PRINCETON – The county of Bureau has reached a settlement in its lawsuit with Iberdrola Renewables, the owner of the Providence Heights wind farm south of Tiskilwa.
At this week’s meeting in the Bureau County Courthouse, the Bureau County Board voted unanimously to approve the settlement agreement, following a closed session with the county’s attorneys Cheryl Kuzma and Roger Bolin. The litigation dealt with Iberdrola’s lack of compliance with its road agreement with the county. No details of the agreement were announced at Tuesday’s meeting.
On Friday, Bureau County Board Vice Chairman Mark Pierson gave some history on the litigation, which began nearly two years ago. At its Sept. 8, 2009, regular meeting, the county board voted to declare Providence Heights Wind LLC to be at default with its road agreement for failing to fulfill its obligations to the county.
Pierson said the county had three wind farms in that area and an independent engineer was hired to assess the damage to local roads and to determine the percent of damage done by each of the wind farms. When the study was completed, two of the wind farms paid their assessed damage allocation, but Iberdrola balked at the amount allocated to Providence Heights, Pierson said.
Though he declined to give any details of the recent settlement, Pierson said the county is satisfied with the settlement.
Providence Heights, which has 37 turbines in Indiantown and Milo townships, is one of four wind farms projects built in Bureau County.
According to information provided by the Bureau County Zoning Office, Bureau County has 132 wind turbines built or under construction, with the potential of another 143 turbines for the proposed Walnut Ridge wind farm.
The county’s first wind farm was Crescent Ridge, which has 34 turbines in Indiantown and Milo townships, southwest of Tiskilwa. The county board granted conditional use permits in January 2003 for Crescent Ridge. (The county board later granted conditional use permits for a possible 42 turbines for Crescent Ridge 2, LLC, but those conditional use permits expired.)
In March 2006, the county board granted conditional use permits for the four-turbine Agriwind wind farm in Indiantown Township.
In July 2006, the county board granted conditional use permits for the Big Sky Wind, LLC wind farm, with 57 turbines built in Ohio and Walnut townships.
In November 2006, the county board granted conditional use permits for the Providence Heights wind farm, with its 37 turbines in Indiantown and Milo townships.
In April 2011, the county board granted three year-extensions to existing conditional use permits and variances for the proposed Walnut Ridge wind farm, which could result in the construction of 143 turbines in Ohio, Walnut, Greenville, Bureau and Manlius townships.
In other potential wind farm activity affecting Bureau County, Mainstream Renewable Power has announced plans to seek conditional use permits to build the Green River Wind Farm and County Line wind farm projects. The Green River project would be in the northwest area of Bureau County, but primarily in Lee County. The County Line project would be east of the Big Sky project and divided between Bureau and Lee counties.
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