Library from Illinois
The Village of Lee has filed a motion asking that a judge dismiss a lawsuit filed against them by a company that wants to build wind turbines near their borders, and the law firm representing the village of just over 300 people on the western edge of DeKalb County says the village plans to "vigorously" defend against lawsuit by the company building a wind farm mostly in southwest DeKalb County.
Sept. 16, members of the Winnebago County Board Zoning Committee pored over minutiae in a 15-page proposed text amendment to the county's zoning ordinance that would open the door to commercial wind power generation in the county. Because the wind industry has yet to blow into Winnebago County, no rules exist to govern them. The measure was first proposed in April by Minneapolis-based Navitas Energy, Inc.
The rural townships in southwestern DeKalb County are a hubbub of activity, with 485 men and women on site. Crews are working six days a week, from sunrise until after sunset. That's because it takes 13 semi-trucks to bring in all of the components for a single turbine, Palmer said. And roads that regularly see a dozen or fewer vehicles a day are carrying hundreds of heavy trucks.
A company that wants to build six wind turbines within the Village of Lee's jurisdiction is suing the village board, saying members improperly denied construction permits after an Aug. 31 public hearing. The complaint, filed by FPL Energy Illinois Wind, LLC in DeKalb County Court, says the Lee village board "arbitrarily" denied the company's application for permits and demands a judge compel approval of the permits and allow construction to move forward.
A growing dispute between Bureau County and the owners of one local wind farm may bring both parties to court if an agreement isn't reached soon. According to county officials, Iberdrola Renewables - owner of the Providence Heights wind farm in Milo and Indiantown townships - is in violation of its roads agreement with the county.
Training and equipment for specialized rescue will be needed by at least one fire department if a wind turbine farm is built in western Boone County. Advance Fire Chief Jim Caldwell said Thursday, Sept. 10, his 35-man department hasn't equipment for "high-angle" and trench rescues, nor are all of his personnel trained in those specialties. David Cook, an AFD captain, had said at a wind forum seminar last week that he thought wind farms would "destroy the community."
Kentucky Utilities Co. intends to purchase wind power from northern Illinois and will soon ask state regulators to charge home customers about a buck a month more to pay for that alternative energy. The wind power, including the cost of transmitting the electricity to Kentucky, is about twice as much as it costs KU to generate power by burning coal at power plants. To pay for the wind power, KU plans to file an application with the Kentucky Public Service Commission, requesting permission to impose a "renewable resource clause" so it can recover the costs of purchased wind power and transmission costs.
Some Woodford County Board members are attempting to unseat the chairman of their Zoning Board of Appeals for what they say is his less-than-professional public behavior. By a 5-0 vote Tuesday, the county's Conservation Planning & Zoning Committee sent the message they have no confidence in Bob Harbers.
The Village of Shabbona will be holding two public hearings in the next month regarding a wind farm. In the fall of 2008 the village board adopted an ordinance to regulate wind turbines within a 1.5 mile radius of the village, according to a written statement from Shabbona officials. The board also adopted a resolution specific to a proposal by NextEra Energy Resources, which is building a 151 turbine wind farm in DeKalb and Lee counties.
The Lee Village Board earlier this week unanimously rejected a developer's plan to build six wind turbines outside the village but within one and a half miles of it. The board met Monday in a packed firehouse, where a public hearing was held before the 6-0 vote opposing the request.
Hancock County Board member Tom Scheetz said EcoEnergy is no longer pursuing a wind farm project in the county. The official reason was the county is in a goose flyway. Two other wind farm projects in Adams and McDonough counties are moving forward. The wind test tower at Scheetz's farm was taken down Aug. 6. The tower collected wind information for the past three years.
There are four major issues with which landowners should be comfortable before agreeing to allow a wind farm project on their property. The first two involve the land to be given over to the wind energy company, and exactly what the company will do on the land. Third is the terms of the agreement, or contract, between the landowner and wind energy company. Fourth is the rent the landowner will receive for the part of his property the wind farm occupies.
A wind farm is breaking ground this summer at the home of Bureau County Farm Bureau President Rob Sharkey. "They wanted to bring them in several years earlier, but there was just a tremendous amount of opposition," noted Sharkey, who along with his duties as head of the organization, rents the farmland where a number of the wind turbines are going.
Every summer, DeKalb County goes green with fields of crops ripening for the harvest. However, this summer the county began going green in a very different way. NextEra Energy Resources, out of Juno Beach, Fla., broke ground in Afton Township after July 4, said Anthony Pedroni, the project manager for DeKalb County's wind farm project. If the construction time line goes according to plan, the project should be fully operational on Dec. 31, Pedroni said.
Champaign City Council members were unanimous Tuesday in wanting to encourage development of wind turbines as an alternative, sustainable energy source. By a vote of 9-0, the council directed city staff to develop an ordinance to allow wind energy conversion systems in the city. Council members expressed strong opposition, though, to any suggestion that large wind turbines would be outright prohibited within their 1.5-mile extra-terratorial jurisdiction.
City council members in Champaign will talk Tuesday about wind power - not the hot-air-politics type, but the wind turbine type. ...the city planning staff will discuss wind energy conservation systems, particularly small wind turbines within city limits and how to regulate wind farms near city boundaries. City Planner Bruce Knight said state law requires cities to regulate wind turbines within 1½ miles of their city limits. The Champaign County Board has adopted a wind farm ordinance, he said.
The deadline for the special-use permit for development of a 36-turbine wind farm near El Paso expired Tuesday. Last month, in an 8-6 vote, the Woodford County Board denied Pattern Energy's request to extend the special-use permit for the El Paso Wind Farm until Dec. 31, 2010. The company said it needed the extension because of poor economic conditions. County zoning director John Hamann said that in a phone call Tuesday, a representative of Pattern Energy said the company would not be able to pull the project off.
The expiration of a special use permit for the El Paso wind farm has left holders of tower leases in limbo and expressing mixed reaction to the project's uncertainty. Larry Roth of Eureka, who has a tower on his property near El Paso, blamed the Woodford County Board for not granting an extension requested by Pattern Energy, which now owns the project initiated by Navitas Energy.
A policy that would place a temporary ban on new wind-energy projects in the county has been taken off the table indefinitely. Under the advice of the state's attorney, the DeKalb County Board agreed to stay mum on the proposed period of assessment on new and existing wind farms, Planning and Zoning Committee Chairman Ken Andersen said. "We're not prepared to comment on it," Andersen said after the meeting.
The special use permit for the El Paso wind farm expired Tuesday without the owners applying for building permits. Navitas Energy of Minneapolis had paid $40,000 for an application fee and had received approval a year ago for a special use permit after a lengthy and controversial hearing process.