Illinois Panel Recommends Taller Wind Turbines Amid Concerns

Company Argued That The Taller Turbines Can Generate More Electricity, Reducing The Overall Number Of Turbines Needed For The Project

Illinois Panel Recommends Taller Wind Turbines Amid Concerns

A county board in central Illinois will decide next month whether to approve taller wind turbines despite some residents’ concerns that the loftier structures would become eyesores. Piatt County’s zoning board of appeals recently recommended a 625-foot (191-meter) limit for wind turbines, up from the current wind ordinance’s 500-foot (152-meter) limit, The (Champaign) News-Gazette reported. The county board is expected to consider that and other changes on Jan. 13.

Apex Clean Energy, which is planning a 120-turbine wind farm in the county, had requested a 675-foot (206-meter) limit for the tips of the turbines’ blades. The company argued that the taller turbines can generate more electricity, reducing the overall number of turbines needed for the project, which would mean less noise.

“While the turbines are slightly larger, that difference should be compared to the installation of roughly half the number turbines, which would reduce the visual impact within the project area,” Alan Moore, an Apex senior development manager, said. Supporters of the wind turbine farm say it would be a shot in the arm to the local economy, boosting tax revenue. But some area residents worried the higher towers, which would require more lighting, would spoil the rural landscape. “Just the blight of having to look at them,” county resident Dave Oliger said.

Others have also expressed concern about the flickering shadows the turbines can create over some homes and farms. One critic told the zoning board of appeals that some studies have shown that flicker can cause headaches and even disrupt livestock grazing habits — conclusions Apex disputes. In the end, the board agreed to recommend a 15-hour annual maximum on shadow flicker, rejecting calls by some to require that Apex ensure its turbines never create such flicker on residences.

This news was originally published at US News