DECATUR – While the Macon County board recently approved the initial step, it will likely be another year before the northern county’s skyline is dotted with wind turbines.
With the approval of proposal to a roughly five-acre electric substation for electrical lines for a 200-megawatt wind farm on Glasgow Road in Maroa, Macon County becomes yet another Central Illinois area preparing for wind turbines.
But Brad King, a representative of E.ON, the American unit of Germany’s largest utility company planning to build the substation, said the construction of the turbines is still about a year away as the development and placement of the expected 118 wind turbines is still being discussed internally. In addition to permission from landowners, the company will need to file separate special permits for the turbines that need county board approval.
“We’re not looking at a specific time yet, but it should start to become clearer later next year,” King said.
The initial step will be framing of the substation, which includes putting in access roads, clearing ground, grading, the foundation for the substation breaker and fencing the area. The work is expected to take about a week, King said.
While discussions about a wind farm have been going on for years between the county and E.ON, the process sped up this fall as the company looked to qualify for a federal tax credit for wind energy production that is set to expire at the end of the year.
Final construction of the substation is expected to start around the same time construction begins on the turbines, King said.
Initial projects from E.ON project the turbines to generate roughly $30 million in tax revenue over 25 years. The money would go to local school districts and other municipalities in the county.
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