PRINCETON — The planned decommissioning of multiple wind turbines in Ohio and Walnut townships will have to be done the old-fashioned way. 

Bureau County Board rejected an addendum to the 2006 agreement that would allow decomissioned turbines in Big Sky Wind Farm to be removed by the ‘tilt-and-drop’ method rather than by crane which is the method that has previously been used. It is planned to remove 17 of the 114 turbines; 97 of them will be replaced with Tier 1 General Electric turbines in a 9-12 month project.

Kendall and Katherine Guither appealed to the board to reject the proposal, citing fears that he newer method has greater potential to damage their property which houses a natural gas well.

Jerry Herling, who owns the construction company that will remove the turbines, told the board an agreement would be made with the Guithers that would take down the three turbines closest to their property via crane, but Katherine Guither argued that wasn’t good enough — the couple wanted all turbines affecting them to be removed by crane.

Board Member Mary Jane Marini asked the Guithers to clarify whether their request for the remaining turbines was rejected. The Guither’s said no one had given them an answer — Herling maintained he’d never been asked.

Despite Herling’s claims that tilt-and-drop is the industry standard that will allow for less damage to farm land, easier cleanup and has been his preferred method since 1987 with no reportable incidents, it wasn’t enough to garner the board’s support. The measure was defeated 12-10.

Down but not out

Immediately after voting down the request for addendum to the 2006 wind farm agreement, the board approved a new decomissioning and restoration plan for Big Sky addressing removal of turbines during future restorations. That agreement will allow turbines to be removed via tilt and drop.

Kim Shute can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or ntprinceton@newstrib.com Follow her on Twitter at NT_Princeton2

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