Wind Farm Eyed for South of Granada

Prowers County Courthouse

Dr. Nick Azari, CEO of Arion Energy, LLC has requested a letter of support from the Prowers County Commissioners, part of the needed process to secure a permit to proceed for an application to construct a wind farm that will serve Colorado Springs. 

Azari spoke by phone to the commissioners and Lisa Nolder, Executive Director of PCDI during the commissioner’s regular meeting, October 13.  Azari, who has met with the commissioners before, explained his company had been shortlisted in a PPA, power purchase agreement with Colorado Springs utilities for a 50 megawatt, 31 turbine wind farm, south and east of Lamar.  The project is also being fast-tracked, as Azari said the facility would be producing power by the end of 2012.  He also stated that transmission line connections would be handled using existing lines in the area and power would be routed to Colorado Springs through a substation north of Lamar. 

The commissioners had some concern regarding 1041 land use provisions,  and EPA impact studies and Azaria stated that those can run in tandem with the construction.  Mary Root, Prowers County Land Use Administrator was also contacted by phone for her input to the plan and noted that 30 days would be required for a public hearing on the permit and notification would also have to be made to landowners regarding mineral rights on the properties in question.  Nolder said the proposed farm would be east of the Iberdrola wind farm, but would encounter basically the same wind conditions as the ones located off highway 287 by Gobbler’s Knob.  She added Azaria’s plans call for seven full time employees once the farm was complete, but there was no mention of how many employees would be needed to assemble and erect the turbines and towers.  Arion Energy, LLC is one of several companies that have been contacted to submit a Power Purchase Agreement.  Colorado Springs utility authorities will make the decision as to which company will construct the proposed wind farm. 

In other business developments, the commissioners were given a jobs and business assessment by Bill Dutro, Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center in La Junta.  Dutro said he’s received 17 business related inquiries for Prowers County so far this year and has had four new business start-ups.  Out of the six counties in southeast Colorado, he’s noted 108 new client files and has seen 37 jobs added to the labor force and 22 positions have been retained.  To date this year, there have been 25 new business starts for the area, and $2.9 million has been loaned for business development.  Dutro added that despite the tight loan regulations that area banks are now working with, this past year has seen significant job development.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCityCommissionersCountyEconomyEmploymentEnergyFeaturedGranadaLamarThe Journal AlertUtilities


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