PEORIA – Central Illinois is already home to a number of wind farms. And new State legislation requiring a quarter of all electricity to be generated through renewable energy by 2025, guarantees the region will see a surge in wind farm development.
The region’s largest wind farm, Twin Groves in McLean County, is set to start its second phase soon. In addition to the Twin Groves expansion, Tazewell County will see the development of its first wind farm early next year.
The Illinois State University-based Wind Working Group hosted a conference in Peoria today in an effort to bring the community up to speed on some complicated issues related to wind farms. Developers say the growth in energy consumption and the new state regulations make wind a necessary alternative.
Joel Link, who works for Chicago-based Invenergy said, “People have to realize that a 25 percent renewable energy standard by the year 2025 in Illinois amounts to thousands of wind turbines. We’re the most power hungry country in the world. We have I-pods, and TV’s in every room, and there’s a consequence. The consequence is increased demand for power.”
Supporters of wind development projects say the upside is clean energy, more jobs, and extra tax revenues. Opponents have concerns about noise, the danger to birds, and the destruction of rural character.
The Illinois Wind Working Group hopes to address these concerns today, and in future conferences. David Loomis, who helped organize today’s sessions, said “what we want to do is provide information out there for decision makers because everybody’s got to get up to speed. And I think that’s what we’re seeing in these 240 people coming saying we need more information.”
Loomis said the one thing they can’t work around- esthetics- the only hurdle, he said, they will struggle to overcome.
13 December 2007
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