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Benson wind farm back to square one

It’s back to the drawing board for a proposed 79-turbine wind energy development near Benson.

Woodford County Administrator Gregory Jackson said Tuesday the new owners of the $260 million Benson Wind Farm project will resubmit applications that are required to be approved before the facility can be constructed.

Spanish utility Iberdrola purchased the development from Minneapolis-based Navitas Energy in March, shortly after Navitas’ special use permit was approved by the Woodford County Zoning Board.

It took Navitas months of wrangling with several area townships before it was able to get a road agreement endorsed.

Now, the whole process starts anew, Jackson said, largely because Iberdrola wants to increase the height of each turbine by 75 feet.

As proposed, the turbines are 400 feet, or considerably higher than Peoria’s Twin Towers.

Jackson said he expects Iberdrola to submit applications to the Zoning Board soon. The company faces a hurdle Navitas did not.

Last month, Jackson said he was concerned over stalled state legislation addressing how wind farms are assessed, and that the County Board has been asked not to approve any wind farm development until a taxing methodology is handled.

At least four other wind farm developments have been proposed for Woodford County.

Peoria Journal Star

20 June 2007