Across the state, this was a busy week for wind power in Illinois. Here's a roundup of the stories we missed:
Six Illinois schools to participate in "Wind for Schools" Program - Press Release from WIU
Six middle and senior high schools have been selected from a statewide application process to participate in Illinois Wind for Schools (ILWFS), a program jointly administered by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University and the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University.
According to IIRA Wind Energy Program Coordinator Jolene Willis, the 2012-2013 ILWFS partner schools include Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Chicago Public Schools #299, Cook County; Southwestern Middle and High School, Southwestern Community Unit School District (CUSD) #9, Macoupin County; Riverview Grade School, Riverview Community Consolidated School District (CCSD) #2, Woodford County; Galva High School, Galva School District #224, Henry County; Astoria Junior High School, Astoria CUSD #1, Fulton County; and Plano High School, Plano CUSD #88, Kendall County.
Willis noted the ILWFS program incorporates wind energy topics into the classroom through on-site training workshops at each partner school; customized curricula and lesson plans; and lab equipment for hands-on activities. Continuing professional development units (CPDUs) are offered for all required teacher-training sessions, she said. According to Matt Aldeman, senior energy analyst for the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University, the program's purpose is to engage Illinois school teachers and students in energy education, specifically targeting wind energy.
Village of Rankin votes to ban turbines within 1.5 miles of town - story from the News Gazette
The village board has passed an ordinance to regulate the construction of wind turbines on farmland immediately outside Rankin's corporate limits.
The ordinance, approved 6-0 last Thursday, amends Rankin's zoning code to give the village regulatory authority over commercial and private wind turbines within 1 1/2 miles of the town.[...]
But board members stressed that the new ordinance does not necessarily ban all turbines within 1 1/2 miles of Rankin. Developers or homeowners could still seek permission from the village to build turbines within that area, trustees noted.
However, during a public hearing held prior to adoption of the ordinance, Butler Township officials expressed concern that some developers might not look to build wind farms in Butler Township if Rankin issues an ordinance that appears to express an opinion against such development.[...]
Butler Township officials are hopeful a wind farm comes to the township. Such development would bring new property tax revenue to Butler Township that could be used to repair roads and bridges, for example.
At the board's February meeting, Butler Township Supervisor Dave Anderson noted the township's tax base is less than $12 million, but each wind turbine built would add $228,000 to that.
Without increasing the township's tax base, the burden on taxpayers is expected to continue to rise, Anderson said Thursday. Anderson said the township's population has fallen from 1,164 people in 2000 to 992 in 2010.
"We still are collecting the same amount of taxes," but the amount is spread among fewer taxpayers.
Butler Township road commissioner Marvin Rumble urged the village to help the township keep its taxes low by supporting wind-farm growth. Rumble noted that the township has done road work within village limits in recent years because Rankin did not have enough funds available.
"I don't know of any other way," Rumble said. "If you can find a factory or anything else to come in here, I'll support it."
Heartland Community College building on-site wind tubine - story from the Pantagraph
Heartland Community College... now it has its own wind turbine.
It will be about mid-June before the turbine begins delivery of electricity for Heartland to use. But, once it’s in full operation, college officials expect it to generate about half of the 9.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity the college uses annually.
That would be a savings of $320,000 a year, based on the college’s bill in the last fiscal year.
Gamesa seeks clarification from Woodford Co Board - story from the Peoria Journal-Star
Construction on the Minonk Wind Farm is scheduled to begin in less than two weeks, but there is one more thing developers want done as soon as possible.
Attorneys for the major investors want reassurance that recent changes in the county’s zoning ordinance concerning longer setbacks, more restrictions on shadow flicker and other factors will not affect the Minonk project. And they want it in writing, as a text amendment to the county ordinance.
When approached about the guarantee requested by wind farm developer Gamesa, the Woodford County Board was ready to vote on a resolution at its March 22 meeting clarifying the fact that the Minonk Wind Farm would fall under the ordinance in effect prior to Feb. 27 changes. Special use permits for the wind farm were issued prior to those changes. [...]
After a complicated discussion, the committee finally voted on the issue, approving it 3-2, with Rocke, Cremeens and Duane Kingdon voting yes and Huser and Tom Evans voting no.
The text amendment now moves to the Zoning Board of Appeals for review and recommendation to the full county board. The ZBA will likely hold a special meeting to discuss the matter rather than waiting until its regular meeting at the end of April.