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Logan County may consider another wind farm

LINCOLN – Another potential wind farm is being considered for Logan County.

Greg Vanderkamp, the lead developer for the proposed Logan County Wind Energy Center, told Logan County officials that Chicago-based Invenergy has been studying the feasibility of the project for about four years.

“We would like to apply for a permit and get approval from the board at the beginning of next year,” he said, speaking to the county board Thursday night. “We hope to begin construction in late 2021 and be in operation by late 2022.”

The project would be located in the northeastern portion of the county, over 18,000 acres near Atlanta, Lawndale, Chestnut and near the DeWitt County line near Beason.

Last week, the DeWitt County board approved a project in the northwestern part of the county between Weldon and Waynesville.

There are still some hurdles to overcome, but David Hepler, the chairman of the Logan County Planning and Zoning Committee, said he will trust the process.

“There are a lot of state and federal approvals they will have to get and that will include the Federal Aviation Administration and the Illinois Department of Transportation has an aeronautical branch, too,” Hepler said. “My feeling is that if they can pass muster with the FAA and with the state aviation authorities and they also have to get it cleared from the National Weather Service authorities, then I am fine with that.”

“I tend as a rule to trust those people and the experts in those areas that do this on a regular basis to know what is right,” he added.

Vanderkamp said they are working with officials to find out the best locations for the turbines. As of now, Vanderkamp said they are anticipating 68 turbines between 2.5 and 3 megawatts each. Specifics, such as how high the towers will be, or what models will be used have not yet been determined.

The $4 million wind farm could provide electricity to more than 65,000 homes and would provide about 200 to 300 local jobs during construction and nine full-time positions after the project is completed.

Invenergy has nine wind farms in Illinois and first approached Logan County officials in 2015 about the potential for the wind farm.

The Alta Farms II wind farm in DeWitt County was approved, despite a fight from several county residents opposed to the project. Hepler said he doesn’t foresee that as a problem at this time, the fourth wind farm project for the county.

“We had considerable opposition to the wind farm in the Mount Pulaski area, the initial one and that was in 2015 and that probably could have been handled a little better,” Hepler said. “But I think as new groups came in and ownership changed, the handling improved and when they did Phase II of that project, there was essentially virtually no opposition at all. With Sugar Creek being built on the west side of Lincoln, we had almost no opposition to that one and the other thing with Invenergy, they have been around for 20 years, are based in Chicago and already have nine wind farms, so they know our community.

“I feel like that is a positive. It strikes me as a real good fit.”