Understanding “Subsidies” & Wind Energy

Did you know that ALL forms of electricity generation are “incentivized” in some way by the federal government?

Our current tax code subsidizes all forms of energy generation technology, conventional and alternative.

The wind energy industry benefits from a Production Tax Credit (PTC). The PTC is designed to provide a tax credit based on the quantity of electricity generated by wind energy technology. Importantly, the tax credit is not granted if a wind project fails to produce energy.

In 2016, legislation was passed to phase out the PTC in the coming years.

The PTC has been successful in helping create jobs. The wind energy industry has created more than 100,000 jobs throughout the United States, including over 8,300 industry jobs right here in Illinois. And, job growth is expected to continue even after the PTC program has been phased out.

Property Values & Wind Turbines

Have you wondered about how wind farms affect property values for adjacent homes? Here’s the truth: Here in DeWitt County and domestically, a wealth of research has been done on the impact of local wind development on property values.

Here are three examples:

  • MaRous & Company, a real estate appraiser and consulting firm from Park Ridge, Illinois, with 30 years of experience conducting market impact studies, analyzed the impact Alta Farms will have on the value of surrounding residential properties. They concluded the Project will not have a negative impact on rural residential or agricultural property values in the surrounding area. In fact, for agricultural properties that host wind turbines, the additional income from the wind lease may increase the value and marketability of those properties.
  • The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) examined the sale of more than 50,000 homes spanning 27 counties in 9 states. These homes were within 10 miles of 67 different wind facilities, with 1,198 home sales within one mile of a turbine (331 of which were within a half mile). Through statistical analyses, neither the view of the wind facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities were found to have any consistent, measurable, or statistically significant effect on home sales prices.
  • An Economic Impact Analysis conducted on Alta Farms by Dr. David Loomis, Professor of Economics at Illinois State University, concluded, “Wind projects enhance the equalized assessed value of property within the county. Typically, wind developers pay taxes based on that improved value unless preempted by law or mutual agreement. Wind farms strengthen the local tax base helping to improve count services, schools, police and fire departments and infrastructure improvements, such as public roads.”

The clear consensus is that no significant impact exists to property values based on the proximity of homes to wind facilities.

Wind Energy & Weather Radar

Don’t be fooled by myths about wind energy and weather radar. Research shows that fears about wind turbines interfering with weather radar are misunderstood.

Did you know…

  • The National Weather Service has indicated that Alta Farms Wind Project will have low (almost zero) operational impact on Lincoln, Illinois weather radar.
  • Alta Farms has voluntarily committed in the Special Use Permit to shut down the wind turbines for the duration of all severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings in DeWitt County.
  • The National Weather Service is the expert in weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protections of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

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.

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.

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.