Development of a wind energy installation in northern Lyon County is again a topic of discussion. In 2010, RES Americas leased 26,400 acres near Reading and planned to build 111 wind turbines. However, plans fell through – until recently.
“We are reevaluating the site in light of newer, more efficient turbines currently available,” said an RES Americas spokesperson. “We intend to work with the local landowners, community and county to confirm their interest in reviving the project. Given the current status of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), the timeline of the project is uncertain.”
Scott Briggs, Lyon County Commissioner, confirmed that talks between landowners and RES Americas have begun.
“We have had a landowners meeting,” said Briggs. “They met with the major landowners to see if there was still an interest there. If enough interest is still there then they will open it up to the entire community, to visit about it.”
The proposed development site is exactly the same as the 2010 proposal. Briggs says it uses the “exact same footprint” as before. The proposed location would be north of Highway 170 and east of Highway 99. The turbines would be located along the hills, southeast to Reading.
The economic impact of such a development could be a “big boost” for Lyon County, in Briggs’ opinion. While wind farms across the state are exempt from paying property tax, Briggs says that most pay a “payment in lieu of taxes” that would need to be negotiated.
“That would have to be negotiated with the county and the school districts,” said Briggs. “We would be negotiating a pretty big mill reduction for the taxpayers and the school districts would get some funding. It would be a big thing for Lyon County if it would happen.”
If the proposal moves forward and construction begins, the project could bring a large number of jobs to the area. The construction phase would use local construction and people, says Briggs. Constructing the roads, the cement work and the building and installation of the towers could employ a large number of people at that time. Afterwards it is likely the site could offer 10 to 15 high-paying jobs.
The lengthy planning process is just in the beginning stages, Briggs said. If the project would move forward it would likely be 2017 before the turbines were operational. Many discussions and negotiations will continue in the future before a final decision is made.
“I don’t see near the excitement I did several years ago,” said Briggs. “Everyone is more cautious now, wondering if we are going to go through working the leases up. It is pretty time consuming to get everything done right. But there is a lot of interest, I can tell you that.”
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