HUNTINGTON – More wind turbines will soon be going up in the hills around Huntington, now that a third wind farm proposed by Oregon Windfarms LLC has been approved by the Baker County Planning Commission.
Robert Guertin, of Kirkland, Washington, one of three partners in the company, said construction will start later this year and early next year on all three projects, with completion expected by the end of 2015.
The timing of construction will depend on when Idaho Power Company’s substation is ready, he said.
Guertin said his company has been putting up wind farms for about 20 years, starting in California. It has been working on projects in Oregon and Idaho for 10 years.
The company has rebuilt similar projects in Umatilla and Morrow counties, he said, and has done projects in Tillamook County.
There will be a total of 25 turbines at three locations around Huntington, Guertin said. Two were approved by the planning commissioner earlier – one located two to three miles west of Huntington and one east of Lime.
The most recently approved project is two miles north of Huntington, east of U.S. 30 and Interstate 84.
Another wind farm, also developed near Lime, is in production.
“They will all get built at the same time,” Guertin said. “We started measuring the wind resource six years ago. It takes a long time for these to be developed.”
The conditional-use permit allows for 10-megawatt turbines, which will produce enough electricity to meet the demand of about 2,500 homes that use an average of 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, according to information provided in the conditional-use application.
A public hearing on the project was held June 26, and a staff report was issued July 14.
Conditions for approval of the permit include:
• The applicant must establish the use within two years of the approval day, unless an extension is granted.
• The turbines must be white or light gray to reduce glare and blend in better with the landscape.
• To minimize adverse impacts on the Huntington area, turbine lighting design must get FAA approval to minimize the light directed downward.
• The company must coordinate a weed control plan for the construction operation’s phases with the Baker County Weed master.
Guertin confirmed that Oregon Windfarms is in negotiations to sell most or all of the wind farm projects to investors. He added that the sales may not be to the same investors.
“Mainly we develop to sell,” he said, adding that the company does keep an interest in some projects.
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