DEER GROVE – A company is proposing nine wind turbines for southeastern Whiteside County, including two near Deer Grove.
The village, population 48, has the power to turn down the turbines within 1.5 miles of its borders. And it may well use that authority.
Last week, Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power submitted its application, for the turbines and a substation, to the Whiteside County zoning office. The turbines are part of a wind farm in Whiteside, Bureau and Lee counties.
In February, Mainstream requested 19 turbines in northwestern Bureau County. It has yet to turn in an application to Lee County.
Company officials say they plan to build 60 to 90 turbines in the first phase of the project and a similar number in the second.
With 28 already proposed, that leaves at least 32 more – all of which would go in Lee County. Most of those are expected for Hamilton Township, the board of which already has expressed its opposition to wind turbines.
Deer Grove Village President Al Thompson said he didn’t find out about Mainstream’s application to Whiteside County until Thursday, a week after it was turned in.
“No one told me anything,” he said. “The people of Deer Grove and surrounding areas don’t want any windmills in this area at all. It’s not just me; it’s the people.”
Last spring, Whiteside County let out word about Mainstream’s interest in putting up turbines near Deer Grove. Shortly after, the village board voted unanimously to start regulating such development within the 1.5-mile area, which state law allows it to do.
Stuart Richter, the county’s planning and zoning administrator, said he wished Mainstream hadn’t included the two turbines near Deer Grove in its application to the county.
“That causes more problems for the county, which we don’t need,” he said. “We don’t have any control over them. Why burden us?”
The Planning and Zoning Commission will take up the application at its April 4 meeting. The county will look for a bigger place to have the meeting because more people are expected than usual, Richter said.
The commission then will meet every other Wednesday until it finishes the process, he said.
John Martin of Mainstream said his company plans to submit its application with Lee County after the county finishes a review of its wind energy ordinance. The County Board is expected to take its first look at a new ordinance this month. It could vote on it as early as April.
Martin said he wasn’t comfortable giving the number of turbines planned for Lee County.
In Bureau County, Mainstream offered neighbors of the proposed turbines $1,000 or more a year. It made that offer to those who would receive 10 hours or more a year of shadow flicker from turbines.
It promised to follow state laws regulating sound. Many wind farm opponents contend turbines’ noise and vibration are a problem.
The Whiteside County Planning and Zoning Commission will take up Mainstream Renewable Power’s application for nine turbines at 7 p.m. April 4.
It usually meets in the county courthouse, but officials are planning to move to a bigger site, possibly the Rock Falls Community Room, which is next to City Hall, 601 W. 10th St.
For an agenda for this meeting, minutes from past meetings or more information, go to www.whiteside.org or call 815-772-5100.
Who's leasing to Mainstream
These property owners have agreed to lease their land to Mainstream Renewable Power for wind turbines in southeastern Whiteside County:
• Helen Colletti et al
• Perino Heirs Farm, in care of Hertz Farm Management in Geneseo
• John Hostetler of Tampico
• Melvin and Marlene Saad of Erie
• Verda Renner of Sterling
• Wall Street Offices of Naperville
Source: Whiteside County