November 16, 2007

Grundy board vote paves way for wind farm

MORRIS – The Grundy County Board voted to support the extension of the Ottawa, LaSalle County and Grundy County Enterprise Zone to allow the construction of a wind farm in the zone.

Grand Ridge Energy LLC, an affiliate of Invenergy Wind North America LLC of Chicago, has proposed a wind energy development in unincorporated LaSalle County near Marseilles, Seneca and Ransom. Grand Ridge would like to build the wind farm in the enterprise zone, which would require the addition of 224 acres.

Although the farm would not be in Grundy County, in order to add property to the zone all the participating communities have to agree.

Enterprise zones provide state tax relief and incentives including waiving sales tax on building materials.

“The board felt this was not only a good neighbor move, but Grundy County residents would be employed by this project as well,” said County Administrator Dan Duffy, after the meeting.

The board approved the extension at Tuesday’s board meeting with board member John Almer casting the only no vote. Two other board members were absent.

“I don’t like the windmills. Personally, I think they are a wasteful use of land,” Almer said after the meeting. “We’re so concerned with land use and I just don’t see windmills as a good use of land.”

Almer said because of the blades on the windmills it is difficult to use the land surrounding the wind farm.

Grand Ridge is proposing a 99 megawatt wind-powered electrical generation facility consisting of up to 66 wind turbines, according to the company’s application to amend the zone. The project will take six to nine months to construct and is scheduled to begin late this year and be finished by mid to late 2008.

The project is expected to create about 150 construction jobs and up to 10 full-time operation and maintenance jobs.

Marseilles tabled its vote on the extension at its last council meeting and plans to look at it again next week. Seneca already approved it and LaSalle County approved Grand Ridge’s special-use permit.

By Christina Chapman
Staff Writer

The Herald News

16 November 2007

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