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Potential wind farm project near Ashland is progressing

Cass County could start to see wind turbines sprouting up in the near future.

Though still in its “very early stages,” Springfield-based American Wind Energy Management is developing plans to erect a wind farm north of Ashland, near the border of Cass and Menard Counties.

Spokesperson Chris Nickell says the company is in the process of obtaining acreage for the project.

“Wind turbines need quite a bit of open space where the wind speeds are un-intruded by trees and houses and things like that, so it’s generally wide open farm land. Typical local central Illinois farmers and landowners is who we deal with. We just come to them with an open book and say ‘here’s what we need, here’s what we’re willing to pay in compensation if you’re willing to host a wind turbine,’ and if we come to an agreement, then there we go and we move on,” says Nickell.

Nickell says that one of the major benefits of a wind farm in west central Illinois would be its “substantial increase to the local tax base.” He further explained how that process worked, saying…

“By state law, wind farms are taxed at $360,000 per megawatt of name-plate capacity. So because turbines are taxed just like the average home is taxed, that means somewhere near 70 percent of the taxes that are paid from the wind turbine goes to the local schools. If you put up 25 standard wind turbines nowadays, that’s essentially like building a subdivision of 25 houses with regard to its impact to the local tax base and therefore to the local schools and police and fire, everything that comes out of your property taxes,” explains Nickell.

For information on the potential project, visit the company’s website at awem.org.