Massive wind farm planned southeast of Twin-Cities

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MCLEAN COUNTY (WEEK) – Dozens of wind energy turbines will be sprouting up on more McLean County farmland if elected leaders approve the project.

A Chicago-based energy firm is applying for a special use permit to build up to 64 turbines over 14,000 acres in Bellflower and West Townships, southeast of Bloomington-Normal.

The wind farm would provide electricity to about 80,000 homes annually, according to the application.

The company said the project would create 200 construction jobs and eight permanent positions. It would also provide “significant” property tax revenue to McLean County taxing districts, including the Blue Ridge and LeRoy school districts, the company said.

The applicant pledges to comply with Illinois Pollution Control Board noise standards, and to limit so-called shadow flicker on nearby homes to a maximum of 30 hours a year. Shadow flicker refers to changes in light intensity when the sun shines on the rotating blades of the turbine.

The applicant is Sapphire Sky Wind Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Invenergy Wind Development North America LLC.

The company’s proposal won the unanimous backing of the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals earlier this week. The McLean County Board will have the final say at its July 15 meeting.

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