At least two companies are looking into whether a wind farm would be a good fit in DeWitt County since Trinity Structural Towers produces wind farm towers just outside of Clinton.
Any farm could be six to eight years away, however.
County Zoning Officer Ted Turner has been in contact with companies scouting the area, and the common theme is that DeWitt County is the perfect place for such a project.
“With wind farms, the saying is that the ideal place to put one is right next to a county that already has one,” Turner said.
McLean County has been through the process once. Turner believes that would benefit the DeWitt County Regional Planning Commission when it is time to write ordinances for a wind farm.
“We certainly will take advantage of the resources we have available, particularly those from surrounding counties such as McLean,” County Board Chairman Steve Lobb said.
That would be a big help to the planning commission, which otherwise would have to start from scratch.
Tradewinds Energy of Lenexa, Kan., already plans to put up temporary towers to collect data before moving ahead with more permanent plans.
“They will be collecting data for two years, or maybe even three, before making a decision,” he explained.
Trinity ships nearly all of the towers it manufactures to the southwestern portion of the country. That could change, said Turner, and Tradewinds will be taking note.
“They are very interested in locating to DeWitt County and one of the reasons is because Trinity is here,” Turner added. “I will be in constant touch with the officials from Tradewinds and they understand that we are all fairly new to this, but we have some good resources in which to gather information.”
County Board member Larry Martin expects more companies to follow suit.
“We will definitely be hearing from more these wind farm companies in the near future,” Martin said. “The fees associated with these in relation to assessed valuation and that whole process isn’t astronomical and the good news is that any new business here generates money for DeWitt County.”
County Supervisor of Assessments Sandy Moody said the wind farms wouldn’t generate money like other power-generating plants, but it still would be significant.
“They certainly won’t produce the kind of revenue that you see from the Clinton Nuclear Power Plant,” Moody said. “But these are being assessed on a certain amount per megawatt, and it does appear to be a fair price and it will produce extra revenue for the county.”
By Kevin Barlow
28 January 2008
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