On Monday, the Story County Planning and Zoning Commission will host a public hearing concerning a possible 150 megawatt wind farm within the county. The hearing is 5:30 p.m. at Christy Hall on the Story County Fairgrounds in Nevada.
At the hearing, the commission will formulate its recommendations to the Story County Board of Adjustment concerning the application submitted in August by FPL Energy LLC. The earliest the Board of Adjustment could make the final decision on the wind farm would be at its next meeting Oct. 3. According to Story County planning and zoning director Leanne Harter this issue wouldn’t come before the county board of supervisors.
According to Story County documents, FPL Energy, of Juno Beach, Fla., is requesting authorization for a conditional-use permit to allow for a commercial wind energy conversion system. FPL owns and operates 47 wind farms in 15 states. It has projects in Cerro Gordo and Hancock counties in Iowa.
The application calls for 100 wind turbines with buried collection lines, gravel service roads and a substation to be developed in the Warren, Lincoln and Sherman townships in the northeast portion of the county between Colo and Zearing. The project is valued at $270 million.
The project, as outlined in the application, is exclusively proposed to be built on private property. The application states all property owners have entered into an agreement to allow the wind farm use and access to land for the project.
According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, in 2001 the Top of Iowa 80-megawatt Wind Electric Plant was built in Worth County. The wind farm approximately 80 miles north of Ames is within sight of Interstate 35. The farm consists of 89 wind turbines mounted on 237-foot towers. Each turbine blade is 85-feet long, which makes the rotor diameter 171 feet. The blades turn at 15 or 22 rotations per minute, depending on the wind speed. The Top of Iowa wind farm covered nearly 5,900 acres of cropland on 49 separate land parcels. The energy produced is equivalent to the electricity consumed by 24,000 typical Midwest homes.
With the slightly larger Story County proposal, and upgrades in technology, the Story County wind farm could generate enough electricity for approximately 45,000 homes. It is expected to generate 150 to 200 jobs during the construction phase and five to eight long-term full-time jobs when the project is complete.
More information is available at the Story County Planning and Zoning Department, (515) 382-7245.
By Teresa Key Albertson
6 September 2007
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