Energy-generating windmills won’t be coming to northern Erath County for a while.
At least none of the windmills that California-based Clipper Windpower Inc. plans to erect as part of its estimated $80 million, “Silver Star” project.
Fred Foster, construction manager for the company, told Erath County commissioners Monday that Clipper won’t be able to start constructing the windmills until Sept. 1.
Also Monday, commissioners paved the way for Sheriff Tommy Bryant to purchase 25 pistols and 22 rifles for sheriff’s deputies from drug forfeiture money.
Foster, meanwhile, said the company has been waiting on - and has not received - the county’s signoff on an agreement that would allow the company to place transmission lines on county right-of-way.
In return, the company plans to agree to ensure county roads, which are damaged along the way, are kept in decent condition.
County commissioners continued to work on the language in the agreement Monday and instructed County Attorney Carey Fraser to get with Clipper Windpower Inc.’s legal counsel to finalize the details.
As a result, Foster said the company won’t be able to start the work until Sept. 1, in part, because an endangered bird - the Black Cap Verio - migrates and nests in the area where the windmills will be placed.
The bird, consequently, is protected from March 15 to Aug. 31, and construction cannot begin during that time, Foster said.
County commissioner Randy Lowe said he currently is pleased with the status of the discussions.
“They’ve pretty much got everything as close as it can be for me to like it,” Lowe said.
Last year, commissioners signed off on a deal to allow the California-based company to transport “overweight, oversized and overlengthed” equipment over county roads.
The company said it plans to send its transport trucks for 9.6 miles over County Road 397 north of Highway 8 to County Road 109, for one mile over County Road 401 east of County Road 397, and for 3.2 miles over County Road 109 east of County Road 397.
The Erath County commissioners-approved permit allows Clipper Windpower Inc. to widen roads at existing curves, to increase the turning radius for entry to “turbine sites,” and to extend culverts “where widening roads.”
In return for using county roads, county commissioners required that Clipper Windpower Inc. provide a $350,000 letter of credit.
In addition to traveling over county roads, Clipper Windpower Inc.’s transport trucks will be crossing two bridges along County Road 397 and one bridge on County Road 109.
Also Monday, commissioners:
Approved bonds for elected officials, Approved requests for cell phones, Approved a quit claim deed, Approved Precinct 4’s request for permission to go out for bids for three used trucks, Approved Precinct 4’s request for permission to sell or trade in four haul trucks, Approved Precinct 1’s request for permission to buy a pickup from BuyBoard, Approved recording of District Judge’s order appointing James Young as county auditor, and Approved the County Clerk’s request for permission to use Record Preservation Funds for printer and shelving.
Meanwhile, commissioners are scheduled at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Commissioners’ Courtroom to consider and/or approve Ed Cordero as new Erath County Extension Agent as the 4-H Specialist.
DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.