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Rough water for Mainstream

PRINCETON – Mainstream Renewable Power on Tuesday withdrew its application for the Green River Wind Farm Phase 1 in Bureau County, but the company said it would likely submit a new proposal.

The Ireland-based company pulled its proposal less than a week after the Bureau County Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously recommended against Mainstream’s plan for 19 wind turbines for the northern part of the county.

After the decision, Barry Welbers, a zoning board member, said he and his colleagues felt strongly they must closely follow a new ordinance regulating wind farms.

The Bureau County Board would have made the final decision on the wind farm.

Mainstream is planning 53 turbines for Lee County and nine for Whiteside County. Whiteside County has approved the company’s plans, while Lee County is still holding public hearings.

Matt Boss, Mainstream’s vice president of development in the United States, said the company is still waiting to get the full details behind the Bureau County zoning panel’s recommendation.

“We feel we have a strong project,” Boss said. “We’re the first project to go through the gates under the new ordinance.”

He said he “absolutely” expects to come back with a new proposal “that conforms with what they’re expecting to see,” adding he didn’t have a timetable for when the company would present a new proposal.

In an interview last week, Welbers said Mainstream’s decommissioning plan, in the event of the turbines’ abandonment, was inadequate. Also, he said Mainstream didn’t provide a road-use agreement, which the ordinance required.

The Bureau County Zoning Board met 21 times since March on Mainstream’s proposal. Before that, the county revised its wind energy ordinance.

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