My husband doesn’t mind when I go off the beaten path when we’re out on a ride exploring The Prairie State. Usually I stick to the county routes, but today we took a few township maintained roads. A couple of them lacked pavement; the Jeep Cherokee handles the gravel roads just fine.

We made our way through the Otter Creek Wind Farm in LaSalle County. A little bit of research online reveals that Otter Creek Wind Farm went online in March of this year. There are 42 Vesta turbines spread across 10,000 acres of land rented from 76 land owners. The 158 megawatt wind farm puts out enough electricity to power about 60,000 Illinois homes per year.

We stayed on township maintained roads and stayed off the private driveways that go up to the turbines. They’re quite similar to the ones we used to pass by in the North Country of Upstate New York. Underground lines from each turbine carry power to a centrally located substation. The substation is tied into power lines that have crossed this area for decades. This is a natural tie-in to the local grid.

I have always been fascinated by electricity and I’m encouraged by the renewable energy efforts in Illinois. Wind farms are especially prevalent, but we also have solar farms scattered across the prairie. I know some folks don’t like the turbines dotting the landscape, but they’re nearly silent and they harness a renewable resource to keep our ever growing list of electric-dependent devices working.

There are some encouraging aspects to the 21st century!