Use permits okayed for Beaver Creek Windpark

Questions were asked and answered but there were no objections heard when the Greene County board of adjustment met Tuesday morning to discuss a conditional use permit for the proposed Beaver Creek Windpark northeast of Grand Junction.

About a dozen landowners/tenants attended the meeting. Mike Holden chaired the board of adjustment. Adam Jablonski, Matt Ott and John Marshall, all project managers for MidAmerican Energy, were present to answer questions about the proposed 170MW project.

Beaver Creek Windpark will straddle Greene and Boone counties, with 41 wind turbines in Greene County and 44 in Boone County.

Questions were asked about agricultural drainage structures, both public and private. All electrical cables must be buried at least four feet below the surface and there is a 2-foot setback requirement for county-owned drainage tiles, Jablonski answered. He said damage to tiles during construction is “unavoidable,” but he reassured those present that MidAmerican repairs any damage done, usually within 3-5 days.

As the discussion continued, MidAmerican’s commitment not to damage an area was a continuing theme. MidAmerican will repair any damage done to roads and will come back even years later to repair any problems that arise with drainage after the windpark is complete. “Whenever it shows up, we’ll fix it,” Jablonksi said.

The company will also compensate for crop loss should a drainage problem arise. Jablonski also said all landowners/tenants will have contact information for a MidAmerican Energy rep officed in Ogden who will deal with any problems.

The project will include a new substation on 170th St in Boone County one-half mile west of Highway 169 and five miles north of Highway 30. All electricity generated by the windpark will be distributed by MidAmerican Energy.

The components of the Vesta turbines will be manufactured in Colorado and sent to Iowa by rail. They’ll be kept at a storage yard at a location not yet determined and then trucked to the site. The Iowa Department of Transportation is involved in planning travel routes for the large parts, including working around the construction of the new Highway 30 overpass, planned to start this summer.

According to Jablonski, the DOT will place extra signage along the travel routes marking places children may be playing near the road, if it is requested by residents.

During construction, MidAmerican reps will meet monthly with the county engineer, county zoning coordinator Chuck Wenthold, and/or the county supervisors to address any issues should they arise.

MidAmerican Energy will hold a preconstruction meeting with landowners/tenants in late March or early April. Road work needed for the project will begin in April and components will be delivered in summer. MidAmerican will treat the roads with magnesium chloride to keep dust down during the construction period.

Erecting the towers will being in the fall and be completed by December. The turbines will be put online in groups of 12 as they are finished, with the first electricity leaving the new windpark in September.

MidAmerican will return in the spring to do any site restoration or road repair needed.

The board of adjustment unanimously approved a resolution granting a conditional use permit for the project. Members of the board along with Holden are Dan Tronchetti, Jack Lint, Nancy Hanaman and Amy Milligan.

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