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Commission OKs permit for wind farm in northeast Ford County

DODGE CITY – Ford County officials gave the green light Wednesday to a new wind farm in Wheatland Township.
The Ford County Commission approved a conditional use permit and development plan for Western Plains Wind Project LLC, which plans to build a 200-megawatt wind farm east of Bellefont. The commission followed the recommendation of the Ford County Zoning Board, which endorsed the project last month.
Western Plains has acquired more than 36,000 acres north and east of Bellefont for the wind farm and expects to begin the first phase of construction in 2013, according to information from the project’s managing partner, Infinity Wind Power. The company expects to finish construction by the end of 2014.
Western Plains has not chosen a wind turbine model for the wind farm, but preliminary site studies have assumed that it will use 55 Siemens turbines.
The wind farm may eventually spread into Hodgeman and Edwards counties as well as Ford.
Western Plains has a 200-megawatt interconnection position in the Southwest Power Pool’s queue and is negotiating a generator interconnection agreement, according to the company. An overhead transmission line would link the wind farm to the power grid at the interconnection point – either the substation for the Ironwood wind farm or the existing Spearville substation.
Western Plains said it chose the northeast corner of Ford County for the wind farm project because the community is knowledgeable about and supports wind energy development.
“With the Spearville Wind Projects operating nearby and Ironwood close to construction, the viability of wind projects in the area has been proven,” the company said.
In other business, the commission:
• Renewed the county’s burn ban, which prohibits fireworks and open fires in rural areas, until Oct. 3.
The ban does not cover Dodge City, Bucklin, Ford or Spearville because the county does not have authority over those communities.
• Honored Dan Boatright with the road and bridge department for 30 years of service.