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Wind farm to double in size

TRIMONT – When the first landowner-developed wind farm was created in 2005, it was a winning situation for the landowners, the county and the energy companies. Now a second wind farm is taking off along the same lines.

Construction has already begun on a second 99-megawatt wind farm, which will double the size of the current Trimont Area Wind Farm, officials announced Saturday in Trimont. The Elm Creek Wind Power Project will add another 65 wind turbines and is expected to be online by the end of this year.

“Traditionally, when a wind farm comes in, the company gives people a payment for allowing a turbine on their land,” said Neal Von Ohlen, chief manager of the Trimont Area Wind Farm, and local landowner. “But Doug Scholl had the vision of landowners getting together and instead of waiting for a wind farm to come to them, they developed their own. It’s rare to find someone willing to take the lead when most people wait for opportunity to come to them.”

The Trimont and Elm Creek projects provide more benefits to land owners than the typical wind project. Not only do the landowners receive traditional easement payments for having a turbine on their land, but they also receive revenue participation. Production tax revenues from the projects in Martin and Jackson counties are expected to range from $350,000 to $400,000 annually.

The Elm Creek wind project turbines will all be located in Jackson County, according to Iberdrola Renewables (formerly PPM Energy) representative Jan Johnson.

“It’s going to be just like the Trimont wind farm,” she said. “We had such great results with Trimont that we’re doing it again. We’re using the same contractor as last time, we’re putting up the same type of turbines, same operation and maintenance crew.”

Because of the demand for clean, renewable energy, more winds farms are being built nationwide.

“Iberdrola Renewables is currently the world’s leading provider of wind power,” said Tin Seck, director of development for Iberdrola Renewables. “We really appreciate how the community has given us such a warm welcome, and we’re delighted to again bring construction and operational jobs to this community.”

Once the Elm Creek wind farm is complete, the energy will again be sold to Great River Energy.

Jennifer Brookens
Sentinel Staff Writer

Fairmont Sentinel

14 July 2008