Wind farm construction will continue in Livingston County, but not in the Chatsworth area.
Chicago-based Invenergy Wind LLC has announced it has abandoned plans to develop Pleasant Ridge Wind Farm, a 266-turbine wind farm near Chatsworth, but it will continue to investigate opportunities farther west.
“We may look at coming back later, but for now we won’t be developing in this area,” said Joel Link, Invenergy’s director of business development
The announcement came prior to the Chatsworth Town Council’s decision Tuesday to prohibit wind farm development within 1.5 miles of the town limits.
Some who saw constructing 400-foot turbines as an environmental threat and an eyesore welcomed Invenergy’s decision. Others who saw the wind farm as a sure source of income didn’t.
The project threatened land values in the planned Oliver’s Crossing subdivision, subdivision developers said. The 900-acre development could generate home values in excess of $100 million, town officials and developers say.
“Our family has been working for a year and a half on the subdivision and are receiving good reports,” said Oliver’s Crossing developer Larry Kurtenbach. “Its success would provide monetary rewards to the town, but a wind farm would limit development, so we’re glad the city decided to enact the ordinance.”
The subdivision, which was recently annexed to the town, is located a couple of miles south of Chatsworth and is expected to have a 200-acre lake and 600 homes selling for $350,000 to $400,000 each.
The Kurtenbach family was concerned that financing for the development would fall through if the wind farm were developed.
Some landowners who had welcomed the opportunity to lease farmland for the wind farm resented the city’s decision.
“We are in the township but are subject to the council’s decision,” said Sam DePino. “I don’t think the council has thought about the consequences of this and I think they should.
“I hope Oliver’s Crossing succeeds, but it’s not a sure thing, like a wind farm,” he said. “They’re here and will build. This means millions of dollars for us, but we don’t have a say in it.”
Invenergy previously reached agreements with landowners to lease about 12,000 acres for the wind farm stretching from north of Forrest and Chatsworth to just south of Illinois 24 in Livingston County, said Link. Invenergy wanted about 20,000 acres to build a wind farm to churn out 266 megawatts of power, he said.
Construction of the wind farm would have been far off, even before the decision. Invenergy didn’t plan to file applications for county permits any earlier than next spring, Link said, and the company still needed to conduct environmental studies.
By Dave Tompkins
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