The Lincoln Land Wind project principle project has anticipated a $400 million economic impact to Morgan County over the next 30 years. Many local small business owners, commerce luminaries, and local residents met with the Lincoln Land Wind project directors for the August Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce After Hours dinner at the Jacksonville Country Club last night.
The crowd heard from Senior Development Manager Mark Mauersberger of Apex Clean Energy on some of the economic impact that businesses can expect in the near term and long term as construction will begin in the coming months in the southern portions of Morgan County.
Mauersberger said that development and public input are ongoing at the moment. “We want to be on site and work with the landowners, have open houses with the landowners as well as give them surveys so they can give us information in regards to turbine placement and so on. Once those refinements are complete, we will schedule an open house to further answer questions that landowners may have regarding how the project will proceed and provide a project schedule.”
Charles Kennedy, Senior Director of Project Management, said that he came to the gathering to get information from local business leaders on who wants to get involved in project. “It’s at this stage where my team and I are getting more involved with the project in terms of where the placement of certain facilities will be located and designing the wind farm, as well as ultimately getting it to construction. That’s part of why I’m here today. As part of getting into the construction phase, we issue RPs to big contractors and local contractors to see what services are currently available to go build the project. I’m here today to meet the local community and learn who is interested in learning about wind farm construction to see if you’ve got services that are an attribute to wind farm construction. Ultimately, we want to get your information to the B.O.P. contractor or other contractors involved when we get to that stage of construction. That part is a bit of a ways away, but it never hurts to come meet everyone and start the process now.”
Kennedy said that construction of 83-120 turbines will probably happen quickly over a 9 to 10 month period. The total capacity of the turbines is estimated to create around 300 milliwatts of power, which is expected to power about 110,000 households in the local area. Kennedy said the first steps will be the paving of new roads as well as repairing many local roads in the rural area before platforms get poured for construction of the turbines.
Mauersberger says the project in development will have a lot of ups and downs. “These projects are living, breathing things. It’s a $400 million dollar project so a lot of things may be adjusted in regards to placement in regards to design later. It’s because we’re doing surveys and discovering certain areas aren’t suitable for a turbine, or we may do a cultural study and find out that there are particular impacts. There are lots of details that still have to be known, and as we progress through the project we will know those unknowns and continue to advance the project to completion. Be patient with us if we move things around because that’s how the project works and this industry works. That’s why we are going to work very hard to have a lot of community outreach – open houses, presentations, press releases – so you all are aware of the latest and greatest things that are happening.”
According to a report done by professor of economics at Illinois State University, Dr. David Loomis, estimates that 394 new jobs will be created for the construction phase and 39 new long-term jobs will be created for the county. $19.3 million dollars is the estimated county revenue with $1.6 million in long term annual earnings over the life of the project. School districts, road districts, libraries, and services are estimated to receive $2.19 million in annual new revenue or the life of the project. The project is estimated to start sometime next year.