Washoe County planning commissioners have postponed until next month a decision on permits for a wind farm in Warm Springs Valley north of Reno.
At a public hearing Tuesday night, many area residents opposed the $190 million project that would allow 44 turbines near their rural homes, many on 40-acre parcels.
“These things are huge,” said resident Dan Herman. “I am going to be looking directly at them. I will hear the whoop, whoop, whoop of the blades.”
Another resident, Larry Johnson, said he didn’t oppose the project, but was concerned about roads and construction.
“We need to make sure residents are protected, roads maintained and this is done right,” Johnson said. He estimated more than 50,000 water truck trips would be needed to minimize dust during construction. The developer, Nevada Wind, estimates 1,400 trips.
“Our dirt roads can’t stand up to that level of traffic,” Johnson said.
Nevada Wind says the turbines would produce enough power for up to 36,000 homes.
The Washoe County Commission has made developing alternative energy resources a top priority.
Additionally, Nevada’s main utility company, NV Energy, is required by state law to add wind, solar and geothermal energy sources, and the power company must agree to accept the Nevada Wind power as a project condition.
At 300 feet tall with 250-foot blades, the turbines would be seen from throughout the valley and from Nixon and Sutcliffe on the northeast side of the Pah Rah Range. Every third turbine would have flashing lights required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Certainly, turbines are going to be visible. They have to be located on the top of the ridges,” said Trevor Lloyd, county planner.
The project, if built in 2010 as proposed, is expected to be the first in Nevada and entirely on private easements.