Horizon Wind Energy, which already has a presence in McLean County, is planning to build a wind farm that will stretch from Emden in Logan County to Delavan in Tazewell County.
Construction for the project, which is being called the Rail Splitter Wind Farm, may begin in spring of 2008. ...Wind turbines in Tazewell County cannot be higher than 300 feet, and a qualified ornithologist must study the effect of the turbines on migratory birds in the area. The wind farm is expected to be fully operational by December 2008.
Whitlock said Horizon Wind Energy has been planning the project since the spring of 2005.
Livingston County is still waiting for wind farm developers planning projects in the Cayuga Ridge area to file their final applications.
PPM Energy, a wind power company based in Oregon, filed an application in July, and Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy filed in September. The Livingston County Board has asked for additional information from both companies, but has yet to hear all of the details.
"We are basically awaiting the applicants ... to provide us with additional detail information before we proceed," Livingston County Zoning Administrator Chuck Schopp told the board's agriculture and zoning committee Tuesday. "We are still looking for them to give us final sitings for particular towers."
While homeowners and farmers in the path of proposed high-voltage power lines harbor mixed feelings about Lee County's newest wind-farm project, an unexpected development tumbled out of the county Planning Commission on Monday night.
The five-member panel promised a rural Amboy resident, whose 4-acre property soon will have transmission lines hanging 300 feet from his home, to take a closer look at the ordinances governing privately owned power lines. ...The Big Sky Wind development will be the third wind farm in Lee County, but it is the first to require installation of transmission lines.
Whitlock says the success of the first phase is also prompting investors to consider expanding beyond initial expectations, to possibly add as many as 140 more turbines. A third phase could have as many as 40 more turbines, on top of 120 already proposed. Depending on results of wind tests that could begin in a few months, Whitlock says investors could develop a fourth-phase with 100 turbines if they can negotiate with land owners living north of Route 9.
The Illinois State University-based Illinois Wind Working Group will host a conference on wind farms later this month in Peoria. ...Sessions will focus on the duties of county boards and zoning boards regarding wind development and the taxation of wind farms. Another session addresses opposition to wind energy projects.
The Ottawa City Council and Invenergy, developer of the Grand Ridge wind farm, have split the difference concerning the fee the city will receive as administrator of the enterprise zone being expanded for Invenergy's estimated $5.2 million benefit. ...The benefit to Invenergy would be an estimated $7.5 million exemption to state sales tax on project construction materials.
The new deal gives the city an estimated minimum of $375,000 more than proposed in an agreement placed on file last Wednesday.
Originally, Ottawa stood to benefit from a fee equivalent of up to 20 percent of the sales tax savings. But that was with the understanding the Ottawa Fire Department was to be the "first responder" to calls at wind farm construction sites -- which would mean ones in other fire agency jurisdictions. Under the revised agreement, Ottawa's share was to drop to 10 percent with the other 10 percent to be divided up among fire protection agencies in the expanded enterprise zone area.
The ordinance approving expansion of the Enterprise Zone to include the wind farm south of the city is a go as far as the city is concerned.
During the regular bi-monthly meeting Wednesday evening, the Marseilles City Council adopted the ordinance amendment to include the multi-million dollar Grand Rapids Wind Farm in the La Salle-Grundy County 12.5-acre Enterprise Zone.
"We're on board with that. We've made some financial arrangement with them," Mayor Jim Trager said of GRWF developer Invenergy Wind LLC of Chicago.
Trager however, will not make the terms of the arrangement public until the next city council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
"Invenergy is still out there bargaining with other municipalities, and so I'm not going to disclose what we received from them at this time," he said.
Under the proposed agreement, Ottawa's share will drop to 10 percent with the other 10 percent to be divided up among fire protection agencies in the expanded enterprise zone area.
Commissioner Dale Baxter opposed the change since it cut the city's minimum potential revenue from $1.5 million to $750,000. ...I see no reason why we should give half of it away. My job is to argue for the citizens of Ottawa, and I'm not willing to vote to give $750,000 at a minimum back to that company when they're going to benefit by millions of dollars themselves."
Commissioner Ed Whitney said the agreement did specify Ottawa was to respond, a provision that has been removed.
"I know you don't like losing the money. I don't like losing the money and I think we can work on that. But I don't think the public health and safety of this community and our citizens should be up for sale."
The Grundy County Board voted to support the extension of the Ottawa, LaSalle County and Grundy County Enterprise Zone to allow the construction of a wind farm in the zone.
Grand Ridge Energy LLC, an affiliate of Invenergy Wind North America LLC of Chicago, has proposed a wind energy development in unincorporated LaSalle County near Marseilles, Seneca and Ransom. Grand Ridge would like to build the wind farm in the enterprise zone, which would require the addition of 224 acres. ...The board approved the extension at Tuesday's board meeting with board member John Almer casting the only no vote. Two other board members were absent.
"I don't like the windmills. Personally, I think they are a wasteful use of land," Almer said after the meeting. "We're so concerned with land use and I just don't see windmills as a good use of land."
Negotiations are under way for a more mutually beneficial understanding on emergency response to any mishaps at construction sites for the Grand Ridge wind farm. With the first construction phase of the 66-turbine wind farm south of the Illinois River now started, concern was sparked among area fire protection districts on a proposed agreement that would call for the Ottawa fire department to respond to locations outside its jurisdiction.
A decision on three highly controversial issues that have had dozens - hundreds in one case - of Woodford County residents up in arms will have to wait. ...The County Board was set to vote on whether to issue a special-use permit to Navitas Energy to move forward on a 40-turbine wind farm development west of El Paso.
The project won approval from the county's Zoning Board of Appeals in August despite objections from dozens of area residents and a plea from the city of El Paso to keep the turbines a distance from its limits.
A wind energy developer will meet with five fire departments to discuss training and coordination of emergency services for a planned 66-wind turbine farm south of Ottawa.
The announcement came after commissioners in Ottawa and Marseilles questioned a request from Invenergy, or Grand Ridge Energy, for the Ottawa Fire Department to provide emergency services at the development, located in Brookfield, Allen and Grand Rapids.
Around 70 people attended a meeting Wednesday night hoping to get answers from a Florida-based power company about a wind farm being proposed along the Lee-DeKalb county line, but some left feeling the meeting was more of a sales pitch than a dialogue. “What I got out of the meeting was, ‘Sign the papers and trust us,' and that's not a good way to do it,” Larry Anderson said. ...“They gave answers to some questions, but they were pretty vague,” Anderson said. “What I heard was, ‘Take it or leave it. If you don't want a turbine, someone else will.'”
Mike Arndt walked away from city hall Wednesday evening without the Enterprise Zone amendment he is seeking for a wind farm in a three-township area southwest of the community.
Only because the Marseilles City Council tabled the issue until the next slated meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 21, while it attempts to find benefit in it for the municipality.
Ottawa city commissioners Tuesday put the brakes on an agreement to expand an enterprise zone to include a wind energy farm south of the city.
In September, Chicago-based Invenergy asked the city to expand its enterprise zone that now stretches from Ottawa to Grundy County to include about 225 acres for a 66-turbine wind farm south of Ottawa. The turbines will be erected in Brookfield, Allen and Grand Rapids townships. ...for two commissioners, the crux of the arrangement entailed another part of the agreement.
"I'm not in favor in that Grand Ridge (Energy) has asked the Ottawa Fire Department to provide emergency response services," said Ed Whitney, commissioner of public health and safety. "I know they're giving us a lot of money but I think we're selling ourselves out."
"It just seems like this is a perfect place for a wind farm, in big, open spaces," Town of Chilton resident Sandy Popp said. "In this project, there aren't many nonparticipating land owners, and I think that makes a huge difference. In our county, there will be hundreds of people who will not be participating who will be relatively close."
The fate of Marion Township has all but been sealed, but 25 residents drove to Dixon Thursday night to implore county officials to consider an ordinance restricting the placement of high-voltage power lines in Lee County.
Big Sky Wind has spent the last several years hammering out plans and securing building permits for the construction of a wind farm in southern Lee County, and the final bit of planning dealt with the sensitive issue of how to get the power to Dixon.
The Hanover Park village board voted unanimously Thursday to allow a 150-foot-tall meteorological testing tower to be built, the necessary precursor to the permanent structure.
But the wind turbine, which District 20 estimates would save $8 million over its predicted 30-year lifespan, is hardly a certainty.
A yearlong, $60,000 study -- paid for by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation -- must produce data that there's significant wind energy available.
The study must also convince trustees that building a 300-foot, 100-ton wind turbine smack-dab in the middle of an urban setting is a good idea.
Some officials cautioned that will be difficult, but they're willing to go along with the testing tower.
Now the big question is where to put it.
A landowner near the site of a proposed wind turbine said he is not the problem in an ongoing dispute with the Erie School District and the company in charge of the project.
'Johnson Controls ought to rectify their mistake,' said farmer Luke Besse.
Mr. Besse's property adjoins the site where the school district wanted to install a $3.5 million wind turbine. He's seeking compensation because the turbine's blades will go over his property's airspace.
Worried about the effects of global warming? Feeling guilty about the environmental impact of the SUV sitting in the driveway?
Beginning in January, each payment you make on your Ameren bill might help assuage your feelings of guilt.
The $1 billion rate settlement plan Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed in August requires Ameren and other major utilities to draw at least 2 percent of their power from wind and solar energy in 2008. The amount required from renewable energy increases to 25 percent by 2025.