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Wind farm presentation this week

One day, drivers on Interstate 70 in Henry County may look to the south and see 492-foot-tall wind turbines with blades moving in the breeze.

More specific details on what those drivers may see – if they’ll see anything at all – will likely emerge this week during meetings of the County Council and County Commissioners.

The presidents of both boards said on Monday that they expect representatives from Nordex, an international wind energy company that has been considering locating a wind farm in southern Henry County, to give presentations during meetings on Wednesday.

The council meets at 3:30 p.m. inside the Henry County Courthouse. The commissioners meet at 6 p.m. in the courthouse.

Kim Cronk, president of the commissioners, said there won’t be any votes on the Nordex’s presentation about its wind farm on Wednesday. But he said the council and commissioners will likely hear more about what the company is planning for the county and how it’s working with the New Castle-Henry County Municipal Airport.

The airport is in the process of pursuing a runway extension project. However, if a wind farm is constructed in southern Henry County, the turbines could affect the airport’s operations.

On Monday, Cronk said the airport and Nordex are working together. And he said the city and the county are also working together on the runway project.

The commissioners may vote on Wednesday on what to do with funding for the airport for 2012, Cronk said.

“It’s a very exciting time,” he added.

In August 2010, Nordex earned the approval of the county planning commission to install a meteorological tower in Lewisville to measure wind speeds.

A few months later in November 2010, Nordex presented its preliminary plans to put dozens of wind turbines in southern Henry County. But Howard Kruger, project development consultant for Nordex, said then that the actual number of wind turbines placed here would depend on wind speeds.

Also at that time, Kruger said three factors drew the company to Henry County. Kruger said that the county has capacity available on its power lines, that the county’s location allows the company to sell energy to the east and west and that the county has farmers who are willing to work with Nordex.

Those farmers and other property owners in southern Henry County could benefit financially if a wind farm is set up here.

Usually, companies pay to lease land on which wind turbines are located. In addition, they usually also pay nearby property owners and sometimes, pay government agencies through contracts that allow the wind farms to happen.

One of the biggest obstacles to the southern Henry County wind farm has been the presence of the airport in New Castle.

Officials have said the airport would need to change its flight pattern to make it so more wind turbines can be placed farther north in the county.

Nate LaMar, president of Henry County Council, said on Monday that he’s contacted Sen. Richard Lugar’s office to work with the airport, Nordex and the Federal Aviation Administration.

LaMar said he hopes Nordex’s presentation on Wednesday includes the details of contracts the company has proposed or signed with landowners here.

“Wind power is a win-win for Henry County and the City of New Castle,” LaMar added.