Saturday, November 22, 2008
sponsored by Jake's Furnishings & Quiznos

Wind farm officials make haste in getting work going

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[November 22, 2008]  All the years of gathering wind speeds; all the engineering and business planning; all the months of hearings and meetings; piles of permits, documents and contracts -- all has come to an end. And now the actual building of Logan County's first wind farm has begun.

The 29 turbines set for Logan County will be combined with 38 turbines in Tazewell County to make Rail Splitter Wind Farm.

Just over the northern border of Logan County, white pillars have shot up recently in the harvested fields. At 328 feet tall, the towers without blades might suggest Jack and the Beanstalk sprouts. But this is no fairy tale. When the 164-foot blades are added, each tower is capable of producing 1.5 megawatts of electricity.

The combined potential of the farm could produce as much as 100 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to meet the annual energy needs about 30,000 homes, which is about three times the number of homes in Logan County, according to the assessor's office.

The wind farm is in a race against time to be set up to make a grid connection during the next of two shutdown times a year. To miss the next downtime would mean as much as a six-month loss of revenues.

Tuesday morning, county board chairman Dick Logan joined Rail Splitter Wind Farm and Horizon Wind Energy officials at the official groundbreaking for the project that will place the first wind turbines in Logan County. The progressive date was accomplished when a special adjourned county board meeting was called on Oct. 30 in order to get the board's approval of the final document, a decommissioning agreement, that finished meeting all the county's requirements for the construction of the wind farm.

A lawsuit that would have held up progress was dropped last week, and at the Tuesday meeting of the Logan County Board this week, zoning officer

Will D'Andrea said that all the conditions of the conditional use had been met. He said that he had issued their first permit, which was to begin construction of a lay-down yard, and he had received payment for it that afternoon. He was expecting more by the end of the week.

By end of day on Friday, D'Andrea had 20 new checks sitting on his desk for 20 building permits for the wind farm. Each tower building permit costs $7,780.

The Logan County assessor's office will also be seeing revenues for the county from the wind farm. The turbines are assessed on how much power they actually produce. Each of the 29 towers is expected to bring in $13,000 to $15,000 each year.





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