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Wind farm developer wants in enterprise zone

The developers planning a 66-wind turbine farm south of Ottawa are asking the city to expand its enterprise zone to include the project.

Michael Arndt, senior development manager with Chicago-based Invenergy, made the request at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Council members informally discussed the request, but did not vote on the matter.

By being included in the enterprise zone, Invenergy would receive state sales and use tax breaks. There is no financial incentive for the city.

Arndt noted the project would provide between 150 to 200 construction jobs.

The turbines will be in Brookfield, Allen and Grand Rapids townships.

The city’s enterprise zone extends east, almost to the Army National Guard training center just south of Marseilles. Any fees associated with expanding the enterprise zone boundaries would be picked up by Invenergy, Arndt said. Invenergy is asking for 140 acres to be included in Ottawa’s enterprise zone.

The turbines are expected to power between 350 to 400 homes. The project is expected to cost between $140 to $150 million, Arndt said.

Construction is expected to begin in October. Mayor Robert Eschbach said he will not vote on the matter, as he has represented Invenergy as an attorney in the past.

City Engineer Dave Noble noted the state is encouraging such renewable energy developments. Arndt added Invenergy could potentially build up to 500 wind turbines in La Salle County.

By Tammy Sloup

The Times

8 September 2007