The firm seeking to build a commercial wind farm and needing to truck behemoth blades along Lompoc streets will provide nearly $1 million to the city for direct and indirect costs related to the project.
Earlier this week, the City Council unanimously approved items related to the roadway repair and permit agreement along with a community benefit agreement for the Strauss Wind Energy Project.
One agreement focused on details of trucking the behemoth blades on city roads and ensuring that the firm is responsible for fixing any needed repairs on damaged streets.
Any city costs, such as staff time for processing permits, relocating a street light or removing power lines, would be covered by Strauss, which will provide a $450,000 security deposit to pay those expenses. It remains to be seen if the project requires that the full amount, less or more for the city staff costs related to the wind farm.
A separate community benefit agreement will provide $500,000 to mitigate the impacts of the project not covered by the other pact and can be spent however the city decides. Strauss will make that payment in three parts.
That’s more than the previous offers of $150,000 and $250,000 rejected by the City Council.
Strauss Wind LLC has approval from Santa Barbara County to build a wind farm on a privately owned ridge southwest of Lompoc.
BayWa r.e. Wind LLC intends to install 29 wind turbine generators, as tall as 492 feet, off San Miguelito Road to generate nearly 100 megawatts, or enough to power 43,000 homes.
“Strauss Wind LLC is developing a big wind energy project south of town, and they need to haul a bunch of big stuff through the city, so they need an agreement with the city to do that and some permits from the city to do that,” said Craig Dierling, Lompoc’s assistant public works director and city engineer.
Some of the wind turbine blades set to travel through Lompoc stretch 220 feet long.
The city is one agency – Caltrans is another – that will issue permits for transportation of the turbine blades reportedly sitting at the Port of Stockton.
For the final leg of the trip, trucks including those deemed oversized will travel on local roads with the route going from Santa Lucia Canyon Road to Floradale Avenue to Ocean Avenue to F Street to Cypress Avenue and then to I Street, which turns into San Miguelito Road while leading to the project site.
The agreements limit the truck trips from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays with daytime chosen to avoid disturbing sleeping residents along the route.
Road closures are restricted to one hour per day, but detours can span another hour to account for placing and removing the closure signs.
Violations of the agreement, such as longer closures, could lead Strauss to pay $1,000 per occurrence to the city.
The firm hopes to complete three truck trips each day, most likely two days a week.
The behemoth blades account for just some of the truck trips required to get the turbine components and other equipment to the site.
Originally, the deliveries would have required removal of street lights and other fixtures, but the trucking contractor intends to use equipment that allows the blades to be raised and lowered as needed.
“This is a new piece of equipment. It’s been used in Europe a lot, but it wasn’t brought into the U.S. until recently. When we found out this equipment was brought into the U.S., we thought this is perfect for what we’re doing on San Miguelito Road,” Strauss representative Michael McCormick said.
He said the firm plans to hold a public meeting for those along the route and likely to be affected by closures.
The firm also will alert police and fire officials about the planned closure times as they start and end.
Approval of the agreements marks the end of protracted negotiations between the city and Strauss.
“Thank you to staff and to Strauss for the hard work on this, and we look forward to working with you to get your project off the ground,” Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne said.
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