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Planning group eyes wind farm

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

In preparation for next week's public hearing concerning a commercial wind farm developer's request for a conditional-use permit in the county, the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission had a work session Wednesday at the Schenk Building at Ellis County Fairgrounds.

"The development plan was over 500 pages long, and so there were a lot of documents to review," said Ellis County Joint Planning Commission Chairman Kendall Krug. "We don't want the public hearing to have to go any longer than it has to.

"I thought at least some of the simpler things could be covered tonight, make sure some of the questions could be answered."

Invenergy LLC, a commercial developer of wind, solar and natural gas power generation projects based in Chicago, had a representative meet with the commission to discuss the proposed project.

Buckeye Wind Energy LLC is the owner of the proposed project, known as Buckeye Wind Project. Buckeye Wind Energy is a subsidiary of Invenergy Wind Development LLC.

The project would have 87 to 125 turbines, depending on the type of turbine used. GE turbines are rated 1.6 to 1.8 megawatts per turbine, according to documents submitted to the commission. The most likely Siemens turbine is rated 2.3 megawatts.

The project, which has a total acreage of approximately 28,500 acres, would be north of Interstate 70, between Ellis and Hays.

"Roughly Buckeye Road is the east-west road, is the road in the middle of the project," Krug said. "It runs roughly from the Ellis blacktop to (U.S. Highway) 183.

"If you take Buckeye Road west from 183, you'll be going right through it."

One of the tasks performed Wednesday was agreeing to change the boundary of the project, so part of it would not be in the city of Ellis' 2-mile territorial jurisdiction. A revised map will be produced for next week's public hearing.

"It looks like a perfect location," Krug said of the overall project. "There's not many houses, the terrain of the ground rises to the north to the Saline River valley.

"I believe the landowner should have the right to do whatever they want with their land. It has to comply with regulations, but some of these people will be fortunate enough to (have agriculture), oil and wind."

The public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Ellis County meeting room at 601 Main.