Thursday, June 13, 2013

Randolph County, IN: Leader in green energy technology with new wind farm

By Rick Yencer
WINCHESTER, IN - Those distant wind turbines at Randolph Eastern Schools and Union City were a sign that Randolph County was ready to embrace alternative energy with a new $350 million wind farm near Modoc and Lynn.
As Greg Beumer, Randolph County economic development director explains, those turbines besides other green industries made the community a natural for the latest wind farm built by EDP Renewables North American costing around $350 million.
"This will make Randolph County a leader in green energy technology," said Beumer.
Indiana Michigan Power announced this week that the proposed Headwaters Wind Farm built by EDP would add 200 megawatts of wind power to its system over the next 29 years, That announcement came on the heels of Delaware County just deciding to withdraw rules for wind farms, and another builder, E-ON, pulling tax incentives for a similar project,
Randolph County impose wind farm rules about seven years ago, according to Bill Terrell, president of the county commissioners, as renewable energy companies began looking for a wind farm site.
Terrell said there was not alot of opposition to the development especially in a very rural areas of the county where setbacks, noise limits and other restrictions were proposed years ago. He lives near the site in southern Randolph County but is not one of leased property owners.
Indiana Michigan has been seeking proposals since February to add more wind power to its system. Actually, the utility agreed in a consent order negotiated with the federal government, other northeast states and environmental groups to add 200 megawatts of new wind energy. And the utility was only looking at plans for projects in the late stage of development.
Besides settling a dispute over alternative energy, Indiana Michigan insisted the wind farm would bring jobs and long term economic development to the area.
EDP Renewable will create more than 150 jobs through construction that is expected to be finished in 2014 And there will be 20 permanent jobs for its operation.
"We are excited to partner with Indiana Michigan Power to deliver clean and cost-effective homegrown Indiana electricity to more more than 55,000 homes annually," said Gabriel Alonso, CEO of EDP Renewable, a company headquartered in Spain.
EDP Renewable owns and operates 29 wind farms in the United States including the Meadow Lake Wind Farm in White County. It is headquartered in Madrid, Spain and is he world's third largest wind energy producer.
And Indiana Michigan has other wind power suppliers in Benton, Madison, Grant, Howard and Tipton counties.
Winchester Mayor Steve Coyle was excited about the development, adding that a wind turbine would be added to the city;s Vision Industrial park. With Winchester now on the map with Wick's Pies and Silvertown precious metals, the green leader would help promotion and market the community to even more employers.
Beumer explained Union City led in green industry with AMP Electric Vehicles, manufacturer of electric trucks and vans, and IMPCO that manufacturers compressed gas engines.