BLM to study wind farm plan near Virginia City

VIRGINIA CITY — Federal land managers said Monday they will gather public comment and assess the potential environmental impacts of a proposal to build dozens of wind-power turbines on the mountains north of Carson City and west of Virginia City.

Great Basin Wind LLC has submitted an application to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for a right of way to build and operate the New Comstock Wind Energy Project near the 1860s-era tourist destination that has been designated a National Historic District.

BLM officials said they will conduct a public scoping meeting on Dec. 10 to identify issues and concerns as they begin work on a formal environmental impact statement on the commercial wind farm.

Plans call for it to include an estimated 69 wind turbines capable of producing up to 192 megawatts of electricity, enough to power up to 192,000 homes, agency officials said.

The towers would be anywhere from 210 feet to 330 feet tall, each with three blades 115 feet to 170 feet long, they said.

The turbines would be connected to a proposed electric substation with approximately 20 miles of underground electrical distribution system. An overhead transmission line also would need to be built to connect the new substation to an existing one operated by Sierra Pacific Power Co. about 5 miles away near U.S. Highway 50 east of Carson City.

Most of the wind turbine towers would be installed within the National Historic District and about half would be in the Comstock Historic District.

Another cluster on the map shows turbines atop Scott Peak above Virginia City where the Virginia City High School’s giant white V is on the mountainside. Other turbines would be visible from Gold Hill.

The BLM’s scoping meeting is scheduled from 4-7 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the BLM’s district office in Carson City.

Comments will be accepted through Jan. 30.

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