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Wind farm a possibility for Plymouth County  

Credit:  By Magdalene Landegent, Le Mars Daily Sentinel, www.lemarssentinel.com 24 September 2010 ~~

A Horizon Wind Energy representative confirmed the company is looking into the possibility of creating a wind farm in Plymouth County.

“We identified Plymouth County based on the strength of its wind resource,” said Tony Yonnone, project development manager with Horizon Wind Energy.

Yonnone said the company began meeting with a few local landowners in rural Plymouth County last week.

Horizon, he said, is looking specifically at Marion, Union and Preston Township.

“They appear to have a sufficiently strong wind resource (something that we’ll need to confirm), they’re close to transmission lines, and most of the land is being used for agricultural purposes (which is generally compatible with ‘wind farming’).” Yonnone stated in an email.

He said it’s too soon to talk about any specifics, like how big the potential wind farm would be or what size turbines might be used.

“Once we know more about the wind resource and the quantity of land available for siting turbines, we’ll be closer to making a decision on turbine size,” Yonnone said.

A wind farm is comprised mainly of wind turbines and access roads. The land required per turbine is approximately 1 acre, he said.

Turbines and the access roads are spread out over a project area that could be thousands of acres, Yonnone added.

“Post-construction we expect to see 99 percent (or more) of the land inside the project area being farmed just like it was pre-construction,” he said.

The timeline for construction of a wind farm is affected by a number of variables, but it usually takes years, Yonnone said.

“It can take anywhere from 2 to 10 years to finish the development process, and then another 1 to 2 years to complete construction,” he said.

Horizon Wind Energy owns and operates more than 20 wind farms across the United States and specializes in developing, constructing and operating such farms.

Horizon is under parent company Energias de Portugal, S.A., a Portuguese utility company that holds significant electricity and gas operations in Europe, Brazil and the U.S.

The company’s U.S. wind farms are spread out across the country from Oregon to Texas to New York.

Its Iowa wind farms include the Pioneer Prairie I and II of Howard and Mitchell counties in northern Iowa with nearly 200 turbines together and the Lost Lakes Wind Farm in Dickinson County with 61 turbines.

Horizon’s process of exploring the possibility of a wind farm in the county is really just getting rolling, Yonnone said.

“We spoke with a handful local landowners about hosting a meteorological tower (for raw wind data collection) as early as July, but last week’s meetings marked the true beginning of our outreach to all local landowners,” he said.

Moving forward, Horizon Wind Energy would seek long-term lease and easement agreements from local landowners, Yonnone explained.

“And with those agreements we’d develop, design, build, and operate our wind farm, and generate power,” he said.

How possible is it a wind farm will actually be built in the county? Time will tell.

“It’s too early to know,” Yonnone said.

Source:  By Magdalene Landegent, Le Mars Daily Sentinel, www.lemarssentinel.com 24 September 2010

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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