GALESBURG – A fourth wind farm project is in the works for Henry County.
Avangrid Renewables, based in Portland, Oregon, has set up seven temporary meteorological towers in the county to gauge the wind resource for its Midland project. Paul Copleman, communications manager for Avangrid, said it’s likely that the project will include 25 to 30 wind turbines, for a total capacity of approximately 100 megawatts.
Avangrid expects to pay local landowners $33 million during the first 25 years of the project’s life, with approximately $1.3 million expected in the first year alone.
“We also estimate paying (approximately) $25 million in property taxes over the first 25 years for the project, with (approximately) $1.3 million in year one,” Copleman said. “So, in total, we’re looking at the wind farm delivering more than $55 million in local, long-term economic benefits.”
Avangrid has partnered with “dozens” of farmers and landowners to lease land in Burns, Annawan, Cornwall and Kewanee townships for the project, Copleman said. He estimated construction will take approximately a year and that more than 100 construction workers will be involved. The wind farm would employ approximately four to six full-time employees after the construction phase.
“We work with contractors in an effort to hire local firms, and during previous construction of wind projects in Illinois, we’ve been able to hire about three-fourths of the construction workers from within the state,” Copleman said.
Avangrid’s other wind farms in Illinois include a Providence Heights project in Bureau County and a Streator Cayuga Ridge South project in Livingston County.
Copleman said it’s too soon to determine the exact layout of the turbines for the Midland project and when construction will begin. The initial life expectancy for the equipment is 25 years, but Avangrid anticipates that the project will run longer, given continued technological improvements.
Lynn Sutton, chairman of the Henry County Economic Development Partnership, said such wind farm projects benefit all the taxing bodies in the county, especially the schools.
“You basically enjoy higher levels of tax, but if you look at our tax bill the schools are the lion’s share,” Sutton said.
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