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Wind farms could soon blow on to Taos County’s horizon  

Wind-power entrepreneurs still don’t know if they have enough consistent winds west of the Río Grande Gorge to be commercially profitable.

However, the group headed by Taos attorney Eliu Romero is going ahead with plans to get a county permit to allow them to install some 65 wind turbines for the county’s first wind farms. A July 8 hearing is scheduled in front of the Taos County Planning Commission. “The people with the money for this project need a year’s data,” said Romero Wednesday (June 25).

“We need about 5 1/2 months more.” Romero, listed as agent for the project, said wind speeds and endurance have been “acceptable” so far this year on two poles that were installed on land just east of Tres Piedras and another north of Tres Piedras, respectively. “But we are going into the less windy part of the year,” he said. “We need more data to determine the feasibility.”

If initiated, “Taos Wind Farm” and “Wind Mountain Project” would have 40 and 15 turbines, respectively, on two separate private landholdings that would each generate 1.5 megawatts of power. Electricity would be sold to the Kit Carson power grid. Turbines cost $1.5 million each, Romero said, and rise 284 feet into sky.

The group must get a height variance from the county to install the turbines. The larger wind farm is seven miles of Tres Piedras on three sections, leased by Martin E. and Dennis C. Romero. The smaller version is four miles northeast of Tres Piedras near No Agua and a clay-pigeon shooting range, owned by Rebeca Maria Romero Rainey. Turbines would be placed on 20-acre plots, spreading out across the acreage, according to the group’s variance application.

“We are going ahead with the permit in hopes that the winds pan out,” said Romero.

By Andy Dennison

Saturday, June 28, 2008

taosnews.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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