KALIDA – Health concerns, flickering and property values are all issues on the minds of residents in light of a proposal by Kalida Manufacturing Industries to install two windmills.
KMI plant manager Rick Esch said KMI is proposing purchasing the land to install two company-owned 1.5-megawatt wind turbine generators that would provide about two-thirds of the company’s annual electric power. He said the project would allow the company to offset a projected 20-year average of $1.6 million in costs. KMI is taking the steps to have the additional 55 acres the company hopes to purchase annexed into Kalida. KMI is partnering with One Energy for the project.
KMI began working in August with One Energy to determine if the proposal would cut energy costs.
“Our energy costs have been increasing over 9 percent per year for the past five years,” Esch said. “We have to find a way to cut overhead costs and wanted to do it without affecting personnel.”
He said KMI, which makes automotive parts, has to stay competitive in a world market. KMI receives a 30 percent investment tax credit.
Esch said KMI also considered solar panels, but found what would be produced, even if the entire facility’s roof were converted, was only a small percentage of the energy KMI needs.
One Energy General Manager Jereme Kent said that, because of this type of savings, his company is working with other companies in the region that are considering the installation of wind turbines.
“The companies that install these wind turbines are not allowed to produce more energy from the wind turbines than their annual total energy usage,“ Kent said.
One Energy has done studies about the effect the wind turbine on the area, including sound studies and decibel readings. The study found the decibles produced on residences near the propsed wind turbines would be 36.84, or less than the noise heard in a library. A vacuum cleaner prodices noise of 70 decibles. Residents at Tuesday’s township meeting said they thought the sound would be a constant annoyance and keep them awake.
Health concerns from living near wind turbines also have been raised. Some residents have raised the issues of reports of headaches, dizziness and heart palpations occur in those living near wind turbines. A report released in January by the Masschusetts Enviromental Protection Agency said there was no evidence that noise or low-frequency vibrations from turbines trigger health problems like those described as “wind turbine syndrome.” Hearings surrounding the report are underway.
Questions about the height and how it would distract from the St. Michael Catholic Church steeple also have been raised. The church is 135 feet high, and the top of the turbine pole is 278 feet, with the top of the blades reaching 421 feet.
“This project was never intended to be an issue. It was about KMI providing value for everyone involved, now and into the future. It is deeply regrettable emotions have become the focus,” Esch said.
KMI employs 370 full- and part-time workers, with 60 percent of the 290 full-time employees living in Putnam County.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding