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Wilson Creek power project abandoned

LINCOLN COUNTY – Wilson Creek Power Partners announced it was no longer interested in pursuing development of wind-powered electricity generation in the Wilson Creek area, according to a letter sent to Lincoln County Board of Commissioners.

Chairman Tommy Rowe said he received a letter from the company, a subsidiary of Champlin/GEI Wind Holdings, to notify the county it was “no longer working on the development of the Wilson Creek Wind Project.”

The letter was sent from Casey Willis, senior project manager.

Further decisions and interest in the project will revert back to Tim Carlson of Wilson Creek Wind Co., a Nevada Wind subsidiary.

Rowe said he is delighted at the news because it was not wanted by local residents at that location.

“It is a pristine mountain top, plus the farthest place south in Lincoln County for sage grouse habitat, as well as a prime calving ground for (Rocky Mountain) elk and mule deer. And, in order to get a road in that would handle moving all the heavy equipment up there, it would just ruin the whole country, let alone having the windmills that would ruin it for the sage grouse, and the scenic beauty of the mountain. A lot of people live in the Mount Wilson area, and it would be an eyesore to them,” he said.

Wilson Creek Power Partners had been proposing to construct, operate and maintain a wind-powered generating project on about 31,000 acres of public lands in the Wilson Creek Range that includes Mount Wilson, Table Mountain, White Rock Mountain and Atlanta Summit. The project was expected to involve as many as 375 wind turbines, some nearly 400 feet high, and generate more than 900 megawatts of electricity.

Other project components would include buried power lines and communication cables, access roads, meteorological towers, substations and switchyards, operation and maintenance buildings, a single or double-circuited overhead transmission line and portable cement batch plants and rock crushing facilities.

Local opinion against the proposed project was strong from the outset. The Bureau of Land Management held a series of four meetings last summer to take public comment, including one at Pioche Elementary School where nearly 40 local residents protested.

At the same time, Commissioner Rowe said, “We don’t want to discourage energy development in Lincoln County. If these people would like to look for other places in the county, we would like to work with them and help them find a spot that is suitable.”