Two companies work toward wind farms in Kewaunee County
By Kris Leonhardt
KEWAUNEE COUNTY – Chicago-based Invenergy is currently working with large landowners to lease property for a wind farm in Kewaunee County
Invenergy is one of two renewable-energy companies proposing wind turbine sites in the area.
A town of Montpelier farmer, who asked to have his name withheld, said that he received a letter in April regarding the several hundred acres of land he co-owns in Kewaunee County.
“I got a letter from this energy wind company that wanted to put up windmills. At first, I just thought nothing of it, but then I looked into it and I realized what they were trying to ask for. And then I called the gentleman up, and we scheduled a meeting,” he recalled.
“The first meeting we had, it was going to be the town of Montpelier and the town of Luxemburg…it was going to be 42 wind turbines with these two towns, but they went into Brown County — town of Eaton and town of Humboldt…and it increased from 42 to 54.
“The only people that got letters were the big farmers — anybody with 300 acres or more — have gotten the letters from this energy company.”
The 2023 Wind Easement Term Sheet from Invenergy defines three terms — the development term, first extended term and second extended term.
The development term spans up to 10 years and “provides Invenergy the opportunity to acquire sufficient land, study the area, design the area, design the project and obtain all necessary local and state permits to begin construction.”
In return, the landowner would receive an annual rental payment of about $10 per gross acre or $500 — whichever is greater.
When the project is in operation, Invenergy then pays the landowner an annual rental payment of $60 per acre plus $3,500 per megawatt per turbine; that amount is increased by 2% or an amount equal to the previous four quarters’ inflation rate — whichever is greater.
The first 30 years of operation constitutes the first extended term.
For the second extended term, Invenergy may draw out the agreement for 30 additional years.
The term sheet also includes provisions for property taxes paid annually to the town and county by the state at $4,000/megawatt of the total capacity, as well as decommissioning and reclamation — restoring the property to its previous condition.
The matter was discussed at the May 17 town of Montpelier and is expected to be a topic at the June 21 meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Montpelier Town Hall.
Invenergy’s first wind project occurred in 2004.
The company now boasts 110 wind projects, 50 solar projects and 13 natural gas projects in North America, Latin America, Poland, Scotland and Japan.
In Wisconsin, the company has three projects in operation, two in construction and three under contract.
These include four solar projects in Iowa, Rock, Walworth and Kenosha counties; two wind projects in Dodge and Fond du Lac counties; and two storage projects.
The company pays $88.5 million in land lease payments and $29.7 million in state and local taxes.
Invenergy did not respond to a call from Star-News staff regarding the project.
Canadian-based BluEarth Renewables recently requested Federal Aviation Administration approval to construct 675-foot wind turbines in Door, Kewaunee, Rock, Sheboygan and Walworth counties, but has no known plans for a defined wind project.
The company currently works with water, solar and wind power generation in Canada and the United States
BluEarth recently announced the acquisition of seven wind and solar development projects in Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington from Ozone Renewables.
In 2022, BluEarth acquired projects in Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Two BluEarth projects are currently in development in Alberta and Wyoming.