Thursday evening in Fayette County, NextEra Energy Resources held an open house for those living in Fayette, Henry and Rush Counties.
The company is bringing forth a new project proposal, West Fork Wind Energy Center.
Bryan Garner, Manager of Communications for NextEra and Zach Melda, project manager stopped in Rushville Thursday to talk a little bit about the project.
The project would be located in Fayette, Henry and Rush County. The company expects the project will bring nearly 150 megawatts produced by approximately 72 GE turbines. It is proposed the turbines will be 94 meters tall from the ground to the hub in the center of the blades. Commercial operation is targeted for late 2018.
“The project has been in some degree of development for 10 years or so. The project is actually really coming together well. We wanted to share updated information about the project and the benefits of the project,” Garner said.
“When you talk about a wind farm, you look about a life of 30 years for the project of life. Over that period of time you are looking at $44.5 million dollars in property tax revenue in the three counties and more than 28 million dollars to landowners who participate in the project. These projects can be built in about 6-9 months while creating jobs,” Garner said.
NextEra operates wind projects in 19 states and 4 Canadian provinces.
“We are based out of Juno Beach, Florida, and we have built over 110 wind projects across the country. I think as this project evolves, you will see we donate to charities, we are on chamber boards and we really just want to become a part of the community,” Garner added.
“We want to do everything that needs to be done,” Project Manager Zach Melda said. “The next zoning hearing for this project will be Nov. 16. We will present the project and lay out the plan and the benefits. We want to put to rest some of the misinterpretations about the project. We want to be able to answer questions. This is actually a pretty exciting project to get going again. We are seeing a lot of demand from energy customers for clean energy. It is going to be very in the forefront so to speak. Fayette and Henry have already signed up with us and we really hope Rush County is the next to sign up,” Melda said.
As far as support, the company said they are actually receiving quite a bit.
“The 16th is our first meeting with the county, but we have had landowner dinners, open houses and we have talked to several landowners already. For the most part, we have been getting a lot of support, much more support than opposition,” Melda said.
In Rush County, the company is looking at putting up 22 turbines, Melda said this is less than most projects and they are trying to spread them throughout the three counties.
“We are very interactive on the front end to make sure we have a great partnership going. We have taken some different steps and we want to have a good understand,” Melda said.
“I think one of the things that sets us apart is we have built more wind projects than anyone in the world and we do it better than anybody. We abide by all regulations and we try to do things just as a way municipality wants us to do it. If you look at our record, we have a strong record to stand on. Our values are committed to excellence and treating people with respect and doing the right thing. That permeates just about everything we do.”
NextEra will meet with the county on Wednesday, Nov. 16 to discuss the project.
For more information, visit www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
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