BLM OKs Milford wind project

Firm to build 159 giant turbines across 40 square miles of land

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 21 2008 12:09 a.m. MDT

The Milford Wind Corridor, a planned wind-energy facility north of Milford in Beaver County, has received approval from the Bureau of Land Management.

First Wind LLC, a Massachusetts company that wants to build the wind-power project, said Monday that the BLM had conducted an environmental assessment of the project and issued the findings with a decision to approve the project.

"Renewable energy resources are playing an increasingly larger role in meeting our nation's growing energy demands, and BLM is committed to identifying and developing renewable energy zones in Utah," Todd Christensen, a district manager for the BLM in southern Utah, said in a company news release

The Milford Wind Corridor is the first wind-energy facility permitted under the BLM's Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Western states. The agency issued its wind-energy development policy in 2006, in order to evaluate the potential impacts associated with developing wind energy.

The policy involved amending 52 BLM land-use plans to address wind-energy development. The environmental impact statements pay special attention to wildlife and habitat, as well as visual, social and economic consequences of proposed wind projects.

First Wind, formerly known as UPC Wind, plans to build 159 giant wind turbines, each 262 feet tall, across 40 square miles of public and private land 10 miles northeast of Milford. The project will generate 300 megawatts of clean energy, the company said. First Wind, which is based in Newton, Mass., plans to send the power generated from the project to southern California.

First Wind President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Gaynor said the project has received support from local officials, who have estimated the wind farm could generate $1 million a year in taxes and other revenue for Beaver County.

"The project will provide numerous economic benefits to the region, including revenue and employment opportunities, as we move forward with construction in the coming months," Gaynor said.

Company spokesman John Lamontagne did not return phone and e-mail requests for comment on the construction timeline.


E-mail: lhancock@desnews.com

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