There wasn’t a parking slot to be found around the Madison County Courthouse Tuesday evening, as the county board of adjustment met to determine whether or not to issue a variance for as many as 52 wind turbines south of Earlham in Penn Twp., one section of Madison Twp. and two sections of Jackson Twp.
More than 100 people crowded into the county courtroom, creating a standing-room-only scenario with more than three dozen people standing and leaning against the courtroom walls for support. Many were in favor, and many opposed the MidAmerican Energy Arbor Hills wind project. About 90 minutes into the 7 p.m. meeting, discussion began on the Arbor Hill project.
The project calls for as many as 52 wind turbines for northwest Madison County – all slightly taller and larger in diameter than the Macksburg Wind Farm project of 2014.
MidAmerican Energy says the wind project should generate $51 million over the 40-year life of the project.
“We feel that wind generation fits well in the agricultural landscape,” said MidAmerican spokesman Adam Jablonski.
The meeting lasted well past 11 p.m., with no decision before this issue of the Madisonian went to press.
Before getting to the MidAmerican application, the five-member board of adjustment, on a split 3-2 vote, issued two variance to allow for construction of two meteorological towers – one in Monroe Twp. (Section 1) and one in Ohio Twp. (Section 20) to gather wind data over the next 1-6 years. This would determine if a wind project is feasible for those areas of the county. The two towers were not MidAmerican related.
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