Warren County’s wind farm has been given the tentative project name “Monarch.”
While Matt Cumberworth, managing director of Clean Energy Concepts LLC, and Jolene Willis, executive director of Western Illinois Economic Development Project, both said the name isn’t official as of yet, Cumberworth confirmed the project would eventually be given the name.
For 2008, Cumberworth and Clean Energy Concepts will be conducting tests to see what impact the windmills will have on the surrounding area.
“We’re doing a wind analysis and an endangered species test,” Cumberworth said. “They’re pretty intensive. They’ll see what types of impacts are on the wildlife and what the construction process will do to their habitat.”
The tests will also consist of a site visit, and evaluation of the habitat, agency consultation and determining the overall risks to any species in the area. Some species Cumberworth said CEC has to look out for are ducks and geese. What some windfarms have to be careful of around the state are the yellow wobbler and the re-tailed hawk.
Cumberworth said that the town of Crescent Ridge found their turbines only killed approximately 1.3 birds a year.
“You’re house window is probably more dangerous than a windmill,” Cumberworth said.”
One agency the county will be waiting to hear back from is the United States Defense Department. Cumberworth said they will give a fatal flaw analysis to see what impact the wind mills will have on radar.
“That let’s you know if you’re blocking any super-secret radar,” Cumberworth said. “If it’s blocking sensitive radar, then you have to move them. As far as where we’re located at, I don’t foresee any problems, but you never know. The defense department is pretty secretive.”
There has been also discussion during county board meetings whether a wind farm will have a positive or negative impact on property values, but Cumberworth stressed that they will increase in value.
“In Mendota Hills, land values increased $12,400 per lot,” Cumberworth said.
Marvin Hawk, Warren County board member, said that he is only worried about what the wind farms will do to land values when the lease for the wind farm is up.
Where these tests and property values come into question is the possibility of a fourth windmill on the county’s farm.
However, even with the AFF test and property value debate, Cumberworth, board member Dave Jenks and Board Chairman Bill Reichow all agree that they do not foresee any problems with addition of a fourth windmill.
“I don’t believe there will be any major problems with anyone, but you never know,” Reichow said. “I see it as 25 percent more income to the county with very little loss to the productive ground.”
“I don’t see that as a problem,” Jenks said. “But before the windmill placement, there would have to be a zoning hearing and public hearings.”
One bump the county may find themselves in, according to Hawk, is whether or not McDonough Power will be able to handle a fourth windmill.
“I hear some rumors that McDonough Power hasn’t been contacted on their capabilities of handling the power.”
By Stephen Geinosky
2 January 2008