The wind farm would be located south and west of Mount Pulaski,
with towers stretching into Elkhart and Broadwell. The wind farm
would consist of 81 wind turbines, collector lines, sub-stations,
transmissions lines, access roads, meteorological towers and related
appurtenances. A new substation would need to be built in Mount
Pulaski on 400th Street as part of the project.
Robert Palidino was present at the meeting on behalf of Relight.
Relight is based in Italy, and they are the developers behind the
Meridien wind farm. The project has been in development for about
five years, according to Palidino.
Palidino began by saying that this wind farm would be state of the
art and larger than those of the past. Pending this approval, the
company would move on to a financial phase, which involves
determining what will need to be paid in taxes. Paladino also said
that Meridien will receive a federal tax credit for their operation
if they are up and running by December of 2015. The tax credit will
only apply to those towers that are completed by that deadline.
“This area was selected because of the wind conditions in the area,”
said Paladino. Originally, the plan called for 140 turbines. Now the
plan is down to 81 turbines. The towers will be 94 meters high, or a
little over 300 feet. The number of turbines was reduced over time
due to the need to work around areas where landowners did not want
to a turbine built, or it could not meet construction requirements.
“This will produce 760 million kilo-watt hours a year. This is the
equivalent of 70,000 households,” said Paladino. Paladino explained
further, saying that the nacelle that gathers the power generated by
the turbine will generate over 4,000 volts. This voltage will then
be transferred to the base of the transformer at the bottom of the
tower, where it is pushed to 34,000 volts. Finally, all of the tower
voltage is transferred to the substation and pushed to 345,000
volts, and it will be connected to the power grid in that spot.
Paladino said the towers will be built in the United States, and
that several required environmental studies have already been
completed. An issue with noise will be addressed further at the ZBA
hearing. Paladino said that the company will use noise reduction
technology to help ensure noise problems are kept to a minimum.
According to guidelines from the American Wind Association, wind
towers are built at a minimum of one thousand feet from residences.
Paladino said the plan has been designed with this requirement in
mind. They will be using a wind turbine construction company called
Mortinson to construct their towers.
Paladino said that he has been meeting with landowners over the past
several weeks as part of this process. Paladino said that the
drainage tile in the area was brought up as a concern. As a result,
they will conduct studies to find these areas and make repairs as
“If we break it, we’ll fix it. And if it’s broken, we’ll probably
fix it. If we find it broken, we’ll fix it,” said Paladino.
Paladino said that part of the construction efforts will likely
involve the creation of a temporary concrete plant as well.
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Paladino said he has also met with engineers in Broadwell,
Elkhart and Mount Pulaski. “In order to make their lives a lot
easier, we are willing to provide the funding to assist the
three townships to review the engineering plans, and to provide
sufficient funding to allow them to hire a construction
superintendent to oversee construction and make sure we comply
with whatever requirements are provided,” said Paladino.
Paladino also said that chances are 400th street will be paved by
the company as part of this process. “The general rule is when we
find a road, you get it back in better shape,” said Paladino.
As for working with landowners, Paladino has said that almost every
land owner spoken to so far has been welcoming of the towers.
Paladino also said that each tower comes with a fee paid to the
landowner of about $10,000 per tower per year.
“It works out well for everybody. The reception so far has been
good,” said Paladino.
Keith Snyder asked how much acreage would be used for this project.
Paladino said that about forty acres is needed for each turbine with
another acre for the road leading to each tower. Paladino also said
that they are working on using existing lanes in the area with
Snyder also asked what will happen when this technology becomes
obsolete. Paladino said there is a requirement for deconstruction
bonds that are kept exactly for that reason. Paladino also said that
it such a decision will likely not happen for twenty years, and the
towers may still be used in an upgraded manner at that time.
Paladino said that in total, this is a $400 million project for
The county would see a one-time significant revenue in the form of
The wind farm would also be subject to annual property taxes, which
is based on the number of megawatts production each year. Those
revenues go to various taxing districts including schools, township
roads and the county.
The Commission members present unanimously voted to recommend that
the Conditional Use Permit be granted. The ZBA is the next
regulatory body to hear on the matter on November 20th in Mount
Commission members present were RPC Vice Chairman Jim Fuhrer;
Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder; David Hepler, Bret Aukamp, Emily
Davenport, Fred Finchum, Blair Hoerbert and Jim Vipond. Zoning
Officer Will D’Andrea was also present.
Notice of Public Hearing