Wind farm near Williams OK’d

he project proposed by NextEra Energy will be installed on a ranch 13 miles north of Williams at an estimated cost of $180 million. The nearest home is 1½ miles away.

The Arizona Daily Sun reported that neighbors questioned the amount of power, impacts to wildlife and scenery, and the effects of aircraft warning lights placed on the towers.

It was 2:45 a.m. Friday when county planners unanimously approved a large-scale wind farm north of Williams over neighbors’ objections.

For more than nine hours, the Coconino County Planning and Zoning Commission weighed possible impacts to wildlife and scenery, renewable energy, night lighting and where to put the 62 wind turbines (each 405 feet tall from ground to tip of blade at tallest).

At the end of it, NextEra Energy was cleared to install the wind turbines on the private-land sections of a ranch 13 miles north of Williams at an estimated cost of $180 million.

Power generation will take place over 25 years, and it will is to be sold to Arizona Public Service, perhaps starting in 2012. The private land under the proposed wind turbines is owned by rancher Mike McCauley. The nearest home is 1.5 miles away.

It appears likely that there will be an appeal to the Coconino County Board of Supervisors, asking that board to reverse the commission. But the supervisors previously approved another major wind farm east of Flagstaff, although the complex has not been constructed.

Wind power plants are proposed along the Aubrey Cliffs near Seligman, on neighboring ranch lands, and on Babbitt ranch lands north of the San Francisco Peaks. The state’s largest wind farm is already operating outside Snowflake in the White Mountains.