BELVIDERE – A company interested in developing a wind farm in Boone County says its leaders are still fundraising for a project, despite an international news report that indicated the business would be dropping its North America ties.
An Irish Times article from 2013 cited a document sent to Mainstream Renewable Power stakeholders stating that the development of new wind production facilities in North America was “unviable” for the company because of a lack of support and undesirable market conditions.
Vince Green, development project manager for the Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power, said although the development is dependent on the economy, it would be ideal for the company to see a project through to construction.
“(The article) makes it sound like we’re cutting and running but that’s not the case,” Green said. “If we’re pursuing additional funds or fundraising, that would suggest that we are not anticipating leaving the North America market.”
A Boone County Board vote last week kept local rules governing the minimum distance that turbines must be located from primary structures, such as homes, the same. If leaders had increased those minimum distances, the project could have been hindered because it would shrink the potential locations for wind turbines.
The vote gave Mainstream leaders comfort as they continue to invest additional cash in the region to create a wind farm, which could include as many as 100 turbines on 12,000 acres in Manchester and LeRoy townships. Green said the company has invested more than $1 million in the Boone County initiative so far and other projects have cost upward of $5 million to $6 million.
Still, the article in the Irish news outlet has caused some concern in the community.
Marshall Newhouse, resident and former county Planning, Zoning and Building Committee chairman, said if residents view long-term relationships as something that stabilize a community, then Mainstream’s intentions as stated in the article are opposite. He fears the company will sell to another developer who will then sell to an operator.
“All the promises given carry no weight with a new company. You don’t know who the new company is and it gives me great concern,” Newhouse said.
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