Hale County’s burgeoning wind farm projects could soon be getting some competition, all before the first turbine starts spinning.
On Monday afternoon, the Hale County Commissioners Court heard a proposal from Crosbyton attorney Joe Heflin representing the Plain View Orchard Wind LLC, a cooperative of 11,300 acres of land between Dimmitt Highway and I-27 northwest of Plainview.
The plan is to place 77 towers, each creating 2.7 megawatts of electricity, on the land. The towers will feed into the Silverton substation before joining the ERCOT system that serves eastern and southern Texas, including the major population centers of Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston.
The towers, constructed by Alstom USA in Amarillo, will be 100 meters tall and will hold blades that will have a circumference of more than 120 meters.
The turbines are expected to have a 25-year lifespan.
The entire construction cost is set to be in the $343 million range and, if all goes well, Heflin said, the wind farm could be up and running by early 2015.
Once built, the plant will have eight to 10 permanent positions watching the operation 24/7, Heflin said. At peak there will be approximately 200 construction jobs working to get the plant up and running.
The reason Heflin and managers of the LLC were at the Hale County commissioners court meeting on Monday was to discuss the eventual pursuit of a reinvestment zone for the land. “The actual owners of the land will remain the owners of the property, and the company will lease it from them,” Heflin explained.
Heflin noted that before anything can begin, his company will have to be subject to a public hearing.
“We are very excited to have wind energy,” Judge Bill Coleman told Heflin and the assembled managers.
Coleman, the commissioners and Heflin decided to try to meet again during one of the November commissioners court hearings, either on Nov. 12 or Nov. 25.
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