A wind farm developer breezed into Morrow County to pitch a Strategic Investment Plan for the development of a $25-million wind farm project that also would encompass part of Gilliam County.
This is the third wind farm project Morrow County Court has considered in the last year. However, it has yet to sign on the dotted line.
“We’d like to see the towers placed in the county, but our interests need to be taken into account,” Judge Terry Tallman said to representatives from Invenergy Wednesday at Morrow County Court. “We understand you have to have the incentive or you can’t afford to do it.”
Dave Iadarola, project developer, and Mike Logsdon, director of the company’s Northwest office, are eager to ink a deal.
“We’re looking at the beginning of the year – by March,” Iadarola told the court regarding when they’d like to begin building.
They brought a draft Strategic Investment Program agreement for the county to review. The plan would offer tax incentives for the company to build a a 72-megawatt wind farm, which would include 30 towers in Morrow County and 18 in Gilliam County.
Logsdon said, upon completion, the wind farm would provide 8-10 jobs.
Karen Wolff, Morrow County executive secretary and personnel director, said the company is looking at a site along Highway 74 north of Ione.
“The wind farm will straddle the Morrow County and Gilliam County line,” Wolff explained.
Approximately three weeks ago, the court signed an agreement with a community renewable energy association. The consortium focuses on promoting, fostering and educating the public in advancing community-based renewable energy, according to Tallman.
The county is working with Paul Wooden, executive director of Community Renewable Energy Association, to negotiate with Invenergy.
“We want to make sure what we’re being told is actually being done,” Tallman explained. “That’s why we’re going through Paul Wooden and his group.”
Tallman doesn’t foresee the proposed project blowing by the wayside.
“I think it’s going to move forward – these guys seem pretty serious about it,” Tallman said. “I think it’s a good project.”
Tallman said it appears Invenergy has already jumped over one of the biggest hurdles by getting hooked into Bonneville Power Administration line.
“We have an agreement with BPA,” Logsdon said.
Tallman anticipates the court making a decision in December or January.
The EO attempted to contact Pat Shaw, Gilliam County judge. She hadn’t returned the call by press time.
The EO also contacted several residents in south Morrow County. All said they didn’t have enough information on the project to form an opinion regarding the impact on the county.
By Tammy Malgesini
10 November 2007
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