Resistance to a wind farm project from the village of Carlock might move it out of Woodford County.
The village of Carlock has filed a letter of protest with both McLean and Woodford county zoning offices, requesting a wind turbine not be placed within 1Â½ miles of the village limits. The village claims the turbines will have a negative impact on property values and also hamper the village’s future growth.
Officials from Invenergy, the developer of the $250 million, 100-turbine White Oaks Wind Energy Center, said the 16 turbines set to go into Kansas Township in Woodford County are projected to be the best of the entire project.
“It turns out that corner is probably the best performer in terms of wind speeds,” said Joel Link, director of business development for Invenergy.
If Carlock is granted its 1Â½ mile request, the 16 turbines in Woodford County likely will be eliminated from the company’s plans.
Woodford County Zoning Administrator John Hamann said it is unclear whether Carlock can invoke its 1Â½-mile development window because that generally applies to rezoning or subdivisions.
Additionally, Woodford may not be restricted by its development requests because the village is in McLean County.
Carlock’s protest doesn’t block the White Oak project as a whole, only the turbines within Woodford County.
“Those turbines could be in jeopardy if their argument follows through,” said Hamann.
There are 60 landowners in the proposed area and 215 parcels, Link said.
The land is west of Interstate 39 and north of Interstate 74 between Hudson and Carlock.
Each turbine would have a 262-foot tower with a 126-foot blade and occupy about one-third of an acre.
The 100 turbines will provide an estimated 150 megawatts of energy – enough to power about 40,000 homes. Transmission lines for the energy already exist along the McLean County line, said Link.
He estimates the project will generate more than $500,000 annually in tax revenues and more than $500,000 annually for farmers hosting the turbines.
Additionally, existing homeowners located close to turbines will be given annual payments from the company’s non-participant royalties program.
Homes with a turbine within a third of a mile will be paid $500. Homes with two turbines within a third of a mile will get $750 annually.
“We recognize that within the wind farm there will be some people who aren’t able to participate,” said Link. “They should receive direct benefits as well.”
By J.W. Shults
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