As one company pushes forward with development of a wind farm in eastern Morgan County, another is in development on the edge of the county line.
American Wind Energy Management Corp. is in the process acquiring land for a wind farm in western Sangamon County.
Chris Nickell, vice president of site establishment, said the project area spans from Pleasant Planes south to Ill. 104 and from the Morgan-Sangamon counties line to about 10 miles east.
“The first phase is going to be about 200 megawatts, but we expect to fill it out to about 500 when we’re done,” Nickell said.
American Wind has enough land to begin the first phase of work though it wants to secure more land before breaking ground.
Nickell said the goal is to have the turbines for the first phase up and running by the end of 2012, which means construction would have to begin near the end of 2011.
The number of turbines depends on how many megawatts each turbine can generate. Nickell said he expects the project will use 2-megawatt turbines, meaning phase one could include about 100 turbines.
Nickell said so far American Wind has had very good response from landowners and things are progressing smoothly.
“We’re excited to finally keep moving forward and the landowners are anxious to move forward and we are working together,” Nickell said.
He said this was good because Sangamon County has some of the most restrictive regulations for wind farms he has seen. The county requires turbines to be set back 1,000 feet or three times the rotor diameter to a house, which Nickell said is not too far out of the norm. What was an issue is that the county also requires turbines to be set back 1,200 feet from a property line of non-participating land whether there is a building in the area or not.
“It is what it is and we’ve configured our plan around it,” Nickell said. “We’ve had good enough luck with the land owners that it’s not going to be an issue to us. Essentially it just put a big halo around our project area.”
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