ASHLAND – Dozens of wind turbines soon could dot Cass and Menard counties as part of a wind farm.
American Wind Energy Management, an alternative energy company based out of Springfield since 2008, is looking at placing 17 to 25 wind turbines north of Ashland to supply 35 to 50 megawatts of power to customers through Ameren Illinois’s power grid, company spokesman Chris Nickell said.
“We will be selling the power wholesale,” Nickell said. “We may not sell directly to a utility provider. A common customer [is] commercial or industrial.”
One turbine produces around 2 to 3 megawatts and each turbine has a footprint of a third to a half acre. Turbines must be spaced out to operate at maximum efficiency, so these turbines will ideally be spaced many acres apart from each other, Nickel said.
The company, which has projects to generate 130 to 150 megawatts around Sangamon County, decided to put the wind farm in this area after the results of a study showed the grid could accept additional power.
“There’s a few key pieces you need to build a wind farm,” Nickell said. “Land is one, but the electrical interconnection is just as important … we’ve already done the study to determine how much power the grid can accept.”
The company is working with landowners in Cass and Menard counties to secure land needed for the farms. Landowners can expect around $12,000 to $15,000 a year for each turbine installed, according to the company. Additionally, the project – which could cost about $60 million – is valued at $360,000 per megawatt generated for property tax purposes.
For this project, a potential $18 million in property tax value could result in about $1 million in additional tax revenue for schools, the company said.
“By state law, wind turbines are taxed on the property tax rule, just like houses,” Nickell said.
Though the project is still in the early stages, Nickell said a meteorological tower has been put into place to collect data on the wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity and other factors necessary to calculate what the output potential. There is no timeline for the project.
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