USA - Wind farm debate splits Spanish Fork

Spanish Fork residents voice divided opinions about a proposal to create the state's first wind farm in their city.

The $13 million proposal to install seven turbines, each 213 feet tall with wingspans of 252 feet, in an abandoned gravel pit one mile from the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon is now being reviewed by the city's Planning Commission. Two more turbines could be installed in a second phase. City Council members must still approve the project and a zoning change requested by the company. Some of the 50 residents at Tuesday's meeting said they were enthusiastic for clean power; others didn't want to look at the towers and turbines; while still others said they wanted to be paid if someone was going to make money from the project. One resident called the wind turbines "the ugliest and most ungodly thing you've ever seen. They are going to become uglier every day, so what I want to know is, what is Spanish Fork going to get out of it if we are going to bear all the burden of looking at these things?" "I would rather see wind farms than pollution," said another resident.

Wind energy is big business in the rest of the country, said Tracy Livingston, CEO of Wasatch Wind, the company hoping to develop the wind farm. Landowners who lease space to wind farm developers could be paid up to $4,000 per megawatt produced each year; the project would also pay about $100,000 in property taxes each year and more than $1 million in dividends to investors, which in turn would boost the local economy, he said.

If approved, the project would produce the equivalent of 74 percent of all the electric needs for Spanish Fork's 6,600 residential customers, he said. The same amount of power produced by a coal plant would require 38 million pounds of coal and 40 million gallons of water annually and produce 160,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide pollution, 59,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 77 million pounds of carbon dioxide, he said.
Online Editorial www.windfair.net
Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
USA, wind energy, wind power, solar energy, hydrogen energy, renewable energy, wind turbine, wind farm, rotor-blade, onshore, offshore

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