The big turbines are now turning in Champaign and Vermilion counties.

After months of construction, Chicago-based Invenergy announced on Wednesday that the California Ridge Wind Farm is up and running. The project saw around 30 turbines placed in northeastern Champaign County and 104 more in Vermilion County.

Invenergy said turbine construction put more than 230 people to work, and the project will also create 14 permanent jobs. The group also said the turbines will generate enough renewable energy to power around 65,000 homes.

Champaign County Board Chairman Al Kurtz has been a big advocate of the wind farm and worked to get it approved when he was chairman of the county's Environmental and Land Use Committee. Kurtz said he's excited about how much the project will give back to the county.

"Each turbine will give us revenue over $14,000 a year in taxes. Fifty percent of that ... would be for schools in that area," Kurtz said. And each of those 30 Champaign County turbines will also generate revenue for other taxing districts and county government, he said.

"If you multiply 30 (turbines) by $14,200 a year, you can see where that can become very significant over the years, with not having to place any burden on taxpayers," he said.

Kurtz also said he hopes this wind farm will be successful enough to draw other wind farm developers to the county. 

By Tim Ditman