GALESBURG â€“ The initial part of a proposed wind farm project for Knox County took another step closer to becoming reality Tuesday.
The Knox County Boardâ€™s Assessor and Zoning Committee voted during its meeting to forward conditional use permits for two temporary meteorological towers for the wind farm to the full Knox County Board. The seven members present â€“ Board Member Jared Hawkinson, R-District 4, was absent â€“ all voted to approve the permits.
Oakland-based Orion Renewable Energy aims to bring the 300-megawatt wind farm to the county. The company proposed for the two meteorological towers, each standing at 196.85 feet tall, to be constructed on the property of Una Bowman in Ontario Township and on the property of Andrew Bowman in Henderson Township.
Johnny Kinder, land consultant for Orion, estimated the towers would be installed in August and remain in place for four years at least. The towers will allow Orion to collect localized data on the countyâ€™s wind resource for the project.
Taylor Ishman, communications manager for the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development, spoke in favor of the meteorological towers before the board, saying that renewable projects like wind farms generate significant taxes to local taxing bodies. No discussion among the committee members themselves took place before the votes.
The Orion wind farm is expected to include a maximum of 100 to 150 wind towers. Construction would start in 2021 at the earliest, if the full Knox County Board approves necessary permits for the project without delays.
The full board will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, and consider whether or not to approve the permits for the meteorological towers.
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