Illinois landowner and school district benefit from wind energy

Their farmhouse door was one of many that Horizon Energy Services staff members knocked on when they went door-to-door asking if anyone would be interested in a wind farm in McLean County, Illinois.

The landowners were not sure what to think about the idea, so they attended meetings hosted by Horizon to provide information to the community. They, like many other rural citizens, were wondering “What is in it for us?”

After hours of Horizon staff meeting with citizens involved, they decided together to build the Twin Groves Wind Farm, giving a timeline of six months for construction and cleanup. They said the township might seem like a mess with limestone on the highways and construction equipment everywhere, but they assured community members they would put it back to normal.

After construction, Horizon made sure the roads were back to normal by resurfacing the roads. They also added concrete curbs and gutters at rural intersections leaving the citizens very pleased that they took this extra step.

That was six years ago. Now, that landowner says he is 98 percent satisfied with what Horizon has done with the wind farm and for the landowners involved in the project.

“What they said they would do, they did,” he said.

Twin Groves consists of 240 turbines, stretches 12 miles east to west, and covers 46,000 acres. The project has a capacity of 398 megawatts, enough to power 120,000 homes.

The wind farm not only generates renewable energy, it also generates money for the landowners. Wind turbines sit on 2.98 acres of the landowner’s family’s farm ground.

“There is nothing we could plant in the ground that would give us that kind of money,” he said.

The Twin Groves Wind Farm has also economically impacted McLean County and its rural school districts. For example, in one McLean County school system a subsequent wind farm has kept that district from “being in the red” due to the tax revenue created by the wind farm.