Zoning board unanimously rejects Ivester wind farm proposal

Rob Maharry

After an hour-long public hearing that included comments from those both for and against a proposed 45 turbine, 90 megawatt wind farm in portions of Melrose and Felix townships near the Ivester Church of the Brethren, the Grundy County Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously last Tuesday night to reject the proposal—but the Board of Supervisors will still have a chance to overrule that decision when it votes on the issue at an upcoming meeting.
The idea for the wind farm in west-central Grundy County has been floating around since 2009, when Doug Price formed Ivester Wind Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of OwnEnergy, a company that has since been acquired by EDF Renewable Energy. Price, who now resides in San Diego, grew up on a farm around Ivester and still maintains partial ownership of the project, according to an application filed with the Grundy County Zoning Commission.
The application requests that the parcels affected under the proposal be rezoned from A-1 (agricultural land) to A-2 (agricultural and wind energy conversion system land), and it would be similar to the wind farm project in Wellsburg, which the zoning commission originally blocked in 2013 before the Supervisors overruled them and voted to allow construction.
OwnEnergy/EDF Development Director P.J. Saliterman roughly estimated that it would cost his company around $180 million to complete the project, and although he could not provide any figures on how much projected tax revenue the wind farm would bring, he promised to have an approximation prepared for the hearing with the Board of Supervisors. EDF has completed many projects in Iowa, including a 250-megawatt wind farm in Webster County most recently, and OwnEnergy led the way on the construction of a 20-megawatt project in southern Carroll County in 2013 and 2014. 
Read more in this week's Grundy Register. 

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