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Kingman area wind farm is still up in the air  

Credit:  Suzanne Adams, Miner Staff Reporter | Daily Miner | kdminer.com | 18 May 2012 ~~

KINGMAN – The construction of a 425- to 500-megawatt wind farm on 47,000 acres of federal land is not a done deal yet.

Bureau of Land Management officials and representatives from BP were at the Kingman Library Tuesday evening to answer questions and collect comments from the public on the project.

BP Wind Energy approached the federal government with a plan to install a wind farm on Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation land about 40 miles northwest of Kingman in the White Hills area in 2009.

The project is still working through the federal government’s environmental impact requirements, according to BLM officials. A draft environmental impact statement on the project was released in April. The federal government is collecting public comments on the draft statement until June 11. A final impact statement on the project is expected to be released this fall and a final decision on the project could be made by the end of the year.

According to the BLM, the amount of energy created by the project would depend on which transmission line it taps into. If the project taps into the 345-kilovolt Liberty-Mead transmission line, then the project will generate around 425-megawatts. If it taps into the 500-kilovolt Mead-Phoenix line, it will generate 500-megawatts.

The BLM is looking at four possible alternatives for the project. The first would have 203 to 238 wind turbines, depending on the size of turbine BP selects for the project.

The second has a slightly smaller footprint – about 35,000 acres – and would have 208 turbines. The smaller footprint would reduce visual and noise impacts to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and private property nearby.

The third alternative would also reduce the size of the project to 36,000 acres and increase the distance from private property.

In the last alternative the project would not be built at all.

If approved, it would take approximately 12 to 18 months to build the $6 to $8 million project, according to representatives from BP. It would also generate 250 to 400 jobs during construction and require 20 to 40 employees to operate it once it was completed.

The project would use some ground water, create some dust and air pollution and limit the public’s access to the land while it was being built, BP officials said. Once it was complete, water use would drop to about the same amount used by a residential household.

According to BP and BLM officials, long-term effects of the wind farm include the sight of the turbines against the skyline, noise, a change in take-off and landing patterns at the Triangle Air Park near U.S. 93 and a property tax benefit to Mohave County.

The noise level outside of the boundaries of the wind farm would be no louder than 45 decibels, a little less than half of the noise a vacuum cleaner puts out, said Don Runyon from BP.

The wind farm would be in operation for at least 30 years, he said. BP is required to tear everything down and restore the area to its previous condition when the plant is decommissioned.

Mervin Fried, a candidate for the District 4 Board of Supervisors seat, asked about fire protection for the project.

BP officials said they have spoken with local fire departments and are working on an agreement.

BLM officials said since the project was on BLM land they would respond to an incident first and call in any additional resources needed from surrounding fire departments.

More information on the project can be found at www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/energy/wind/mohave.html and at the Kingman Library.

Comments on the project must be submitted before June 11 and can be e-mailed to KFO_WindEnergy@blm.gov or mailed to Bureau of Land Management, Renewable Energy Coordination Office, Jackie Neckels, One North Central Ave. Suite 800, Phoenix, AZ 85004-4427.

Source:  Suzanne Adams, Miner Staff Reporter | Daily Miner | kdminer.com | 18 May 2012

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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