A possible wind farm in Mono County is moving forward.
Forest Service staff is currently seeking comments on a proposal to build a 200 foot tall test tower that would measure winds to see if an actual wind farm makes sense.
At a public meeting in January of 2009, representatives from E Windfarm, the company that wants to explore wind power generation possibilities in Mono County explained that the company was interested in building test towers to see if a wind farm of 33 wind turbines would work. Now Forest Service officials have opened the official public comment period on the test tower proposal.
If built, the test tower would be located in the Glass Mountains near Sagehen Peak. The location is just south of Sagehen Summit, the highpoint on Highway 120 East between Benton and Lee Vining. The test tower is described as being built with eight inch diameter steel, will stand about 200 feet tall, and would be secured with 18 guy wires. Forest Officials say that the company would use only existing roads to install the tower and remove the equipment when the study is done.
A completely separate proposal for a wind farm near Benton attracted local opposition before that project faded away in 2007. The proposal at this time is for a test tower, but if the tests prove that there is enough wind there may be a second proposal to develop an actual wind farm near Sagehen Peak. Actual power generating wind turbines, like the towers that have been seen on Highway 6 over the course of the summer on their way to a new wind farm in northern California, are over three hundred feet tall once installed.
If you are interested in commenting on this test tower proposal, contact staff at the Mammoth Ranger District, preferably before September 25. For more information call Sheila Irons at (760) 924-5534.