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Wind energy a hot topic as projects loom across county  

Credit:  Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree | Journal-Courier | September 12, 2018 | www.myjournalcourier.com ~~

The Morgan County Regional Planning Commission will be creating a group and appointing several board and community members to address upcoming projects and proposed changes to the county’s wind ordinance.

Dusty Douglas, the Regional Planning Commission director, said the meeting today will address the creation of the group that will discuss the changes to the ordinance and look at the proposed wind farm project by Apex Clean Energy.

“The main focus of the meeting will be the new Plans Commission,” Douglas said. “The creation was spurred by the wind turbine project.”

Douglas said it is the Plans Commission that will review Apex’s application and permitting process and will also coordinate any public forums for the project. The project proposed by E.ON will also be discussed by the commission board.

The proposed plan by Apex is to install between 83 to 120 wind turbines, depending on the size of turbine to add 300 watts of energy to the new Ameren lines to provide power to the region.

Holly McCoy-Nelson, a project manager for Apex, said this project will provide a clean, renewable form of energy to the region.

“We are using a resource that isn’t finite,” McCoy-Nelson said. “We’re proud that it’s a renewable resource. We don’t have to mine anything.”

Will Nissen, a development manager at Apex, said the turbines, in addition to providing clean energy onto local Ameren lines, will also provide additional tax revenue for the different taxing bodies in the county.

“The first 25 years are expected to generate roughly $42.4 million in added revenue,” Nissen said. “About $28.6 million of that will be going to the county’s school districts.”

Currently, Apex is working with land owners to find potential spots for wind turbines and conducting studies for feasibility and environmental impact, as well as others. Once that is complete, Apex will move on to the permitting stage of the project.

Nissen said the progression of the project will depend on any changes made to the ordinance as well, but says they hope to start filing permits within a couple months.

“Morgan County has an ordinance with a list of requirements that the project has to meet,” Nissen said. “Those could be changing and we want to be respectful of that process.”

If approved, the turbines could be functional by 2020.

Douglas said once the commission is formed he hopes to have them meeting within a few weeks.

“Any changes will be recommended by the Plans Commission,” Douglas said.

The meeting will take place at 11 a.m. today in the first floor conference building of the Jacksonville Municipal Building, 200 W. Douglas Ave.

Source:  Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree | Journal-Courier | September 12, 2018 | www.myjournalcourier.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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