Wind farm advocates in Altona

(Red River Valley Echo - Feb 3/06)

By Greg Vandermeulen


Altona and the surrounding area are one step closer to seeing wind turbines among the sunflowers according to Sequoia Energy President Bob Spensley.

An open house is scheduled for Feb. 22 in Altona, hosted along with TetrEs Consultants.

Spensley said after nine months of gathering wind data, the company wants to hear directly from the people who will be impacted.

"Wind farms are such a community development," he said. "A project like this does represent a change in the community."

The change in the scenery may even be considered minor when compared to the economic change.

Spensley said if their proposed 60 turbine wind farm is built, it would produce 99 mega watts, enough to power up to 41,000 homes, would cover up to 25 sections of land, and would bring in big money, even after the construction phase estimated as an investment of $200 million.

He said the operation in St. Leon, which was developed by Sequoia, is an example of that. "It brings in a million new dollars every year," he said. "It's a feel good project for us."

Spensley said that million dollars is shared between the property owners who receive payments, as well as the municipal and school taxes.

The open house is an opportunity for people to review updated research on wind farms, and ask questions of the environmental consultants and Sequoia Energy team.

But Spensley said they wouldn't have been monitoring wind in this area if they didn't already hear a growing positive reaction.

"We often say at Sequoia that it takes an entire community to build a
wind farm and we wouldn't be proceeding if we didn't feel some incredible support from the area residents already," he said.

"Sequoia has quite a lot of faith in this market. We believe it's going to work."