CAMBRIDGE – Bishop Hill Wind Farm Phase 3 moved another step forward Wednesday as the Henry County zoning board voted 5-0 to recommend the county board renew 70 special use permits for Invenergy.
If all 70 turbines are built, there would be 57 in Clover Township, 10 in Andover Township and three in Oxford Township – all near Woodhull.
The project plan now goes to the county board during a special meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. May 7.
Zoning board member Jim Ufkin noted Invenergy doesn’t have to begin funding the eventual decommissioning costs until the 12th year of operation. He asked if that might become an issue.
Invenergy attorney Michael Blazer said the firm has $8 billion in installed assets; of that, $2.8 billion is in equity. He also noted 20-year power purchase agreements are in effect with buyers and, as long as the turbines were producing energy, they wouldn’t stop.
With wind energy, Mr. Blazer said, costs are all up front and maintenance is comparatively low.
Nancy Ericson said she had problems with the firm using their field during construction of an earlier phase. She noted they went to court and recouped crop losses.
Mr. Blazer said that incident was deplorable, and residents facing similar problems with Invenergy’s contractors should call county zoning officer Kyle Stromquist. Mr. Blazer said Mr. Stromquist has the power to issue a “stop work” order, as well as immediate access to him.
Jim Larson said he is a very satisfied participant with the existing Bishop Hilll project. He said he owns cattle and Invenergy put up fences and gates for him.
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