Mercer County Board Chairman Tom Harris touted the potential for wind farms during his annual “State of the County Address” this week.
“We have three different companies interested in establishing wind farms here in Mercer County,” he said.
He identified the three as Invenergy from the Chicago area, British Petroleum and Florida Light and Power. The county now is conducting a wind feasibility study with a test tower placed near the Mercer County Highway Department just west of Aledo. The county received a $14,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation for the study.
“They like to get about a year’s solid data as far as the wind is concerned,” Harris said. “If the wind data proves favorable, and at this point it does appear that is going to be the case, the timeframe for being on line with generation is sometime in 2008 if all goes well.”
The county already has adopted a set of wind turbine ordinances, which are uniform to neighboring counties. Under the new rules in Mercer County, wind turbine towers must be set back from buildings 1.1 times the height of the tower, essentially for safety reasons.
For example, a 100-foot tower must be set back 110 feet from the nearest structure. Permitting fees have also been established. They are determined by taking the height of the tower and multiplying that by $25 per foot. A permit for a 100-foot tower would cost $2,500.
By J.C. Taylor
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