Bureau County Board approves wind farm repower

Big Sky gets approval to repower 51 turbines in Ohio Township

PRINCETON — Bureau County Board this week approved the start of work on Big Sky Wind Farm turbine repower.

Board members approved a conditional use to repower 51 of the farm’s 114 existing turbines in Ohio Township. The project will utilize existing foundations and towers, while replacing the blades, nacelles and transformers.

David Streicker of Big Sky reported to the board on Tuesday that project planners, after speaking with the county and locals affected by tower placement, reconfigured the plans to optimize the footprint of existing and repowered towers.

Streicker said five existing towers will be decommissioned, reducing the overall footprint of the Bureau County section of the wind farm. The five to be decommissioned were causing problems for some Ohio residents, he said.

Board member Dale Anderson (R-Tiskilwa) questioned Big Sky’s claim that the recommission will bring in additional tax revenue with fewer towers. Streicker said the turbines are initially taxed at 30% per statute with depreciating tax rates, so repowered turbines will start the taxation period anew.

“Tax revenue will be highest in year one then will decrease with depreciation,” Streicker said.

Big Sky will also start work on the Lee County potion of the windfarm.