A project that will bring 86 wind energy turbines to Mower County moved closer to gaining approval Tuesday.
High Prairie Wind Farm II, LLC received the Mower County Planning Commission’s endorsement of an environmental assessment report on its plans to construct a 161 kv substation and a 161 kv high voltage transmission line.
In addition, the petitioner received the commission’s endorsement of its request for a conditional use permit for the twin items in Section 23, Clayton Township.
No opposition was registered to the firm’s requests Tuesday night before the county planning commission. Jim Risius made the motion to recommend approval of the EA and Harlan Peck seconded it. The motion received unanimous approval.
The High Prairie request for a CUP to build the facilities also sailed through the commission’s inspection.
“We have agreements with the landowners along the primary route of the transmission line that we sought from the beginning,” Bob Crowell, spokesman for the High Prairie firm, said. “The line will run along property lines to disturb farming the least.”
Crowell added that High Prairie has a “verbal agreement” with the landowner for construction of the substation. However, the agreement is pending the approval of the landowner’s attorney.
Mower County Planning Commissioners Myles Bendtsen, Rose Creek, and Jim Risius, Austin, joined Daryl W. Franklin, county planner in an on-site inspection where the substation will be located.
“If there has to be some place to put it, it might as well be there,” Bendtsen said of the proposed substation site. “It’s out of the way and looks OK to me.”
Keith Voorhees, Clayton Township Board chairman, said the township officials had no objection to the High Prairie requests.
Peck made the motion to recommend approval of the CUP request and Risius seconded it before it received unanimous approval.
According to Crowell, construction of the transmission line and substation will begin sometime in early 2007 or “whenever the road restrictions are removed.”
Garwin McNeilus created a wind farm in Adams Township first with 14 wind turbines.
Now, High Prairie is bringing a wind farm of 86 turbines to the area stretching from Clayton Township, through Bennington and Grand Meadow and connecting with the substation along Highway 56 between Adams and Taopi.
By Lee Bonorden/Austin Daily Herald
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