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Residents concerned about turbine project

Heidi Brautigam loves nothing better than horseback riding in Warm Springs Valley, where she has lived for 17 years. But she is worried her rides could become dangerous once big tractor rigs and construction trucks start hauling equipment and materials to build Nevada Wind's proposed wind turbine farm on the northern ridges overlooking the valley, north of Spanish Springs.

Heidi Brautigam loves nothing better than horseback riding in Warm Springs Valley, where she has lived for 17 years.

But she is worried her rides could become dangerous once big tractor rigs and construction trucks start hauling equipment and materials to build Nevada Wind's proposed wind turbine farm on the northern ridges overlooking the valley, north of Spanish Springs.

"I go horseback riding all the time," she said. "I don't want to get creamed by a truck."

She as well as other residents are worried about the damage to their dirt roads, fire risks, their views and the prospect of power lines from other wind farms, once a line is built to the Tracy power plant, east of Sparks on Interstate 80.

"The roads get torn up within days of being plowed," said Kat Cartwright, even with no major construction trucks on the road.

Residents pay extra property taxes for road maintenance.

On the high ridge lines, Nevada Wind plans to erect 40 wind turbines over looking Warm Springs, which also is called Palomino Valley.

Each windmill will be 300 feet tall and produce up to 2.3-2.4 megawatts of power at peak. In all, that's enough to provide electrical power to about 36,000 households, according to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Heidi Brautigam loves nothing better than horseback riding in Warm Springs Valley, where she has lived for 17 years.

But she is worried her rides could become dangerous once big tractor rigs and construction trucks start hauling equipment and materials to build Nevada Wind's proposed wind turbine farm on the northern ridges overlooking the valley, north of Spanish Springs.

"I go horseback riding all the time," she said. "I don't want to get creamed by a truck."

She as well as other residents are worried about the damage to their dirt roads, fire risks, their views and the prospect of power lines from other wind farms, once a line is built to the Tracy power plant, east of Sparks on Interstate 80.

"The roads get torn up within days of being plowed," said Kat Cartwright, even with no major construction trucks on the road.

Residents pay extra property taxes for road maintenance.

On the high ridge lines, Nevada Wind plans to erect 40 wind turbines over looking Warm Springs, which also is called Palomino Valley.

Each windmill will be 300 feet tall and produce up to 2.3-2.4 megawatts of power at peak. In all, that's enough to provide electrical power to about 36,000 households, according to Nevada Wind officials.

If constructed as planned in 2010, it is likely to be the first wind farm built in the state.

Tim Carlson and John Johansen, partners in the project, said they will hire engineers to assess road improvements to make sure their project does minimum damage.

But the impacts are just too much for many of the 65 residents who attended a briefing on the project last week.

"This is a green project, putting a lot of green in your pockets at our expense," said Brian DiMambro, whose home was built off the power grid. "You are not doing a lot of study on the impacts on us."

The project is an example of the "sorrowful, despicable behavior of American business," added Bill Chamberlain, who makes his living installing solar energy systems.

But Carlson said the project will be built. "There is energy on that mountain. That mountain will be developed by us or someone else. It's like finding a vein of gold."

The project, which was scheduled to be heard by the Washoe County planning commission on Wednesday, has been set back to Jan. 6 to give the company more time to address residents' concerns.

Carlson said the closest home to a windmill is 1.8 miles away and from there only the tip of a blade can be seen. The windmills would be small but visible from other parts of the valley floor as well as from Nixon, on the other side of Virginia Peak.

On the positive side, Carlson said the power is planned to be sold locally, creating a stable but not cheap supply for NV Energy. Called Virginia Peak Wind, the project would create 12 to 15 permanent jobs and 100 to 200 jobs during construction.

He said the project would generate about $1 million a year in added property taxes, and some of that would be used to maintain the roads.

The project also will help with global warming. If conventional power plants produced the same power as these turbines, Johansen said they would put more than 6 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over 25 years.

The company has two other wind farms planned in eastern Nevada with Edison Mission Energy, a sister company to Southern California Edison, as a partner.

To appease Warm Springs residents, the windmill developers already have relocated a planned 120-kilovolt transmission line to the east side of the valley from an initial route through the middle of the valley.


Source: http://www.rgj.com/article/...

NOV 30 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18128-residents-concerned-about-turbine-project
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