Q & A Meeting For Landowners
RES Americas held an informational meeting with about 40 landowners in the proposed Lost Island Wind Project area last Wednesday, Dec 9. The meeting gave landowners facts about RES and offered a chance to ask questions that are a concern for all.
Development Manager Jeff Jackson, who is in charge of the Lost Island Wind Project, began the meeting with facts about RES Americas as a renewable fuels company. The Sir Robert Alpine Group from the United Kingdom owns RES Americas. Eminent domain is not available to private companies. In order for a wind farm to operate effectively, all land must be connected and the community must operate as a community. Meteorological towers are installed early in the project. According to Jackson, the met towers put up by RES are a full 80-meter towers requiring marking and lighting by the FAA. The goal is to install met towers in the Lost Island Project area by 2016.
The turbine layout needs to have 30 40 percent of leased land available to use to allow for effective spacing between turbines. There are also many constraints that could be placed on a project area machining it not buildable. One such constraint is put on by the Department of Natural Resources regarding state owned land. Typically, the DNR says a turbine must be one mile from any reserve land, the company however, hopes to negotiate for a closer distance.
Turbine bases are 12-14 feet down with concrete and there is a 10 15 foot wide beauty ring of gravel around the turbine, which connects to the driveway, which is 16 feet wide. Farmers are able to plant right up next to the beauty ring and road. Cable connecting the turbines is trenched in at a depth of four feet. Any tile maps are requested.
Facts pertaining to the Lost Island Wind Project are similar to those above with some specifics. The project will be a 150-megawatt wind farm. Each turbine produces approximately 2-megawatts, meaning the farm will contain about 125 turbines. In order for the project to move forward, there has to be 20,000 to 25,000 leased acres of than that is continuous. If this happens, a met tower will be erected in early 2016. Owners are consulted regarding the location of a turbine, however, RES has the final say. Any damaged tile will be repaired at cost to RES and any crop damage that is incurred will be reimbursed for one year.
The impact to Palo Alto County as a community will be $36 million in taxes over the project lifetime and $1 million in landowner payments totaling $28 million. The project will bring six to ten full time permanent jobs at the end of the construction project for operations and maintenance. There will likely be a decommissioning agreement and road maintenance agreement as part of the permitting process with the County, meaning that RES will repair any county roads that are damaged during the construction process.