The company developing an approximately 100-tower wind farm around this small community on the Marshall-Stark County line has been sold to a division of the multinational operation once known as British Petroleum.
California-based Orion Energy LLC was sold last month to BP Alternative Energy, a business formed by BP Global a year earlier to concentrate on alternative and renewable energy projects, company officials said recently in an online trade publication.
Orion Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Reid Buckley, who has led the firm’s local permitting efforts, did not respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comment.
According to what he has told officials in both counties, the sale does not actually include the local project, which was set up separately as Camp Grove Wind Farm LLC, and is not expected to affect its progress.
Buckley has said the sale “will have no impact on our project whatever,” said Stark County Board Chairman Mike Bigger.
Orion has approval to construct a 200-megawatt installation that will include about 60 turbines in Marshall County and 40 in Stark. The properties where the 265-foot towers will be located also were annexed into an enterprise zone last fall.
Company officials have indicated construction should begin in April, with a goal of generating electricity by the end of the year, said Marshall County engineer and zoning administrator George Meister. County and township officials are finalizing agreements under which Orion will pay for any damage done by hauling overweight loads on local roads, he said.
Orion’s plan is to store materials and mix cement in a “staging area” along Illinois Route 17 east of Illinois Route 40 and dispatch trucks from there.
“It’s between 30 and 40 truckloads of concrete per foundation,” Meister said. “People don’t realize how much traffic there’s going to be.”
Both counties are anticipating large cash infusions soon from building permit fees. Marshall County expects about $120,000 from its flat fee of $2,000 per tower, while Stark stands to get about twice that much from a fee based on height.
“We should be getting somewhere around $250,000,” Bigger said.
By Gary L. Smith
of The Journal Star
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