Who’s going to control the land in rural Calumet County? 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.” Clearly color-coded on their 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 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. Is this really a “farm” or an “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.
It’s marketing genius to call it a “farm,” and even more so how they are able to control 7,000 acres of productive farmland without having to purchase one acre.
Ric Van Sistine,
15 February 2008
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