At Thursday night’s Village Board meeting, Joel Link presented information on the Pleasant Ridge Wind Energy Center proposed for the area northeast, north and southwest of Forrest. Link represents Invenergy of Chicago.
The company was contacted by Julie Fosdick after landowners in the area researched different companies and decided that Invenergy was a good company to be in a long-term relationship, the board was told. The group met in secret to be able to put out accurate information when the time came. Link told the board that a wind farm was good for the community because of tax revenues, local landowners will receive annual payments up to 25 years and the project will create jobs, at construction and after the project is finished.
Link, who is responsible for the Midwest, said they have six to seven projects across the states and soon one will be started in the LaSalle area. He said that at the end of the year there will be 12 wind farms operating in Montana, Iowa, Idaho, Wyoming and Wisconsin. It is a private company and will own, build and operate them. The plan is to have 25 percent of energy coming from wind farms by 2025. His goal is to provide information on where the sites of the turbines will be with the cooperation of landowners.
Link went on to say that Livingston County is an ideal place for the turbines because of compatible land, wind speeds and the availability of McDowell’s substation where the energy can be sent to. Wind turbines are only built in areas where there are already electricity, cell and radio towers, he said, and the turbines do not pose a significant threat to migrating birds and sound levels from modern turbines are minimal and generally unnoticeable. Other remarks Link made were that turbines reduce emissions of carbon dioxide that are produced by power plants using fossil fuels, that Illinois energy comes from coal, nuclear plants and natural gas, and that Illinois’ goal is to generate 8 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2013. Link said the project schedule consists of submitting permits by fall of 2007; getting local and county government approvals by spring/summer of 2008; beginning construction by spring/summer of 2008 and commercial operations starting in the winter of 2008. Link finished by saying that he wanted to come back to the board at the end of the year.
President Jim Gulliford said that the board was very open to wind farms, but will probably have more questions for him then. He thanked him for his time and presentation.
In other matters, broad member Vickie Haab gave a short report on the WaBash committee meetings and what has been accomplished. She said there were 21 spaces sold for arts and crafts booths. She passed around a poster that Kim Benway had created for the celebration. She said that everything was progressing smoothly but soon it will be crunch time. Board member Dave Roberts reported on the meeting with business owners about Project Main Street. He said it was well attended and well received. He also said they were seeking ideas from anyone on Main Street.
Gulliford said there were still problems with the water bills and the collection of them. He suggested that the late fee penalty be increased to $7.50 instead of the 10 percent now put on the bill. In the past two months there have been 70 late notices sent out. He did say that most of them were paid within the seven day late notice. The board approved a motion to increase the penalty.
By Doris L. White, The Blade
15 September 2007
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