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Wind Farm Gets Go-Ahead from McDonough County

Rich Egger

The Cardinal Point Wind Farm in western Illinois was first proposed around ten years ago.  It has undergone a couple ownership changes since then and is now owned by Canada-based Capital Power, which has gone through 20 versions of the layout in nearly four years.

So getting the project off the ground hasn’t been a breeze, but all the work and planning appears ready to pay off.  The McDonough County Board this week unanimously agreed to issue a permit for the project.

“It feels great (to get to this point),” said Project Manager Matt Martin.

“McDonough County has welcomed us with open arms.  We’ve worked with the economic development folks at MAEDCO (Macomb Area Economic Development Group). And we’ve been in the community here talking to various groups, working with landowners, working with the county board to make sure this is a good fit for the community. And we’re really looking forward to getting started next year.”

But before it can get started, the project must also receive a permit from the Warren County Board.  About one-third of the farm’s roughly 60 turbines will be in Warren, with the rest in McDonough.

Martin hoped to receive permit approval from Warren County by the end of this year or early next year. If that happens, he expects construction of the $230 million project to begin in the Spring and operations to begin in 2020.

The project is scaled back from the original plans, which called for 110 turbines.  Martin said newer turbines are more efficient so fewer are needed.

“It’s a larger generator on the top and longer blades. And so longer blades capture more wind, capture more electricity, which can produce more generation,” he said.

Capitol  Capital Power said Cardinal Point will:

  • Cover 20,000 acres, 91% of which will be agricultural fields.
  • Generate $37 million in property taxes over the life of the project (an estimated minimum of 30 years)
  • Create 200 jobs during construction
  • Create 8-10 permanent jobs
  • Be connected to Ameren’s grid

“It will be a great project for Capitol Capital Power and the local community,” said Martin.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.