Article

BLM, developers look at effects of China Mountain wind project

Developers of a proposed 185-turbine wind farm and the Bureau of Land Management are continuing to gather information on the effects the farm would have on the sagebrush-filled desert southwest of Rogerson. The 425-megawatt China Mountain Wind Energy Project would be scattered across a 30,700-acre area. Though a draft environmental impact statement on the project is still a year away from release, the BLM this week launched a 30-day comment period on whether three meteorological towers should be placed in the area of the future farm. Several other towers already sit in the area.

Developers of a proposed 185-turbine wind farm and the Bureau of Land Management are continuing to gather information on the effects the farm would have on the sagebrush-filled desert southwest of Rogerson.

The 425-megawatt China Mountain Wind Energy Project would be scattered across a 30,700-acre area. Though a draft environmental impact statement on the project is still a year away from release, the BLM this week launched a 30-day comment period on whether three meteorological towers should be placed in the area of the future farm. Several other towers already sit in the area.

The temporary towers, only up for three years, would help project developers measure wind speeds over that time, according to an environmental assessment studying those structures' effects on the area. The document concludes that the towers may have some effect on various visual and other characteristics of the region, as well as grouse, bats and a species of cactus. But any issues are expected to be minor and temporary, it concludes.

Ester McCullough, the BLM's project manager for the wind farm, said the agency will seek public comment on the assessment through April 22. If approved, the towers could go... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Developers of a proposed 185-turbine wind farm and the Bureau of Land Management are continuing to gather information on the effects the farm would have on the sagebrush-filled desert southwest of Rogerson.

The 425-megawatt China Mountain Wind Energy Project would be scattered across a 30,700-acre area. Though a draft environmental impact statement on the project is still a year away from release, the BLM this week launched a 30-day comment period on whether three meteorological towers should be placed in the area of the future farm. Several other towers already sit in the area.

The temporary towers, only up for three years, would help project developers measure wind speeds over that time, according to an environmental assessment studying those structures' effects on the area. The document concludes that the towers may have some effect on various visual and other characteristics of the region, as well as grouse, bats and a species of cactus. But any issues are expected to be minor and temporary, it concludes.

Ester McCullough, the BLM's project manager for the wind farm, said the agency will seek public comment on the assessment through April 22. If approved, the towers could go up early this summer, she said.

McCullough and the project developers - Renewable Energy Systems America Developments of Portland and Nevada utility NV Energy - are working together to perform more wildlife studies and collect other information before the draft EIS is released next spring. She said the ongoing research and public input from earlier in the process haven't turned up anything surprising so far.

"Most of it was what we anticipated hearing," she said, including concern about fish and wildlife, sensitive species such as sage grouse and the cumulative effects of the towers and other developments and management decisions in the area. The federal government is expected to issue a decision in the next few months on whether to add the grouse to the endangered species list.

Scott Kringen, the project manager with RES America, said the wind farm is still right on track. His company made its partnership with NV Energy official a few months ago, and the two each own 50 percent of the project's assets now. At least half of the power produced by the farm is likely headed for Nevada.

Still to be developed are possible alternatives to the wind-tower sites proposed by RES America. McCullough said alternate options will be developed as more effects of the towers become clear.

"Basically, it's ways to try and reduce the effects or impacts that would occur from the project," she said.


Source: http://www.magicvalley.com/...

MAR 28 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19603-blm-developers-look-at-effects-of-china-mountain-wind-project
back to top