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Meeting to discuss wind farm issues  

Winds farms are catching on in west central Illinois, and Warren County is no exception.

Warren County Board Chairman Bill Reichow said at least one company wants to construct a wind farm in Warren County.

Reichow said there are spots across the county that would be ideal for wind farms.

However, county officials want to be prepared for all the “what if’s” before wind turbines begin to sprout up in the region.

That is why the Warren County Zoning Board of Appeals/Planning Commission are conducting a public meeting at 7:30 p.m. on June 12 in the county board meeting room on the first floor of the Warren County Courthouse.

As Americans search for alternative fuels and ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, wind farms are becoming a popular choice in many areas, but what happens if a company erects wind turbines across the county, and the company abandons the project?

Who bears the cost of removing the system or finding someone else to take over?

That is just one of the questions the zoning board/plan commission want to address during the special session.

Wind energy systems are coming to Warren County, but the purpose of the meeting is to discuss what measures should be taken to protect the county. The zoning board/plan commission want feedback from the public regarding the issue.

The meeting is not to discuss whether or not to allow wind farms. County officials said that issue must be addressed when companies apply for permits to construct and operate a wind farm here.

Wind farms are popping up in rural areas in Henry and Mercer counties along with other counties in the region.

Local, state and federal officials know wind farms are here to stay. More than 2,400 megawatts of wind generation – enough to serve more than 650,000 homes, were installed in the U.S. last year.

President George W. Bush said in a press conference he believes wind energy can provide as much as 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, according to a recent federal report on alternative fuel and power sources.

Most of the Midwest is ripe for wind energy. A number of companies have ranked the top 20 states that are ideal for wind farms. Iowa ranks tenth, Michigan ranks 14th, Illinois ranks 16th, Wisconsin ranks 18th and Missouri ranks 20th.

North Dakota, Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, and Montana are the top five ranked states.

Members of the zoning board/plan commission wants residents to attend the public meeting to discuss the side issues of wind farms. Both panels are hoping for a large turnout on the 12th.

By Stacey Creasy

Daily Review Atlas

31 May 2007

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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