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Wind farm developer pares down plan for land west of Burney, sweetens offer to Shasta County  

Credit:  Fountain Wind developer ConnectGen downsizes project in Shasta County | David Benda | Redding Record Searchlight | Sept. 23, 2021 | www.redding.com ~~

The company that wants to build a wind farm in eastern Shasta County has downsized the project in hopes supervisors will overturn an earlier decision by the planning commission that denied the use permit.

But some opponents of the controversial Fountain Wind project are crying foul, saying what the developer is doing is skirting the rules.

ConnectGen LLC marketed the changes in a half-page advertisement in Tuesday’s Record Searchlight, calling the revisions “Substantially Reduced Impact & Visibility.”

The company says it has reduced the number of wind turbines from 72 to 48, which has cut the overall footprint of the project by more than 33%. ConnectGen also proposes to decrease the height of the turbines by 10%, from 679 feet to about 610 feet.

The project is proposed on leased timberland about 6 miles west of Burney. Before the revision, it would have encompassed 4,464 acres.

At the Sept. 14 Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting, ConnectGen’s Henry Woltag thanked the public for the feedback the company received after the planning commission unanimously denied the use permit on June 22.

“We’ve heard you, we’ve taken your feedback and we’re updating the project to make it an even better fit for the community,” he said.
‘Get off the stick and get it done’

ConnectGen has appealed the planning commission’s decision to the supervisors. The public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 26. It had been slated for Sept. 27, but supervisors, out of an abundance of caution, voted to reschedule it due to the surge of COVID-19 cases that has gripped the county.

The delay is frustrating neighbors who oppose the project.

“This board set a date and time for this Fountain Wind project to be heard,” Edmond Baier told supervisors on Sept. 14. “We’re tired, we’re beat up. … Get off the stick and get it done.”

Maggie Osa argued that letting ConnectGen revise the project allows the company “to circumvent the planning process, the appeal process and the work of the (planning) commission.”

Beth Messick-Lattin, who founded Citizens in Opposition to the Fountain Wind Project, called what ConnectGen is doing “a smokescreen.”

“Still all the things that we commented on are still pertinent,” she told the Record Searchlight.
What ConnectGen is offering the county

Opponents contend the wind farm will harm the environment, diminish property values, hurt tourism and exacerbate the fire threat in the area.

Meanwhile, Woltag told supervisors on Sept. 14 that they will enhance their community benefits plan by providing a combined $2.8 million to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Montgomery Creek and Round Mountain Advisory Committee, the Pit River Tribe, Shasta Fire Safe Council and the Fall River and Western Shasta Resource Conservation districts.

The sheriff’s office would get $1 million to address public safety needs, such as its enforcement of illegal marijuana grows, Woltag said.

Supervisor Leonard Moty on Sept. 14 asked Shasta County Assistant Counsel James Ross if the board could hear the appeal based on the proposed revision to the wind farm.

“So long as the revision is within the scope of what was previously submitted to the planning commission,” Ross said.

Source:  Fountain Wind developer ConnectGen downsizes project in Shasta County | David Benda | Redding Record Searchlight | Sept. 23, 2021 | www.redding.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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