The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

May 10, 2013

County looks at wind ordinance

Apex seeks extension

DANVILLE — The issue of wind turbines in Vermilion County will continue at Tuesday’s county board meeting.

Board members are slated to receive the recommendation report from the Wind Panel Advisory Board as well as discuss the extension of the building permit for the wind turbine project in the Hoopeston area.

Assistant State’s Attorney Bill Donahue said the Charlottesville, Va.-based company Apex submitted a request in mid-April for a one-year extension to the building permit issued for the Hoopeston project in 2011.

Donahue said among the terms in the original building permit issued for the Hoopeston project was language allowing the company in ownership of the project to receive a year’s extension just by requesting it.

Development of the Hoopeston Wind Farm has been ongoing since 2008. The most recent coordinator, GDF SUEZ Energy North America Inc in Houston, Texas, took over in 2011 when it purchased the previous wind farm developer, International Power.

Apex acquired the Hoopeston Wind Farm from GDF SUEZ in February.

Donahue said Apex receives only one extension request per the permit agreement. If the company returns in a year still needing more time, it would be up to board members whether Apex would have to apply for a new permit.

Since the beginning, the Hoopeston project has called for the construction of 43 wind turbines along a stretch reaching from around 3 miles east of Illinois Route 49 to the area near the Hubbard Trail Country Club north of Rossville. A permit for the Hoopeston Wind Farm was approved by the Vermilion County Board in April 2011.

Regarding the Wind Panel Advisory Board report, panel members are expected to pass along several recommendations whittled down from a public hearing in April and two panel meetings.

In discussions on the panel, members came to the agreement that the increased setbacks suggested by some residents were not the answer.

In the end, the panel decided to pass along five recommendations to the county board to consider:

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