Wind Farm Participants May See Lease Transfers

By Benjamin Cox on July 19, 2019 at 10:18am

Morgan County landowners who have signed on for a wind farm project may be getting a notice from the company they leased their land to. On Tuesday, the Ad Hoc Citizens For Property Rights Group reported that they had received documents in a FOIA request stating that participating landowners have had their leases sold to a new company – Lotus Wind LLC.

Helen Humphreys, Public Engagement Manager for Apex Clean Energy, explains why the tenet on the lease was switched. “Lincoln Land Wind Energy just as Lotus Wind is a project of Apex Clean Energy. What we found as we were developing Lincoln Land Wind is that there is significant interest by landowners and because a number of factors – key among them the layout of underground facilities, we learned that these parcels of land cannot be included in Lincoln Land Wind. Because of the interest of landowners in the area, Lotus Wind is being created to allow local folks who own land south of the Lincoln Land Wind project the opportunity to participate in a wind project.”

Humphreys says that the leases haven’t changed – only the names. “The terms of our leases remain the same once they are signed, regardless of whom they are transferred. In this case, it’s being transferred to one project to another within the same company – Apex Clean Energy.”

Humphreys provides some details of where the Lotus Wind project will be primarily located. “Of course, like Lincoln Land Wind,  the Lotus Wind project will comply with all local, state, and federal laws including the Morgan County Wind Ordinance when it is finalized. We anticipate that if it moves forward, the Lotus Wind project will be located in Morgan and Macoupin counties.

Humphrey says that if the as-yet-to-be determined footprint of Lotus Wind starts to bloom, she foresees further financial benefits. “We are in the early exploration stages of developing the Lotus Wind project. If it matures into a full project, it would mean additional revenue for Morgan County, school districts, road districts, and fire districts where Lotus Wind would be located.”

Currently, Ameren has a Grain Belt transmission line proposed just south of Scottville and Modesto in northern Macoupin County. Lotus Wind LLC is likely to hook on their supplemental power to those transmission lines as part of this newly announced project.

Morgan County Commissioners are awaiting legal council from Chicago law firm Klein, Thorpe, & Jenkins Ltd. Before making their final decision on approving the Morgan County Wind Ordinance before these projects can move forward.