Great Basin Wind LLC’s (Great Basin) proposed 192 megawatt (MW) New Comstock wind energy project to be located in the mountains north of Carson city and west of Virginia city has been rejected by the Storey county. Rejection was made on the grounds that the wind farm would detract from the historic mining town’s charm and hurt the local economy. It would also would affect tourism and cause other problems. The plant would have had 69 turbines 300 feet tall.
The company started an application process for the project in December 2008 with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is expected to take two years to complete the process because of the studies involved.
The approval of Carson city, Storey and Washoe counties in February and March 2009 will be asked for.
Storey County officials, including planning director Dean Haymore, said the sight of 300-foot tall turbines would hurt many places in Storey county.
“We’re not against the windmills or alternative energy,” Haymore said. “We’re just worried this isn’t the place.”
Haymore and county officials collected a list of concerns about the project including its sight, noise, safety, economic impact and harm to animals.
County Commissioner Greg Hess said that, even if the windmills were out of sight, they could take over the habitat of animals including wild horses.
“You take that away from them, they have nowhere else to go,” Hess said.
Virginia city resident Candance Silveria, said, “The historical attraction of our area goes beyond the buildings, it is the entire visual experience that creates the atmosphere and ambiance so important to our livelihood.”
Great Basin President Rich Hamilton, said that the multimillion dollar project should not be judged until all the facts are known through the BLM application process.
Most concerns about the project are “overblown,” Hamilton said.
“We don’t have Lewis and Clark anymore,” Hamilton said. “There are no longer resources over the next hill.”