LINCOLN — Construction on a proposed Logan County wind farm will begin next year, following approval from the Logan County Board on amendments to an existing conditional use permit.
“We will be finalizing the planning and engineering over the next few months and begin construction and operation next year,” said public affairs manager Dan Blondeau of Apex Clean Energy, the company planning to build the Sugar Creek One Wind Farm between New Holland and Middletown.
The Logan County Board voted 7-1 Tuesday night to approve the amendments that were approved by the Logan County Zoning Board of Appeals. The changes included setbacks of 1,225 feet for each turbine, which is 20 percent more than the current ordinance requires. Also approved were plans for 77 turbines, a decrease of 40 from what was previously proposed.
The wind farm was originally approved in June 2011, but the wind farm was sold from American Wind Energy Management Corp. to Apex Clean Energy earlier this year, prompting the revisions.
One Logan County resident, Donna Bishop, asked the board to consider all factors before approving a fourth wind farm for the county.
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“We have done our research on wind farms and always hear concerns about health issues from opponents, but we never have doctors or lawyers appear before us testifying about safety issues,” board member Pat O’Neill said.
The turbines will stand 492 feet tall and be spaced about a quarter of a mile apart.
“For a project of this size, we will hire about 200 contractors,” Blondeau said. “We are not sure exactly when we will start construction because that is kind of a moving target at this point. But, it will take about 10 to 12 months to finish. After that, about eight to 12 people will work full time.”
The project is expected to cost about $300 million, Apex officials said.
“We will begin moving the project forward and setting up some community meetings so that we can get some more information out there as we go,” Blondeau said. “We certainly want to be good neighbors and are looking forward to working with Logan County.”