Plymouth County wind farm planned
By JOLENE STEVENS
LE MARS – The future path for a possible Plymouth County wind farm remains a long one, according to Alan Lucken, Plymouth County zoning director.
He said, however, EDF Renewable Energy, a San Diego-based arm of the French-owned EDF Energies Nouvelles, the leading electricity company in the world, appears confident it will get farm land access for the project.
“The company is investing a considerable amount of money in the project,” Lucken said. “One of the concerns for projects like this in Plymouth County is the capacity for companies to get on a transmission line, but indications they’ve expressed to me at this time is this can be accomplished.”
Plans call for a projected 100 2.3 megawatt-wind turbines and adjacent sub-station erected over Union and Marion townships farms between Le Mars and Kingsley, south of Remsen and north of Kingsley, Lucken said.
Some landowners are for the project with others indicating their opposition, he said, following a March 16 informational meeting in Le Mars.
Lucken said that while 126 landowners were invited to the meeting, attendance was smaller than he had expected.
“EDF has already contacted farmers who would receive yearly land payments for land leased for the towers and road access to the tower site,” he said. “Estimations are that in the early stages it will take 18 to 19 months to get approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”
“The company will also be working with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department study and any possible archeological issues as well.”
The county zoning is already done, Lucken said, adding county conditional use permits will also be needed for the project.
He expects the guessing time for the permits and additional decisions may come during the summer of 2017.
The estimated project cost has been put at between $200 and $300 million.
EDF completed a comparable project earlier near Pomeroy, in Pocahontas County, with service sold to Mid-American, he said.
It’s uncertain, he said, if a similar plan will be discussed by the company should the Plymouth County project become a reality.
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