DIXON – The Big Sky Wind farm in Lee County is looking to be re-energized.
The 240 megawatt wind farm in southern Lee County and Bureau County near Ohio went online in 2011 with 114 turbines stretching across about 14,000 acres.
BSW DevCo LLC is petitioning the county for a special-use permit to decommission its 58 turbines in Lee County and replace them with new ones that would stand as tall as 460 feet from the tip of the blade to the base of the turbine.
The proposal will go before the Zoning Board on March 7.
It's the second wind repowering project to come to the county: Last year, Dallas-based Leeward Renewable Energy began replacing the turbines at the Mendota Hills Wind Farm, the state's first wind farm built 15 years ago. Mendota Hills' 63 turbines are being replaced with 29 upgraded ones, with the goal of increasing capacity from 50 megawatts to 76 megawatts.
The Big Sky Wind farm originally was owned by California-based Edison Mission Energy, which went into bankruptcy and sold most of its assets to NRG Energy Inc. but not the wind farm.
In 2014, the project was acquired by the Chicago-based North American unit of Indian turbine manufacturer Suzlon Group after Edison Mission Energy failed to pay back a $228 million loan from Suzlon for the 114 turbines.
Suzlon then sold the project to EverPower Wind Holdings. In late 2017, British equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners sold the EverPower assets – 752 megawatts of wind developments in Illinois, Pennsylvania, California and New York – to a fund managed by the renewable energy arm of New York global investment firm BlackRock Real Assets.
BSW DevCo LLC is petitioning Lee County for a special-use permit to decommission its 58 turbines and replace them with new ones.
The proposal will go to the Zoning Board at 7 p.m. March 7 in the third floor boardroom at the old Lee County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St.