DANVILLE – A Houston-based company that’s building wind farms in Central Illinois is researching whether Vermilion County might be a good spot for energy-generating wind turbines.
Dwight Farber, a Horizon Wind Energy project manager based in Bloomington, said the company is in the very initial stages of evaluating sites in Vermilion County for construction of wind turbines. The company has contacted county officials to make them aware of their interest in the county. Farber said he couldn’t provide more details, because the company is in the research phase.
Vermilion County Board Chairman Jim McMahon said such a project would be a plus for the county, especially because the energy-producing turbines could generate revenue for local government bodies.
In the last year, Horizon Wind Energy has been building the Twin Groves wind farm east of Bloomington.
That $600 million project, which will go online this year, consists of 240 wind turbines that generate about 400 megawatts, enough energy to power 120,000 homes.
The turbines are about 263 feet high with 135-foot rotor blades. The turbines were built south of Illinois 9 on land that continues to be farmed.
The project created more than 200 construction jobs and up to 40 permanent jobs. In 2005, the McLean County board approved a special-use permit for the alternative energy farm. Farber said Twin Groves is the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi River.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity provided the Twin Groves project with a $2.2 million grant from the state’s Renewable Energy Resource Program.
By Tracy Moss
3 March 2008
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