An Apex Clean Energy representative is trying to clear the air about the obstruction application report that was released at the end of June. Chris Nickell states that the Federal Aviation Administration report is a public document about proposed obstructions and air hazards for the Morgan County wind project. Nickell explains. “The FAA didn’t release anything about the project. The FAA has a public website that when we file an application for determination of hazard, that application becomes public information and they post it. They don’t actually release anything. They just show what is presented to them as a hazard.”
Nickell says that the 50 obstructions originally cited on the FAA report aren’t the real thing, but a test. “Those aren’t real turbine locations. We’re sort of running it up the flagpole. Those are test locations because we hire a consulting firm who gives us an idea of where they think there may be FAA concerns. We then do a random array. In this case, I think we filed 10-15 possible turbine locations in the area that our consultants say there might be concerns by the FAA. They are there to try and find out what areas we do need to stay away from for the FAA. When we do our real turbine layout, we don’t end up with problems that we find out too late. We want to know ahead time. They are sample locations or test locations to make sure that we do it right when we do make the actual turbine layout.”
In terms of the 50 proposed applications, 35 of the applications are for crane usage. 15 of the proposed applications are potential sites for up to 599 foot tall wind turbines. Nickell said that it was for the full height but Apex may not go up to that distance. Again, he explained that Apex wanted to make sure they were plotting the potential of obstructions and not the actual Apex project layout.
All 50 proposed applications are listed as Works in Progress by the FAA through the online application search. The project time frame for the transmission lines is August 15th, 2019 to February 28th, 2021. Apex continues to wait for the final say from the Morgan County Commissioners on the final draft of the proposed wind ordinance for the county. The ordinance will likely be the final determination if any of these proposed sites will even be used at all.