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Wind farm plan lays out options

KINGMAN – Motorists driving U.S. 93 to Las Vegas may soon see turbines twirling on the horizon.

The Bureau of Land Management announced recently that it completed a final environmental impact statement for a 500-megawatt wind turbine farm 40 miles northwest of Kingman near White Hills.

It is unknown when construction on the project will start. Calls to BP Wind Energy were not returned before press time.

According to the EIS, construction will last for 12 to 18 months. During peak construction, the project should employ around 300 to 500 people.

The facility will have roughly 30 employees to help maintain the turbines after construction is finished. Recreational use of the land will be allowed after construction.

BP will be responsible to returning the property back to its original state after it stops using the plant.

The environmental impact statement offers four alternatives for the project.

BP Wind Energy favors Alternative A, which includes a maximum of 283 wind turbines on 47,059 acres of BLM and Bureau of Reclamation land near Lake Mead.

Each turbine would be 262 to 345 feet high.

Alternative B calls for a smaller footprint than what was proposed by BP.

It would encompass 34,720 acres of BLM land and Reclamation land and have a maximum of 208 turbines.

Alternative C would reduce the size of the project to 35,302 acres and a maximum of 208 turbines.

Alternative D calls for no action on the land. The plant would not be built.

The BLM’s preferred alternative, Alternative E, is a combination of A and B.

It would include a maximum of 243 turbines on 38,110 acres. It would also include a quarter-mile buffer zone between the plant and nearby residential land.

In addition, BP Wind Energy would be required to curtail operations at certain times within four square miles of the proposed wind farm for the protection of golden eagles.

The company has developed a conservation plan for the eagles with the Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.s. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The final EIS is currently under public review at www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/energy/wind/mohave.html.