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Wind farm idea shows promise  

CARPENTERSVILLE – A tall pole at District 300’s new Hampshire High School will gauge wind speeds to see whether the site would be blustery enough to maintain a wind turbine.

But an idea from state Sen. Mike Noland, D-Elgin, that is blowing around Springfield would let government bodies build cooperative wind farms far away and use that power right at home.

“[The wind farm] could be out in the middle of Boone County or in a farm field behind Algonquin Middle School,” David Ulm, District 300’s energy management coordinator, said about the idea. “We’re investigating it, but it’s in its infancy.”

And it’s an idea that District 300, a wind-power pioneer in the area, hopes will become a reality.

School board President Joe Stevens hailed the idea at a recent meeting of the school board.

“If it allows us the opportunity to establish a wind farm ourselves or with other districts, … it would be a huge cost savings for the district and good energy policy,” Stevens said.

Noland, whose legislative district includes parts of Elgin, East Dundee and Carpentersville, sponsored the legislation that now allows schools to build wind turbines on site, such as the one that could go up in Hampshire if the area is windy enough. Noland is sponsoring legislation that would expand that to counties and other municipalities.

The off-site wind farm idea, however, still is in the idea phase, Noland said.

“Not all schools have the space to put up a turbine,” Noland said.

He said that he envisioned downstate wind farms powering Chicago-area government buildings.

“Of course, we’re interested in looking at anything until it starts costing us money,” Ulm said.

The District 300 school board in November approved the Hampshire wind turbine feasibility study.

The $55,000 study will include a meteorological tower to gauge the wind, a geological survey, and application for the turbine from the Federal Aviation Administration.

By David Fitzgerald

Northwest Herald

6 May 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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