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Geneseo council gives early OK for wind turbine  

GENESEO – The city could have a new landmark in coming years.

Aldermen Tuesday voted to accept a $1.385 million Illinois Clean Energy Grant to help pay for a 2.5 megawatt wind turbine, to be built on the northwest side of Geneseo, outside the city limits.

They also voted to negotiate with Johnson Controls Inc., to manage the installation work, expected to cost up to $5.5 million overall.

Public utilities manager Ken Stock said the city hopes to negotiate a contract before July 7 for review and approval by the city’s electric utility board, and by the city council at its July 10 meeting.

A contract also is contingent on obtaining necessary financing, determining whether the turbine would interfere with a Crown Castle USA cell tower on the site, and permit approval from Henry County.

“With energy prices fluctuating greatly in the last five years in a very upward trend, having local control of our own power generation and power needs gives us a much better ability to control our costs,” Mr. Stock said.

He said the project would be funded through about $4.2 million in alternative revenue bonds, to be repaid over 20 years. The annual $330,000 bond payment would come from revenue generated by selling energy from the wind turbine, he said.

Mr. Stock said it would be “incredibly doubtful” that there would ever be a tax levy to pay for the bonds.

Not everyone was happy about the project.

Jerald Deutsch, 13529 N 2150 Ave., said the 425-feet-tall turbine – which he termed a “gorilla” – would be basically in his backyard.

“I am quite disturbed, frankly,” he said, adding he thought the turbine’s presence would negatively impact future housing growth.

Mr. Deutsch said he is all for green energy, but suggested the city look at other sites.

Ald. Ed Deener, 1st Ward, said he totally disagreed with Mr. Deutsch – and pointed out that Mr. Deutsch does not live in Geneseo.

“We see you folks out there enjoying all the city has to offer and not giving anything back,” Ald. Deener said. “I think the relationship is pretty one-sided.

“And, the sight of a windmill, a graceful windmill, out there turning, to me is not a gorilla, but a thing of beauty.”

Ermin Arslanagic, an account representative with Johnson Controls, said construction could start in late 2008. The turbine would be built in Germany and assembled in the United States.

By Stephen Elliott

Quad-Cities Online

13 June 2007

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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