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Wind firm may look at Tazewell

PEKIN – Another wind energy company may be competing with PNE Wind USA Inc. to obtain some of the same land parcels in northeast Tazewell County for a wind farm.

As such, several landowners in the northeast section of the county are trying to find out if they would be better off leasing some of their land to PNE or to another company called Invenergy, said both Kristal Deininger of the county’s Community Development department and Tazewell County Board member John Ackerman.

PNE Greenfield Developer Keith Kurtz said he had heard rumors of another company reaching out to landowners as well. But he said the other company had not contacted the county, nor had it made any moves to show that it is serious about putting a wind farm in the area – like putting up a meteorological tower to obtain the data needed for planning a wind farm’s layout. PNE recently erected a tower on Irish Lane just off the Washington Blacktop. The company plans to begin construction on its project in 2013.

Invenergy spokeswoman Alissa Krinsky said she could not confirm if the company had reached out to Tazewell County landowners, but she did not deny it, either.

“We are always looking for opportunities to expand our operations,” she said.

Deininger, however, confirmed that Invenergy has contacted landowners.

Ackerman, whose parents live in the area of interest and have been contacted by PNE, said some landowners are unsure about which company to deal with. He added he is excited by the idea of another company entering the mix, as it could benefit the landowners who possess desired land.

PNE Wind is an international company based in Germany that has its U.S. headquarters in Chicago. According to Kurtz, the company needs 13,000 acres to build the 120-megawatt project it wants to create, which would be bigger than the 100.5-megawatt Rail Splitter Wind Farm in the southeast section of the county.

Invenergy is a U.S.-based company with its home office in Chicago, according to the company’s website.