Storey County to hear BLM report on windmill project | NevadaAppeal.com

Storey County to hear BLM report on windmill project

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

The Bureau of Land Management wants Storey County to know that a 69-windmill project will not be approved without detailed research.

The federal agency will host a presentation Thursday for the Storey County Planning Commission on the studies it has done and will do for the project planned for the mountains west of Virginia City and north of Carson City.

Nevada will see more renewable energy projects in the future, said Jane Peterson of the BLM, but the agency has to evaluate many “potential impacts” before it would let the project be built on its land. Reno-based Great Basin Wind wants to build the $200 million to $400 million New Comstock Wind Energy Project with 300-foot-tall windmills that could generate energy for thousands of homes.

Most of the windmills would likely be in Storey County with some in Washoe County. The project also would include a five-mile transmission line connecting to a substation in Carson City.

Peterson said the agency hopes to know exactly where the windmills will be in about a year.

Rich Hamilton, president of Great Basin Wind, said he will be at the meeting to answer technical questions.

“We’re just hoping people will come away with an understanding of what the project is,” he said.

Work on the project is going well and will be easy to find funding for, he said.

The BLM will host a presentation in Carson City on Feb. 25 and in Washoe County on March 3.

Austin Osborne, a Storey County Community Development planner, said the county has given the federal agency its list of concerns about the project.

County commissioners and staff list the sight, noise, safety, economic impact and harm to animals as possible problems with the project.

The county has also said it is worried the windmills would hurt tourism and the historical authenticity in the 19th-century mining towns of Virginia City and Gold Hill.

The county is working on an ordinance that would ban commercial windmills visible from Virginia City, Gold Hill and possibly most other parts of the county.

Projects must promote clear views, natural landscapes and allow for tourism to thrive under the proposed ordinance.