Windmill project talks go to Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com

Windmill project talks go to Carson City

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City residents can tell the Bureau of Land Management what they think about a proposed windmill project in the Virginia Range north of the city.

The bureau will talk to the city planning commission Wednesday about Reno-based Great Basin Wind’s proposal to build about 70 windmills on federal land in Storey and Washoe counties.

The project also would include a five-mile power line connecting to a substation at Highway 50 and Deer Run Road in Carson City.

Studies and public comments will help the bureau make a decision at the end of 2010, the BLM has said.

Great Basin Wind would have to get a permit from the city planning commission for the power line, said City Planning Director Lee Plemel.

Jane Peterson, BLM energy project manager, will give the same overview she gave to the Storey County Planning Commission last week.

The New Comstock Wind Energy Project would be in line with the state’s move toward renewable energy, the parks department said in a report.

“However, the project presents a potential for significant visual impact to the Virginia Range,” the department said.

Great Basin Wind chose the Virginia Range for its $200 million to $400 million project for a reason, Rich Hamilton, company president, has said.

The company said in a report to the city planning division that the area has reliable wind, is close to infrastructure, is not in an environmentally sensitive area and is not in a military flight path or radar area.

Peterson said at the Storey County meeting last week that public comments collected since November have been split on the project. Most of the residents at that meeting said the project would hurt tourism in Virginia City and in other 19th-century mining areas in the county.

The windmills would extend from McClellan Peak to near Geiger Grade, according to the company. They would be 210 to 330 feet tall, have blades up to 170 feet long and require 20 miles of underground electric lines.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.