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Wind farm backers still negotiating road deals  

Credit:  Nora Maberry, The News-Gazette, www.news-gazette.com 11 September 2011 ~~

URBANA – The developers of a 134-turbine wind farm for Champaign and Vermilion counties are still discussing road agreements with Compromise and Ogden townships.

At Thursday’s Champaign County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, Greg Leuchtmann, business development manager for Invenergy LLC, said the county road agreement was almost complete.

The agreement will then be sent to the state’s attorney’s office for review.

Invenergy asked that it be allowed to negotiate road agreements beyond the time the case would be before the county zoning board of appeals. Leuchtmann said that the county road agreement must be approved by the Champaign County Board at its Oct. 20 meeting before the agreement is finalized.

Invenergy is asking the zoning board to move forward with approving the project if the road commissioner and the state’s attorney both sign off on the agreement before the county board votes on it.

The project, which would include 30 turbines in Compromise and Ogden Townships, would be just north of Royal. The entire wind farm, known as the California Ridge project, includes 134 turbines, 104 of them in western Vermilion County.

It was also announced that the company has entered into a deal with a utility to buy the output of the project. Attorney Michael Blazer declined to name the company because negotiations are ongoing.

Darrell Cambron, who lives near Rankin and has opposed wind farms in Vermilion County, urged the zoning board to follow the ordinances already in place and not approve any waivers for the project.

“We have certain rules and regulations that should be followed,” he said. “They should follow all rules as written.”

Deanne Sims of Penfield expressed concern with the noise studies that were done to prove the project would follow county ordinances.

Sims also said she had contacted her insurance company and was told that any damage done to her home by the project, such as cracks in her basement walls, would not be covered by her homeowner’s insurance. Her insurance agency instructed her to document the status of her home via video and purchase a sound meter.

Sims also expressed concern regarding the times of construction. Invenergy said that construction would take place mainly between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Sims said several people in the area work third shift and it would interfere with their sleep patterns.

Sims also asked the board who would be in charge of making sure the noise ordinances were followed. The board told her that, currently, there is no one specified to do that.

The next hearing will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 29. The board changed the time from 7 p.m. due to the amount of testimony that has taken place at previous meetings.

The turbine project could go to the county board as soon as Oct. 20. In addition to the zoning board of appeals, the project would be reviewed by the county board at a committee of the whole meeting in October.

Construction could begin in early 2012 and be completed by December, according to Invenergy’s special-use application.

Construction would take nine to 12 months with the peak period lasting four to six months, the company said.

During peak construction there would be 75 large truck trips per day and up to 200 small vehicle trips in the area. Of the 75 large truck trips, 20 would be wind turbine component deliveries.

The special-use permit application says that properly maintained wind turbines have a minimum life of 20 years, and can either be decommissioned and removed, or re-powered with new components.

Source:  Nora Maberry, The News-Gazette, www.news-gazette.com 11 September 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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