Hamilton County is one step closer to building a projected $300 million wind farm.
The Syracuse-Hamilton County Planning Commission Thursday night unanimously approved recommending changes in zoning regulations that would pave the way for construction of a wind farm 10 miles south of Coolidge.
Now, the recommended changes go to the Hamilton County Commission for consideration Tuesday.
John Kennedy, economic development director for Hamilton County, said he expects the project to be fully supported by county commissioners and the public.
“It will be great for the economy. It will create new jobs and will be a source of income for the county,” Kennedy said.
The proposed wind farm, called Bear Creek LLC Wind Farm, would have 90 turbines producing 135 megawatts of power. It also would add 10 full-time workers who would maintain the farm after it is built.
“It’s great for everyone involved,” Kennedy said.
There is a company waiting for papers to be signed and for final approval before it submits a bid to build the wind farm. Acciona Energy, a company from Spain, has been in Hamilton County for about four years trying to get lease agreements on land. The company has been communicating with the county for six months, Kennedy said.
If county commissioners vote to approve the zoning regulations that would allow the wind farm, there are two more agreements that have to be attached with the project before the company can start building: A road maintenance agreement and a development agreement.
After that paperwork is done, Acciona Energy can apply for a conditional use permit, which would allow it to begin building.
Kennedy said the paperwork could be completed as early as July.
And the county might see more wind farms in the future.
“In recent years Hamilton County, as well as southwest Kansas as a whole, has been receiving a lot of attention from many wind farm development companies,” Kennedy said. “This process is also being used to set precedence for the development of further wind farms in our county.”
By Monica Springer
30 May 2008
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