Amarillo Globe News – Randall County approves wind power transmission – Deal only applicable if line not allowed on USDA land

April 13th, 2005  |  Published in Articles

Power from wind energy could flow above a 1-mile section of Randall County land if it isn’t allowed above United States Department of Agriculture-owned land.

Randall County commissioners Tuesday approved allowing a transmission line on a county road easement for Cielo Wind Power of Austin.

But the deal will only go through if the USDA doesn’t approve a similar deal.

The county would receive $10,000 for the easement along Sampson Road in north Randall County.

The transmission line is needed to carry wind energy from a planned wind farm in Oldham County near Wildorado. It will connect with an Xcel Energy substation near Bushland.

Randy Sowell with Cielo said his company has been in negotiations to locate those lines on property in Bushland owned by the USDA Research Farm.

But Sowell told Randall County commissioners last month the government was insisting on a clause that would allow them to terminate the lease at any time.

Sowell said that condition is unacceptable for a project that is likely to be at least 30 years in length. Now the government is requesting an environmental assessment.

An alternative plan would be to run the lines across Sampson Road from the USDA land on 1 miles of the Randall County easement.

Sowell said the 100-foot concrete poles would carry the same voltage as the energy lines already on the other side of the road.

Sowell told commissioners Tuesday that they are completing the environmental assessment requested by USDA but wanted to get approval for the alternative route should USDA not accept its plan.

This would allow them to not lose development time with the project.

The county received letters from three nearby landowners saying they had no problem with the proposed location of the transmission lines. No landowners expressed concern during Tuesday’s meeting.

Tom Houle, vice president of development for Cielo, said the Wildorado project, set to begin this year, is expected to generate $4 million in taxes to Bushland Independent School District over the life of the project.

The district covers parts of both Potter and Randall counties.

Copyright 2005 Amarillo Globe-News
Record Number: 10974AA1D43CD155