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Ogle County school decides to remove controversial wind turbine

When Eswood Elementary in Lindenwood, IL, got a wind turbine in 2012, it was supposed to cover its energy costs.

Instead, its caused a whirlwind of problems.

“It’s just been frustrating,” said Superintendent and Principal of Eswood Joe Schwartz. “I would have liked to take this job five years ago and had it working and if it worked properly, it might have been a benefit to the school.”

Since its installation, the turbine hasn’t produced any electricity.

When a lightning strike damaged its blades this spring and sent scraps of the turbine flying outside the school, administrators said it was the last straw.

“We just can’t take anymore chances after that incident, it was just unsafe,” said Schwartz.

This week, the school board voted to officially remove the turbine from school property.

It’s a task they hope to accomplish before the start of the school year.

“We won’t have to worry if its ever going to work now, so it won’t be weighing on my mind not having it here,” said Schwartz.

But removing it isn’t that simple. The school still needs to work out the details with the company that owns the turbine, Rock Wind LLC.

“We’ll see if we can arrive at a mutually agreeable thing. I mean I don’t want to have the turbine there if the community is uncomfortable with it,” said Rock Wind’s Chief Technology Officer Dick Johnson.

Even though there’s still some hoops to jump through, neighbors who live near the turbine say they’re glad to have the school on their side.

“It’s over for the most part, but it really won’t be over until it’s down completely, that’s when we’ll feel the best about it,” said concerned neighbor Rick Cashen.

For now they’re keeping their eye on the sky, waiting for the day when the turbine comes down.