WednesdayPosted Feb 15, 2017 at 10:13 PM Updated Feb 15, 2017 at 11:49 PM
By Susan Vela
BELVIDERE — Boone County Board members approved today a special-use permit so a Missouri company can build a $160 to $180 million power plant in eastern Boone County.
Power Ventures LLC's plans a 450-megawatt, natural-gas-fired "peaker" power plant east of Garden Prairie Road and south of Interstate 90. Peaker power plants are known to prevent blackouts and brownouts.
Officials are proposing three larger turbines, rather than the 12 reciprocating engines that were part of Power Ventures' 2009 permit. That permit expired in 2013.
An unnamed investor plans to begin construction in summer 2018, said Tom Graves, marketing strategist at Burns & McDonnell, which is Power Ventures' parent company. Construction could last for a year.
"Now, it's our job to prove that we'll do what we say we're going to do and demonstrate that, in fact, we will be good neighbors," Graves said after the vote.
Residents have expressed concerns about the power plant's potential noise, lights and pollution to their water source.
Others have talked about the potential 150 construction jobs and up to eight full-time jobs. They've also emphasized it could produce hundreds of thousands of dollars in government tax revenues.
"Factories run on electricity, and all are looking for high-quality electrical current," Belvidere resident Toria Funderburg said. "It will be an asset in drawing industrial manufacturing to our area."
Board members Denny Ellingson and Raymond Larson, both District 1, and Sherry Branson and Brad Stark, both District 3, voted against the special-use permit.
"(But) it's going to be good for Boone County," Board Chairman Karl Johnson said. "It's going to be the right decision."