May 16, 2012

$55M plan may double turbines

By Matt Sanctis, Staff Writer | Springfield News-Sun | 15 May 2012 |

URBANA – A proposed $55 million development would double the number of turbines in a controversial Champaign County wind project, according to plans submitted Tuesday.

The Buckeye II, the second phase of the Buckeye Wind Project, would include up to 56 new turbines and include about 100 landowners.

EverPower Wind Holdings Inc.’s application to the Ohio Power Siting Board said construction could begin in 2013.

Information from EverPower shows the project could have a $55 million economic impact on the region through the use of local labor.

The first phase of the Buckeye Wind Project, which is in the final stages of the permitting and siting process, is expected to have a similar economic impact on the region, according to information from EverPower. Together, the two projects are expected to add more than 100 turbines in the county.

“The application demonstrates our commitment to bringing renewable energy and its economic benefits to the region,” said Jason Dagger, lead developer for EverPower.

The first phase of the project has drawn criticism from several residents who have said they are concerned about safety, how close the turbines are located to nearby homes and possible affects on local property values.

Earlier this year, Union Neighbors United filed a petition with the OPSB to intervene and submit evidence in the project’s second phase.

Members of UNU, a group of residents who are opposed to the project, argued that noise, property devaluation, shadow flicker and tower collapse are potential adverse impacts if the turbines are too close to area homes.

Officials from EverPower have previously said the projects must pass a lengthy approval process with the siting board to ensure the safety of residents.

Matt Butler, a spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, said the siting board will review the application to make sure it meets the requirements. The application will then be sent to public officials in the project area, and interested parties can file to serve as intervenors in the case.

The Buckeye II Wind Farm will be spread across 13,500 acres of land in Champaign County and would generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 55,000 homes.

Buckeye II would be EverPower’s third project in Ohio. Along with Buckeye I, the company is also developing the Hardin Wind Project in Hardin County.

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