Wind Energy Development: Learning from Countries that are Getting It Right
Ireland has proposed new statutory guidelines for wind energy development. Key aspects of the proposal are more stringent noise limits, elimination of shadow flicker and increased setbacks. Yes, Ireland's government, along with governments in other model wind energy countries, acknowledges these are genuine concerns.
Their guidelines are supported by their “Code of Good Practice for Wind Energy Development”, which notes the importance of establishing dialogue and building trust from the very beginning of a project. It acknowledges long-term negative impacts on a community's economic, environmental or social situation can occur when community concerns are badly managed or ignored. These guidelines came about because Ireland realized that to protect their communities things needed to be done differently.
So how would the DeWitt County residents who will be effected negatively by the proposed wind farm feel if things had been done differently? If this wind energy company had notified all county residents at the start to gather feedback, answer questions and hear concerns. If rather than focusing on how updates to local wind ordinances may negatively affect their profit, they encouraged changes to ensure the safety and well-being of our non participating land owners in the farm's footprint; if they provided a gaurantee to follow all government agency recommendations to safe guard the environment and wildlife; if they listened to our concerns rather than telling us they weren’t valid?
These companies are coming into our central Illinois counties because they need our land to make money. If they are going to be allowed to do business here then we need to demand that they start doing it differently.
We need to place a moratorium on wind energy special use permits. This would give DeWitt County time to update our strategic plan, reevaluate our wind ordinances and make sure that we control the future of our county.