The Logan County Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday began hearings on a a conditional use permit for Sugar Creek Wind One after the Logan County Regional Planning Commission last week approved the permit.
There was standing room only in the West Lincoln-Broadwell school classroom, with easily more than 75 people in attendance.
The hearing began with a review of the project, the same review heard by the county’s regional planning commission last week, followed by expert witness testimony.
At press time, the expert testimony still was under way and it was clear that the hearing would need to continue tonight. The hearing will resume at 7:30 p.m. at the school.
More time has been allocated if needed to continue the hearing next Wednesday and Thursday.
Sugar Creek Wind One and Two are joint developments between Springfield-based American Wind Energy Management Corp. (AWEM) and Oak Creek Energy Systems of California, known together as Springfield Project Development. A third entity, The Wind Company of Austria, also has joined the partnership.
Sugar Creek Wind One, the first phase, is expected to consist of about 116 turbines located over about 16,500 acres in the Sheridan and Corwin townships in western Logan County and bounded by Illinois Route 10 to the north and county road 1400N to the south.
Stan Komperda, who is in charge of the projects’ development for Springfield Project Development, presented the overview of the first phase project, which is expected to generate some $1 million in taxes and another $1 million in payments to land owners on whose property turbines will be sited. Komperda also noted that other tax revenue will be generated from the construction and the new jobs that will be created.
The cost of the project is about $400 million. Construction is expected to take 12 to 24 months, and begin in late 2012 or 2013, said Komperda.
Springfield Project Development also plans Sugar Creek Wind Two, located in the Middletown and New Holland area and Elkhart and Middletown, and also Sangamon One in Sangamon County.
Komperda said it was likely that Trinity Towers, located just north of Clinton, about 30 miles east, is the likely source for towers.
Komperda outlined a long list of governmental agencies the planners were required to consult with, including the local National Weather Service office. He said there are some conflicts regarding the proposed location of some of the turbines, but that the planners and the NWS are working together to mitigate interference with the Dopplar radar system so as not to hamper forecasting.
Illinois has been found to generate lots of wind, but among the attractions for wind farms are the flat lands and, more importantly, the abundance of transmission lines to connect the turbines to the electrical grid.
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