Negotiations for placement of power lines for a proposed 100-turbine wind farm near Crystal Lake are about 90 percent complete, according to a energy company spokesman.
FPL Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light based in Juno, Fla., wants to install 161 kilowatt transmission lines to bring power from the wind farm to the Lime Creek power station, which is located south of Manly.
Craig Ackarman owns 223 acres on 310th Street. Ackarman was worried about the possible health side effects of transmission lines.
“I do have concerns and they have done their very best to alleviate them for me,” Ackarman said. “They are going out of their way to please me.”
Spokesman Michael Moore said the company has about seven property owners they are still negotiating with for easements for the power lines.
“Unfortunately whether it’s coal, gas or wind, you have to get the energy from that plant to the grid. We looked at every possible option and you know it is pretty challenging,” Moore said. “You know it’s about 38 niles away from that substation. We spent months trying to figure out the route with the least impact from Crystal Lake to that substation.”
The proposed transmission lines would run along 310th Street, south of Forest City and through Hancock and Cerro Gordo counties.
The proposed route would also run through the Torkelson Pits Wildlife Area at 305th Street and County Road R70.
Moore said the company plans to begin construction of the wind farm in 2008 with completion expected by the end of the year.
The turbines will each produce 1.5 megawatts of power. A second phase of about 100 turbines may follow in the same area.
The lines would run for about half a mile on Ackarman’s property. He is in negotiations with the company to have the lines run on his land.
“I have grandchildren and these poles are 60-65 feet high. When they put them in the road ditch, if those poles come over, I don’t want my grandchildren by them,” Ackarman said.
Ackarman said most property owners approached by the company are accepting offers.
He likened the concerns to those faced by neighbors of hog confinements.
“We’re going to have them and nobody wants them but they are a benefit to everybody. One thing is they don’t smell,” Ackarman said.
“You can read from some statistics that there is a health risk and other ones say there isn’t. It’s just a matter of which ones are you going to believe,” Ackarman said.
By Peggy Senzarino
The Globe Gazette
18 May 2006
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