October 12, 2006

Wind-farm concerns are aired

Carlock resident Rhonda Baer attended a community meeting Wednesday to decide if she would welcome a wind farm proposed for McLean and Woodford counties.

“I want to hear views and statistics on how effective an energy source it really is,” Baer said. “Compared to the footprint it leaves on the landscape.”

Chicago-based Invenergy Wind LLC has already applied for a special-use permit for a 100-turbine wind farm on 12,000 acres of farmland northwest of Bloomington.

Joel Link, senior development manager with Invenergy, said Carlock residents are concerned about how close the wind farm will be to the town.

In McLean County towers must be at least 1,500 feet from a residence. In Woodford County, the distance is 750 feet.

Carlock residents are pushing for a 1 1/2 mile requirement.

Phillip Dick, Bloomington’s department of building and zoning director, said when McLean County zoning hearings begin in November, residents are encouraged to voice their opinions on the project.

Three public hearings are scheduled Nov. 20 and 21 in McLean County.

“If we see a concern then we let the applicants know to talk to residents about it,” Dick said. “It’s their job to sell the project. Our view is from a health, safety and property value view point.”

Baer said she also questioned the project’s ability to produce enough energy for 40,000 homes. Link said that figure was dependent on towers producing at 100 percent capacity.

“It’s not considered a base-load plant like a nuclear plant . . .,” he said, adding wind “is an intermittent resource.”

“As the industry matures it will provide a big impact . . . it will hedge fuel costs.”

Link continued to say that if Carlock pushed for the 1 1/2 mile requirement, around 20 turbines would be affected.

“We’re hoping to find a compromise,” Link said.

The wind farm could generate $500,000 annually in tax revenues, and more than 60 landowners would also divide $500,000 annually, Link said. Homeowners within one-third of a mile from one turbine would receive about $500 each year and homeowners one-third of a mile from two turbines would receive $750 annually.

The electricity generated falls under the Ameren service territory and would serve the lower two-thirds of the state, Link said.

As more wind farms pop up across the state, Illinois is closing to meeting its goal of generating 8 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2012.

Link said he expected construction to begin in late April or May 2007. The heavy construction would take about seven months and then follow up with fine-turning of the turbines.

By Andrea Frampton
686-3041 or state@pjstar.com.


URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2006/10/12/wind-farm-concerns-are-aired/