ROCK FALLS – Mainstream Renewable Power held an open house at the Montmorency Grade School south of Rock Falls this week to answer questions about the proposed Green River Wind Farm.
The wind farm has been in the news since June 15, 2009, when Dublin-based Mainstream Renewable Power announced its purchase of three wind farm projects from local wind farm developers Bruce and Joyce Papiech of FPC Services. The wind farm is proposed for portions of Lee, Bureau and Whiteside counties, with the majority of the turbines to be located primarily in Hamilton Township in Lee County, directly north of Walnut. Mainstream plans to put in 60 to 90 turbines in the first phase, and a similar number in the second phase.
John Martin, senior development project manager at Mainstream, said the company is eager to submit its applications for permits for the turbines as soon as possible, but all three counties are in the process of reviewing their wind ordinances.
“It’s a little bit of a moving target,” Martin said. “We don’t know when it will wrap up.”
While they are waiting for the counties to complete their work, there’s still plenty to do on the Mainstream side. Martin said about 99.5 percent of the landowners have been signed, but there is still a handful of areas that could see a few more landowners participate. According to the company, it has leased 13,000 acres to date.
Mainstream also continues to refine its studies on topics such as wildlife and wind.
“You can never get enough wind data,” Martin said.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is what Martin called the “ever elusive power purchase agreement with the off-taker in the industry.” Economic woes have lowered the demand for power, but Martin said Mainstream has a very active marketing group, and they hope to announce an agreement soon.
Although only about 10 percent of the turbines are estimated to be located in Bureau County, the vast majority will be located in the Bureau Valley School District. For the full 437MW wind farm, property taxes are estimated at more than $4.5 million per year, of which more than $2.5 million will go to the Bureau Valley School District.
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