Elkhart Grain Company in Elkhart is requesting to be added to the
Lincoln and Logan County Enterprise Zone. The company would find
most value from the designation in the relief it would get from the
state's natural gas sales tax.
Also it would help with construction costs. At least one
additional silo is in the company's plans. "They have corn going on
the ground now," said Phil Mahler, enterprise zone manager. Silos
cost around a half-million dollars to construct, he added.
Additions to the enterprise zone are made by extending 3-foot
wide corridors to sites to maintain contiguous contact. There is
already a corridor extending up Old Route 66 to the Elkhart mine and
to Illiopolis plant sites for Formosa and Monsanto. "We're already
there, so it's nothing to add them," Mahler said.
It would take 15 acres, which is less than one-sixteenth square
mile, to put the grain elevator in the enterprise zone.
The enterprise zone has over 4 square miles, or 2,500 acres, left
While the remaining enterprise zone territory has shrunk due to
many additions in the last few years, Mahler said that should not be
a concern. There are also plenty of areas that could be recalled if
needed. He pointed out that when the coal mine finishes building its
shaft, that territory could be recovered. There is an area to the
north of Lincoln that has been designated for marketing purposes,
from Eaton Corp. eastward along Lincoln Parkway, and 3 square miles
could be reverted from that. Also, it is not looking like the
Formosa plant will rebuild, and that area could be reclaimed.
Voting yes to add Elkhart Grain Co. to the enterprise zone were
Derrick Crane, Dave Evans, Bill Glaze, Judi Graff, Dave Hepler,
Gerald Lolling, Bill Martin and Dean Sasse.
Voting no was Dave Armbrust
Sugar Creek Wind Farm
Mahler introduced representatives who have been making plans for
a wind farm that could go up west of Lincoln in the near future.
Stan Komperda serves as the project development manger and Arne Henn
as engineer for Sugar Creek Wind One, LLC, to be commonly known as
Sugar Creek Wind Farm.
This was the first public announcement of the project. Komperda
said that they were there to introduce the project but were not
asking for anything yet. The company has been "fleshing out" details
for about a year. They are just coming out of their feasibility
study period. They would return at a later time to request permits
to build the wind farm. They would also be asking for enterprise
The company is nearing completion of design and environmental
impact studies. They've been negotiating with landowners and found
that about 80 percent of the farmers are interested.
Komperda was pleased to say that their plans even exceed some of
the more significant local requirements. In particular, rather than
500-foot setbacks from primary structures, such as homes, the
company has designed their layout of turbines to allow 1,500-foot
The company is waiting for some study results still to come in,
and that could affect exact locations of certain turbines, Komperda
said. The wetlands impact study is one of significance in the
The wind farm would be spread out over a 16,000-acre area
bordered by Route 10 to the north, the Mason County line to the
west, the quarry road to the east and just north of Salt Creek.
The Plains states have wind but not the infrastructure to carry
power production. Illinois has the three primary considerations for
wind power: a solid, developable wind resource, with 7- to
10-meter-per-second winds needed; high-demand electrical centers,
such as Chicago; and high-voltage transmission lines.
"Sugar Creek's kind of a sweet spot electrically," Komperda said.
It has two separate 138-kilovolt power lines that transect the
proposed field. These are lines that overlap but do not connect. So
power can be sent to either line. Additionally, Komperda was excited
to say that $11 billion being made available in federal stimulus
funds includes grid and substation upgrades and building larger
pipelines throughout the country.
The current project encompasses 25 square miles gross area. The
actual wind development area involves 16 square miles; less than 2
percent of this amount would be involved in turbine locations. The
average turbine placement takes one-fourth to one-half acre out of
The current plan is to have 108 turbines that could produce two
megawatts each, for a total of over 200 megawatts of power from that
The Logan County ordinance allows 500-foot height. The company
may be asking for a variance that would exceed this and go to 600
feet. The reason to do this is that as you go higher, winds
increase, Komperda said. Larger equipment would be used, with an
increased production of three megawatts, which would mean more
revenues for everyone.
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The project area is located in Sheridan and Corwin townships in
western Logan County and bounded by Illinois Route 10 to the north
and County Road 1400N to the south.
Turbines would be located 1.1 times the distance of the turbine
height, or 600 feet away from infrastructure: roads, transmission
lines, pipelines, etc. The design also staggers locations 1,400 feet
by 1,800 feet for visual and sound benefits to residents and more
efficient capturing of the wind.
The turbines are taxed locally on the amount of electricity
Using the lesser figure of 200-megawatt production, Mahler said
that the county would see an estimated $1.9 million per year in
property tax. Lincoln Community High School, New Holland-Middletown
and West Lincoln schools would benefit. This would be closer to $3
million if larger equipment would be used and if a 300-megawatt farm
could be built.
The wind farm representatives said that they hope this is just
phase one of the wind farm and that there would be additional wind
farms built after this one.
Enough of the following checklists have been completed during the
yearlong feasibility study to begin to move forward. Below are just
some of the processes that take place, including some of the
governmental requirements before a wind farm is approved.
Project permitting checklist
local, state and federal authorities
zoning-related issues with project planning
use and construction plans
according to applicable state and local laws
outside special permitting staff (NTIA, radio-frequency
Storm water and
conservation support plan
indemnification planning measures
Land use assessment
Avian, bat and fauna
Noise and shadow assessment
modeling; comparison with regulatory limits
Noise control study
analysis and modeling
Landscape visual impact analysis
and assistance in awarding of contracts
Power lines to grid
construction, crane location, etc.)
Supervision of project implementation
Sugar Creek Wind Farm is a joint project between American Wind
Energy Management Corp. and Oak Creek Energy Systems. AWEM is a
subsidiary of Euro Wind Energy Management, based in Hamburg,
Germany. Oak Creek Energy Systems is a California company.
Euro Wind Energy Management developed over 400 megawatts of
projects in Germany. The projects there have remained small because
of space limitations and high population density.
The U.S. has lots of room to grow, Komperda said. Oak Creek has
signed to provide 2,400 megawatts in California and has projects in
the planning stages in other areas of the U.S. that would supply
another 2,000 megawatts from wind power.
While Texas and Colorado are current top providers, Illinois is
quickly gaining ground, with 44 wind farm projects under way.
Komperda expects the state to vie for second or third place in wind
power production within the next five years.
At present Illinois production is at 915 megawatts per year, but
this does not include the Railsplitter Wind Farm production, which
would add another 100 megawatts to that figure. Komperda expects
Illinois production to reach 7,000 megawatts in the next 10 years.