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Crop Field Aerial Shot

About the Project

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s happening?
    UKA submitted the Wind Energy Conversion System (WECS) application to Montgomery County for Virden Wind in early April 2024. A public hearing was held on April 29, 30, and May 1, 2024 with a continuation date of May 28, 2024 at 6pm at the old Montgomery County Courthouse. UKA has successfully completed all cultural, environmental, and shadow flicker studies for Virden Wind. A local UKA office was opened in Farmersville in July 2022. For office location, hours of operation, and how to contact UKA click here.
  • How will this help my community and someone like me?
    Virden Wind is phase I of UKA’s Grand Prairie Energy Park. According to an economic impact analysis report conducted by Strategic Economic Research in 2024, Virden Wind will provide significant economic stimulus to Montgomery County and its residents, including: Job creation – According to Dr. David Loomis, Virden Wind will bring good paying construction jobs that would last 12-18 months. The project will create 60 construction jobs in Montgomery County, and over 200 in Illinois. Once Virden Wind is operational, the renewable energy project will bring approximately 9 permanent jobs to Montgomery County and 16 statewide. Local income – Annual land lease payments to local property owners translate to reinvestments in local farms, spending more money on local businesses, continuing family legacies, and more. Tax revenue – During phase I of UKA’s Grand Prairie Energy Park – the Strategic Economic Research conducted by Dr. David Loomis estimates Virden Wind will generate an average of more than $1M in property taxes for Montgomery County every year for 30 years. As a result, Virden Wind is expected to bring significant funds for schools, critical community services, tax relief (or freezes), infrastructure, scholarships, and more. Finally, according to Iowa State University and University of Colorado Boulder studies, the turbines commonly used to capture wind energy may positively affect crops. Wind turbine installations can help keep corn and soybean fields under better conditions, preventing fungus and pathogens from taking hold. Airflow associated with wind turbines also can draw carbon dioxide out of the soil, which plants need to photosynthesize and produce.
  • Are there any drawbacks to wind towers in a community?
    That’s a good question. There can be tradeoffs associated with any economic development. Turbines will be visible; some will hate the sight, some will get used to them and not be bothered, and some will like that they represent clean energy and local investment. However, Virden Wind also brings millions of dollars of investment, hundreds of good-paying jobs, and millions paid yearly to local counties for schools, roads, vital community services, and taxpayer relief. This project offers all these benefits without a factory emitting hazardous pollution or increased traffic. This project also prevents the creation of new subdivisions that would forever alter the agricultural nature of the community --- farmers are still able to work their land around the bases of wind turbines. YES, you will see them. But, each person has to determine if it’s a worthwhile tradeoff. Most communities that host turbines agree it was a great choice.
  • Will wind turbines disrupt farming and our way of life?
    Each turbine will occupy less than one acre once construction is complete. The entire project will likely use less than 75 acres of land in total. So, there will be minimal impact on farming. The construction will last approximately 12 months per phase and primarily be on privately leased land.
  • How close would these turbines be to neighboring homes?
    Every turbine will be at least 1,500 feet from any neighbor’s home.
  • What can we expect from UKA?
    You can expect us to be a good neighbor – something we highly value. We are committed to actively listening, responding quickly, and working together. You can expect us to build a quality project using the latest technology. We will have several full-time employees living and working in the community to maintain these projects for their entire lifecycle. We are humbled and honored to work closely with community leaders and residents to develop an economic engine and clean-energy investment that can serve the region for decades.
  • How do you work with aircraft pilots to ensure safety?
    Wind energy has more than two decades of history to draw on in advancing safety regarding wind power facilities and aircraft. We will work closely with the FAA to comply with federal standards to provide aerial applicators and recreational and larger aircraft with clear visibility of structures. Additionally, local communication is critical. For this reason, we are interested in talking with helicopter and fixed-wing pilots. If you are a pilot or you work with a pilot, please have them reach out to us at grand-prairie-energy-park@uka-group.com. Our goal is to establish clear lines of communication to ensure the safety of pilots and project workers.
  • What are the details of the project?
    Grand Prairie Energy Park is a multi-phase project built at different times and locations in central Illinois. The project footprint spans Montgomery, Macoupin, and Sangamon counties. Virden Wind is a roughly 122 megawatt wind project with up to 18 wind turbines located in the Bois D’Arc and Harvel Townships of Montgomery County, Illinois. It will connect to the Virden Substation in Macoupin County. If the permit application is approved by the Montgomery County Board in July 2024, construction is anticipated to begin in Spring of 2025 with a completion date of late 2027.
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