WEST LEBANON, Ind. – No decision came Wednesday night regarding a proposed wind farm in Warren County.
Discussion of Jordan Creek Wind Farm will continue on to another meeting of the Warren County Board of Zoning Appeals, scheduled for Nov. 28 at the Fine Arts Room of Seeger Memorial High School near West Lebanon. The developer – Orion Renewable Energy Group – is seeking a special exception required by the county’s zoning rules to develop a wind farm.
After a couple rounds of testimony by experts on both sides of the issue, the meeting transitioned into public comment. Proponents of the wind farm brought up benefits including the potential tax revenue for the county, revenue for landowners, job opportunities and clean energy. Opponents of the wind farm expressed concerns including property values, noise and safety.
Attica resident Steve Fellure spoke first and advocated for the wind farm.
“Orion wants to locate in Warren County,” Fellure said. “How many other businesses and industries are trying to work with us? Orion has had an office in downtown Williamsport since 2014. They are a part of our business community.”
Williamsport resident Michael Evans spoke against the wind farm – expressing concerns that the shadow flicker from the turbines would obstruct the county’s natural beauty.
“I could see over the horizon and I knew as the sun was setting, that I would have flicker,” Evans said. “If this is voted to be allowed, there is no chance of ever returning back to what Warren County once was if we don’t stop it at this time.”
If approved, the Jordan Creek Wind Farm would construct up to 150 wind turbines across Jordan, Liberty, Prairie and Steuben townships, according to the special exception application. The turbines would generate up to 300 megawatts of electricity – enough for 80,000 Indiana homes – according to the document.
The project also would include access roads, cables, electric substations, above-ground transmission lines and meteorological towers.
Property taxes and other payments to Warren County would be expected to add up to more than $32 million over 30 years, according to the application. The project would take up about 27,000 acres of private land, the owners of which will receive payouts. Warren County residents allowing the infrastructure on their land are expected to receive more than $35 million over 25 years, according to the application.
Construction of the project would create 200 to 250 temporary construction jobs and 10 to 15 full-time permanent jobs, according to the developer.
The project includes a decommissioning agreement. Should the turbines cease producing power for 12 months – and no further plan is submitted to and approved by the Warren County Zoning Office – the company must decommission the equipment.
Warren County allows wind farms to go into areas zoned agricultural with a special exception from the board of zoning appeals.