The company developing a 220-megawatt wind farm in eastern Reno County is renaming the development Pretty Prairie Wind Farm, Reno County Commissioner Dan Deming advised Tuesday.
Deming and Commissioner Bob Bush both had individual private meetings with officials of NextEra Energy last week to get an update on the proposed project, which the company initially dubbed Silver Lake Wind, after the name of a road running through the project.
Pretty Prairie being near the center of the proposed 84- to 88-turbine farm, and the familiarity the public has with the town when compared to Silver Lake Road likely led to the change, Deming said.
The company advised its goal is to sell all the energy generated in the county to Kansas utilities.
The company is about halfway “from where it needs to be” on signing land contracts for the project to go forward, Deming said he was told.
“I asked when they will file their request for permits for zoning and planning and got the impression it might come late this year or early 2019,” Deming said. “They’re not far enough along to file for the permits they will need.”
Deming said he also questioned the officials on when they would have responses to a list of questions brought up during a March 27 public meeting in commission chambers, which the company promised at that meeting to make available to post on the county’s website.
“I understand it’s about ready,” he said. “They did show me a preliminary draft. We should have it in the next 30 days if all goes well, but they did not commit to a date.”
“I’m disappointed they have not answered them so far,” Deming said.
The company advised him it was making adjustments to proposed tower locations near St. Joe, where residents expressed concern about them being too close to housing subdivisions.
“They indicated they might have a map of the wind towers by November, so we can see where they are placing them,” Deming said.
The commissioner said he has the phone number and email address of the NextEra representative who is handling land contracts, Evan Marks, and if anyone in the public wants it, they can call him.
NextEra will be a sponsor of the Pretty Prairie Rodeo this year, and a representative will be at the rodeo to answer questions from the public, he said.
Deming presented a report on that meeting and Bush agreed his update was accurate from what officials told him.
“They indicated they would have two managers on site, in addition to maintenance personnel, so they’ll have the authority to make decisions on local issues as they come up,” Bush offered as the only additional comment to Deming’s report.
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