Library from Colorado
A meeting next week will give locals the chance to learn more about a controversial wind farm near Calhan.
“The routes unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in Northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
Calhan residents expressed their complaints towards wind turbines at a county meeting on Tuesday. KRDO NewsChannel 13 was at that meeting to hear several passionate pleas from those who say they are fed up.
Residents living within the Golden West Wind Energy Center’s footprint in Calhan, Colorado, have reported negative physical and psychological effects from the turbines since it became fully operational in October 2015. The center consists of 145 453-foot tall industrial wind turbines, connected to an electrical substation in Falcon by 29 miles of overhead transmission lines.
In a statement, Alex Daue, assistant director for energy and climate for the Wilderness Society, said the two newly approved routes “unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage-grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
Xcel Energy needed to move forward on Rush Creek, which will be the largest wind project ever in the state, this year instead of next to avoid forfeiting $125 million out of the $443 million in federal tax credits the project is seeking.
On the western edge of the Great Plains, Colorado abuts some of the windiest regions of the country.
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“I have lived on this property for six years, and I have never had a stillborn (foal or colt) in my entire life,” she said. “The first one I have ever had was after they put in the turbines and turned them on. The turbines have changed our entire ecosystem.”
Prior to October 2015, Ann-Marie McLaughlin said her 36-acre property in Calhan, Colorado, was teeming with prairie dogs. However, that all changed when the Golden West Wind Energy Center became fully operational last October.
The Rush Creek Wind Project would cross 96,200 acres in six eastern plains counties and generate 600 MW of power. The project also requires a 150-foot-wide right of way for a 90-miles transmission line.
"If Xcel Energy owns this wind farm, they get to charge a 10 percent return on investment," Huntley said, "and they charge it back to ratepayers. If they own this facility, there will be an impact on rates that all customers share," including Boulder's — particularly if the city's bid to municipalize fails.
Sandy Wolfe, another resident living within the wind farm project’s footprint, said she has experienced many physical ailments since the turbines became operational, and noticed that her animals were experiencing some of the same ones. “My dog Hank was so strong, and everybody was amazed at how strong and agile and competent he still was,” she said. “When I started having nosebleeds in September, he did, too. Mine subsided because I started sleeping in my truck, ...Wolfe said Hank died this past winter. He was one of three dogs that has died since September, she said.
El Paso County residents accusing NextEra of negative effects from the wind farm say they've had headaches, nausea and dizziness because of the turbines, inaudible, low-frequency sound waves known as infrasound, and a phenomenon that occurs near windmills called shadow flicker.
The Golden West Wind Energy Center in Calhan, Colorado, consisting of 145 453-foot tall industrial wind turbines, became fully operational in October 2015. Since then, residents living within the wind farm project’s footprint have reported physical and psychological effects from the turbines.
McCann said he was hired to appraise a house in June 2011 in Mason County, Michigan, where representatives from the Lake Winds Energy Farm Project had been negotiating leases with property owners; however, they had not yet applied for permits with the county. ...A 476-foot turbine was built 1,139 feet from the residence, and the 56-turbine Lake Winds Energy Farm Project became fully operational in November 2012, McCann said. “After three years on the market and several price drops, this house ended up being sold for 40 percent of what it was originally worth,” he said.
When J.T. bought his property in Calhan 16 years ago, he considered it a permanent move. In 2013, J.T. had his property appraised, so he could refinance it. The house appraised for $235,000, he said. The house today is appraised at $194,000, with no viable reasons for the decrease, except for one: the wind farm.
A truck was transporting the blade, and it collided with a barrier on the side of the ramp and caused some damage, according to City of Lone Tree spokeswoman Kristen Knoll. The driver is being cited for careless driving.
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“We’ve got a blind duck, four out of seven horses that can hardly walk because their feet hurt so badly, donkeys that will not go out to graze, two guinea fowls have died; our little dog has congestive heart failure and mastitis, and four of my son’s five neon tetra (fish) have died,” he said. “The fifth is blind in one eye. These animals all acted normally for the many, many years that we have lived here, and you put these turbines up and there are dramatic changes in my animals’ health and my family’s health.”