Mitch Fever moved to his house on 2250 North Road in rural Carlock about 10 years ago in part because of the rural setting. On Wednesday he attended an open house sponsored by Invenergy Wind LLC to see if that atmosphere would be changed by a 100-turbine wind farm proposed on 12,000 acres of farmland in McLean and Woodford counties.
“I didn’t have any idea of the area it would cover,” Fever said.
As he looked at a map of the proposed turbines sites, he saw several of the 262-foot towers would be within his view.
“Luckily, most of my view is the opposite way,” he said.
Fever was one of several residents who attended one of two open houses at the Interstate Center in Bloomington. People had a chance to talk to Invenergy representatives, look at project maps and ask questions.
Lee Ruegsegger of rural Carlock wore a sticker saying “Wind, Yes.” He’s already agreed to a 25-year contract with Invenergy to have three turbines on his farmland.
“I think it’s an awesome idea,” he said. “We have to do something for electricity. I’m guaranteed money whether it’s running or not. I don’t have to do anything.”
Barnaby Dinges, a public educator for Invenergy, said landowners receive $6,000 a year for each turbine on their property. Each turbine takes about one-third of an acre.
The idea of that income was a driving force behind a decision by John and Sylvia Tobias and their daughter Kathy Judd to sign a contract with Invenergy for three turbines on land in a family trust.
“Farming itself doesn’t bring in that much,” said Judd, of Carlock.
“I like the idea that wind is always there and it’s free,” said John Tobias.
“We’ve got to get our energy from someplace,” said Sylvia Tobias.
Dave and Kathy Yoder, who live on Old Peoria Road, attended the open house just to learn more about the project. Three turbines are planned within about two miles of their house.
“I think it’s interesting,” said Dave Yoder. “It would be neat to have energy generated this way.”
Invenergy hopes to win approval for the project from Woodford County and McLean County and begin work on the project in the spring.
The Woodford County Zoning Board of Appeals will have a public hearing on Oct. 25 and the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals will have a public hearing on Nov. 21.
If ultimately approved by the respective county boards, the bulk of the construction would take place over six to seven months, allowing the turbines to be set up before fall, when the wind is the strongest in the area, said Joel Link, director of business development for Invenergy.
The project would be in Dry Gove, Hudson, Normal and White Oak townships in McLean County and Kansas and Montgomery townships in Woodford County.
By Mary Ann Ford
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