The proposed wind farm calls for as many as 450 turbines to be erected across 46,000 acres stretching from a point east of Streator and south of Ransom down to about six miles north of Pontiac, west of Odell near Interstate 55. The overall project is made up of three smaller projects ...The project is pending approval by the Livingston County Board, but PPM Energy hopes to start building nonturbine parts of the project in fall. Michaelsen said the company wants to start constructing turbines around this time next year so the wind farm can go online in fall 2009.
Tazewell County State's Attorney Stu Umholtz says the Tazewell County Board can't give tax breaks to a proposed wind farm. ...The Tazewell County Board executive board voted to grant "enterprise zone" status to the project. But Stewart Umholtz says while the county board' members intentions are good, their actions would be illegal.
After a hiatus stemming from a legal glitch, the Rail Splitter Wind Farm is returning to the agendas of Logan County governing bodies.
Zoning issues related to the wind farm, targeted for the northern part of the county, will be on the Logan County Regional Planning Commission's May 7 agenda. ...Phil Mahler, Logan County's regional planner, is predicting the commission will likely make a motion to approve the project. ...Mahler said he expects heavy opposition at future meetings.
But in 2005, it was thought revenue from wind turbines might offset costs and make other increases unnecessary.
Three years later, the wind farms haven't been built.
In the meantime, wind turbine manufacturers are getting more for their product because of higher demand. Although Henry County had based its building fees on the cost of the turbines, it may price itself out of the market unless a change is made. ...
A proposed wind farm cleared one more hurdle Wednesday night after a committee recommended it become part of a Tazewell County enterprise zone.
Tazewell County’s executive committee voted 9-2 to recommend to the full county board that the Rail Splitter Wind Farm, proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC, be included in the zone.
But the committee’s decision went against the legal opinion of Tazewell County State’s Attorney Stewart Umholtz’s office.
Clean Energy Concepts must wait until they reach a land lease agreement with an unnamed landowner before moving constructing the county's wind farm.
"We're in a holding pattern until we get the land secured," said Matt Cumberworth, managing director for CEC. "It's hard to pinpoint a time frame (for completion) because we're in April and we hoped to have it done in February." ...What Cumberworth could say is the county's portion of the land agreement is completed and CEC is now working on assessments.
The city of Lincoln stands to gain $150,000 in revenue from the Rail Splitter Wind Farm, which is proposed for construction on land miles away from the city limits.
But, at a $5,000 annual payment by the wind farm, it will take 30 years to earn that much revenue. At the moment, the city only has a guarantee to receive the annual payments through 2017, when the Lincoln-Logan County Enterprise Zone is due to expire. ...Bottom line, the amount of money Lincoln City Hall will receive pales in comparison to the $250,000 payment the wind farm will make to the city of Pekin.
The City Council agreed Monday to include the Logan County portion of the Rail Splitter Wind Farm in the Lincoln-Logan County Enterprise Zone - for a $5,000 annual fee, payable to City Hall. ...Horizon Wind Energy of Houston, parent company of the proposed wind farm, gave the city a written commitment saying it, its subsidiaries and any possible future owners of the wind farm would never seek property tax relief, routinely offered to enterprise zone projects, for the leased property where wind turbines will be constructed. Horizon has said it is interested only in taking advantage of one zone incentive - a waiver on paying sales tax on materials it purchases to construct the turbines.
The construction of a single wind tower for Metamora Township High School has been delayed after school officials discovered they must seek the approval of the Woodford County Board before continuing with the project. ...Maurer said the school was caught off guard by the delay but believes the turbine - designed to cut costs and teach students - will still become a reality.
The Lincoln City Council has joined Logan County in approving an enterprise zone expansion to extend sale tax benefits to a proposed wind farm.
The council voted Monday in favor of adding a 3-foot-wide strip of land from the current zone in Lincoln to the turbine locations near Hartsburg and Emden. The three-foot strip is needed to keep the enterprise zone contiguous.
Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy is planning to construct 29 wind turbine towers in Eminence Township in northern Logan County. If the area is in an enterprise zone, the developers will would not have to pay sales tax on millions of dollars worth of materials related to the project.
The Bureau County Board on Tuesday rejected a zoning change that jeopardized the proposed Walnut Ridge Wind Farm.
"It's another hurdle crossed," said Bureau Valley School Superintendent Terry Gutshall. Last month he asked the zoning board not to recommend a change in its zoning ordinance.
"If the text amendment was approved, it could add another $18 million in costs to the project because transmission lines would have to be buried." ..."I understand wanting the county to reflect country living and not having power lines everywhere," said Gutshall. "But we can't afford the huge financial loss that would result from that."
McLean County will not be released from a lawsuit filed by homeowners who want to halt construction of a wind energy farm near Carlock, a McLean County judge ruled Wednesday. ...The McLean County Board granted the developer, Chicago-based Invenergy Wind, a special-use permit last year after a prolonged hearing process before the county Zoning Board of Appeals.
Melissa McGrath, attorney for Information Is Power, argued in court Wednesday that the zoning board violated homeowners' constitutional rights by limiting the testimony in opposition to the project. She accused the county of imposing different procedural rules on homeowners who spokes against the project.
Developments on the proposed Rail Splitter Wind Farm proposed for northern Logan County and southern Tazewell County played out in three different arenas Tuesday night.
In Pekin, the Tazewell County seat, supporters of the energy project outnumbered opponents for the first time during a public hearing.
In Lincoln, the Logan County Board approved extending the Lincoln-Logan County Enterprise Zone to 29 parcels of land where wind turbines will be built. And, representatives of Horizon Wind Energy, the wind farm’s Houston-based developer, asked the city council to follow the county board’s lead and approve the enterprise zone extension.
Navitas Energy of Minneapolis, Minn., has received permission to put two towers in the El Paso area to study the site of its proposed wind farm.
The Woodford County Board voted Tuesday night to approve two special-use permits for 197-foot meteorological towers near El Paso.
One will be on property owned by Charles Turk at 1052 County Road 2425 East, and the second on land owned by Milton Jochums, a quarter mile southeast of county roads 2200 North and 3000 East.
The Woodford County Zoning Board recommended the approval. The permits were quietly approved in a consent agenda of resolutions, but that followed attempts by a resident to speak against proposed wind turbine projects in the county.
Supporters of a proposed wind farm outnumbered opponents for the first time during a public hearing in Tazewell County.
The Tazewell County Zoning Board of Appeals held its third public hearing Tuesday night, allowing comments on the proposed Rail Splitter Wind Farm by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC. ...Opponents of the wind farm have dominated the two previous public hearings with about a dozen speakers. They say the towers will lower property values, cause noise pollution and create an eyesore. Six people opposed to the wind farm spoke Tuesday.
But residents who plan to host towers on their land and receive up to $500 a month to do it told the board about the benefits the towers would bring.
A dozen people voiced objections to a proposed Logan-Tazewell county wind farm last week, including a Delavan man who says 15 wind towers will surround his house if the project is approved.
"I can look out of every window in my home and see a wind tower," said Rod Egli of the Rail Splitter Wind Farm proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC. ...No one spoke in favor of the project. Objections ranged from noise pollution, decreased property values, damaged farmland and problems for crop dusters who would have to fly near the towers.
Luke Taylor of Delavan had an attorney file a motion for a continuance Wednesday. That extended hearings on the issue and will allow more cross-examination of Horizon representatives.
A Wind farm developer has asked Logan County officials to extend the Lincoln-Logan County Enterprise Zone to their site in an effort to help save taxes on the project.
Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy is planning to construct 29 wind turbine towers in Eminence Township in northern Logan County. If the area is in an enterprise zone, the developers will save money on sales taxes charges for materials related to the project.
The extension is expected to be approved at Tuesday's County Board meeting. The Lincoln City Council does not need to vote on it because the change is outside city limits. ..."They just want to take advantage of the sales tax break," he said. "They are not trying to take advantage of our county."
Bill Whitlock from Horizon Wind Energy asked for the Logan County board's blessing Thursday to include some of its proposed wind farm operations in an enterprise zone in Logan County.
Although the designation routinely includes a 10-year abatement on property taxes, Whitlock said the county wouldn't have to worry about taking any losses.
"Even though an enterprise zone affords us property tax abatements, we will not take advantage of that," said Whitlock.
According to board chairman Dick Logan, Horizon mainly wants the enterprise zone designation so it won't have to pay sales tax on construction materials. ...No members of Union Ridge Wind, a group opposed to Horizon's plan, attended the meeting. Members of the group recently attended a Tazewell County board meeting to air their concerns with the development.
The enterprise zone extension will come before the board for a vote during Tuesday's full-board meeting.
The balance of opinion tipped toward negative Tuesday night, as land owners near a proposed wind farm continued to urge the county to halt the building of wind turbines.
Tazewell County's Zoning Board of Appeals held a public meeting Tuesday night - the second of its kind at the Tazewell County Justice Center - to consider a special permit application recently filed by Horizon Wind Energy for the erection of 38 turbines in Tazewell County. ...Citizen after citizen spoke out against the wind turbines. Many shared Schmidgall's fear and echoed his claim that the value of property within the turbine chain will diminish.
Wendel Hoffman of Delavan lives within a mile of one proposed turbine. "Don't you think something like this should have had a little more advertisement - (something) that affects so many people?" he said to ZBA members.
A dozen people voiced objections to a proposed wind farm Wednesday, including a Delavan man who says his house will be surrounded by 15 wind towers if the project is approved.
"I can look out of every window in my home and see a wind tower," said Rod Egli of the Rail Splitter Wind Farm proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC.
"This will definitely light my backyard up with flashing red lights," he said, adding that three of the towers would be placed about 2,500 feet away from his house.
Egli was one of 12 people, mostly from Delavan, who spoke out against the wind farm during a Tazewell County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting Wednesday night.