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North Perry-Painesville turbine project adjusted but still going ahead

New wind turbines are expected to be up and running by year’s end, but the North Perry-Painesville partnership has been adjusted from its original plan, local officials say.

Instead of the proposed seven to nine turbines, Colorado-based NexGen Energy Partners is expected to install two wind turbines, but they will be taller and more powerful than the original plan had specified, Painesville City Manager Rita C. McMahon said.

That change was the result of a lengthy permit process as one of the necessary federal permits required the turbines to be high enough to avoid avian migratory paths, McMahon said.

Instead of having several smaller turbines that produce around 400 kilowatts each, there will be two that produce 1.5 megawatts each. For Painesville and North Perry, that’s a good change because the larger turbines should continue to provide electricity at lower wind speeds than was expected under the original proposal, McMahon said.

“The closer you get to the lake, the better the wind is. In that area, we’ve learned that going taller and having fewer turbines makes more sense,” she said.

All other terms of the three-way agreement have remained unchanged, McMahon said.

NexGen is funding installation and maintenance costs for the turbines, which will supply electricity for Painesville Municipal Electric Division.

About 95 percent to 98 percent of North Perry’s residents and businesses currently receive their power from Painesville and are expected to receive a 7 percent discount on their electricity rates, North Perry Mayor Ed Klco said.

“It’s really a perfect scenario for us,” Klco said.

Klco said he and McMahon have been trying to bring this project to fruition for about six years. Initially, the major hurdle was funding installation, but once NexGen’s proposal came on the scene, village leaders were able to turn their energies toward the various regulatory hurdles and other details.

“It’s been a long time coming, but I think it will be a very positive project for both communities,” Klco said.

He and McMahon said reception in the community has been generally positive.

“If anything, people can’t wait to see them go up. They’ve just been asking, what’s taking them so long,” McMahon said.

Klco said he hopes the project will serve as a role model for other communities.

“I’m hoping our project proves to the local communities they can work together and do something like this to help their communities as a whole,” he said.

As of this week, the project timeline has installation beginning by early August, in the area of Route 20 and Antioch Road, with the turbines expected to be online by the end of the calendar year.

“That’ll be the day that I’m looking forward to,” Klco said.

NexGen representatives could not be reached for comment.