission to do that and the borough can decline.”
Clapper also explained Gamesa would have a five-year right of first refusal if another company approached the borough about constructing a wind farm.
The site along Janesville Pike is located in Snyder Township, but owned by the borough. Previously, Snyder Township Supervisor Charlie Diehl told The Daily Herald he knew of no township regulations that would prevent turbines from being erected if Tyrone approved the structures.
Gamesa project developer Joshua Framel told The Daily Herald what a wind farm would mean to the Tyrone area “remains to be seen.”
He said the impact on the area would depend on a number of factors, but there would be jobs created associated with the construction of the facility. He also said usually about seven to eight positions are created for operations and maintenance.
Just last month, Gamesa opened a manufacturing facility for wind turbine generator blades in the Ebensburg area in Cambria County. The facility is the company’s first in North America, The plant is expected to employ more than 230 people according to a Department of Environmental Protection press release about the ribbon cutting for the facility.
The press release said Gamesa was investing $84 million in locating its U.S. headquarters and four manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania. Aside from the Ebensburg plant, three new advanced technology plants are planned for Bucks County, where as many as 300 workers will produce wind mill blades and towers and assemble nacelles, which house the wind turbines.
Framel told The Daily Herald that his company is looking at the possibility of locating wind farms in all of the 48 contiguous states.
According to the DEP press release, Gamesa President Alfonso Basagoiti noted the relevance of the Ebensburg-based industrial project in the United States. He said it “reinforces the long-term commitment of the company with the U.S. wind power market and which is strengthened by a solid base of a significant order book in the wind turbine sales.”
The DEP press release noted that Gamesa is one of the main wind energy companies in the world. The release said Gamesa is “the only vertically integrated wind-energy company in the world”, meaning it manufactures the parts for wind-energy units and then develops the wind farms itself.
A 2004 press release from Governor Rendell’s office regarding the company’s decision to locate in the Keystone State said Gamesa Energy USA was expected to create more than 1,000 jobs in the state over a five-year period.