Library from Indiana
Wind energy is a growing industry in Indiana, but not every community is receptive to the development. Tippecanoe County is working on a proposal to ban wind farms, and Montgomery County is in the midst of an intense debate over two proposed farms. No matter who you ask, wind turbines are a touchy subject in Montgomery County.
E.ON Climate & Renewables is planning a wind farm in Posey and southern Gibson County — and is exploring the feasibility of a second wind farm in areas northwest and south-southwest of Princeton as well.
Basically, EDP is challenging the validity of Murdock Township's zoning, arguing that the Douglas County wind regulations that have been in place for some time should supersede those of the township. Murdock Township responded to the lawsuit with motions asking the court to dismiss the EDP complaints, and Thursday, Judge Gary A. Webber denied some of the motions, but not all of them.
The Jasper County Plan Commission OK’d a draft Monday of the solar power amendment for the county’s Unified Development Ordinance. Members of county government have also confirmed that a committee will be discussing wind turbine setback regulations in the near future.
Boots introduced the bill after elected officials from Darlington and Alamo adopted ordinances regulating wind farms in an effort to eliminate its development.
Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh, who serves on the Area Plan Commission ordinance committee, asked that a draft of a law be submitted in the near future that would ban large wind farms in the county. Area Plan Commission Director Sally Fahey said the entire committee wanted the proposed ordinance drafted.
Commissioner Tom Murtaugh said an updated ordinance would put those worries to rest. "A change in the overall county ordinance that states that large wind systems will no longer be allowed in Tippecanoe County," he said. If passed landowners would still be able to put in wind turbines, it would just ban industrial wind farms.
Documents show the company appears to have terminated contracts to build wind farm facilities as of Dec. 19 in two area counties. “It is with regret that we have made the difficult decision to conclude our pursuit of the Flat Rock Wind Project in Rush and Henry Counties in Indiana,” Apex development officials said in a statement.
Baker said it has become increasingly difficult over the last several years to maintain the Flat Rock Wind project timeline due to the lack of certainty regarding local government regulations. “The resulting delays, combined with capacity constraints on the electrical grid, have made it infeasible for us to continue our investment in the project,” Baker said.
The ordinance amendment affecting turbine use in the county was brought about by changes proposed by a group of local individuals including Jasper County Plan Commission President Gerrett Dobson, Scott Green and Steve Molenaar. The group’s goal was to provide what it has referred to as “adequate protection to those who choose not to participate in the White Post Wind Project.”
Wind – a hot topic in the May primary – may not be as much of a driving force in the Nov. 6 election, yet behind the scenes there’s still lots of anti-turbine activity.
From Sulphur Springs east to Mount Summit and Mooreland as well as other small towns throughout the county, wheels are turning to ensure future wind turbines won’t be. Tuesday night, patrons again spoke out against proposed wind turbines at the Sulphur Springs Town Board meeting.
Among the changes, amendments would limit construction of turbines on land zoned Industrial III; increase the setbacks from property lines; regulate the height, noise level, vibration, shadow flicker and glare from night lights of towers; and require bond amounts for site abandonment and the decommissioning of tower sites.
It limits the ban to commercial wind energy convergence systems, while allowing landowners to build noncommercial and micro wind turbines in certain circumstances, specifying rules depending on the structure’s size. At the same time, the changes also attempt to provide more legal justification for banning commercial wind farms, such as potential impacts on “the health, safety, and general welfare” of Pulaski County residents, along with property values.
The agency also complains that Vectren didn’t seek competitive bids, which would have led to much lower costs. ...Vectren calculated the plant would need to earn 7 cents per kWh to break even. A more competitive process could drive the costs down to 4 to 5 cents per kWh.
RES stated in a media announcement Tuesday that it is no longer pursuing the project and that it will take action to accomplish the withdrawal immediately. “Technical circumstances for the project have changed unfavorably, making the project no longer feasible,” according to the statement.
“A lot of this is not in compliance with our Chapter 155 ordinance that we passed,” Commissioners president Jim Fulwider said. “If we’re not going to stand behind an ordinance that we put in place, then why make ordinances if we’re not going to stand behind them? ... The proposed agreements are not in compliance with Chapter 155 and are not in the best interest of Montgomery County and our citizens. I will expect full compliance with Chapter 155. As Commissioner I take this seriously and will use all legal methods to protect the people.”
Kosciusko County Area Plan Commission unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday requesting county commissioners adopt a moratorium on the acceptance of any applications for wind turbines and related equipment.
"I'm concerned there's something we're missing and I would like to propose that we put a committee together to look at this a little further," Pullen said as attendees burst into applause. Stacy Odom, also a plan commission member, later agreed with Pullen, calling wind energy an ever-changing industry and that local rules would ideally reflect that somehow.