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Wind farms causing problems in Bureau County

Wind energy keeps growing in popularity as a renewable energy source. But for a group of people in the Bureau County town of Ohio,Ill., it’s growing into a major problem.

“It sounds like an airport at my house and I live in the country,” Al Harris, an Ohio resident for eight years, said.

“You can’t go outside and enjoy the peace and quiet,” Deb Anderson, a 16-year resident of Ohio, said.

The Big Sky wind farm in Ohio began operating in September. The spinning turbines have meant great things for the environment, but hardships for its residents.

“There are three issues: one is television reception, one is shadow flicker, and the other one is noise,” Anderson said.

Their TV’s are sometimes unusable. The spinning turbine blades block the air waves from getting to their antennas causing a loss of signal.

The giant arms of the turbines cast spinning shadows over their homes and through their windows all day long.

And the noise is 10 to 20 decibels over the maximum allowed amount.

“We got no TV to speak of and the noise. It’s just not right. You can’t come into somebody’s area and do that and not do something about it to fix it. [The wind farm operators are] not seeming to do anything,” Harris said

The farm is operated by Edison Mission Energy. In a statement, the company said problems are not uncommon and they are working to fix any issues. But so far, the residents say the problems still persist.

“All we’re asking for is just to fix it and we’re not getting much response,” Harris said.

On Monday night, Harris, Anderson and more of their neighbors will attend a meeting with the Bureau County Board of Appeals with the goal to limit future wind farms.

“We don’t want anymore permits given out because they have to fix the issues they have now,” Harris said.

“I hope that the Board of Appeals will deny the conditional use permits that are being asked to be renewed,” Anderson said. “I would hope they would deny that, take the time to study all the issues that have come forward, and let’s get this problem resolved.”

The meeting with the Board of Appeals will take place at 7 o’clock Monday evening at the Bureau County Courthouse in Princeton, Ill.