State regulators have granted a waiver to a Houston firm allowing construction of a $600 million wind farm in Howard and Mitchell counties.
Construction is scheduled to begin this year on Horizon Wind Energy’s Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm. The developing will consist of 182 turbines spread over 60 square miles near the Minnesota border.
The first phase of the project will involve the erection of 122 Vestas V82 wind turbines on the eastern part of the site, according to the company’s Web site.
The second phase of the project to be carried on in 2009 will add 61 Vestas V82 wind turbines in the western part of the site, with a separate transmission substation.
Together, the two segments of the project will generate enough electricity to power 98,500 homes.
The project could have been required to obtain a state generating certificate because two of the 12 gathering lines that will receive electricity from the turbines will have capacity of more than 25 megawatts, according to an Iowa Utilities Board order granting the waiver on Wednesday.
Regulators noted in granting the waiver that the two lines only exceeded the 25-megawatt threshold by 1.4 megawatts each, and that Iowa’s economic development policies encourage renewable generation. Reducing the regulatory burden is one way to advance that public interest, the ruling said.
Horizon Wind also asked for a waiver of property owner notification requirements. State rules require that generation siting waiver requests be served on “all owners of record of real property that adjoins the proposed facility site.”
The board’s order approving the waiver said that wind projects do not pose the same noise and environmental issues that gas or coal-fired generating facilities present. It also said the expense of performing the land record work to obtain the names and addresses of property owners would be unduly burdensome.
By David DeWitte
28 February 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding