Articles filed under General from Illinois
How power-generating wind turbines affect birds and bats figured prominently in testimony Thursday as a county hearing on the proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center entered its third day. Paul Kerlinger, a bird migration and ecology expert from Cape May Point, N.J., spoke before the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals. About 160 people attended the hearing at Heartland Community College.
Invenergy representatives got a chance Tuesday to talk about the company and tell why they want to build a 100-turbine wind farm in McLean and Woodford counties. They spoke at the first in a series of public hearings before the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals. Meanwhile, Melissa McGrath, an attorney representing several opponents of the project, questioned a McLean County Building and Zoning Department recommendation for the wind farm.
A standing room only crowd turned out Tuesday for a McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals wind farm hearing that will continue tonight and possibly Thursday. The turnout at Heartland Community College included a group of about 16 families represented by Bloomington attorney Melissa McGrath. Her clients do not want wind turbines for the project built near their homes. McGrath questioned the grounds on which Phil Dick, McLean County zoning director, recommended the board approve the application for the project by Invenergy Wind LLC. McGrath said Dick has yet to hear all the information in the case. Board Chairman Sally Rudolph assured McGrath the board is under no obligation to accept the director’s recommendation.
The proposal for a large wind farm in Knox County is good news for its tax base as long as landowners are protected, the County Board chairman says. In the past few months, wind farm developer and operator Invenergy of Chicago has doubled its Bishop Hill Wind Energy Center to a goal of 532 turbines, with 266 turbines each in Knox and Henry counties. The wind farm would be complete in three to five years, generating 800 megawatts of electricity and costing up to $1.6 billion, said Joel Link, director of business development for Invenergy. If complete, it would be one of the largest land-based wind farms in the world, he said. The Knox County side of the project, which has yet to be permitted, is a year behind the Henry County side, where turbine construction will begin this year. Originally, most of the wind farm was to be in Henry County, but the project grew in Knox County because of landowner interest and available space on transmission lines.
A public hearing will be Tuesday, and possibly continue Wednesday, for a proposed $250 million wind farm spread across 12,000 acres in McLean and Woodford counties. At issue during the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals hearing, which will be at 7 p.m. at the Heartland Community College Community Commons Building, is whether the county should approve special-use permits for the sprawling wind farm, White Oak Wind Center, being proposed by Chicago-based Invenergy Wind LLC. Action has been halted in Woodford County as officials wait to see what McLean County officials decide.
GALESBURG - Plans for a local wind farm have doubled in size to a goal of 532 turbines, which would be one of the largest land-based wind farms in the world if it is completed. Chicago-based Invenergy said it now seeks to place 266 wind turbines each in Knox and Henry counties. The alternative energy venture, called Bishop Hill Wind Energy Center, would be complete in three to five years, generating 800 megawatts of electricity, said Joel Link, director of business development for Invenergy.
CARLOCK — Cindy Lorimor won’t have any of the proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center turbines on her rural Carlock property, but they will surround it. “There will be two within 1½ miles and three within 2 miles,” she said. The idea doesn’t thrill her. And, she’s not alone. Lorimor is among about 25 people who have joined forces in a grassroots group called Information is Power. “We’ve contacted experts that lead us to believe this is not a good thing for our community,” she said. Invenergy believes otherwise.
The company developing an approximately 100-tower wind farm around this small community on the Marshall-Stark County line has been sold to a division of the multinational operation once known as British Petroleum. California-based Orion Energy LLC was sold last month to BP Alternative Energy, a business formed by BP Global a year earlier to concentrate on alternative and renewable energy projects, company officials said recently in an online trade publication.
White Oak Township officials have sent a letter expressing no objections to the proposed wind farm in their area, but some residents say they had no say on it because a public meeting was rescheduled with little notice. Chicago-based Invenergy Wind LLC has proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center, a $250 million, 100-turbine wind farm on 12,000 acres of farmland in McLean and Woodford counties. The project goes to the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday. The township board met Monday and heard and approved a letter Township Supervisor Cynthia Cook sent to the county zoning board, saying the township had no grounds to object to the project. The problem, some people say, is that meeting was supposed to be Wednesday.
The Bureau County Board and a wind energy company have been sued in a zoning dispute. The suit was filed Jan. 2 by Eurus Crescent Ridge II LLC and Crescent Ridge Wind LLC, local affiliates of California-based Eurus Wind Energy. Their suit alleges violations of the county’s zoning ordinance. It also seeks to reverse the County Board’s decision to approve more than 40 conditional use permits for a wind farm overlapping their two projects.
Allowing wind companies free range because of the “We-have-to-do-something!'’ attitude, is like throwing spaghetti against the refrigerator, hoping it sticks and worrying about the mess later. Ignoring and minimizing genuine concerns of the affected residents and neighbors is dangerous, too. The scars of a divided community will last far longer than any turbine and the lease payments. Only those who’ve experienced small town/rural living can fully appreciate the value of a united, harmonious community. Blindly sacrificing that is not a price any of us should be willing to accept.
“Grandpa, tell us about the good old days.'’ “Well, not so very long ago, farmers grew crops, tended livestock, looked out for their neighbors and worshipped together. Children played outside without getting sick from turbine blade flicker. “On a clear night, you could see millions of stars. Cattle lowed in Uncle Ray’s dairy barns. Pumpkin pies baked in Grandma Linda’s kitchen. Uncle Kenny was as ornery as ever before he went stone deaf from working under the turbines. “Deer hunters gathered in sheds sharing hunting stories. Neighbors visited and were honest and forthright with one another. Come summertime, children showed their prized livestock at county fairs. Hiking through Comlara Park, folks enjoyed wildlife. “Then the factories came.
The fight in McLean County over the proposed wind power plant has become bitter. Neighbors feel betrayed by neighbors; families are battling each other; churches are divided; and friendships have been irrevocably lost due to this project. The bitterness and divisiveness involved can be illustrated by the actions of one particular participating McLean County farmer. He stood at the Woodford County Zoning Board of Appeals and during his presentation shook his finger at the assembled members of his community and said, ``Shame on you if you moved out into this area thinking you were going to make a lot of money on your home.'' He added, ``If you are going to sell, you better sell now, because it is going to be a mess out here.''
Wind turbines are not a good idea in a populated area because:
A woman from Carlock is helping organize a group that wants more information to be spread before a wind farm is built near her home. Cindy Lorimor of “Information is Power” told WJBC’s Jayme Monacelli that the tall turbines make farming more difficult.
There were no injuries at a crane accident Monday night on a Lee/La Salle County wind farm. “It was an unfortunate accident,” GSG Wind Energy vice president Bruce Papiech said. The accident occurred at a wind turbine site about five miles north of Mendota near West Brooklyn Road. Papiech said the crane was lifting a turbine off a truck when the boom folded over. He could not provide much more detail because of insurance reasons.
Any votes to move forward a contentious zoning issue involving a wind farm development in Woodford and McLean counties are postponed until early next year. With a 14-0 vote Tuesday, the Woodford County Board opted to send a Zoning Board of Appeals recommendation allowing a special use permit for the development of up to 20 turbines near Carlock back to that board for a rehearing. The move comes about two months after the county’s ZBA approved the permit amid criticism that they violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.
Two companies seeking to develop wind farms within La Salle County could soon begin moving forward with their plans. This week, representatives of the companies, Chicago-based Invenergy and Portland, Ore.-based PPM Energy, confirmed that they are likely to formally present applications to La Salle County early next year to seek permission to install the first of more than 100 power-generating wind turbines. “There are still some details that we’re working out,” said Joel Link, Invenergy’s director of business development. “But this is a wonderful site as far as wind speeds and other items key to this project. “And we’re looking to proceed with submitting our permit applications in February.”
The nearly 500 wind turbines approved by the Henry County Board to date have hardly been sited on paper yet, but the first revenues have come in to the county. Board members on Tuesday approved moving $161,850 in zoning application fees from the general fund to the capital building fund. County board chairman Tom Nicholson had said he felt the one-time money should go towards capital improvements — possibly including courthouse repair, parking or an employee entrance. Zoning and special use permits for Competitive Power Ventures’ second, “Midland” wind farm — 70 turbines in Galva, Burns and Cambridge townships — was also approved Tuesday. The board approved CPV’s 135-turbine Spring Creek wind farm last month and Invenergy’s permits for 266-turbine Bishop Hill Wind Energy Center in October. The ordinance establishing rules for wind energy systems was approved in September of 2005.
After six months of research it appears that parts of Carroll County are capable of supporting energy-producing wind turbines, said Dave Keiser, executive director of the Carroll County Economic Development Corporation. Preliminary results from a wind monitoring pole erected in eastern Carroll County in June indicate the wind in that area may be sufficient to support similar electricity generating turbines to the ones going up in Lee and LaSalle counties. A conference will be held Thursday at the Carroll County Farm Bureau for residents of Northern Illinois to discuss the potential impacts of a wind farm in eastern Carroll County.