• Last modified 10 days ago (March 8, 2018)


Property owners glad to see wind farm move forward

Staff writer

The final bow was tied on the Diamond Vista wind farm project Wednesday when commissioners approved the project to go forward. Construction will begin immediately.

The first stage will be roadwork to prepare county roads for hauling of turbine parts.

Russell resident Patricia Stinchcomb, who owns property near Tampa where a turbine will be installed, was glad to hear commissioners approved construction. Contacted after the meeting, Stinchcomb quipped that the roadwork alone will be a boon for area residents.

In other ways, Stinchcomb said she’s glad the project is getting underway.

“These people have been easy to work with and very upfront,” Stinchcomb said.

She also said county commissioners seem to be on top of things.

“I think the long-term effects for the county will be good,” Stinchcomb said.

Another property owner whose land will have a turbine agreed.

“We’re ready to move on it,” Mervin Deines of Ramona said. “It can’t go fast enough for me. I think it will be a big help for financial purposes. I think it will help the whole county. It will be a big, big, big plus.”

Nick Coil, project manager with Tradewind Energy, the company developing the wind farm that will stretch through northern Marion County, and Greg Musil, Tradewind’s attorney, attended Wednesday’s county commission meeting. So did Pat Hughes, the county’s attorney for the wind farm project. Hughes was hired to make sure the county didn’t end up with out-of-pocket expenses years down the road when the turbines are shut off, taken down, and hauled away.

Under the terms of an agreement forged to protect the county, Diamond Vista will cover the costs of restoring roads to the condition they were in before construction, and give the county notice when a road will be closed more than 15 minutes during construction.

When the project is decommissioned, the energy company will remove all equipment including foundations up to four feet below the ground.

Eleven years into the project, the company will provide a letter of credit for 125 percent of the estimated cost of removing equipment and any needed repair.

The cost of engineering services by Kirkham Michael, hired by the county, will be reimbursed by Diamond Vista.

With the first bill in hand for Kirkham Michael’s preliminary consulting and pre-construction analysis, Coil asked that the county treat Kirkham Michael invoices as if they were paying the bill themselves. Although Diamond Vista will pay the invoice, Coil said the bill was much higher than anticipated, with services from Dec. 18 to Feb. 9 amounting to $97,415.

Last modified March 8, 2018