The Putnam County Board heard an update Monday night on a Kansas company’s plans to develop a large wind energy project to be called Riverbend Farms over about the next three years.
Trade Wind Energy, based in a Kansas City suburb, anticipates installation of about 96 1.5-megawatt turbines along “a very subtle ridge” that runs southeasterly from Mark and extends across Interstate 39 and into neighboring LaSalle County, development manager Duane Enger told the board.
“The lion’s share would be here in Putnam County,” Enger said.
A meteorological tower has been erected south of Granville, and company officials have been contacting potentially involved landowners to discuss property leases, Enger said. It’s estimated 1 to 4 percent of cropland in the affected area would be taken out of production, he added.
“We’re moving forward with our development project,” he said. “We think we could probably initiate construction in 2010 and have an operable plant in 2011.”
The meeting coincided with the release of a new report, produced jointly by government and industry, suggesting wind energy could provide up to 20 percent of all U.S. electricity by 2030. It now accounts for only about 1 percent.
If completed, the new project would join wind farms already operating in nearby Bureau, Lee, McLean, Marshall and Stark counties. Trade Wind so far has completed projects only in western Kansas, Enger said, but the firm’s ongoing efforts in Illinois and elsewhere mirror accelerated interest nationwide in wind energy.
“We have 20 projects (in development) from North Dakota to Texas and from Colorado to Ohio,” Enger said.
In other business, the board:
– Welcomed career paramedic Andrew Jackson of Henry as the new director of the ambulance service covering most of the county. The board of PC EMS picked Jackson to replace Jeannie Mekley, who left to become an EMS educator in Bloomington, said county EMA director Jim Goldasich.
Jackson, who has been in the field since 1973, said he has been working for Advanced Medical Transport in Streator and had previously worked in Peoria. He plans to move to Putnam County, he said.
– Learned that the Bureau-Putnam Health Department is contacting private well-owners around Hennepin for testing in the wake of an industrial chemical appearing slightly above accepted levels in a municipal well. The agency will pay for the testing and is seeking further information on possible causes, said County Board member Sheila Haage.
By Gary L. Smith
14 May 2008
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