UNION TWP., Champaign County – County officials have begun the first phase of a proposed $30 million project to supply residents an alternative energy source.
Everpower Renewables, a New York-based developer of utility-grade wind projects, wants to construct at least 10 300-foot wind turbines beginning at Yankee Hill Road traveling north about 20 to 30 miles toward Mingo.
The company applied for and was granted a building permit to install a test tower that will sit near North Mutual Road to measure wind velocity, said Jene Gaver, building regulations chief inspector.
The Union Twp. zoning commission will gather public input before drafting an agreement with the company.
Because each tower would produce about two to three megawatts of power, the project falls under local jurisdiction, said Ken Davis, a zoning commission member.
Some farmers have said they support the idea, while others are against it, Davis said.
He said the company representatives have said it would like to spread the windmills about two to three miles apart to avoid placing them near residences.
Other concerns include protecting agricultural land, a primary concern for Dale Goddard of the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District.
He said workers could damage a farmer’s installed drainage system while laying underground wires, causing problems with future crop production.
Jack Webb of the Logan County Soil and Water Conservation District will assist zoning officials with creating regulations for construction and maintenance of the wind turbines.
Webb said Logan County officials placed clauses in their agreement that made the company financially responsible for any damage caused by construction.
By LaToya Thompson
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