Wind farm use permit granted

An ordinance granting a specific use permit to Southern States Renewable Energy, Inc. for the operation of a wind farm in the Glencoe area was adopted unanimously by the St. Mary Parish Council Wednesday.

The council heard briefly from SSRE representatives John Treen and Bill Gallardo Jr. who expressed their appreciation for the cooperation extended by the parish administration.

“We’re delighted to do this in St. Mary Parish,” Treen said. He thanked parish Economic Development Director Frank Fink and President Paul Naquin and added “they could not have been more helpful.”

Treen said the site off of La. 83 “is ideal from the standpoint of transmission and wind speeds.” The site is in close proximity to a Cleco transmission station.

He said SSRE plans to construct a 20 megawatt wind farm consisting of eight turbines in the first phase with the possibility of additional phases to follow.

“Wind energy is a part of the future of this country and the world,” he said, due to finite quantities of fossil fuels. “This is a way to get started.”

Gallardo added that while the farm would be capable of generating 20 megawatts, “I think we’ll sustain about 10 megawatts an hour (which would supply) about 1,200 homes an hour.”

The site is in an agricultural zone on JMB Partnership LLC property. SSRE has negotiated a land lease with JMB, otherwise known as the Burguieres Co., on Florence Plantation for the wind farm.

In earlier presentations to the Franklin Rotary Club and the parish Planning and Zoning Commission construction manager Larry Favalora said the eight turbines would produce an estimated 94,000 megawatts of electrical power annually.

He said the turbines have a hub height of 298 feet and the rotor blades are 384 feet in diameter. Total height from the ground to the top of the rotor is approximately 498 feet or the equivalent of a 48-story building.

Favalora said Cleco has indicated that there should not be any impact on consumer utility rates. SSRE is negotiating the sale of energy with Cleco and other power companies.

Gallardo said the wind farm would create 40 construction jobs and then six jobs for operation. Construction time is six to eight months.

The $40 million project would be funded by investments from venture capitalists, according to Treen.

In other business Wednesday the council:

—Passed resolutions authorizing participation in the Quality Jobs Program by Allison Marine Contractors II LLC; an engineering services agreement on the Disaster Recovery Program Community Development Block Grant on the- Patterson sewer improvements project; and a contract with the lowest bidder on improvements at the West End Solid Waste Pickup Station.

—Reappointed Ulysse Dumesnil and Edward Patrick Jr. to Water and Sewer Commission 5.

—Introduced an ordinance on servitude agreements in regard to Gordy Levee improvements.

—Agreed with Joy Sanders and other citizens to establish a committee to explore funding sources and other methods to bring rescue fees at the Animal Control facility in line with other parishes.

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