Lincoln Land Wind Application Process Hits Snag Due to COVID-19

By Benjamin Cox on June 23, 2020 at 12:51pm

The Lincoln Land Wind Project is currently in a waiting stage. Apex Clean Energy’s application for its Lincoln Land Wind project was submitted in February. The application was accepted by the county commissioners and Regional Planning Commission Director Dusty Douglas in May. The next step in the process is a public hearing on the application as required by state law. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Morgan County Commissioners have delayed the public hearing portion of the application process.

According to the Journal Courier, Douglas says the county could set up a teleconference meeting for the application for a question-and-answer session with the public but the county has preferred to wait to do an in-person hearing.

The over 300-megawatt project is slated to have up to 107 wind turbines placed across 36,000 acres in the southeast portion of Morgan County.

In the meantime, the county has agreed on two consulting contracts to review the Lincoln Land Wind project application. The board agreed to a consultation agreement with Patrick Engineering in Springfield not to exceed $25,000. The firm had been suggested by a Morgan County resident during public comments while the county was reviewing their wind ordinance. Douglas told the commissioners that the consultant will have multiple tasks: “They will take a look at the submission by Apex. Essentially, their primary task will be looking at the decommission review that’s filled out in the application, taking a look at the sound compliance review section by doing spot noise checks, and any additional technical reviews that we need them for. They will also attend some meetings, but essentially, they’ll be checking a couple of the submissions in the application to kind of give us an expert, third party set of ears.”

Douglas told the commissioners that the report would come to the board prior to the public hearing on Apex’s application in the near future. Douglas also explained a second consultation agreement with the Power Bureau and Mark J. Pruitt who will look at the overall financial portions of the project: “His role is going to be three-fold: evaluate critical regulatory compliance plans that have been submitted, compare the property tax values with the project’s deployment costs, and look at the overall financial viability of the project just to make sure that we are entering into a solid agreement. His involvement will be much more limited than the engineering side with Patrick, but it’s an extra set of eyes. We were lucky to engage with him. He is in the building that our attorney is in, and lucky to have gotten to know him. I can’t say that he and Mr. Jerousek have worked a lot together, but looking at his resume, it’s very impressive. We are anxious to work with him.”

The commissioners have not yet set a date on the Lincoln Land Wind project application public hearing. Douglas said that both consultation submissions would be made in the 30 days prior to the public hearing on the application.