Firm Planning Peaker Plant in Oakwood Hills

The Village of Oakwood Hills is under considered for a site for a gas turbine electric generating plant.

Here’s what McHenry County Blog has found:

  • an option running through March of 2014 has been been signed to purchase the property from Walneck Group
  • Commonwealth Edison would like a peaker plant in the area
  • the firm has met several times with the Oakwood Hills Village Board and its staff
  • appropriate zoning already exists for the property, which is next to the Village Hall on Valley Hill Road
  • a preliminary plan was discussed with the Illinois EPA in June of 2012
The proposed site for a peaker plant would be right next to the Oakwood Hills Village Hall.

The proposed site for a peaker plant would be right next to the Oakwood Hills Village Hall, which is also adjacent to the Com Ed Silver Lakes Substation and high power transmission lines..  The land is zoning industrial and manufacturing, so no re-zoning would be needed.

Commonly called “peaker plants,” the facilities are turned on when there is a need for electricity that regular suppliers of electricity, e.g., Com Ed, can’t supply.

Owners of peaker plants make money not only from supplying electricity in peak times, but also by selling rights to be first in line for such electricity in times of shortage.

The proposed peaker plant in Oakwood Hills would rise from this cornfield behind the Village Hall.

The proposed peaker plant in Oakwood Hills would rise from this cornfield behind the Village Hall.

The last proposals for peaker plants were for the area where Commonwealth Edison electric transmission wires and NICOR natural gas lines co-exist near the north leg of the intersection of Routes 176 and 47.  That was more than ten years ago.

Vigorous citizen opposition resulted.  Signs popped up saying, “Stop the Stacks.”

A primary objection was the amount of ground water that the facility would require.

Other objections were to pollutants that would be emitted and that it might drive up natural gas prices.  With the extraction of enough natural gas through fracking to drive the price down in North America and even prompt efforts to export it in container ships, driving up gas prices seems less relevant than before.

Commonwealth Edison's Silver Lakes Substation.

Commonwealth Edison’s Silver Lakes Substation.

Several attempts to discover whether plans for a possibility peaker plant in Oakwood Hills had been discussed, using Freedom of Information Act requests, resulted in no confirmation being provided by Village officials.

So, I went looking elsewhere.

County planning and zoning folks have heard of no such inquires, but, if the plant were to be located within Oakwood Hills village boundaries, there would be no need to contact county officials.

When I asked the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, I received a reply that said the “facility” agenda and meeting notes for “Oakwood Hills Project” was exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.  However, other documents indicated that it was a “pre-application meeting.”

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency wrote that its June 11, 2012, meeting notes on the "Oakwood Hills Project" were exempt from a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency wrote that its June 11, 2012, meeting notes on the “Oakwood Hills Project” were exempt from a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Illinois EPA did provide other information.

First there was a sign-in sheet for a meeting about an “Oakwood Hills Power Project”:
Oakwood Hills EPA Sign-in Sheet 6-11-12 HeaderKen Snell of Sergeant and Lundy, Conrad Anderson of Enventure Partners and three EPA officials.

Ken Snell of Sergeant and Lundy, Conrad Anderson, Director of Engineering for Enventure Partners and three EPA officials.

Also provided was an email sent prior to the June 11, 2012 meeting.

When: Monday, June 11, 2012 1:00 PM-3:00 PM (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada).
Where: Permit Section Conference Room

Note: The GMT offset above does not reflect daylight saving time adjustments.


—–Original Appointment—–
From: Schnepp, Jason
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2012 7:39 AM

To: Schnepp, Jason; Smet, Robert
Subject: Oakwood Hills Project
When: Monday, June 11, 2012 1:00 PM-3:00 PM (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada).
Where: Permit Section Conference Room

Sargent & Lundy is serving as Enventure Partners’ Owner’s Engineer for this project. Ken Snell, one of S&L’s Senior Permitting Specialists will be participating in the meeting along with Conrad Anderson.

Fundamental info – location, fuel

Business Plan – What the proposed phases for this project will be and the per phase nature of each: type of turbine, MW rating, hours of operation

Emissions – GHG (include CO2, SF6), NOx, CO lb/MWh & tons/year totals per phase, same for SSM

Rule applicability – PSD/NAANSR, NSPS, Acid Rain, offsets?, etc. Will the project fall under electric utility steam generating units in both phases?

BACT (and LAER?) initial thoughts – most efficient turbines (to minimize GHG for both phases; why simple, rather than CC turbines?), control technology/ppm of NOx

Other documents showed that Enventure Partners and General Electric were involved in the proposal.  Planning began in 2010.

The plant would be “ultra clean and ultra efficient” upon it proposed opening in 2016.  It could be ramped up with wind turbines were not moving in Western Illinois and during peak air conditioning times.  The retirement of coal fired electric generating plants was also mentioned as favorable for the project.

Two sizes of plants are being considered–138kV or 345kV.  The larger one is a possibility because Com Ed says it is located “in an area that experiences seasonal periodic power transmission congestion.”

Com Ed and PJM Interconnection conducted a year-long feasibility study, concluding in May of 2012, that the cost would be $1.75 million to construct a 138kV connector and $3.5 million for 345kV.

The needed natural gas will come from a pipeline about a mile east.  Com Ed’s easement crosses the pipeline.  As of last summer, Enventure was applying for permission to run a connecting pipeline on that right-of-way.

Lintech Engineering was retained for well work.  Two 1380-foot wells are envisioned to pull a total of 2,200 gallons per minute out of the Ironton-Galesville Sandstone Aquifer.  A report says the water withdrawal will have no impact on Oakwood Hills residents because they are on shallow wells.

Assisting Lintech will be Crystal Lake-based Baxter & Woodman.

Construction of a peaker plant would provide significant assessed valuation now lacking in the residential village.


Firm Planning Peaker Plant in Oakwood Hills — 9 Comments

  1. The water from 1,300 feet is being “mined” already.

    What remains must be dedicated for public drinking water.

    Without it, population growth in the area will come to a halt.

    If they want water, try the Mt. Simon aquifer at 2,000 ft which is not typically used for potable water.

  2. There goes our properties values..

    Bet the big wigs at the village cut a sweet deal for themselves to sell us out…

  3. We just need to know the actual impact.

    I know turbines can create a lot of noise as well.

    What are the water, noise and pollution impacts for this project?

    It is upsetting that more is not in the public view already.

  4. While its easy to complain online, how many of you actually attend the board and committee meetings?

    I’ll bet you would be shocked at what goes on- a lot of it open for the public to see.

    Ask questions.

    These people are elected by YOU!

    You gave them the power to run the village into the ground.

    Spend a few hours doing your civic duty and make them answer the tough questions.

  5. The disturbing part is that this has been going on since 2103 and never has the trustees or the mayor asked the people they represent if this something the Village wants.

    If the majority wants it and it makes sense then let’s investigate it, find out the facts and make an informed decision.

    I do not have time to go to every meeting to find out.

    We elected these folks to represent us, they have forgotten that part.

  6. Either this project was kept secret from the general public or I missed any conversation concerning it via the NWHerald.

    I live on Behan Road and am very concerned about learning about this “project” when it was emailed to me via the Chicago Tribune.

    This can only harm me.

  7. The proposed plant is NOT a peaker plant.

    It is a low following plant.

    I encourage everyone concerned to attend the OPEN HOUSE at HOLIDAY INN on July 22, 4-8.

    There will be stations on why plant is needed, environmental impact, water, etc.

    I encourage all residents to get informed.

    A lot of misinformation is going around.

  8. To McHenry County residents – if you are concerned about the proposed peaker plant in your area, (which there are many reasons to be concerned), then you probably are also concerned about the dangers of fracking.

    Frack Free Illinois is trying to meet with Sen. Althoff asap, (she is a member of JCAR), we would like to talk with her about the 2nd Notice rules for high volume fracking that were just released on Friday,

    If you are familiar with some of the issues about fracking and would like to help us get this meeting with your Senator and attend it, then please call me at 773-486-7660.

    Thanks for all you do for our environment.

    Dr. Lora Chamberlain
    Frack Free Illinois

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