By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Many wind farms now dot the landscape of the High Plains. Seward County officials had been working to get a facility to take advantage of one of the area’s greatest resources.
The Kismet-based company Energy for Generations’ had been leasing ground and measuring wind resource in Seward County for some time now, and Jon Handy, manager of the Cimarron Wind Project, said due to factors beyond EFG’s control, the estimated date for starting construction activities still remains several years in the future.
Handy is scheduled to meet with county commissioners at tonight’s regular meeting, and in a letter to commissioner Jim Rice, he said the CWP is obligated to provide the county with a project development plan this month.
“However, we believe it would be in the best interests of both Seward County and EFG to temporarily suspend the project plan submittal requirements under the (conditional use permit),” Handy said.
The project manager listed the following reasons for suspending the plan:
• Construction of the multi-state, high-voltage transmission line the project intends to use has been delayed several years;
• The project is still proceeding, but the EFG team has completed all that can be done for the time being until the timing and details of the transmission line are known;
• The manufacturer, number and size of the turbines the project will use are still unknown;
• While it would technically be possible for the project to assemble and submit a project plan as required by the conditional use permit, the plan would be based on speculation and would not be an accurate reflection of the technology available in a few years with rapidly improving wind technology; and
• If a speculative plan were submitted, any work or planning completed by the county based on that plan would ultimately need to be redone.
“We would prefer and request an indefinite postponement of the project plan requirement until such plans are definitive and the actual configuration of the site and project are known,” Handy said.
He added EFG is specifically requesting a suspension rather than termination in order to avoid the need to repeat the full conditional use permit process and renegotiate all of the existing support agreements between the CWP and Seward County.
“We appreciate the commission’s consideration of our position on this matter, and we will abide by your decision,” Handy said.
The commission meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers in the Seward County Administration Building.