Threemile Canyon Farms plans to begin producing a new crop next year – wind power.
The Morrow County Planning Commission Tuesday approved a conditional-use permit for a $25-million, nine-tower, 15-megawatt project in an exclusive farm-use zone. The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Jeff Wenholz opposed.
He objected to the components for the wind towers being hauled on Tower Road, as the applicant proposed, because it’s a county road. He said he’d prefer the contractor haul the heavy loads over Threemile Canyon Road, which the farm maintains.
Blaine Groff, a senior energy engineer with David Evans and Associates, said in response to Wenholz’s concerns that Tower Road was chosen as the primary route to the site because it would require fewer road improvements. His Portland firm is working with the project designer, Momentum Renewable Energy Inc., also of Portland.
Because of Wenholz’s concerns, the county changed one of its 17 conditions to read that the applicant would coordinate with Burke O’Brien, county public works director, for before and after road inspections and would repair any damages.
County Planner Carla McLane said Threemile Canyon Farms plans the wind project in the southwest corner of its property, south of Dalreed Road. The towers would occupy four acres at the edge of crop circles. It would produce enough electricity to power 8,000 homes, she estimated. Threemile Canyon Farms intends to produce the power for sale, she added.
No one opposed the proposal during a public hearing at the North Morrow County Annex.
Alex Dupey, a planner with David Evans and Associates, said Momentum plans to begin construction early next year. With luck, he said, the contractor could erect the nine towers in two to three weeks.
Dupey said the rotors on each tower will span 82 meters, or 269 feet. McLane said the towers would be nearly 400 feet tall, including the rotors.
By Dean Brickey
of the East Oregonian
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