Hamilton County commissioners handed the documents necessary to build a wind farm back to the Syracuse-Hamilton County Planning Commission Tuesday morning after finding some of the formatting of the zoning regulations need to be changed.
The commission did not approve the zoning regulations to allow the wind farm, but support of the $300 million project was evident.
“We’re not ready to approve it except in spirit,” said Hamilton County attorney Rob Gale at the meeting.
The planning commission will change some of the formating, including adding a section to separate the regulations from the definitions, said John Kennedy, Hamilton County economic developer.
The zoning regulations are general regulations, Kennedy said. The planning commission is trying to make changes to the zoning regulations because the current regulations, which the county has had since 1993, do not address wind farms. Kennedy said the change in the zoning regulations will help make obtaining county permits for the wind farm easier.
The proposed wind farm, which would be called Bear Creek LLC Wind Farm, would have 90 turbines producing 135 megawatts of power. It would have 10 full-time workers who would maintain the farm after it is built, said Kennedy. The wind farm would be located 10 miles south of Coolidge.
In comparison, the Gray County Wind Farm in Montezuma has 170 turbines producing 112.2 megawatts, said Dawn Page with Gray County Wind Energy.
The county commissioners were eager to move the process along in the meeting. The planning commission will have a special meeting this week to make the necessary changes, although the time and date have not yet been finalized.
The planning commission decided in a meeting May 29 to recommend the county commission approve regulations that would allow the construction of the wind farm.
The county commission will discuss the project again at its June 10 meeting.
Acciona Energy, a company out of Spain, is waiting for the final paperwork to be complete before submitting a bid and obtaining a conditional use permit for the wind farm. Acciona has been in the county for four years working on lease agreements for land.
A representative from the company, Sean Rubens, attended the commission meeting Tuesday and told commissioners about the company.
“There’s a movement to be green,” he said. “Green power is something people want.”
Acciona Energy is a prominent player in wind development overseas and is trying to make its way into the United States, Rubens said.
Acciona Energy has wind farms in Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Canada, Rubens said. It is the largest wind developer in the world, with more than 4,500 megawatts installed in 173 wind farms in 10 countries, according to its Web site.
The company designs and builds the wind turbines at a plant in Iowa, Rubens said.
“We’re excited about making this project a success,” Rubens said.
By Monica Springer
4 June 2008
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