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Plan for turbines runs into trouble

A proposal for a grid of 400-foot-high wind turbines miles northwest of Taos has hit some turbulence. The wind farm plan by Taos Wind Power LLC, was blocked by the Taos County Commission last week when it reversed earlier approval by the county Planning Commission.

TAOS - A proposal for a grid of 400-foot-high wind turbines miles northwest of Taos has hit some turbulence.

The wind farm plan by Taos Wind Power LLC, was blocked by the Taos County Commission last week when it reversed earlier approval by the county Planning Commission.

A neighboring ranch and subdivision had opposed the proposal on environmental, health and aesthetic grounds. But in its written report on the project, the County Commission also cited confusion over Taos Wind Power's organization and public disagreements between the company's two principals.

One of the principals, Taos attorney Eliu Romero, also said money to finance the project just couldn't be found.

"We were unable to obtain the necessary $100 million," he said. "We were looking around for money and we found it almost impossible to get these funds."

The 40 turbines were to have been dispersed over 2,000 acres about 25 miles northwest of Taos, adjoining a subdivision of 54 landowners and 16 homes. Energy produced by the turbines would have been used in the Taos area and possibly also go to Phoenix, according to Romero. Taos Wind Power had sought variances from the county's 27-foot height restriction and from... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

TAOS - A proposal for a grid of 400-foot-high wind turbines miles northwest of Taos has hit some turbulence.

The wind farm plan by Taos Wind Power LLC, was blocked by the Taos County Commission last week when it reversed earlier approval by the county Planning Commission.

A neighboring ranch and subdivision had opposed the proposal on environmental, health and aesthetic grounds. But in its written report on the project, the County Commission also cited confusion over Taos Wind Power's organization and public disagreements between the company's two principals.

One of the principals, Taos attorney Eliu Romero, also said money to finance the project just couldn't be found.

"We were unable to obtain the necessary $100 million," he said. "We were looking around for money and we found it almost impossible to get these funds."

The 40 turbines were to have been dispersed over 2,000 acres about 25 miles northwest of Taos, adjoining a subdivision of 54 landowners and 16 homes. Energy produced by the turbines would have been used in the Taos area and possibly also go to Phoenix, according to Romero. Taos Wind Power had sought variances from the county's 27-foot height restriction and from landscaping requirements.

Attorney Carol Neelley, who represents the Combined Cielito Home and Property Owners Association, was pleased with the board's reversal.

"We are gratified the County Commission acted in the public interest rather than Eliu Romero's personal interest," she said.

The Cerro San Cristobal buffalo ranch also opposed the proposal. Taos attorney Barbara Martinez, representing ranch owner Alfred Keller, said, "my client and I are delighted at the commissioners' action."

Keller, who lives much of the year in Germany where wind energy has been common for years, "feels it is not everything it is cracked up to be," Martinez said.

Neelley and Martinez both said plans for the wind farm had affected property sales in the area.

The commission's written decision Thursday cited delays caused by internal conflicts between the partners, noting that, at an earlier commission hearing on the project, Romero and Taos Wind Power partner Bill Lockwood publicly squabbled over control of their enterprise.

"Mr Romero accused his co-member ... Bill Lockwood, of moving his office without notifying other members in violation of state law," the decision said.

"Bill Lockwood, through counsel, asserted he is a member with 50 percent interest in Taos Wind Power, LLC. He disputed Mr. Romero's unilateral decision to dissolve Taos Wind Power, LLC. He also disputed Mr. Romero's authority to transfer or assign any assets or liabilities of Taos Wind Power, LLC to (another corporation,) Taos Wind Farm, LLC."

The commission decision said Lockwood and Romero told commissioners that they would try to resolve their differences but that they might end up in court.

Wind farm backers have 30 days to appeal the commission's decision, said interim county manager Adam Baker, who declined to comment further.

Romero said his plans to build the turbine fields is not over. He said he would wait for the national financial situation to change and go at it again.

"We have the land, and that's a precious commodity for wind," he said.


Source: http://www.abqjournal.com/n...

JAN 11 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/24107-plan-for-turbines-runs-into-trouble
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