Leo Grusenmeyer is willing to go out on a limb to see if his property east of Tipp City is suitable for a wind farm.
Tipp City is willing to join him in sharing the cost of a test tower that would help determine if Grusenmeyer’s land could some day provide a portion of power for the city-owned electric distribution system.
First, though, they have to seek permits from Elizabeth Twp., through its zoning process, to use the property, located north of Tipp-Elizabeth Road and west of Ohio 202.
Verbal permission to begin the permit process was given March 3 by the City Council following a review of the potential wind project with Grusenmeyer and Mo Eichman, city utilities director.
The test tower of around 200 feet would cost an estimated $31,900, with the city share coming from the electric fund.
“I don’t think it’s that much money, to find out (project feasibility),” said Councilwoman Dee Gillis.
The city and land owner already have shared the $3,200 cost of a “fatal flaw” analysis to determine if there are any barriers, such as Federal Aviation Administration regulations, that could impede a wind generator.
Eichman said there was no problem obtaining that clearance.
The fatal flaw analysis pointed out the site is in the Miami Conservancy District flood zone and said study might be needed of any impact on an endangered species (the Indiana bat) and a potential avian migration route.
The tower test would have one year of operation once permits are obtained and equipment installed, a process Eichman estimated could take up to six months.
Grusenmeyer, who bought the property now farmed from the Fulton family, said his interest in wind power was whipped up by a visit to a farm with smaller units near Brookville.
A discussion with Eichman led to the cooperation on the fatal flaw study.
“This thing has just sort of mushroomed,” Grusenmeyer said. He said the site proposed for the tower, or towers, if feasible, is probably the least productive of that farm.
Councilwoman Vickie Blakey said the city needs to take advantage of an opportunity to invest in green power, and get project information to the public because of opposition to wind farms aired in other areas.
“I think it is important to talk about it,” she said.
By Nancy Bowman
13 March 2008
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