More wind turbines may soon pop up across the stateline if Stephenson County board members approve two special-use zoning permits. Two firms hope to build wind farms in the county and both could generate significant revenue.
Stephenson County Board members have waited nearly three years to see the wind farm proposals actually mapped out. Now, it’s only a matter of voting on them.
Last Friday an energy company in Minneapolis and one in Freeport submitted their proposals for new wind farms in Stephenson County. Stephenson County Planning and Zoning Terry Groves says, “It depends who you talk to a majority of the people are excited. It’s movement, it’s some sort of construction going on, plus we’re looking at the county at the board level and the leadership level of being a renewable energy county.”
Not only is clean energy on the line, but there’s money to be made as well. Even the application fees add up. Groves says, “My office is a little richer today to the tune of about $152,000.”
Both companies are pushing for wind turbines like these. Navitas wants to build a farm with 35 towers on 3,800 acres outside Dakota. EcoEnergy plans for 68 towers northwest of Lena. But before anything is approved, the board wants to hear from people who live in the county. Stephenson County Board member Jim Graham says, “We represent all of our constituents, so we need to know what they’re thinking.”
The plans go before the planning and development committee November 6th, then a final decision could be made on November 30th. Groves says each wind farm could produce enough electricity to power all of Freeport.
The public hearing for the Navitas wind farm will be held at 6:30 p.m. November 7th at Highland Community College in Freeport. A similar hearing for the EcoEnergy farm will be at 6:30 p.m. November 13th at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau.
By Ryan Cummings
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