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Politics may stop two wind farms  

Political maneuvers could pull the plug on two Central Illinois wind farms, one in Livingston County and the other in Woodford County.

In Livingston County, Chatsworth officials agreed in principle to adopt an ordinance banning wind farm turbines within a mile-and-a-half of city limits, said town President Richard Pearson.

The concern is a proposed wind farm by Chicago-based Invenergy Wind which could disrupt the scenic views of a planned 900-acre lakeside subdivision called Oliver’s Crossing, he said.

“Nobody wants to live next to a 400-foot windmill that I know of,” Pearson said. “We prefer to keep them away from the city limits.”

In Woodford County, meanwhile, squabbles over road repairs could disrupt the development of a 79-turbine, 160-megawatt, $260 million wind farm near Benson.

There, Greene, Clayton and Panola townships hired Ottawa attorney Sheryl Kuzma to negotiate road-repair agreements with the developer, Minneapolis-based Navitas Energy Corp.

If an agreement isn’t reached and the county board OKs the development, the townships could block the transportation of building materials to the construction site, Kuzma said.

“If necessary, we will utilize our jurisdiction of (township) roads,” she said. “We have the authority to regulate over-weight and over-sized vehicles.

“We just want to make sure the roads will be repaired adequately,” Kuzma added, saying the townships support the project. “I think we’re close to wrapping it up.”

Wanda Davies, Navitas project developer, said the company agreed to repair only the road damage proven to be caused by wind-farm activities for up to two years following completion.

“We don’t believe we should be responsible for all road repairs for two years following the project. There’s minimal wear and tear on the roads once the wind farm is constructed. There aren’t heavy loads,” Davies said.

The Woodford County Board is expected to vote on the Navitas Energy project at its Oct. 17 meeting, and the county zoning board has already given unanimous approval.

County officials were unavailable Monday.

Navitas hopes to begin construction next April to conclude by the end of 2007, Davies said.

Invenergy Wind

Meanwhile in Livingston County, Invenergy Wind has contacted Livingston County farmers about leasing land for turbines, said Charles Schopp, Livingston County zoning administrator.

Invenergy has not submitted any permit applications and plans are in the early stages, Schopp said.

Based on early discussions, the wind farm would stretch from just north of Forrest and Chatsworth to south of Illinois 24, said Schopp, who didn’t have any other details.

But some residents are worried a wind farm would conflict with the development of Oliver’s Crossing, a 600-lot subdivision in Chatsworth that could eventually generate $100 million in home sales.

In addition to the Chatsworth ordinance, which will be voted on Oct. 17, the county may also prevent turbine construction within 2,000 feet of any residence.

Karl Dahlstrom of Invenergy previously told a county board committee that such a setback requirement could prevent development of the wind farm. Dahlstrom was unavailable Monday.

By Scott Miller
scottmiller@pantagraph.com

pantagraph.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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