The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a road use and repair agreement with the Crystal Lake Wind III Project of NextEra Energy at its Nov. 10 meeting.
County Engineer Scott Meinders said that the wind turbine project will entail updating 44 wind generation turbines near Buffalo Center to replace blades, generators and hubs.
The removal and reassembly work on the wind turbines is scheduled to proceed from December 2020 through June 2021.
The new blades will be longer, resulting in the turbines being about 33 taller or about 421 feet high instead of 388 feet. Meinders noted there could be some concerns with the condition of the roads in the vicinity due to the construction activity and weather, especially in spring 2021, making the agreement with NextEra necessary.
He noted that this project is very similar to the previous Crystal Lake I (Golden Plains) Project that entailed updating 88 turbines. Meinders also said that sections of county roads were in rather rough shape before that project and were probably in better shape afterward, so he does not foresee any major issues with the latest agreement in place.
The county will continue to remove snow from the roads, but NextEra will be responsible for grading, fill and rocks/gravel oversight on the roads during construction.
NextEra officials said that early stage construction could start soon after receiving permits later this week. NextEra noted that the only difference from the prior project is removing backfill around the wind turbine foundations, which will be refilled with different material. The old turbine blades will be taken to a recycling facility, NextEra officials said.
• Supervisors accepted a wind turbine bond for an EDF/Alliant Energy Company wind project in northwest Winnebago County. County officials requested the bond to cover any potential future decommissioning costs.
• Supervisors determined that while COVID-19 cases have risen in Winnebago County in the past week, no changes to its COVID-19 policies are necessary at this time.
• The Board also approved Pastor Doug Domokos’ request to place a winter holiday display on the Winnebago County Courthouse grounds from Dec. 10, through Jan. 10, 2021.
• The 2020 general election results were also canvassed with no irregularities noted.
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