Wind farm coming closer to construction phase
County commissioners agreed Monday to accept letters of credit from Orsted, the Danish company developing Sunflower Wind farm in the southern portion of the county.
Included are a $2 million road security deposit, $50,000 financial security for road maintenance costs, and $130,000 per turbine for decommissioning costs.
All are part of a security agreement that must be ironed out before the county will give permission for Orsted to install turbines.
The securities are due when the county issues a final notice to proceed, expected to happen in May.
The security requirements are part of a comprehensive development agreement made between the county and Expedition Wind, which began development of a wind farm before selling the project to Orsted.
A month ago, commissioners reviewed Orsted’s offer of $100,000 cash to support county engineer costs along with letters of credit for road security, road maintenance costs, and costs of turbine decommissioning.
County counsel Brad Jantz was directed at the end of that meeting to draw up a formal agreement.
Whether the agreement would suffice apparently was discussed in a half-hour executive session last week with planning director Sharon Omstead and Jantz.
That meeting originally was scheduled as an executive session with Orsted authorities also present. After the newspaper objected to allowing Orsted representatives to be present during the meeting, Orsted personnel did not attend.
Sunflower Wind was begun 18 years ago by Windborne Energy, but Windborne didn’t proceed to construction.
In early 2019, National Renewable Solutions bought the project and began developing the wind farm in earnest.
Progress was slow while opponents filed lawsuits against NRS and the county.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
- Opened and reviewed bids for work on the county’s former extension office. No vote was taken.
- Heard routine updates from county treasurer Susan Berg, health department director Krista Schneider, park and lake director Isaac Hett, and county engineer Brice Goebel.