P&Z OKs wind farm permit

July 14, 2011 • Local News, News

Chaves County may house its first commercial wind farm in the near future after the county Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special use permit for wind energy conversion systems near Highway 172, Tuesday night during its business meeting. The issue will next appear before the Chaves County Commissioners during its monthly meeting July 28.

If approved by county commissioners, 15 towers would be built on large agricultural properties, owned by three separate landowners, north and [auth] south of Aberdeen Road/Highway 249 approximately one to four miles west of Tower Road and Highway 172, in the first phase of the project, according to the county staff review that recommended approval of the project.

Kyle Paulson, project manager for Compass Wind Projects LLC., based in Denver, applied to build the commercial wind farm June 13, records show.

In a wind energy guide submitted to county commissioners, Compass Wind argues that wind power has environmental benefits that electricity cannot offer, such as no air emissions, no fuel to mine, transport or store, no water required for cooling, unlike conventional power plants, no water pollution and no mercury emissions. The report also shows that an operating modern wind farm is no louder than a kitchen refrigerator or a moderately quiet room. The group also says wind energy projects are proven economic development drivers in the areas where they are sited through job creation, local project spending, annual property and sales taxes and annual landowner easement payments.

County P and Z director Marlin Johnson said that county commissioners had previously approved the development of wind farms in 2003 and 2004 on Mescalero Ridge near Caprock, but that development never occurred. A wind farm situated in Roosevelt County just northwest of Elida is partially located in Chaves County, Johnson added.

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