Economics Of Wind Towers Divides Rural McLean County | WGLT

Economics Of Wind Towers Divides Rural McLean County

Jan 23, 2018

Five nights of testimony over a proposed wind farm in northeastern McLean County were not enough.

The Zoning Board of Appeals will go to a sixth on Wednesday evening, before ruling on a special use permit for the $300 million project. That is after time expired on another four hours of testimony at the county government complex Tuesday evening.

Neighbors in the area of Lexington, Chenoa, and Gridley voiced unhappiness with each other. Kimberly Brucker of Lexington does not have a proposed wind tower on her property.

"It's one of the things we're going to have to get used to."

“Is it right for one person’s financial gain to cost another person financial loss? I do understand a person should be allowed to do what they see fit on their land. But at what point do they consider how that affects their neighbors?” said Brucker.

Meanwhile, Joe Bertsche of Chenoa told the ZBA he’s pleased a wind tower will be just 1,549 feet from his house on his land. Bertsche said Americans don’t know how good they have it with reliable electricity, compared to the rest of the world.

He said the money from the turbine payments will help landowners stay solvent in an era of low commodities prices.

“It will be a game changer. The farmers in this area in central Illinois and all over the Midwest, we’re going to be producing corn, beans, and electricity. It’s one of the things we’re going to have to get used to. We just don’t realize what we have. And I’m grateful for it,” said Bertsche.

Bertsche said the land he has farmed for more than 40 years has been in his family for 131 years.

The wind project owned by Invenergy would produce enough electricity to power 6,900 homes.

An application for a second field of turbines somewhat east of Invenergy’s project will go to hearings next month.

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