County Planning and Zoning Committee Moves Toward a De Facto Ban On Wind Energy
Zoning restrictions would block more than $40 million in new tax revenue from proposed project
DeKalb, IL, (August 7, 2018) – Recent actions of the DeKalb County Planning and Zoning Committee are leading toward a ban on wind energy in the form of zoning restrictions that will make new wind energy facilities impossible. While not an outright ban, the committee has recommended standards that create an impossible siting environment, which has the effect of putting a moratorium on wind energy.
“When regulating industry, the job of governmental bodies is to balance the rights of landowners with common-sense ordinances that respect economic development opportunities that benefit the entire community,” said Beth Soholt, executive director of Wind on the Wires.
The standards proposed reflect a noise limit that is in most instances already exceeded by existing background noise created by cornfields, trees, farming equipment, automobile traffic and everyday breezes. Ken Kaliski, a noise control engineer at RSG Inc., said, “The proposed standard would prevent any wind development.” Soholt added, “There is no known technology that can remove existing noise from the atmosphere.”
The Committee has also recommended standards related to shadows, setbacks and decommissioning that have no precedent elsewhere in Illinois, or around the country, where a wind farm has been successfully developed.
“The wind industry wants to have a good relationship with the communities it invests in,” said Soholt. “It is in everyone’s best interest to have a mutually beneficial relationship. The industry has worked hard to establish best practices that balance a landowner’s right to make an honest living from his property and the benefits wind energy can bring to the entire community, with any disamenities this type of project may impose.”
A recent public opinion survey showed that 76 percent of county voters support building a new wind farm in the county.
The wind energy industry is well established, with more than 300,000 turbines worldwide, 50,000 in the United States and 20,000 in the Midwest. Millions of people are living and working comfortably around wind turbines. A 2012 Illinois Power Agency (IPA) report found that adding wind power to the electric grid reduced wholesale power prices by $176.8 million while also creating jobs and economic growth.
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About Wind on the Wires
Wind on the Wires is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that works to advance renewable energy in the Midwest. Its members are comprised of wind and solar developers, environmental organizations, tribal representatives, public interest groups, clean energy advocates, farm groups and businesses providing goods and services to the wind and solar industries.