CHAUTAUQUA – A public hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, at the Chautauqua Town Hall regarding a proposal to allow wind testing to be done on vacant land northeast of the intersection of Thayer and Dean Roads in the town of Chautauqua.
The hearing date was set at a recent Town Board meeting.
Town officials report Dave and Sue Hindman own the property where Juwi Wind of Germany would like to construct a measuring pole to record wind volumes for one year to study the possibility of building a wind farm. Once the hearing is held for a special use permit to allow for the study, Town Board members will vote on the permitting for the residential/agricultural area.
If testing is successful, a wind farm could be built in the future.
Hindman said the company contacted him, adding he thinks a wind farm would be a good fit for the property. He would lease land to the company to put up 35 to 40 wind turbines if the testing is deemed successful. Other properties would also need to be leased, Hindman said, adding the company is pursuing other properties while the winds are tested.
Hindman hopes the testing proves viable. He said no one else in the county seems to be willing to step forward to look to wind energy, which he considers a viable option.
“I thought someone needed to (step forward),” he said. “We can’t call ourselves green unless we try.”
Hindman said alternative energy sources are “something we need.” He said nuclear power and coal are not viable in his mind. Hindman said he is surrounded by Amish neighbors, some of whom use coal. Being familiar with odors stemming from coal burning, he asked if people would really want to return to using that.
Hindman said he also favored the German company investing in the United States.
“It’s not a government handout,” he said about the project.
Hindman said so far he has gotten positive feedback from most neighbors about the wind turbines, adding some had questions that have been answered, with the next step being the public hearing for the testing to occur.
According to its website, Juwi Wind began operating in the United States in 2002 in Kansas and expanded operations into Ohio in 2006. Its U.S. operations are headquartered in Colorado. The company develops, finances, constructs and operates wind projects by acquiring sites, measuring wind, designing farm layouts, working on permitting, negotiating power agreements, construction and operation of wind farms.
Studying sites in the U.S., it has wind farms in Nebraska, two farms in Ohio, one in Kansas and another in Indiana.
Juwi wind officials could not be reached to comment about plans in Chautauqua.