Michael Miller used his actuarial skills to criticize the math behind a favorable report on the White Oak Wind Energy Center near Carlock, and Bob Burger tried to show how the proposed development would “engulf” his view.
Miller, a former Carlock mayor, called the 100-turbine wind farm proposed by Chicago-based Invenergy Wind LLC a “mistake for Carlock’s future.”
He and Burger were the first objectors called Monday during the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the proposal.
The hearing on Invenergy’s request for a special-use permit that would allow for the turbines in McLean County began Jan. 17 and is expected to continue at 6 p.m. today at the Government Center, 115 E. Washington St.
“I do not find anything attractive about a 400-foot-tall forest of power plants,” Burger said.
Although the 400-foot turbines would be outside of a 1,500-foot radius of Burger’s property in rural Carlock, seven would be just beyond that boundary and a total of 21 turbines would be within a mile radius.
Burger used a series of computer programs and satellite generated maps along with Invenergy’s map of the planned development to show the view that would surround his home.
“It will engulf us,” Burger added.
Miller’s testimony focused on Invenergy’s contention that the impact on property values would be minimal.
He gave a primer to board members on statistics before questioning the methods used by Peter Poletti, an appraiser from Collinsville. Poletti testified earlier in the hearing process on behalf of Invenergy about whether the project would affect property values in the project area.
Miller said Poletti’s study did not use enough samples and Poletti’s conclusion comes with only a 68 percent certainty.
“That leaves a 32 percent chance outside of the range,” Miller said. “Samples with that kind of variation are not acceptable.”
Miller also questioned a May 2003 Renewable Energy Policy Project report from Madison, Wis., that Invenergy provided as part of its earlier testimony.
After he questioned the statistical use of the data presented in the reports, Miller also testified about his concerns regarding the wind farm. Miller, a resident of the proposal project area, said this is deeply dividing the community.
Once the public hearing is completed, the board of appeals will make a recommendation to the McLean County Board for a final decision on turbines within the county.
The wind farm is planned to cover 12,000 acres in McLean and Woodford counties.
By M.K. Guetersloh
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