Who’s going to control the land in rural Calumet County in the future?
That’s one of the biggest questions on my mind concerning the potential development of industrial sized wind turbine complexes.
Recently I spent a few hours talking with various representatives from one of the wind energy corporations seeking to develop what they fondly referred to as their “wind farm.” Early on in the conversation I was directed to a large map that outlined their “wind farm.” Clearly color coded on the map was their “wind farm” that encompassed 7,000 acres of prime agricultural land. I was told there would be 66 wind turbines on “their farm” but they wouldn’t tell me where. Next I asked about future expansion and was told they would be looking to add more turbines to “their farm” in the future.
After looking at the magnitude of the project I realized that my farm is on “their farm” and wanted to know what that might mean to my family and me. We’re talking about 66 roads being cut into 66 graveled sites, where 66 huge electrical generators will be built and operated. These electrical generators are 40 stories tall (400 feet) and will be equipped with lights and moving parts. Also, these 66 electrical generators will be connected by miles of underground cable and feed into a large electric power sub-station. And remember, there are more coming! Wow, is this really a “farm” or an “industrial wind energy complex”?
Since this encounter, I’ve spent lots of time thinking and researching. I now have lots of questions on my mind, but the one I want to address in this letter is who’s going to “control” the land in rural Calumet County in the future?
Do you seriously think that remaining property owners would have much to say about any decisions that might positively or negatively affect a multi-million dollar industrial wind energy complex? I’m convinced that agriculture would take a back seat to industry in this one. Remaining landowners would have little to say and their options for selling that land, except for future industrial use, would be limited at best. Make no mistake, the wind energy corporation, or possibly a public utility, will “control” what happens on that 7,000 acres going forward.
The most interesting part of this industrial wind energy complex development is the business plan they embrace. It’s marketing genius to call it a “farm,” and it’s even more ingenious how they are able to control 7,000 acres of productive farmland without having to purchase one acre.
Ric Van Sistine
7 February 2008
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