The Potential for Wind-Generated Electricity in McHenry County

McHenry County Blog has been exploring wind energy possibilities.

Our first story pointed out that it is virtually non-existent in the Northern Illinois:

The next two stories (Quest-1, Quest-2) told of District 300 Energy Management Coordinator David Ulm’s efforts to bring windmill electricity to his school district:

So, why does Ulm think there is potential?

“Hampshire High School exists in trough that runs from Iowa Northeast across Illinois. One of them we happen to sit right in the middle of. That’s why we can produce 87% in a 3-month study.

“Gilberts lies on Route 72 just west of Dundee. Jacobs has potential.

“(Windmills) now need 7 mile an hour winds and can produce at 3. Now you are producing very little, but you are producing.”

How far north does this trough go?

“All of McHenry County,” Ulm said.

Here is a map that shows wind potential as well as electric transmission lines:

You will note the transmission lines that run north of Veterans Acres in Crystal Lake west to Rockford.

The lines near the intersection of Routes 176 and 47 are the ones that the gas generated peaker plant turbine companies want to build their plants.

You remember, the ones that would suck up the ground water we are running short of for drinking purposes. Just like ethanol plants would.

The high power lines run right next to Huntley School District 158’s Square Barn Road Campus.

Look at the drifting of snow on Raffle Road near the new Woodstock North High School.

Think a windmill might work on that site?

I also asked about neighborhood objections in Hampshire.

“No one has come forward with regard to our putting one near the high school,” he replied.

“I got permission from the (Hampshire) village board back in October of ’07. I got permission from the school board in Nov. ’07.”

Clearly, David Ulm is not your typical hesitant government employee.

How high are the windmills?

“The test is 150 feet.

The utility grade windmill?

“370 feet.

“Same size as Paw Paw.”

= = = = =
On top you see a storage field for wind turbine blades between Bloomington and Decatur on Interstate 39. It was taken last June on the way to the Republican State Convention.

Next is a broad brush wind speed map with a box containing information about what colors mean what.

Below that is a picture taken January 27, 2009, of snow drifting across Raffle Road north of Woodstock. Woodstock North High School is seen at the upper left of the horizon.

At the bottom of the article is the wind farm near Paw Paw, Illinois, on Interstate 39.

The turbines are certainly not as ugly as the high power lines.

Click to enlarge any image.

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