As a participating landowner and the landowner liaison for the Diamond Vista wind farm, I have been in a unique position to be a part of dialogue between the 130 participating landowners and the project. I have also had the opportunity to observe the response of Enel Green Power (owner) and RES (contractor) to concerns and issues. In light of some misconceptions about the project, I would like to make the following observations:
The economic impact and long term benefit to the local community is tremendous. The project provides direct support to local farmers as well as substantial annual funding to Marion County as well as the Centre and Hillsboro school districts.
Enel Green Power and RES have been good partners in the construction and operation of Diamond Vista. The project has provided thousands of dollars in funding to local community initiatives.
Enel Green Power and RES have been fair and generous in compensation for damaged crops and fencing.
County road improvements far exceed expectations and County standards.
The weather was extreme with two 100-year flood events on July 4 and August 2 with double the normal rainfall.
The road issue has become complicated as there are actually two categories of roads in the project. There are 38 miles of haul route connecting the turbines. They were reinforced with 12” of concrete stabilization and then a cap of 6” of rock. These roads are now “super” roads. Roads of this quality are extremely rare for Marion County. There are 6 landowners who have told me directly that the value of the improved roads exceeds the value of the turbine payment.
The second category of roads includes 12 miles that were capped with rock after being used for the transmission line. The project has not used these roads in the past 10 months. Another 8 miles were in the agreement but never used. However, the project maintained these roads for over a year, repairing after each flood event, blading snow, etc. Despite what you may have heard, Diamond Vista has made our roads better on the whole, and it’s now time for the County to begin reclaiming its responsibility for road maintenance.
While I cannot speak for every single landowner in supporting the project, the vast majority of landowners are grateful for Enel Green Power’s partnership. Diamond Vista has brought great benefits to our community and is welcomed by most of the locals. The project has even invested in our community to support the Tampa Fire Department, Roxbury Fire Department and Tampa’s new library. Diamond Vista has met and exceeded its obligations to our county roads. It’s time for the County to meet them halfway and bring the road maintenance process to a conclusion.