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CPV says turbines will be pulled back

There have been new developments regarding the proposed Ellis County wind farm, project manager Krista Gordon said Tuesday.

For starters, the project’s boundaries will be pulled back from areas of “greatest concern,” Gordon said.

Negotiations still are under way, but several turbines located along Yocemento Avenue and Old U.S. Highway 40 will be relocated. Easement agreements also will be revised to ensure the company cannot locate equipment in the areas closest to housing communities outside project boundaries, Gordon said.

“That’s something the project has initiated,” she said. “In the spirit of trying to give people as much space as possible, we’ll just pull back a bit from the outside project boundaries.”

No easements will be nullified, and the number of turbines will remain the same, she said.

About four turbines will be relocated to areas farther away from homes, she said, declining to offer further details.

Revised easement agreements are expected to be filed with the Ellis County Courthouse in the next couple of weeks, Gordon said.

An updated version of the project map also will be provided to Zoning Administrator Dale Wing as soon as possible, she said.

However, some landowners don’t believe relocating a few turbines will alleviate their concerns.

“Just moving a few of them a couple of miles isn’t going to change my attitude at all,” said Gary Hammersmith, who lives at 1502 Yocemento. “There will still be people living right underneath them.”

Hammersmith has suffered from heart problems and is concerned about the effect the project could have on his health, as well as his animals. Shadow flicker and noise also are a concern, he said. However, the biggest problem with the project is location and the close proximity to so many homes, he said.

“None of us are against wind energy,” Hammersmith said. “It’s just too close to town. It’s just too close to homes.

“I do not want, I absolutely do not want to live under these things,” he said.

Paul Faber, who lives at 1540 Yocemento, also has reservations. Some concerns, such as the noise produced and potential health effects, are somewhat mitigated by moving the turbines farther from residences, he said.

However, other issues, such as aesthetics, water concerns and county economics, will not be affected by moving the machines farther south, he said.

“My concern is not only for myself, but for others in the affected area too,” Faber said. “If the relocating of turbines is sufficient to get them a couple of miles away from everybody’s houses, that would definitely be a help.”

In other news, the transaction between Competitive Power Ventures Inc. and Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA Ltd. closed Tuesday afternoon.

“The project has now officially changed hands,” Gordon said.

There will be a transition period of about 12 months, during which CPV Wind Ventures LLC employees continue to work on current projects, she said.

As far as the Ellis County project goes, plans will not be altered by this transaction, Gordon said.

The only change likely will be the official name of the project, which currently is CPV Wind Hays LLC, to a title including the new parent company’s name, Gordon said.

“The idea is that the transition will be very smooth,” she said. “The experience CPV has gained from the project can be transferred to Iberdrola directly.”

Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA Ltd., based in Pennsylvania, is a subdivision of the Iberdrola parent company, based in Madrid, Spain.

By Kaley Lyon

Hays Daily News

hdnews.net

8 May 2007