"The main thing right now is talking to landowners," Rickel said. Rickel and other representatives recently attended the Mason County Fiscal Court meeting to talk with local officials and answer questions about the potential project, The Ledger Independent in Maysville reported.
Even after the studies are completed, Rickel said there has to be a market for the wind energy. "Eventually we have to sell the power to somebody," he said. "If it’s not profitable we’re not going to put them up."
NextEra Energy said economic benefits would include more than $180 million investment in Mason and Bracken counties with approximately $32 million in property tax revenue and $17.5 million escalating lease payments to landowners. The economic impact calculations are based on the first 25 years.
Also, an approximate $19 million will be spent on salaries and benefits for eight full-time employees to maintain the turbines after their construction.
Each wind turbine requires up to an acre and a half of space. The land would be leased for the turbines, but the property could still be used by the landowner for livestock or crops.
The wind turbines stand between 262 and 328 feet tall, according to information from NextEra. The wingspan of the turbine brings the total height to roughly 400 feet. The 40 to 70 wind turbines would produce approximately 100 megawatts of energy, or enough energy to power about 28,000 average Kentucky homes.
Rickel said Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio and surrounding areas are expected to see more development in coming years so those states were evaluated as possible study sites.
Other benefits to the wind turbines are that they produce no air, water or ground pollution, use no water in the generation of electricity and there is compatible land use which preserves existing rural nature and agricultural use, according to NextEra, which is based in Juno Beach, Fla.