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McLean County approves delayed wind farm agreement

Illinois State University

The McLean County Board on Thursday approved a long-awaited agreement to handle costs associated with decommissioning two wind farms in eastern McLean County.

County Board chair John McIntyre said the $6 million agreement, which was two years overdue, prevented a likely court battle.

“I’m hoping that we set precedent and we can be leaders in the state for other counties who have had issues with the same type of thing. It’s our job and my intention to always protect the landowners and the residents of the county,” McIntyre said after the meeting.

John McIntyre
Eric Stock
McLean County Board Chair John McIntyre said the county was prepared to take legal action if EDP Renewables was not prepared to sign a decommissioning agreement for the Twin Groves wind farm.

Houston-based EDP Renewables accepted the decommissioning agreement for Twin Groves I and II projects that went online in 2007 near Ellsworth. EDP agreed to put $6 million into an escrow account to cover costs to restore the property once the wind turbines are no longer in use.

County administrator Cassy Taylor said regulations will increase the rate of $25,000 per wind turbine to $35,000 for future contracts.

“We are aware the prices of decommissioning ... may be quite substantially higher than $25,000,” said Taylor, adding the county could seek to have EDP take down the turbines, or the county can have the company increase those payments.

Last month, McIntyre told the county board that EDP and Invenergy, which owns two other wind farms in the county, had failed to set up decommissioning agreements with the county and said the county board may be asked to take action if an agreement was not reached by this month’s meeting.

McIntyre said the county also is close to a decommissioning agreement with Invenergy.

At Thursday's meeting, the board also:

  • Approved $4 million in resurfacing projects to Rowe Construction of Bloomington for Saybrook-Arrowsmith Road (CH 23) and Lake Spur Road (CH 8) north of Hudson.
  • Approved a $1.3 million contract for H.J. Eppel to resurface Rock Road (CH 40) west of Bellflower related to post- construction work on the Sapphire Sky wind farm.
  • Approved a $1 million automated jail management system with California-based ATIMS (Anti-Trafficking Information Management System).
  • Approved a proclamation for March as National Reading Month and March 21 as National Ag Day. McLean County Farm Bureau President Brian Dirks noted McLean County ranked as the top corn and soybean producer in the country in 2022.
  • Recognized the county’s blue ribbon panel that provided oversight of the McLean County Nursing Home.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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