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Indiana Michigan Power is setting up test sites in Jay and Randolph counties  

PORTLAND – A proposed wind farm could possibly generate a $175 million investment in Jay County within two years.

Mike Brian, corporate communications manager for Indiana Michigan Power in Fort Wayne, said his company plans to have at least one and perhaps two or three test sites ready to go this spring to determine if there is enough wind power in the area to generate electricity.

“We are setting up a couple of test sites in Jay and Randolph counties and perhaps one at the northern edge of Wayne County,” Brian said last week.

“The technology on wind generators is improving so that sites not considered in the past are being considered now.”

The test sites are expected to be operational this spring.

After studying wind maps, which indicate potential locations for wind farms, test sites are developed to collect data for one to two years to determine if there is an adequate wind source to justify building a wind farm, according to Brian.

A 100-megawatt wind farm with 50 to 70 turbines would cost about $175 million, Brian said.

“It’s still about twice as expensive as our coal-fired generators,” he added.

Such an investment would be big for the area, according to Ami Huffman, director of the Jay County Development Corporation.

“The opportunity to participate in a renewable energy source as a county is great for Jay County,” she said. “If our wind tests come positive they could make a huge investment here.”

Huffman also said “there is no downside” to a wind farm.

“They are quiet. They are good for our environment and they don’t take up a lot of space. There’s just not a downside that we can see,” she said.

There is also an added benefit to area landowners.

Brian said that each wind turbine would require about an acre of land that would be leased from landowners at $4,000 a year.

A 100-megawatt wind farm would require 50 to 70 300-foot tall turbines that would require about one acre each.

However, a 50-turbine wind farm cannot be located in a single 50-acre field.

The 300-foot tall turbines must be staggered and spread out over a wide area so they do not interfere with each other, and to capitalize on topography of land to take advantage of wind puffs.

A 50-turbine wind farm would cover about 12 square miles, according to Brian.

“We’re really excited,” he said. “We have experience with sites in Texas and Oklahoma and we can use what we learned down there for up here.”

By Ric Routledge
ricroutledge@hotmail.com

thestarpress.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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