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Profitable wind blows for county board  

The nearly 500 wind turbines approved by the Henry County Board to date have hardly been sited on paper yet, but the first revenues have come in to the county.

Board members on Tuesday approved moving $161,850 in zoning application fees from the general fund to the capital building fund. County board chairman Tom Nicholson had said he felt the one-time money should go towards capital improvements – possibly including courthouse repair, parking or an employee entrance.

Zoning and special use permits for Competitive Power Ventures’ second, “Midland” wind farm – 70 turbines in Galva, Burns and Cambridge townships – was also approved Tuesday. The board approved CPV’s 135-turbine Spring Creek wind farm last month and Invenergy’s permits for 266-turbine Bishop Hill Wind Energy Center in October.

The ordinance establishing rules for wind energy systems was approved in September of 2005.

CPV’s Peter Pawlowski said the engineering will take place this spring with construction tentatively planned for the fall after crops come out; however if the firm is ready sooner they will simply pay the farmers market price for the crops.

Zoning officer Bill Philhower announced British Petroleum, formerly Greenlight Energy, plans to bring its application for a wind farm between Kewanee and Annawan to the county in March. He also said BP’s turbines will be larger than either Invenergy’s or CPV’s, at 2 to 2.2 megawatts rather than 1.5 megawatts.

The county’s planning and development committee will address the issue of decommissioning wind turbines at a 6 p.m. Jan. 3 meeting at the courthouse.

The county’s transportation committee is reportedly in the preliminary stages of working on road agreements with CPV.

The board also approved a special use permit and rezoning for New Life Covenant, a drug rehabilitation facility for women that’s expanding from five to 20 clients with a new dormitory at its current property on Route 82 between Cambridge and Geneseo.

In other business, the board approved a negotiated agreement with the courthouse employees union to charge employees 10 percent of both single and family health premiums. Administration committee chairman Tom Steele said the cost would be $15.82 every other week. He noted the county is self-insured and its reserve fund is continually low.

“We have to do something to bolster it up,” he said.

Geothermal contractors will now have to comply with a new ordinance for properties in unincorporated parts of the county. The board approved a new ordinance requiring registration of location and type of geothermal exchange systems on property with private water wells and septic systems, and establishing a minimum setback of 75 feet between sewage and a horizontal geothermal exchange system.

The ordinance also requires annual registration of all geothermal contractors doing business in the county.

– Learned the public safety committee continues to discuss charging communities for radio dispatch.

– Learned the United Counties Council of Illinois reached a consensus not to support raising taxes on tobacco products.

By Lisa Hammer of the Star Courier

starcourier.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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