Iberdrola 300 MW back on track in Illinois

Iberdrola Renewables is back on track with its 300 MW Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm in Livingston County, Illinois, after a county circuit court judge dismissed an opposition lawsuit with prejudice, meaning the suit cannot be filed again. The lawsuit, filed in October by a group called the People Protecting Cayuga Ridge, had brought the project to a standstill. The group alleged that errors were made during the public hearing process to determine whether the turbines could adversely affect property values and endanger the health of nearby residents. Iberdrola's lawyers argued that no laws were broken and that the group's other claims had no merit. According to Iberdrola's Jan Johnson, the company offered more than a dozen public hearings and three open houses during the early part of the development process. "The project had always had a very small group of opponents," Johnson says. "But there were plenty of opportunities for public engagement." The project was initially expected to be completed this year, but due to current economic conditions Iberdrola will now build in two phases using Gamesa 2 MW Gamesa turbines, with 75 machines brought online this year and another 75 in 2010. Illinois ranks eighth in US wind generation potential.