Tuesday night a proposal allowing wind testing equipment will come before the Winnebago County Board. The county has already amended its zoning ordinance, which would allow for testing to occur.
Back in May we took you to the Mendota Hills wind farm in Paw Paw, an impressive sight as 63 wind turbines pump electricity to Commonwealth Edison customers in northern Illinois, and the wind energy debate has now whisked its way into in Winnebago County.
"If it's adopted tonight it would allow a company to come in and apply for a building permit for a temporary tower for testing and look to see if it's a viable area for a wind farm," says planning and zoning officer John Lindeman.
If testing towers were put into place, it would take a year to conduct feasibility studies. Navitas Energy of Minneapolis, which owns the Mendota Hills wind farm, has expressed interest in the project which could potentially place turbines in Winnebago County and Ogle and Stephenson Counties as well.
"Individual land owners will benefit from leasing property, assessment on property increase, may increase tax dollars and generate jobs during construction," says Lindeman.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says the energy debate has been swirling around Washington because energy is the key to economic growth and alternative energy sources are desired.
"This is a Spanish investor that's created this but I think there are many opportunities for other investors from the U.S. to look for wind energy options. They’re good for environment, create electricity and give us a power we can grow right here at home," says Durbin.
Although the wind farm idea is in the early stages of discussion in Winnebago County, many say wind farms not only generate energy, but could generate a typhoon of money for the community.