The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

June 2, 2012

Work under way on wind farm

DANVILLE — Drivers headed east on Interstate 74 into Vermilion County can clearly see the initial work on Vermilion County’s first wind farm.

Invenergy Energy LLC confirmed it has initiated construction on the first turbine towers of its California Ridge wind farm. Work already has been established on several gravel roads providing access to the base of the towers.

Greg Leuchtmann, business development manager for Invenergy, said in an e-mail interview that at this point the company has started erection on 25 tower sections in Pilot Township in Vermilion County. A number of turbines are visible extending east from Illinois Route 49 just south of County Road 2250N.

The California Ridge wind farm starts along County Road 2150N just north of Newtown in Pilot Township and stretches north and west to just across the line into Compromise and Ogden townships in Champaign County.

The project consists of as many as 134 wind turbines, 104 of which will be in Vermilion County. The project covers 23,000 acres of private land in Vermilion County.

“Invenergy is excited to move forward on the development of the California Ridge wind farm, and we greatly appreciate the support for the project from citizens, local business and community leaders, and local and state officials,” he indicated in an e-mail.

According to Leuchtmann, the California Ridge wind farm is expected to be completed in the fall with all 134 turbines in both counties.

Thus far, the warm, dry weather has been a boon to the expansive project.

“The weather has been cooperative for the most part, but there also have been periods of heavy rain,” he indicated. “This is all to be expected this time of year, though, and so we’re delighted to report that the project remains on schedule.”

With the current turbine construction comes the workers necessary for the project. Invenergy, at this point, is using 175 workers. Jobs for the workers range from actually constructing the towers to civil site work for the company.

The project, once completed, will be the second largest Invenergy wind farm project in the United States. An operating wind farm in Texas is currently listed at 250 megawatts. In all, Invenergy has a total of 20 operating wind farms in the United States and Europe and another eight are under construction or in contract, including three in Illinois.

“We look forward to working closely with our host communities in Champaign and Vermilion Counties, and contributing to the area’s economic development through job creation and investment,” he said via e-mail. “We’re also pleased to generate a new supply of clean, renewable energy in our home state.”

The Hoopeston Wind Farm is the only other wind farm at this point that has permits to build in Vermilion County. Development of that project has been ongoing since 2008. The current timetable calls for it to be completed by 2014.

 

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