Articles from Indiana
Energy generating wind turbines put up in St. Joseph County will soon have to conform to a new set of rules, aimed at keeping homeowners and their neighbors safe. The St. Joseph County Council passed the new regulations unanimously Tuesday. County leaders said they want the push toward "green" energy to continue, but not unchecked. ...But others say the regulations don't go far enough. They worry the windmills will still be too noisy, too visible, and could lower property values."
The 200- to 300-foot-long blades on industrial windmills look almost whimsical from afar. They appear to turn slowly. People sometimes stop to take pictures. "They look cool," said Eric Burch, director of policy and outreach for the Indiana Office of Energy Development. The tips of those giant blades, however, move at speeds approaching 160 mph, creating forces that send low-frequency vibrations through the ground. People three-quarters of a mile away sometimes say they can feel the vibrations in their chests.
Among the first Indiana residents to experience life near industrial wind turbines, Buchanan has yet to arrive at a final judgment of his 260-foot-tall neighbors, which went operational in March. "They growl at you," he says. "The quiet of the rural area I have enjoyed most of my life, I probably will not be able to experience that again." ...Financially, "it's enormous," says Buchanan, who farms several thousand acres with family. "If you offer me the opportunity to have four towers that generate $30,000 to $40,000, that's a lot of corn and soybeans."
Proponents of alternative energy stress the production of alternative sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels. Others recognize the importance of coal to Indiana and prefer to explore development of clean coal technology. In any case, one trend is apparent: Despite widespread acknowledgment of a need to alter habits to protect the environment, many youths are apathetic about changing the status quo.
One thing could slow down or halt the development of wind farms in Indiana, and it's not community opposition, government regulation, shortage of wind or lack of interest by developers. Getting the electricity generated by the wind to actual customers is shaping up as the biggest obstacle, experts said at the second annual WIndiana conference this week.
Does anyone else hear an echo of the ethanol boom from three summers ago? ...All of this makes the effort to erect two giant wind farms in Boone County, the state's second-windiest locale, worth watching. Putting in the 300-foot turbines is one thing in sparsely populated Benton County, but as Boone County's executive director of the area plan commission, Steve Niblick, said: "We are different than other counties with wind farms."
About 40 persons have organized the Southern Boone Wind Group to negotiate with wind farm developers. Those persons, mostly living in Jackson, southern Jefferson and Harrison townships, own about 4,000 acres, said Kent Frandsen, the group's attorney. ...Before Boone County's wind resource can be harvested, though, the county must eliminate a ban on wind mills and write an ordinance regulating the potentially lucrative turbine farms.
Two European energy companies are locking up land leases for wind farms in Boone County that would bring industrial-size wind turbines into the Indianapolis metro area. One problem: Boone County's zoning laws prohibit wind turbines, so the proposals could ignite the most intense debate yet in Indiana over how to deal with the surging number of wind farms, which up until now have been relegated to rural counties in the northwestern part of the state.
Understanding the basics of contract and property law are critical for Boone County landowners who are asked to lease their property for a wind farm, Indiana Farm Bureau representatives say. Jason Schneider, an IFB attorney, and Kelly L. Kepner, of the Purdue Extension Benton County office, gave a crash course in wind farm development concerns.
Despite having the money allocated in its budget, Logansport Municipal Utilities will hold back on a $43,000 wind energy feasibility study in an area south of the city. At last week's Utility Service Board meeting, board vice president Todd Miller asked for a cost-benefit analysis before LMU moved ahead with the project. Miller said he had to be sure that it was money worth spending given the estimated $3 million cost of erecting a single wind turbine.
These hills will soon be covered with these grotesque towers; ruining the landscape that created a vision of what life was like on the prairie many years ago. Along these Benton County highways there were only telephone poles, barns, homes, and an occasional wooded area; thus allowing an unobstructed view of the horizon in all directions.
The Howard County Plan Commission referred the ordinance back to the Ordinance Study Committee on Tuesday and is expected to consider it again in May. Glen Boise, executive director of the Kokomo/Howard County Plan Commission, said there was considerable discussion about the language in the ordinance on a large wind system.
Get it in writing. That contractual advice and other tips for those wanting to profit from wind energy were offered Wednesday in Warsaw. Nearly 150 people gathered in the Shrine Building at the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds to learn about how commercial wind power can work for them. Turnout matched interest in the topic. Organizers had hoped for 80 to 90 attendees. People came from 16 counties, including Wayne County, Mich.
Following the lead of Benton and White counties to the west, government officials and the local utility company in Cass County are probing the possibility of wind energy here. Commissioner Gene Powlen confirmed the commission's desire to explore how the county fits into the wind energy scheme in Indiana.
Members of the Elkhart County Board of Zoning Appeals got a taste of the wind power debate during their meeting Thursday morning. One petitioner's bid for a wind-powered generator was granted and another denied. ...Anita Miller, a nearby neighbor of Ntende's, voiced her concerns over possible dangers, such as electrical surges or falling debris due to the proposed windmill's proximity to surrounding homes and electrical lines.
About 150 people from 13 Indiana counties and one Michigan county gathered Wednesday in the Shrine Building at the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds to talk about wind power. Most in attendance were farmers or other land owners interested in hearing how wind power development in the area could affect them.
A Lafayette-area union claimed a company working on the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County is using an out-of-state workforce instead of local workers. Members of the Operating Engineers Local 103 were picketing jobsites near Remington and in Benton County.
The wind has died down at Randolph Southern, and that means less money for schools. Plans for a 330-foot wind turbine on the west side of campus are on hold after the manufacturer said it didn't want to place it too close to the school. Now, school officials and consultants from Performance Services of Indianapolis, an engineering and construction company, are hoping to find a site nearby to get the project back on track.
E.ON Climate and Renewables hopes to establish a test tower southeast of Swayzee within the next two months. If results are satisfactory, the company could establish a 60,000-acre wind farm that stretches across four counties, including Grant, within the next three years. Andy Melka, the assistant development manager for E.ON, said the project is still in the planning stages, and it will be two to three years before Grant County residents see any significant construction.
When state and local officials met on Oct. 8 to announce that Illinois-based Brevini would relocate its national headquarters here and create 450 jobs building components for wind turbines, manufacturing was expected to begin in mid-2010. But a Brevini official told The Star Press recently that the nation's economy is among the reasons the plant's construction and start of operations are more likely to be longer in coming.