Heritage Ridge WindFarm—an investment in clean, renewable energy

Four farm families in Boone County have decided to invest in a clean, renewable form of energy where the sky is literally the limit—they’ve committed to wind power.

Mankind has long used the wind to sail boats, to turn wind-catching devices to do work, and create energy by driving innovative machines (generated turbines). The early pioneers in the Midwest soon learned to pump water and do other tasks by harnessing wind power, using a steel tower with a multifan blade fan with directional tail assembly.

Many of these 1800’s windmills are still standing on farms throughout the Midwest. Some still do the task of providing water for livestock where electricity is not available. By the mid-1900s, electricity replaced most of the needs for windmills. Today, the cost of producing electrical energy is increasing rapidly due to the high cost of fossil fuel that powers generators or creates steam that puts out pollutants.

After World War II, nuclear power was favored to generate steam to power turbines producing electricity. Many nuclear plants were constructed in Illinois in the 1970s. But no new plants have been permitted in the past 30 years since spent fuel produces dangerous radiation. Interest is now returning to the wind currents above our open farmlands as a clean, environmentally friendly, constantly renewing source for generating electricity. New technology and higher, larger and more efficient turbines are capturing stronger, more consistent wind currents at higher elevations.

Northern Boone County is blessed by a strong wind path on a 2-mile ridge extending from Caledonia to Sharon, Wis. This area has very productive prime soil only found in a few areas of the world. Northern Illinois has a large natural area of productive open prairie with wind currents above farmland close to large electrical users. These factors combine to provide advantages for smaller farms to utilize these resources to provide sustainable agriculture from their family farms for future generations.

The four farm families are: the Clarence & Charlotte Rabe family (Clarence now deceased); the Glen Guthrie family; the Wayne Ward family; and the Wallace Ramsay family. Wallace Ramsay serves as organizer for the Wind Farm project.

A Wind Energy Informational Tour will be given at Montfort Windfarm west of Dodgeville, Wis., on Saturday, June 11. The tour is sponsored by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, the Boone County Farm Bureau, and the four farm families who are organizing a community windfarm.

The tour is free. Deluxe motorcoach transportation will be provided to and from the site. The bus will depart at 8:30 a.m. from the Boone County Farm Bureau office, 702 W. Locust St., Belvidere. The bus will return no later than 5 p.m.

To reserve a spot, call the Boone County Farm Bureau at (815) 547-7500. Wallace Ramsay said, “We have space if people want to attend, and there will be a free lunch.”

From the June 8-14, 2005, issue

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