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Planning board gives wind project a nod  

Credit:  Judy Debus, Journal-Advocate regional editor, www.journal-advocate.com 20 October 2010 ~~

The Logan County Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on the request by Compass Wind Projects, LLC, for a conditional use permit for the Galien Wind Energy Project located in Highline Electric Association’s service territory approximately 10 miles southeast of Sterling.

The project will cover approximately 11,000 acres and Phase I is expected to be in operation by mid-October of 2011. The second phase operation date is yet to be determined.

The state-of-the-art wind power generating facility of approximately 186 megawatts is in the Colorado Highland Wind area and will include up to 72 turbines.

Kyle Paulison, project manager said that could go to 124 if all of the turbines are the 1.5 and other construction will include pad mount pad transformers, buried and overhead cable, collector substation, private gravel roads, meteorological tower, operations and maintenance facilities with lay down yard, related equipment and structures, rights of way, temporary batch plant and a transmission line.

The transmission line would take the power to the substation on Highway 6 to get the power on the grid where an off-taker company will eventually get the power. There will be an annual payment to Highline Electric for this use for the life of the project.

The term requested for the permit was for 65-years which is consistent with the underlying landowner lease agreements.

Speaking for the project in addition to Paulison was Brad Haight.

Karianne Donnelson, who owns a home near the area of County Road 71 and CR 28, addressed the commission to express her opposition to the turbines being placed in that area.

“This is very hard for me to talk about,” she said with tears welling in her eyes as her voice quavered.

She said she moved to that area so she didn’t have to see tall buildings and now she will have to look at windmills all around her property. She also said she does not own any land where the turbines will be placed but they will be all around her.

“I think there are plenty of other places to put them where there are not as many homes in the area,” she said. “I know you (Paulison and Haight) would not want to look out your front door at a bunch of windmills.”

Donnelson also expressed concern that because she had worked very hard to buy her home, that should the need arise to sell; the property would be of less value because of the turbines.

There were no more public comments and the public hearing was closed and the regular meeting opened to consider the application.

With discussion of the matter completed, Jerry Wernsman moved to recommend to the Logan County Commissioners that the conditional use permit be approved with staff recommendations. It was seconded by Jill Distel.

Staff recommendations included:

1. An as-built map showing the location of the turbine configuration be provided by the applicant.

2. A transmission line easement from the State Land Board.

3. The right of way crossings for the CUP area transmission line will be applied for.

4. Building plan will be submitted for administrative approval prior to start of construction.

5. If any changes are made, such as alterations or enlargements, applicant will be responsible for seeking and obtaining separate approval of a permit and term approval for those changes.

6. The applicant shall enter into a Development Agreement between the applicant and the Board of County Commissioner to include the condition set forth as to specific details on the development of the wind project.

The request was approved.

Source:  Judy Debus, Journal-Advocate regional editor, www.journal-advocate.com 20 October 2010

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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