Wind turbines now at public comment stage |

Wind turbines now at public comment stage

Cliff Thompson

If you’ve got an opinion about installing four wind-powered electric generating wind turbines atop Vail Mountain’s Ptarmigan Ridge, the U.S. Forest Service would like to hear it.

The four turbines , each with a 100-foot-tall tower and 30-foot-long propeller-like blades will supplement the electric power needed on Vail Mountain. It is estimated they could each produce 100 kilowatts, which may be enough to power three ski lifts. A 100 kilowatt generator can operate a 100 watt light bulb for 100 hours.

Comments are needed by the Forest Service on the potential impacts of the towers, because Vail Mountain operates on Forest Service land under a special use permit.

The four towers will require reinforced concrete foundations and are expected to disturb about a half an acre of ground on the 11,000 foot-high ridge.

The turbines are expected to cost $400,000 or possibly more, and depending on what comments are made, construction could begin

as early as next summer.

“The wind turbines will produce electricity free of air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions,” said Cal Wettstein, a district forest ranger based in Minturn.

“An added benefit will be the ability to demonstrate to visitors and the community the practicality of wind energy to supplement energy needs,” he said.

The turbines were first envisioned more than 20 years ago.

To contact the U.S. Forest Service, call the Holy Cross ranger station in Minturn, 827-5750.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 970-949-0555 x450 or

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