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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Westby Wind Energy project gets green light

From a story by Dorothy Jasperson in the Westby Times:
The Westby Wind Energy project is no longer just blowing in the wind after Westby City Council members agreed with a planning commission consensus to offer conditional use permits to Heartland Wind LLC.

The permits are for the implementation of three wind turbines on city-owned and annexed land west of Westby. Heartland Wind LLC is the Illinois limited liability company that will be leasing land from the city of Westby and Glen Stalsberg, who owns property adjacent to the city.

The contract easement will allow Heartland Wind LLC to lease the property for 20 years, conduct soil testing, studies and surveys and make payments of $1,000 per year, per turbine site during construction phase and $6,000 annually per turbine once they are operational.

After the 20-year lease has expired the company may offer two five-year renewals for a possible total 30-year contract. Heartland Wind LLC will be responsible for property taxes as a result of the turbine installation and carry a broad form insurance policy against any liabilities incurred with the project. If the project fails Heartland Wind LLC would be responsible for the removal of all the facilities, including foundations to a depth of 48 inches and all removal would have to occur with six months of the contract cancellation. . . .

The initial project calls for the construction of three wind generated turbines at a cost of $3-4 million dollars per unit, with construction anticipated to begin in 2009 or early 2010. Once operational the wind turbines could produce up to 100 percent of the energy now used by residents in the city of Westby, depending on wind speeds and electricity usage, but that doesn’t equate to a reduction in residential and commercial electric rates since the power generated by the turbines from the test project will be purchased as a whole by WPPI, the power purchaser for the Westby Utilities. The overall savings as more natural energy is generated throughout the state by projects like the one EcoEnergy is developing in Westby will be seen in future savings by all WPPI members, not initial reductions for customers living where the wind turbines are located.

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