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McDonough County wind farm to benefit community

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If you drive through rural northwestern McDonough County, you'll see dozens of wind turbines up and running.

County leaders said it’s been a long-awaited project and now, they're excited to see what it does for the community.

60 New wind turbines are rising high about McDonough County and they're not just producing power. They're also producing extra tax money for the community.

The wind turbines in rural McDonough and Warren counties are churning out power, after a decade of work.

The goal is renewable energy.

"The electrcity feeds into the grid," Capital Power Senior Manager of Development Matt Martin said. "It's used where it's first needed. It does feed into the local electricity system here."

Martin said aside from generating power, the wind farm will impact the area in several ways.

"Every farmer with acreage in the area benefits," Martin said. "If you have a turbine, you benefit more."

Martin said this wind farm will bring in about 2$ million a year, just in taxes. Some of which he said, he will go towards helping local schools and infrastructure.

"About 70 percent of that goes to the schools, so the local school systems here will benefit a lot," Martin said.

MAEDCO Executive Director Kim Pierce said the wind farm also helps put the community on the map.

"It shows that we're a progressive community," Pierce said. "We have the wind farm, we're renewable energy focused. Renewable energy is here to stay whether it's solar or wind."

Pierce said the project also brought in nearly 200 jobs during construction and she's excited to see the future benefits.

"It's going to bring in property tax dollars into our community and our school districts, which for this, would be West Prairie," Pierce said.

Martin said some turbines are still being tested, but the farm should be completely operational in a couple weeks.

"It's been a long time in the making," Martin said. "I think the folks in the area have been patient and we're happy to get it off the ground."

Martin said once the farm is fully operational, the next step is for Capital Power to fix and resurface the county roads that were damaged and worn down during construction.

He said that will happen this summer.

As far as the county’s benefit goes, energy company officials said it could bring in up to $37 million in taxes for the next 25 to 30 years.

Capital Power officials said all the farmers in the 10-mile radius, are on board with the project.

They said the annual pay to rent out the land gives them financial stability.

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Construction moves along on McDonough County wind farm

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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