Library from Illinois
A 750-mile interstate power line promises to deliver wind-generated electricity to Columbia at nearly half the price the city now pays. But the savings cannot be certain until the line is built and contracts are proposed.
Several other changes may be considered by the board in the future, including changes to the current zoning regulations that would allow for a guarantee from the wind farm company that property values wouldn't decrease because of a new wind farm. The county also may consider a moratorium on wind farm projects until the ordinances can be updated.
s if white-nose syndrome wasn’t enough, the nation’s bats have another problem: wind turbines that are becoming increasingly more common on the American landscape. For two months, Paul Cryan, a research scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, set up thermal video surveillance cameras to find out why up to 900,000 bats are killed by windmills each year.
The winds across the northern plains of Macon County have have continued to flow uninterrupted by any wind turbines. That was not meant to be the case, as county officials moved quickly last year to set the groundwork to build upward of 118 wind turbines across the northern part of the county near Maroa, with a plan that turbines could begin to dot the landscape as early as this fall.
Linda Ambrose, one of the organizers, said the purpose of the meeting is to get information to the public about the dangers of wind farms. "Wind farms have changed in the last few years and we want to get the word out to the public that we are opposed to this," she said.
Vermilion County officials don't plan to consider a moratorium on applications for wind-farm permits while a committee reviews rules regulating wind turbines. "We feel we don't have the legal ability to do that. In essence, that's zoning. From a legal standpoint, we don't feel we can issue a moratorium."
Highland and Vienna townships are embroiled in a lawsuit with the wind farm, alleging the company breached its contracts by not indemnifying the townships for costs associated with the road repairs. ...“There was a failure associated with a substantial percent of roadways. You had people who couldn’t get to their homes without their cars being completely covered in tar."
Darrell Cambron of Rankin, one of the longtest-running residents to voice concerns, spoke to the board and indicated reviewing the wind ordinance was “right and fair thing to do.” Ted Hartke of Hope, who also has spoken out regarding the wind turbines and ordinance, said the board “must make adjustments to correct” the ordinance.
More than 10 years ago, a proposed mega-sized hog farm had some Vermilion County residents calling for zoning. Next, it was a proposed medical waste incinerator. Now, it's wind farms.
A special use permit for a 100-tower wind farm in Otter Creek and Allen townships in LaSalle County has expired, although a buyer for the project is still being sought.
Last week, Invenergy, an energy development company based in Chicago, submitted a special-use permit application to the county. The Zoning Board of Appeals will review it and could send it to the County Board this fall.
Iberdrola's failure to launch could be one indicator wind farm construction has stalled in the county in recent years. Last year, Iberdrola spokesman Paul Copleman told The Times the company was having trouble finding a buyer for the project.
For more than a year, several members of the public have been repeatedly asking the board to reconsider its wind ordinance. In the absence of zoning, the county board adopted an ordinance stipulating some safety issues regarding wind turbines.
Vocal, vehement opposition from local farmers and landowners has put a $300 million Grundy County project on hold. It’s known as the Rock Island Clean Line Energy project, and it involves channeling 3,500 megawatts of wind energy from Iowa to Illinois through a series of above-ground transmission lines.
After several months of consideration, the Bureau County Board has made its decision on how to handle decommissioning funds for the Big Sky wind farm near Ohio. At Tuesday’s meeting, the county board voted 16 to 5 to approve a $2 million letter credit to the Big Sky wind farm.
Last month, Gerdes shared a study on decommissioning costs that a Virginia-based company did at the request of his group. According to the study, it would cost about $19.4 million to take down the 87 turbines, about $224,000 each. At that rate, the cost to decommission Big Sky could be in the $10 million to $12 million range.
At last month’s county board meeting, Gerdes shared an in-depth study his group had done by a Virginia-based company on decommissioning costs. As previously reported in the BCR, the study revealed the total cost to take down 87 turbines was just over $19.4 million, or about $224,000 per turbine. At that rate, the cost to decommission Big Sky could potentially be in the $10-12 million range.
Heartland Community College will be doing a more complete study later this year to determine if its wind turbine is killing too many birds and bats.
Following an existing power line corridor, according to opponents, would be 18 miles shorter and would save approximately $36.8 million. However, the ICC concluded the route as approved would be least expensive when “all costs and benefits are taken into account.”
“I don’t think the taxpayers should have to pay for taking those down. The other problem we have is that when landowners signed these leases with these companies they were promised that if this doesn’t work they’ll come back and take the turbine down.