Berkshire Hathaway’s Illinois Wind Farm Gets Approved for Construction

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Officials in Bureau County, Illinois, have approved Berkshire Hathaway’s proposed Walnut Ridge wind farm. The go ahead means the planned 215MW wind farm can proceed even though it was initially rejected by the local zoning board of appeals.

The Bureau County Board has approved conditional use permits that will allow the construction of 118 wind turbines. The plan was originally for up to 123 turbines, but nine were rejected as too close to a landing strip.

Walnut Ridge is located on approximately 14,000 acres of farmland in North-central Bureau County south of the Village of Walnut. This site was chosen as a location for a wind farm due to the existence of a ridge running from Mendota to the northeast and past Princeton to the south.

The project was originally developed by Edina, Minnesota-based Geronimo Energy, LLC, and was sold to Berkshire Hathaway Energy in May 2015 in a package of renewable energy projects that also included the Grande Prairie Wind Farm in Holt County, Nebraska, and a portfolio of future Minnesota solar projects.

Walnut Ridge was temporarily delayed  in May 2015 by a federal lawsuit by property owners claiming the wind farm would blight the area in northwestern Illinois.

The wind farm will make land use payments of roughly $1.2 million per year, and will pay taxes of approximately $1.6 million per year.

The General Services Administration has already entered into a 10-year agreement to buy the power generated by the wind farm.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.