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Wind farm stirring local interest  

Todd Nelsen of the Audubon County Board of Supervisors and Dan Ahart, Audubon County engineer, met recently with Stu Webster of California-based Clipper Windpower, Inc. Clipper Windpower is interested in putting up approximately 25 wind turbines in Audubon County.

Stu Webster is the manager of permits at Clipper Windpower. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss permits and concerns the county might have with the development and construction of a wind farm. Approval from Clipper Windpower for a reporter to speak directly with Webster has yet to be attained.

According to Ahart, Clipper would need entrance permits and potentially, utility permits. As for zoning permits, according to Nelsen, they would need a permit to build.

Nelsen feels Audubon County does not want to hinder the possibility of a wind farm, but at the same time, doesn’t want to be a doormat and not ask questions about how the construction will affect secondary roads, bridge work, conservation land and set-back distance of the turbines. the meeting with Webster did calm their fears a bit.

Littlefield Recreation Area in Exira may or may not be affected by the eraection of wind farms in Audubon County. Littlefield Park encompasses about 444 acres, 350 of which is habitat land. Bruce Haag, Audubon County Conservation director, said he doesn’t feel pheasant hunting would be affected because the birds fly higher than the height of a wind turbine.

According to Haag, “I wouldn’t want them on the neighboring property because we want to keep the park as natural a setting as possible. Undeveloped terrain is one of the reasons people from Des Moines and Omaha come here – to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Having wind turbines that close would definitely take away from the aesthetic value of the park. They are of no value to the park.” As for seeing them off in the distance, Haag says he personally (not speaking for the board) would rather see those along the horizon than see a large hog confinement. He feels the turbines are interesting to look at.

By Nancy Lenz

auduboncountynews.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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