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Champaign Co. turbine project adds second phase

URBANA – The controversial Buckeye Wind Project will include more wind turbines in Champaign County after more leases were acquired from another company.

In a letter to the Ohio Power Siting Board, attorneys for Champaign Wind LLC said the company plans to submit an application for the Buckeye II Wind Farm, which would consist of 57 wind turbines spread across about 13,500 acres of leased land in Champaign County.

Buckeye Wind, a subsidiary of Everpower Wind Holdings, Inc., is already involved in a similar project to build more than 50 turbines in the county. That case is still being reviewed by the Ohio Supreme Court.

If approved, the project is expected to generate 150 to 200 temporary jobs and about a dozen full-time jobs. Information from the company shows it is expected to bring about $20 million in taxes to the county over the life of the project.

Jason Dagger, a spokesman for the company, has said that, if approved, the first Buckeye Wind farm could be under way as early as the second quarter of this year.

Construction on the Buckeye II Wind Farm could begin as early as 2013, Dagger said.

According to the letter to the siting board, the wind farm would supply renewable energy to the interstate grid.

A public meeting to provide information on the project is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Triad High School in North Lewisburg.

The initial Buckeye Wind Project was expected to include about 100 turbines, but that number was cut to just more than 50 after the proposal was reviewed by the state.

Dagger said the second phase of the project will be located in the same general area as the first Buckeye Wind project and will allow the company to get close to its initial proposal.

Records with the Champaign County Recorder’s Office showed Everpower reached an agreement this year with Invenergy Wind North America LLC, in which Invenergy agreed to sell its leasing rights in the county.

Union Neighbors United, a group opposed to the initial Buckeye Wind Project, has raised concerns that include the proximity of the turbines to residential homes, as well as the amount of noise the turbines might produce.

Chris Walker, an attorney representing UNU, declined to comment on the new proposal until more information is available.

Because it is considered a new project, Dagger said Everpower will have to begin the application process with the OPSB from the beginning.