Arcosa Voices Support for Alta Farms Wind Project

Clinton, Ill., February 3, 2020 – The proposed Alta Farms II wind project has earned a key endorsement from a local wind tower manufacturer. In a letter to the DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals dated January 27, an executive of Arcosa Wind Towers, Inc. cited local job benefits in urging the board to recommend the project.

The Alta Farms II project will not only give DeWitt County an opportunity to participate in the ever-growing enterprise of clean energy production, it will provide immediate direct economic benefits to all of the citizens of DeWitt County,” said Wesley Bourland, senior vice president and general manager of the manufacturer. “Because the developers of the Alta Farms II project have committed to sourcing local components from Arcosa Wind Towers, this project presents a unique opportunity for DeWitt County that should not be missed.”

The Arcosa Wind Towers manufacturing facility in Clinton has supplied wind turbine components for projects in Illinois and across the Midwest. Tradewind Energy, an Enel Green Power company, is developing Alta Farms II and has publicly committed to source at least 20 percent of the wind tower components from the Clinton facility.

We’re thrilled to have the support of one of DeWitt County’s largest employers,” said Tom Swierczewski, senior development director with Tradewind Energy. “The endorsement of Arcosa Wind Towers further emphasizes the wide economic impact Alta Farms II will bring to this community, and we’re excited to see momentum continue to build for the project.

Alta Farms II is projected to create an array of economic benefits to DeWitt County, including over 230 new construction jobs, $13.8 million in new earnings during construction, $22.1 million in total school district net revenue over the life of the project and over $4.6 million in county property tax revenue over the life of the project. These benefits are conditional on timely approval of the project application as proposed, which would enable Alta Farms to begin operating in 2021.

Leading Subject Matter Expert Shares His Support

Found online: https://www.pantagraph.com/opinion/letters/wind-energy-project-worth-supporting/article_7da5b16c-5ea6-5dce-a248-80e682910106.html

I am writing today in support of the Alta Farms II wind energy project in DeWitt County. I am a professor of economics and helped create the renewable energy major at Illinois State University. I also ran the Illinois Wind Working Group under the Department of Energy to help promote wind energy for many years.

I was hired by the developer of the project, Tradewind Energy, to do an analysis of the property tax revenue and economic impact of the project to the local community. My analysis found significant property tax revenue coming to the schools, county and other taxing entities as a result of the wind project. Furthermore, the construction and permanent jobs that will result from this project will boost the local economy and provide good-paying employment for union workers and students from programs such as the one at Illinois State.

I want to encourage the DeWitt County Board to approve this project.

David G. Loomis, Bloomington

Dr. David G. Loomis is Professor of Economics at Illinois State University and Co-Founder of the Center for Renewable Energy. He has over 10 years of experience in the renewable energy field and has performed economic analyses at the county, region, state and national levels for utility-scale wind and solar generation.

He has testified on the economic impacts of energy projects before the Illinois Commerce Commission, Missouri Public Service Commission, Illinois Senate Energy and Environment Committee and numerous county boards. Dr. Loomis is a widely recognized expert and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Associated Press, and Chicago Tribune as well as appearing on CNN.

Dr. Loomis has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles in leading energy policy and economics journals. Dr. Loomis received his Ph.D. in economics from Temple University in 1995.

How do I determine if a source is credible? ​

The Wind Works for DeWitt is a community platform for honest dialogue and genuine questions. While we encourage respectful debate, we condemn the spreading of misinformation. There has been a lot of misinformation spread about wind energy and the Alta Farms Wind Project, much of which has been pulled from unreliable, biased sources like windwatch.org or stopthesethings.com. Some of the information even stems from misleading communications on Facebook. These websites referenced are not credible sources. They are not fact-based, not peer-reviewed, and do not provide insight from subject matter experts with experience in the field. 

We are here to share the facts about wind energy and arm you with credible information from credentialed, reliable, and unbiased third-party experts. Here are some tips on determining if a source is credible:

  1. The author should have a position of authority, experience or credentials in the field.
  2. Credible research, reports, or studies should include citations to other resources.
  3. Citations and other information should be drawn from sources like well-known non-profit organizations, respected universities, or government agencies.
  4. Whenever possible, seek out studies or papers that are peer reviewed. The peer review process is a form of scientific quality control.

Then and Now: Key Application Differences

While Tradewind’s application is similar on the surface to the complete application submitted last year, there are some key differences worth noting that make this application more substantial and one we continue to believe citizens of DeWitt County can support. Those include:

  • Nearly a year’s worth of additional development activities have been completed (e.g., engineering work on the wind farm design and public road improvements, final geotechnical work, landowner approval of the site plan)
  • Turbine models reduced from 13 make/model combinations to four. All are 4 MW or larger, meaning we can generate more power with fewer turbines.
  • Securing several important permits and contracts.
  • Directly addressing several comments raised during the first review process, including:
    • An independent report concluding there will be no impacts by the project to the vital Mahomet Aquifer
    • A commitment to curtail the wind farm anytime the National Weather Service issues a severe weather or tornado warning for DeWitt County
    • Proposed utilization of DeTect’s Harrier Aircraft Detection Lighting System
    • Improved Sound and Shadow Flicker reports to ease readability.

We look forward to talking more about these topics in the upcoming hearings, but more importantly we encourage you to stop by our Clinton office to get your questions answered directly. If you’re unable to make a trip to our office, you can call us or send us a direct message to request more information on the new application and we will respond as soon as possible. 

5 Common Myths Debunked

Changes to energy production will always have their detractors. Let’s look closely at a few common arguments by wind opponents to see how they hold up.

 

1.) Subsidies

While it’s true that wind development in the US has involved a modest amount of federal subsidies, this pales in comparison to the amount of public funds used to support the fossil fuel industry- $649 billion in 2017 alone. In contrast, the primary government subsidy for wind energy, the Production Tax Credit, is being phased out next year. As wind power continues to plummet in cost (66% cost decrease between 2009 and 2016), most industry leaders have supported this change.

2.) Carbon Footprint

As with subsidies, most forms of energy production involve some carbon footprint, but the greenhouse gases produced by wind energy are negligible compared to fossil fuels. Through component production and transportation, wind power produces about 11 grams of the greenhouse gas Carbon Dioxide for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced, compared to 980 grams for coal power and 465 grams for natural gas.

3.) Property Values

Some opponents have claimed that wind development will hurt nearby property values, but local research suggests the opposite- the third-party Market Impact Analysis for Alta Farms II found that landowners are likely to use extra income to improve their property, increasing equalized assessed property values within DeWitt County. Across the board, there is no peer-reviewed research suggesting that wind farms are deleterious to local property values.

4.) Land and Water Resources

Unlike natural gas and oil drilling which have frequently contaminated local ground water, wind energy production is comparatively safe to local water tables, due to turbines’ shallow depth of construction, and Alta Farms is no different. To quote a third-party hydrological analysis by Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, “contamination of the Mahomet Aquifer from Project related activities is almost impossible.”

Wind energy’s massive growth across the Midwest couldn’t happen without the enthusiastic support of countless American farmers who have found that wind development is an economically viable “third crop” that complements existing output. With permanent facilities covering just 0.70% of the Project area, Alta Farms’ impact on DeWitt County’s agricultural land will be minuscule and poses no foreseeable impediment to farming in adjacent acres. Through construction, maintenance, and associated transportation for the project, all land will be returned to its original topography and condition, per the Agricultural Impact Mitigation Agreement. (See Tradewind’s Application for Further Details)

5.) Avian Deaths

Bird and bat deaths due to wind turbines do occur, but oil fields, power lines, and other energy infrastructure cause vastly more. Greater threats to flying wildlife exist- windows kill about 1,000 times as many birds and bats as wind energy, while household cats kill at least 10,000 times more across the nation. Considering the total number of deaths effects on migration patterns, and natural habitats, wind turbines are simply not a significant threat to flying wildlife. That’s why both the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club have endorsed wind as a safer form of energy for flying animals and the habitats they inhabit.

Despite what opponents suggest, the drawbacks of wind power are less than those associated with most forms of traditional energy. Wind is an unfolding success story in American energy production, and we look forward to writing the next chapter in DeWitt County.

Thanks for your support, Dixie!

Support Tradewind in DeWitt Co.

Found online: https://www.pantagraph.com/opinion/letters/support-tradewind-in-dewitt-co/article_337a1d1a-2d37-5568-ae58-b869ea01f89d.html

Our community should be beyond excited that Tradewind Energy has decided to resubmit its application to the county for the development of the Alta Farms wind farm.

Projects exactly like this are providing big benefits to communities throughout rural Illinois, helping to fund struggling schools and giving our neighbors good-paying jobs that keep them in the places they grew up.

It’s time we, as a community, stand up to those among us who want to stop progress and hinder the economic well-being of DeWitt County. Please do what you can to support this project.

Dixie Walden, Clinton

Wind Works for DeWitt / Arm Yourself With the Facts

Tradewind Energy, an Enel Green Power Company, has set its sights on creating wind energy in DeWitt County for many years under the project name of Alta Farms.  In every community we serve, it is our steadfast goal to be good neighbors; that is to participate philanthropically, shoot people straight, and be very transparent as to the steps and processes involved for developing and operating such projects.  As we’ve set forth sharing our ambitions in a positive, welcoming fashion, most of this community has responded graciously; encouraging our goals, advocating our collective progress, and proactively getting involved by voicing their support for this development.  We are eternally grateful for each of you who continue to support us. Thank you. We take aim at making you very proud. 

You may have seen misinformation or attacks circulated about the Alta Farms Wind Project, which can make it more challenging to get to the truth. That’s why we’ve created WindWorksforDeWitt.com – a one-stop platform to learn about the benefits of the Project, sort out fact from fiction, and connect with supporters. We’re setting the record straight in DeWitt County, going far beyond opinion, but rather using science, engineering facts, and detail analyses from unbiased, third-party, subject matter experts who have thoroughly studied the subjects in question.

In recent weeks there has been an outpour of people sharing their immense support and encouragement at our Clinton office, over the phone, online, or in letters.  Keep up the good work, and lean on this website as a resource to arm yourself with the facts. Help spread the word; talk to your neighbors, sign-up to receive our communications, talk with our team, and get involved.  Together we are leading the change for health and prosperity for all residents of DeWitt County. 

Thanks for your support, Brendan!

Embrace jobs at wind farm

Found online: https://www.pantagraph.com/opinion/letters/embrace-jobs-at-wind-farm/article_ad7e2b46-8e0c-58a1-ae8a-14ff15f9e8f4.html

I was excited to hear that Tradewind Energy is again pursuing a permit from DeWitt County to develop the Alta Farms wind farm. For me, projects like this are personal.

We all know times have been tough here and in other nearby communities. Opportunities for good-paying jobs we can actually do without traveling out of the county don’t come our way very often. When they do, we should embrace them with open arms.

Brendan Burton, Clinton

 

We‘ve heard from a lot of folks; residents, small business owners, landowners, community members, the men and women who build the turbine towers right here in this County – a lot of people sharing their immense support and encouragement at our Clinton office, over the phone, online, or in letters like this one from Brendan.

Please show your support – help spread the truth about Alta Farms Wind Project, and take a stand in supporting progress for DeWitt County.