Oakwood Hills Again Negotiating for Gas-Powered Electric Generating Plant

Oakwood Hills is a residential village between Cary and Prairie Grove with about 2,000 people.

There is no commercial district to provide sales taxes, so property taxes, state income tax and Motor Fuel Tax revenue sharing, plus vehicle stickers provide the bulk of the town’s revenues.

As with most small villages, officials see more demand for services than they have revenue to provide them.

What Oakwood Hills does have is a location close to both high power electric lines and a gas pipeline.

The peaker plan is proposed for behind the Oakwood Hills Village Hall.

The peaker plan is proposed for behind the Oakwood Hills Village Hall.

Those are the two essentials, plus water, to operate an electric generating plant fueled by natural gas.

And such a facility would spin off a continuing stream of revenue to Oakwood Hills.

McHenry County is a part of the Commonwealth Edison service area that has a need for more electric power.

Commonwealth Edison's Silver Lakes Substation.

Commonwealth Edison’s Silver Lakes Substation behind the Oakwood Hills Village Hall.

That was made evident by proposals for similar plants near the intersection of Routes 47 and 176 in the late 1990’s.  (Remember the “Stop the Stacks” campaign?  it was going to draw water from aquifers from which drinking water comes.)

More recently, the City of McHenry has been approached by a petitioner for a facility on Route 31 south of McDonald’s in which electricity would be stored until Com Ed needed to draw from its batteries.

This is the second time Oakwood Hills has seriously considered the idea of a gas fired power plant.

The first time, by the time I got wind of it, promoter Enventure Partners had pulled the plug on the project.

Village President Melanie Funk told me that there will be a 3-9 PM open house at the Holiday Inn in Crystal Lake on Tuesday, July 22nd.

There are two firms courting Oakwood Hills–Enventure (the one for which information was supplied by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to a Freedom of Information request) and Northland Power, a Canadian firm.

Northland Power’s web site shows a base load gas fired plant in North Battleford with the following text:

A Northland Power gas-fired peaker plant.

A Northland Power gas-fired peaker plant.

Northland’s 260 MW, $641 million North Battleford project achieved commercial operations on June 5, 2013 . Construction of the wholly-owned, natural gas-fired baseload facility began in May 2010. The facility, located in west central Saskatchewan, provides power to the Saskatchewan grid under under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SaskPower.

This is Northland’s second operating facility in Saskatchewan. The 86 MW Spy Hill peaking plant near Esterhazy began commercial operations on September 17, 2011 and is selling power to SaskPower under a 25-year PPA.

The addition of North Battleford’s output lifts Northland’s net generation capacity above 1,200 MW for the first time. 

A project representative said that needed water would be handled differently than before, that a state-of-the-art design would allow recycling.

Crystal Lake and Prairie Grove waste water plants are both options under consideration at this time.

Prairie Grove has an underutilized sewage treatment plant across from Terra Cotta Industries on Route 31

Crystal Lake has one northwest of Route 176 and Terra Cotta Road

The plan is to purify the water used by the combined cycle electric generating plant before its reuse.

“We are in the information gathering stage,” Fund explained.

Prairie Grove Village Administrator Jeanne Smith said, “We’re aware that the Village of Oakwood Hills is entertaining this development.”

“We just had a meeting with them yesterday,” Crystal Lake Public Works Director Victor Ramirez explained. “We learned about the project. Now we have to evaluate it.”

= = = = =
Articles from last year:
9-23-14 Firm Planning Peaker Plant in Oakwood Hills
9-25-14 Oakwood Hills Peaker Plant Would Draw Water from Same Ironton-Galesville Sandstone Aquifer Cary Uses
9-30-13 Four Crystal Lake Wells at Depth of Two Peaker Plant Wells
10-1-14 Peaker Plant Wells Would Compete with One in Island Lake
10-2-14 Prairie Grove School Well Would Not Be Affected by Peaker Plant Wells
10-3-13 Engineer Suggests Digging Deeper for Peaker Plant Wells to Avoid Drinking Water Competition
10-4-13 Oakwood Hills Peaker Plant Might Affect Prairie Grove School Well
10-7-13 Oakwood Hills Peaker Plant to Be Discussed Wednesday in County Public Health Committee
10-8-14 McHenry Plans Well Drawing from Aquifer Oakwood Hills Peaker Plant Targeting
10-14-14 Oakwood Hills’ Documents Show Electric Generating Peaker Plant Proceeding Apace
10-21-14 Freedom of Information Requests Reveal Peaker Plant Promoters Terminated Oakwood Hills Project in July


Comments

Oakwood Hills Again Negotiating for Gas-Powered Electric Generating Plant — 4 Comments

  1. Before allowing a peaker plant, one needs the following information:

    1. Understanding that locally produced power is often stepped up in voltage and transmitted long distance. There is not ‘local usage’ of the product. Is this plant meant to feed into the high power lines? Will more high power lines be built across the county to accommodate the needs of this company?

    2. Understanding how electricity trading market works across the grid. A good way to understand the big picture is to Google ‘ Enron blackouts’ or research the history of Enron electricity traders’ methodologies. Trading electricity produced in one place for use in another: say California or New York, requires ‘paying tolls’ across disparately controlled sections of the grid, and local markets can be affected by legal manipulations of production and transmission resources.

    3. Understanding the mechanism for fines for operating the plant ‘ overtime’, above amount allowed by zoning permit. The EPA admittedly has no resources to police such plants and enforce penalties. The penalties themselves are in amounts which are a pittance compared to the profits generated by committing the overtime use violations.

    Any overtime use will also constitute water use in excess of projected estimates.

    The plant itself may not be in control of when it is switched on and off, there is a grid- level control.

    4. Exactly what volume of water is required by the plant, gross and net
    (gross before ‘purification’, net after)?

    What are the percentages of available underground water (drinking water that theoretically belongs to all local citizens) that are being diverted to this private for-profit enterprise DAILY? ( Remember, the projected usage may be exceeded, so one must know daily or hourly water use rates to form an accurate assessment of whether the reward offered by Company is worth the risk).

    So the decision is: what is the local community getting in return for its valuable resources of water and public wellbeing? Does the payment reflect the true value of the resource?

    Remember, we cringe when we hear about villages in Africa selling their oil or mineral or pipeline easement rights for fractions of pennies on the dollar.

  2. IF WE NEED MORE ELECTRICAL POWER WHY NOT A SOLAR PLANT OR WIND ENERGY !

    THAT WAY WE THE PEOPLE OF OAKWOOD HILLS CAN SELL THE POWER TO COM ED MAKE LOTS OF MONEY FOR THE ” CIVIL PROJECT S ” WITH A NEVER ENDING SUPLIE OF ELECTRIC POWER & CASH OR WE CAN JUST BE ANOTHER CORP.

    SLAVE TOWN .

    AFTER ALL WE THE PEOPLE ARE THE CARE TAKERS OF THIS LAND LETS DO SOMETHING MORE POSITIVE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION

  3. Oakwood Hills and Prairie Grove are on well and septic.

    Who’s going to supply our water when our wells run dry?

    The for-sale value of our homes already has dropped from the assessed values; who’s going to reimburse the further eroded price?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.