Iberdrola proposes new wind farm in Livingston

Iberdrola Renewables, a Spanish wind power developer, has filed a special use permit application for the 165 wind turbines Streator Deer Run Wind Farm. The wind turbines will be located on 23,000 acres in an area between Pontiac and South Streator.

The Livingston County Zoning Board of Appeals could hold public hearings on the project in late June, county Zoning Administrator Chuck Schopp said. The Livingston County Board will have final say on the project.

Construction is expected to begin in 2012, but Iberdrola spokesman Paul Copleman said it could be earlier.

The wind energy project is expected to generate from $2.7 million to $4.6 million in local property tax revenue in the first year of operation. About $1.5 million annually will also be paid to about 100 participating landowners, according to documents filed by Iberdrola.

The wind power project is expected to create 15 to 20 full-time operations and maintenance jobs and 350 temporary construction jobs. Iberdrola recently completed the $600 million, 150 wind turbines Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm in eastern Livingston County.

As part of that project, the county extended its enterprise zone to the wind farm and Iberdrola paid $1 million to the county. About half of that will be used for grants and a revolving loan fund. County Board Chairman Bill Fairfield said that the remaining $500,000 has yet to be spent.

Meanwhile, the ZBA will continue a public hearing on the proposed Minonk Wind Farm at 7 p.m. May 25 at Flanagan Community School. The 100 wind turbines wind farm, developed by Spanish wind farm developer Gamesa, will have 25 wind turbines in the western part of the county and 75 in Woodford County.

Schopp said Horizon Wind Energy, which developed the Twin Groves Wind Farm in eastern McLean County, may announce a new wind energy project in Livingston County in the next couple of months.

By Tony Sapochetti, www.pantagraph.com