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Serving: IN

Wind Energy Concept Moves Forward in Indiana

Latest meeting scheduled for Kosciusko County.

The excitement over wind energy continues to grow in Indiana. And why not? President Obama is on record supporting all types of alternative energy, including wind power. And projects that have been erected so far include dozens to hundreds of huge towers that are generating more than electricity. Each one means a relatively lucrative payment for the person who owns the land where the wind tower sets. In fact there's enough money involved that some realtors and farmers in areas where projects have been installed claim land prices have actually increased if towers are on the land.

The biggest project so far is in Benton County in northwest Indiana. That's where the only actual commercial towers in Indiana are operating so far. But proposed projects have sprouted up in north central and east-central Indiana. Interest is keen across the state, especially from Indianapolis north. In fact, an all-day workshop was recently held devoted to helping those who wanted to pursue erecting smaller towers just to produce electricity on their own property. It's a concept that some people are pushing already in places like Iowa, where wind energy production got a head start over Indiana. One company who constructs towers for individuals even exhibited at the Farm Progress Show near Boone, Iowa, last August.

The latest meeting for those interested in wind production in general is Wednesday, April 15. It will be held at the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds near Warsaw, beginning at 7 p.m. EDT. The meeting will be located in the Shrine Building on the grounds. The interest in that area is stemming from inquiries and possibilities of wind energy production targeting the local area. Other such meetings have already been held over the past few months near Winchester, and in other locations where companies that put up towers and harness wind energy for electricity have expressed an interest.

There's a reason why most of the proposals and producer interest have been confined to the northern half to two-thirds of Indiana so far. All you need to do is look at a 'wind resources' map of Indiana. Average wind speed is higher across the northern half o Indiana than across the southern half, with only a few exceptions. The difference may be a slow as a mile per hour, but in terms of making a profit or not breaking even, that one mile per hour is critical, officials report.

The meeting coming up is sponsored by the Kosciusko County Farm Bureau and the Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation. Farm Bureau has been proactive in holding meetings to inform landowners of their rights in areas where it appears a proposal might turn into reality. These meetings seemed to grow out of an effort by Farm Bureau to inform landowners involved in the REX pipeline proposal about their rights. That project is now physically underway in southern and southeast Indiana. The difference between the pipeline proposal and the wind energy concept is that so far, landowners perceive the wind energy turbines to be much more lucrative and less disruptive of practices that need to go on in their farming operation.

Jimmy Bricker, the Purdue University Extension ag educator who's earning a reputation for being a wind energy expert, will speak at the meeting, along with Justin Schneider, a staff attorney for Indiana Farm Bureau. He's specialized in understanding these types of easements and contracts.

Bricker was instrumental in bringing the first wind energy project to Indiana. He helped pursue it as an opportunity for economic development in Benton County, an area that was in desperate need of any kind of economic development.

For more information on the Kosciusko County meeting, contact Jon Goon at 574-453-0409.

TAGS: Extension
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