We were invited to a wedding down in Peoria, Ill. on Friday, Oct. 26. We thought this would be a great opportunity to check out the Crescent Ridge Wind Farm near Tiskilwa and Princeton, Ill.
The first thing we noticed on the way down was that south of Rockford on USH 39 off to the west there were about 100 wind turbines. The odd part about it is that they were not running. The same was true on our way home. There was plenty of wind. What’s up with that? Awful lot of money standing there doing nothing. I guess it was a coincidence that they were running the next week when the bus tour went down. I know a couple of truck drivers that go down that way; they say most of them usually aren’t running. According to Midwest Energy the energy Co. needs to predict the wind a couple of days out so they can back off on their other supply. Maybe Mother Nature didn’t do what they expected.
Back in 2004/2005 Indiantown township and Bureau County were nearly broke. The local school in Tiskilwa was ready to close. There isn’t enough one acre people building houses, and paying taxes. Corn prices were low. Wind companies had to pay full property taxes at that time.
This was a perfect environment for a crop of wind turbines. Some farmers leased their whole farms to Midwest at that time. This is why phase two is now starting, Midwest already has the land.
Since contracts were signed the big wind companies sent lobbyists to state officials in Illinois to get a better deal on the tax they had to pay. They agreed to a payment much less than the 100 percent property tax they originally would have had to pay. Our state officials have made similar deals and this should be remembered at election time. The local governments were smart enough to raise the cost of a building permit to $9,000 per tower to recoup some of the money the lobbyists took away. It has helped their county and town survive for now, but it could have been much better if not for the lobbyists.
Is your township, school and Calumet County nearly broke? The money the towns and county get from these turbines should be put in a separate fund to protect against any future expenses that will occur from the wind turbines, lawsuits, well problems, etc., just like money received from a landfill. Do we need a crop of wind turbines to survive?
Fourteen of the turbines have cracked blades. The solution for now is to have them turn off when the wind hits 20 mph. Real safe! I’m sure they were glad the wind wasn’t over 20 mph the day of the bus tour. They also have their maintenance people crawl out on the blades to epoxy the cracks. Sounds like a great job opportunity for the area. The reason they don’t fix them properly, which would be to replace them, is that it is being fought about in court to see who should pay for replacing the blades. More big company lawyers and lawsuits-we don’t need this in Calumet County.
Some of the things we were told from someone who lives about 1,000 feet from one of these turbines is that they are noisier than they tell you, They don’t belong anywhere near homes, he said there should be at least a 1,500 foot setback from homes. They are noisier at night when there is no wind on the ground because they still run because of the wind up higher; they are noisier during certain times of the year. He said they wake him and his wife three to five nights a week. It isn’t as bad during the summer. He can sleep through his corn dryer running because it is a constant sound but the up and down sound from the wind turbines wake him up. He farms 1,300 acres. He built an addition onto his house and had insulation sprayed in thinking that it would help keep the noise out but it made it worse. His wife said her pillow seems to vibrate at night.
All of these things are exactly what sound experts have been saying that some people seem to ignore. He said if the turbines go up in our area good luck getting someone to take care of the problems you have with them. The noise recorded has been at about 65 dbs or higher several times; what can you do as an individual? Get a lawyer and sue the company? Not many can afford that. But there will be lawsuits, you can count on that. In his case the wind company may be suing the manufacturer of the turbine because the manufacturer said that they would be quieter than they are, what a surprise. More lawsuits, more lawyers. In the meantime, his family puts up with the noise a few nights a week. They offered to pay him off for the problems they are causing but he said he doesn’t want money he wants the peace and quiet they were promised. He warned that if you accept any money from the energy company you can’t complain anymore. I guess they call it a confidentiality agreement. I call it paying somebody off to keep their mouth shut. Is that legal? No wonder some people we talk to that live around these wind farms don’t have much to say, they risk losing their payment!
They put a three-inch layer of blacktop over the roads they wrecked, but if you don’t do something with the base of the road, what you will have in a couple of years is another busted up road. What did you gain? He was also concerned about who would fix the roads the second time when they bring the cranes and heavy equipment in to finally fix the blades. I’m sure this will be decided in court also. I don’t care how many ordinances we have to regulate these big companies, once the turbines are up they will do what they want.
I believe it is best to talk to someone who lives and try’s to sleep under a wind turbine, and hasn’t been paid off by the wind company. I believe this information is a lot more accurate than what you get from a salesman for the wind company.
We need to do something with renewable energy. There are a lot of other options that would benefit all the citizens of Calumet County. More efficient light bulbs, geothermal, solar, smaller individual wind turbines, etc. The only ones that will benefit from the big government backed wind farm developments are the big government backed wind farm developers.
14 November 2007
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