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Area wind power effort still alive

MACOMB – The McDonough County Board’s road and bridge committee received an update Thursday on efforts to develop wind farms in McDonough and Warren counties. Matt Martin, a senior manager with Canadian-based Capital Power, said construction of wind turbines is planned for 2019 with full commercial operation in 2020.
Martin said leases for land use with local farmers have been renewed through 2019. “The lease terms with your landowners are the highest we’ve ever paid,” he said. He said there are 100 landowners in an area encompassing 19,000 acres.
The senior manager listed three benefits of installation of 75 wind turbines in McDonough and Warren counties. First would be about 200 construction jobs over a one-year period, and second would be the payments to local landowners. Third would be about $2 million in tax revenue.
Martin said three-quarters of the tax money would be paid in McDonough County, and 65 percent of those tax dollars would go to the West Prairie School District.
Capital Power intends to begin work soon with the county road and bridge committee to renew an application that was previously approved. County Board Chairman Scott Schwerer said there was no opposition when the wind farm application was originally approved.
Martin said he may address the full county board in January. “There will be a lot of truck traffic hauling gravel and concrete,” he said. County Engineer Rick Walker said he and the committee would work with Capital Power in drawing up a road use plan for the wind turbine construction phase.
Schwerer told the committee that he is convinced that the company wants to complete wind farm construction. “I think they are willing to work with us,” he said, “and I think this will be a great thing for the county.”