A new project is on the horizon in Piatt County.
A Virginia-based company has its eye set on the area for a new wind farm.
The company is called Apex Clean Energy. It claims this wind farm would bring more jobs and provide homegrown energy.
But, not everyone in town sees it that way.
“Haven’t heard much about it other than that it’s there,” said Mansfield resident Denver Burton.
Burton has lived in Mansfield most of his life. He said he understands what a wind farm could bring.
“The aspect of creating some jobs, people making some rent on their property, having a windmill on it,” he said.
But, he also sees the other side.
“It’s more energy to actually build one of the things than they ever are going to really create and save,” he said.
Apex Clean Energy is behind the Goose Creek Wind Project.
In an email, staff said this wind farm would be located on 20,000 acres of farmland primarily in northern Piatt County, Blue Ridge, Goose Creek and Sangamon townships.
According to its website, Apex Clean Energy settled on Piatt County for many reasons, including verified wind resource, expansive farmland, existing network of highways, avoiding sensitive military and environmental areas and strong local landowner and community support.
Apex Clean Energy said it would contribute almost $10 million in property taxes over the 30-year life of the project and 200 full-time jobs during construction. The project is a private investment of more than $400 million in Piatt County.
Many residents in one neighborhood said they didn’t know much about the project.
According to Apex, the wind farm would provide energy to power almost 100,000 homes annually.
The company said it would cause limited disturbance to farmers.
David Plunk, of Plunk Brothers Farm, doesn’t agree.
“A wind farm can be detrimental to the operations of a farm,” he said.
Plunk said there’s one main reason for his reservations.
“The risk involved with airplanes and helicopters flying in the area would be greatly increased because of the wind turbines,” he said.
Apex Clean Energy already operates the Hoopeston Wind farm in Vermilion County.
The Goose Creek Wind Project is still in its early stages. The type and the number of turbines haven’t been determined. But, if approved, Apex hopes to start construction in 2020.
Village of Mansfield Board President Andy Stiger told FOX Champaign he didn’t know much about the project.
Stiger said during the May 6 board meeting representatives from Apex Clean Energy will be present to discuss the project.
For more information on the Goose Creek Wind Project, click here.
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