MONMOUTH – The Warren County Board narrowly approved motions Tuesday to allow permitting of a wind energy project along the McDonough County border.
There were strong points made on both sides and heartfelt speeches from residents as the board listened and asked questions.
Close to 10 p.m., a couple of 9-7 votes by the board conditionally approved Capitol Power to move forward with a $225 million investment in southern Warren County area. The two resolutions approved for the wind energy system will allow certain conditions to be met in order to officially receive the permits.
“We’re pretty pleased that the County Board approved the project,” said Matt Martin, senior project manager with Capitol Power, who has been working on this project for the past three years. “We spent a lot of time working with both McDonough and Warren County to make a project that fits well into the community. We highlighted that tonight and I think the board voted with that in mind.”
Continued Martin, “We spent a lot of time – years – making sure the project fits well into Warren County. There are folks that we will continue to talk to before we even break ground to make sure it is a good fit. We offer good neighbor agreements to everyone in the community. We have invested a good amount to date with time and effort, and getting people on board. We are hoping to bring it online in the spring of 2020. We have to make sure the conditions of the County Board are all met prior to getting building permits.”
The project proposes 25 wind turbines in Warren County and another 35 in McDonough County. Martin said the project will mean over 200 jobs (10 permanent).
Financially, the Monmouth-Roseville School District is estimated to benefit close to $400,000 from property taxes in the first year. Over the life of the project, Martin said that number will jump to north of $8.5 million and he hopes it will build an “economic engine” for both Warren and McDonough counties.
Residents opposed to the project were quick to point out health and safety concerns. Retired nurse Janet Schreck and several members of the Brian Monroe family spoke against the wind farm.
Board member Sean Cavanaugh R-District 2, was one of the board members who voted yes for the project to move forward and he spoke after the final vote.
“All the comments, emails and phone calls that were received by County Board members were nothing but respectful, polite and honoring the process,” Cavanaugh said. “They articulated their ideas. People were committed to be friends beforehand and friends afterwards. And as County Board members who have to make difficult decisions, we can certainly appreciate the civility that the Warren County citizens have for due discourse.”
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