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Paxton Wind Farm Ahead of Schedule

A wind farm in Paxton is about seven months ahead of schedule, with plans to be on line early next year.

About 100 people attended an open house Thursday hosted by E-On Climate and Renewables, just east of the Ford County city. Nine of the first 77 turbines to be built are now in operation.

Company spokesman Matt Tulis says it's been able to feed off the success of another wind farm it operates in Iroquois County. He says the first turbines went up in late June, and the company has been able to keep up that pace.

"Weather is always a factor," said Tulis. "We like to build these projects in windy areas, and sometimes it's too windy to do construction. But we've really been fortunate here lately, and been able to stay ahead of schedule."

The wind farm plans aren't sitting well with everyone in the area. Cindy Ehrke with the group Energize Illinois says the Ford County Board failed to consider the downside of wind turbines, like noise pollution and the impact on wildlife. Her group has followed wind farm research in sites ranging from upstate New York to Australia. Ehrke says the Ford County Board should have looked at issues ranging from setbacks from property, impacts on wildlife, and noise before letting the Paxton project proceed.

"There's no real teeth to the enforcement of 'what if this does happen if they do go over the noise limit", she said. "What if there's a shadow flicker in somebody's house and it is causing them problems? What is the consequence, and what steps is the company taking? They're just not there in the ordinance."

Ihrke says the wind farm issue has prompted her and two other members of Energize Illinois to run for the Ford County Board. Roberts could also become the home to a wind farm. Two companies will speak at an informational meeting, scheduled for November 10th at the Roberts Village Gym.

Categories: Energy, Government, Politics