|8/25/2021 2:25:00 PM|
Upland Winds Pattern Energy project explained
Those opposed to the proposed wind turbine project planned by Pattern Energy for parts of Iowa, Grant and Lafayette counties got the last word at a recent informational meeting.
The opposition, known as "nouplands" with a website using the same name, left cards on the windshields of those attending, asking them to visit and get their views.
But for two hours at the Belmont Convention Center the last Thursday in July the energy company had the floor, providing handouts, showing charts and answering questions. When it was over all sides of the issue had their time with people involved with the project. The company had over 20 employees on hand to answer questions and hand out information.
The company has been visiting landowners who may be in the necessary path of the 600 megawatt wind farm and claims to have more than 100 signed on. The company is offering $4,500 per megawatt with a minimum of three megawatts per year for easements for the towers with payments increasing 2% per year. The company is hoping for 30,000 acres to be used for the project.
Why this area?
"This is one of the highest wind speed areas in the state that is transmission enabled," said project manager Phillip Ross who works out of an office in Mineral Point. "Our goal is to answer questions, be transparent and put the facts out there."
Pattern has a 54 megawatt project in
Dodge County that is operated under the name Butler Ridge LLC Wind Farm. They also have a 700 megawatt project operating in Illinois, south of Chicago.
Permission to proceed with the project must be given by the Public Service Commission which is required for projects over 100 megawatts. Plans are to have everything in order, including number, kind and size of turbines by the end of 2022 with construction set for 2024. Plans are for everything to be operational by 2025.
Pattern Energy says it will hire 450 to 600 construction workers to put up the towers and then operate the wind farm with 12 to 16 employees.
Pattern officials also say they expect to return $2.4 million per year to communities in the project's area.
Originally the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project for power transmission was to work in tandem with the wind farm project but that has been delayed through the courts. Pattern Energy officials say they have auxiliary plans in place an can pivot if necessary.
"We can make it work without CHC," Ross said.
More project information can be found at uplandswind.com.
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