Article

Winds of change may blow into Spanish Fork

Monstrous. Colossal. Shocking. These are a few words Spanish Fork residents are using to describe a set of five wind turbines that are scheduled to tower in the community -- unless they can change the City Council's mind.

The addition of the wind turbines, that average about 328 feet tall -- taller than the Statue of Liberty -- would not benefit Spanish Fork at all, said Aaron Fisher, two-year resident of the community.

"We're all in favor of green energy," he said, but "we'll never see a watt of power from these turbines in our back yards."

Not so.

Tracy Livingston, CEO of Wasatch Wind, LLC -- the company that owns the wind turbines -- said the energy that is produced by the turbines goes into a central energy grid that any power company can use.

"Everyone shares the grid," he said, adding he informed the City Council that if residents were interested in using the turbine-produced electricity, all they need to do is purchase it on their electric bill.

The energy produced by the Wasatch Wind turbines will generate clean energy. The more wind farms the nation adopts, the less reliance on natural gas there will be, he said, which would help lower natural gas prices.

Fisher protested the addition of these turbines to Spanish Fork's cityscape at Tuesday's City Council meeting. He requested a moratorium on this issue to hopefully gain some insight to what this would do to the community, he said.

"A lot of residents are in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The addition of the wind turbines, that average about 328 feet tall -- taller than the Statue of Liberty -- would not benefit Spanish Fork at all, said Aaron Fisher, two-year resident of the community.

"We're all in favor of green energy," he said, but "we'll never see a watt of power from these turbines in our back yards."

Not so.

Tracy Livingston, CEO of Wasatch Wind, LLC -- the company that owns the wind turbines -- said the energy that is produced by the turbines goes into a central energy grid that any power company can use.

"Everyone shares the grid," he said, adding he informed the City Council that if residents were interested in using the turbine-produced electricity, all they need to do is purchase it on their electric bill.

The energy produced by the Wasatch Wind turbines will generate clean energy. The more wind farms the nation adopts, the less reliance on natural gas there will be, he said, which would help lower natural gas prices.

Fisher protested the addition of these turbines to Spanish Fork's cityscape at Tuesday's City Council meeting. He requested a moratorium on this issue to hopefully gain some insight to what this would do to the community, he said.

"A lot of residents are in favor of it, but they were poorly informed," Fisher said.

Livingston said he understands the resident's concerns, but his company took all of the appropriate steps to inform the public of what the wind farms would look like and how it would impact the community.

He also requested to have all the turbines in one local - near the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. But the City Council informed him to break up the farm into two locations, placing five turbines near residential areas, he said.

There were opportunities for residents to speak out against the project at the initial planning commission meetings, Livingston said, but no one did. The company sent out 3,000 letters to residents within the vicinity of where the wind farms will be to invite them to attend a public meeting, he said, but only 60 attended.

"I think it's unfair," he said of the residents trying to enact a moratorium.

And if Spanish Fork follows in suit of Fisher's request and instigates a moratorium, Livingston said the city may be held accountable for the money lost in the project.

Five turbines have been ordered and are ready to go for the first phase of the project, he said, and each turbine cost $2.1 million.

Together, Livingston is sitting on $10.5 million of equipment ready to invest in Spanish Fork.

"You can't just arbitrarily come back and change the law," he said about holding someone -- possibly the city -- accountable if ordinances are changed back to banning wind turbines.

It's not the concept of having wind turbines in the community that residents are upset about, Kip Rasmussen said, it's the problems associated with having such large, domineering structures in the community.

Beyond the massive size of the turbines, Fisher said residents worry their property values will lower and the noise associated with the windmills will be problematic. The loud, pulsing sound of the windmills reaches about 106 decibels, he said, which is equivalent to noise produced by a jack hammer.

"Frankly, if they were smaller I wouldn't have any opposition," Rasmussen, who moved to Spanish Fork six years ago for artistic inspiration, said.

However, Livingston said the size of the turbines was specifically mentioned and drawings were shown in council meetings to depict what the city would look like with them.

"We have not tried to hide anything as far as the size of these turbines," he said.

Furthermore, Livingston refutes the notion that property values will decrease. Having looked at an independent study comparing the relationship of property value and wind turbines in the same vicinity of one and other, Livingston says no decrease in value was found.

Wasatch Wind, LLC, a developer of wind farms across the Intermountain West, uses turbines to convert a natural resource -- wind -- into electricity without producing pollution. Wielding the tallest turbines, Wasatch Wind uses these gigantic mill-like contraptions to capture the benefits of better winds at higher altitudes.

Spanish Fork was chosen as a wind farm location because "it's the windiest spot in Utah and probably the most windy in the Intermountain West," Livingston said.

Source: http://www.heraldextra.com/...

FEB 18 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1363-winds-of-change-may-blow-into-spanish-fork
back to top