Wind energy in the news --- high-voltage lines will boost wind farms in the Midwest, an Illinois jail is hoping to use wind turbine for power, and the Milford school building project in Iroquois County gains revenue from wind turbines.
NIPSCO is involved in constructing two high-voltage power lines that reports say could be key links to shipping electricity from Midwest wind farms to East Coast markets.
Construction should begin in early spring on a 100-mile line from Reynolds, in White County, to Topeka in LaGrange County.
Officials in a northern Illinois county hope to install a 120-foot wind turbine in an effort to cut electricity costs by 40 – 70 percent.
Stephenson County Sheriff Dave Snyders and jail administrator Dean Schroeder have partnered with Highland Community College's Wind Turbine Technology department on the project. The jail spends about $108,000 annually on electricity. Officials say the turbine could save $65,000 a year.
And -- the Iroquois County school district (MAPS 124) finds a good chunk of its $17.5 million construction project is aided by a wind farm in the district's eastern section.
School Board President Mary Ronna said the wind farm has been very, very beneficial. "It's been a boon for the school district and the area of the county; I have good feelings about the benefits the turbines have given us."
The school board supporters back the wind farm. They point to governmental bodies like park districts, the library board, and road & bridge projects that have gained revenues for improvements – without chasing taxpayers for more money.
MAPS Superintendent Dale Hastings says that additional wind farm revenue is a proven-boost for economic gains.
"Other school districts have shown great strides with projects like wind farms and economic developments from retail sales taxes," Hastings said. "Those districts and counties have forward-thinking people that see the benefits. They're not asking people to increase taxes, they're actually reducing them by using other sources."