Apex Clean Energy is preparing to move ahead and seek county approval for its Lincoln Land Wind project following the passage of updates to the ordinance governing the permitting process.
The project’s immediate focus is the permitting process, but Lincoln Land Wind Senior Development Manager Holly McCoy-Nelson said the company hopes to begin some work next summer and to install turbines in 2021.
Apex Clean Energy has proposed constructing 80 to 120 wind turbines in rural Morgan County for the Lincoln Land Wind project, but was waiting on updates to a Morgan County ordinance that came Monday.
The Morgan County commissioners approved an updated ordinance addressing wind farms after more than a year of work on details of the regulation.
“What we’re focused on right now is the permit process, because, until the county has made its decision on our permit application, we are not moving beyond that,” Apex Clean Energy spokeswoman Helen Humphreys said.
The permit application will require, among other things, a project site plan, decommissioning plan, agriculture impact and other studies, and an obstruction review by the Federal Aviation Administration to get the county’s approval. The process includes review by the plans commission, a public notice period and public hearing, and approval by the Morgan County Commission.
McCoy-Nelson said the company expects to submit its siting approval permit application in the next few months.
Before submitting its application, the company will be completing studies and modeling to determine locations where the turbines can be sited within the new parameters in the ordinance, as well as finalizing agreements with landowners.
Factoring in setbacks and other conditions, McCoy-Nelson said the sites that can be used for the project will be narrowed down significantly.
The company will also consider different types of turbines and may have to use a turbine with a larger capacity to generate energy, depending on how constraints affect the number of turbines that can be used in the project.
“The cost of those turbines is a lot more,” McCoy-Nelson said. “… So, it’s a lot more economical to use a 3 megawatt machine, for example.”
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