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Gamesa offers new figures in lease agreement for the proposed Ice Mountain wind farm

Gamesa Energy Project Developer Josh Framel attended Tyrone Borough’s work session last evening and offered council increased figures in the proposed lease agreement for a 10 to 15 turbine wind farm on the Ice Mountain watershed property.
Framel proposed to council to increase the Option Period pay in the lease agreement to $5,000 per year, which is solely for the option to lease the land. The original proposal was $1,500 per year. Gamesa also proposed to increase the $6,000 per windmill per year for the Operation Period to a new figure of $7,000 per windmill per year.
Also in the original proposed lease agreement between the borough and Gamesa, during the Operation Period, the borough would either receive $6,000 per windmill per year (which Gamesa is now proposing $7,000), or three percent of the gross annual electricity revenue, whichever is greater. Framel told council that Gamesa is now willing to increase that electricity revenue to 3.5 percent the first 10 years, four percent the following 10 years, and 4.5 percent the last 10 years of the proposed 30 year lease agreement.
Those figures are again, based on if the gross annual electricity revenue would be greater than the proposed new figure of $7,000 per wind mill per year.
Framel told borough council members that the increased figures are based on wind resource information from the Gamesa meteorological test tower currently installed on Ice Mountain. He also stated to council that Gamesa would be willing to get involved in community projects if council voted to erect the wind farm, but he didn’t elaborate on how or what the company would do at this time.
Framel asked council if a vote on the wind farm project could be taken at next week’s borough council meeting, but Mayor James Kilmartin informed Framel that council was not ready to make a decision this month.
“With every wind farm project we have to go through regulations for windmills,” said Framel. “We have to work with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, we have to work with the Department of Environmental Protection, the conservation districts, we have to do surveys for property lines and all those sorts of things. They all have to happen before anything can move forward.”
He added, “Gamesa has several projects we’re working on in different stages that are allocated, and if we’re going to allocate to different projects, we need to do it at a certain time of the year. Otherwise, we can’t do it.”
Framel said that Gamesa has reached a point where the company needs a vote to know whether the Ice Mountain project is ready to move forward, because of everything that Gamesa has to do to prepare for its next steps in the project if council votes in favor of the lease agreement.
“A lease does not mean a wind farm, it enables us to get what we need to get done,” added Framel.
Also at last evening’s work session, Decker Hollow resident Richard Baumgardner spoke to council during public comment about the proposed Gamesa wind farm on Ice Mountain. Baumgardner said he would be the closest home to the wind farm, and that his property on Alder Run Orchard adjoins the borough’s watershed property.
Baumgardner informed council that his home would be within 2,000 feet of the project, and that he is in favor of the wind farm. He said that he has made trips to other wind farms in Pennsylvania and feels that the noise levels of the turbines are “overblown.”
“Our county is a good spot for clean energy, and I think the wind mills are rather majestic looking,” said Baumgardner.
Baumgardner stated that he feels Gamesa does a “good job” with its projects and that borough council should vote for the wind farm project on Ice Mountain. He added that he is not presently being compensated by Gamesa.
Juniata Valley Audubon Society President Dr. Stan Kotala also attended the work session last night and handed council members updated information about the “Save Ice Mountain” public forum on March 26 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in the Tyrone Area High School auditorium. The information included background and credentials of the four speakers attending the forum.
The Daily Herald will publish Dr. Kotala’s presented information as the date of the public forum nears.