Representatives from EDF Renewables, the energy group that owns the Milligan One wind project to be built in Saline County, were at the Sept. 17 planning and zoning meeting, requesting a conditional use permit for the construction portion of the project. 

EDF has partnered with Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives Inc. to provide construction services as the project as it progresses. 

Mark Donnarumma, project manager for IEA, shared plans with the board on what to expect when construction begins, which is estimated to be by year’s end.

“What we’d like to do is set up a (concrete) mobile batch plant on our layout property,” Donnarumma said. “That’s where we’ll batch (mix) our concrete for the foundations throughout the whole project.” 

There will be two batch plants set up, one being a back-up, and both will be located at the same site, slated for the north section of County Roads M and 1000.

The total expansion of the lay down yard for the project is 15 acres, according to Donnarumma, five of which will be occupied by the batch plant. 

A lay down yard is defined as the space a construction site works out of. 

This includes all the equipment, tools and maintenance trucks that are used over the course of a project. 

“How many trucks a day are you approximately anticipating a day?” board member John Barta asked. 

Donnarumma said a total of 378 trips a day will be made as the project ramps up but did not specify an exact number of trucks going in and out. 

Barta also asked about how water will be supplied in order to mix concrete on the site. 

“What we are looking at doing is either drilling a well or finding a way to maybe purchase water and put it in tanks,” Donnarumma said.

When IEA is done pouring foundations for the wind turbines, the entire lay down yard will be turned back into full farming capacity. 

According to Donnarumma, the dirt torn up on the 15 acres will be stockpiled and restored at the completion of the project. 

Board members inquired about dust and traffic control when construction begins. 

Donnarumma said he sets up cameras to make sure drivers are obeying the speed limit and will work with farmers in the area to let them know where they will be and when. 

“Community safety is of the utmost importance,” Donnarumma said. 

He said IEA would like to have 32 foundations in place by the end of the year but no work can be done until a road haul agreement with the Saline County Board of Commissioners and EDF Renewables is settled. 

“The only thing we can do right now is clear the land and put rock on it,” Donnarumma said. “We can’t go out on access roads, start bringing our offices in, anything like that.” 

Once construction begins, the hours of operation would be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and an estimated time line of construction is 3-4 months. 

Sandra Koll of Wilber was also present at the meeting to state her opposition to the concrete plant being built.

In a document she presented to the board, she wrote, “The intent of this district is to protect, promote and facilitate agricultural crop and livestock production,” which Koll said the plant would not be doing. 

“I believe it should not be permitted,” Koll said. 

Chuck McKay, local Wilber resident, also asked the board to consider the effects of the project for not just landowners involved, but the rest of the county. 

“You have to look at the rest of the group,” McKay said. 

The planning and zoning board decided to table taking action on the conditional use permit until further research can be done. The next meeting is set for Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in the lower level conference room of the Saline County Courthouse. 

hope@sewardindependent.com

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