Updated details about an ambitious wind farm proposal for northern Tippecanoe County were presented to two dozen business and government leaders Tuesday.
“This is not just a wind farm,” said Scott Zigmond, vice president of sales and marketing for Performance Services. The firm is designing and plans to build the 60-turbine, 100-megawatt alternative energy project in conjunction with Purdue University.
“We think it’s a state project,” he said. “This is an inclusive project with research lab capabilities for Purdue University and utility companies.”
Based in Carmel, Performance Services initially planned to develop a 50-megawatt wind farm in northwestern Tippecanoe County and had contacted 19 landowners.
Then the company was selected by the Purdue Board of Trustees to work with the university on developing a larger project on 1,600 acres of mostly agriculture land at the nearby Purdue Animal Sciences Research and Education Center.
The combined plans have been rolled into one. The Purdue Energy Park project is anticipated to be commissioned and operational by Dec. 31, 2012.
“I think the structure you have put together – it’s really is a perfect fit,” said Joe Seaman, president and chief executive officer of Greater Lafayette Commerce, which sponsored an Eggs N Issues event at the Hilton Garden Inn in West Lafayette. “For Purdue to be a partner, and your company to take part, is really great.”
Performance Services is negotiating power purchase agreements with energy companies for the electricity that will be generated by the turbines.
“Wind is not the end all, be all. It is part of the solution,” Zigmond said of the in-state renewable resource. “This will support Purdue University and Indiana as a national leader in renewable energy.”
Purdue’s involvement in the project involves the opportunity to conduct industry-leading research on a variety of topics that include how animals are affected by wind farms.
Purdue Energy Park also is proposed to have facilities to study solar energy, water filtration, wind energy battery storage, and a welcome and innovation center.
“We do see folks flocking to this,” Zigmond said. “This is a 25- to 30-year project.”
With installation of turbines slated to begin a year from now, the project is expected to generate 200 to 225 short-term jobs and long-term employment for about eight people.
Before he became a member of the Tippecanoe County Council earlier this year, David Williams served on the county’s Area Plan Commission.
Williams said the APC had to use empirical data when deciding wind farm proposals. The development planned by Performance Services and Purdue could provide new and better information of many wind-related issues.
“This particular project will enhance research for other communities,” Williams said.
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