Energy, Sherrie Peif

Storm knocks out transmission line that connects wind farm to power grid

COLORADO SPRINGS — A spring storm is blamed for turbines at the Golden West Wind Project being off grid for much of the weekend.

After several attempts, representatives of NextEra Energy Resources responded to questions neighbors brought about the 249.4 megawatt wind generation project that opened in 2015 when they noticed all the turbines at a standstill.

Tuesday morning, a representative at the company, identified only as “Chris” agreed to have company officials answer questions about the controversial industrial wind farm. But a Complete Colorado email sent with a series of question generated an “out of office” response from Bill Orlove from the company’s communication’s department.

Complete Colorado placed another follow-up phone call to the company, to which Mariela Quintanilla, the company’s after hours’ media representative, again promised, company officials would call back Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, Complete Colorado reporter Sherrie Peif received an email with the following response in full.

I “understand you called about our Golden West Wind Project,” said Steve Stengel, director of communication for NextEra Energy Resources in the email. “As you are probably aware, there was a significant winter weather event that moved through the Colorado Springs area on Friday. That storm impacted the transmission line that connects the wind site to the electric grid. The wind site was offline over the weekend while the transmission line was brought back into service. The transmission line and wind farm were back in service Sunday evening.”

NextEra advertises the Golden West Wind Project produces enough electricity to power more than 74,000 homes.

El Paso County residents nearby, however, told the Colorado Springs Gazette that the turbines’ inaudible, low-frequency sound waves — known as infrasound — and a phenomenon called shadow flicker have caused headaches, nausea and dizziness.

Sheriff’s deputies have also responded to reports of chickens that won’t lay eggs, dogs that run away and the death of a horse. People also fear well water could get electrified from underground wires and that groundwater will become depleted and lead to dangerous sinkholes, the Gazette reported.


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