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Wind turbine project creeping forward

A project that would bring up to 52 wind generating turbines to northwestern Fayette County is still moving forward, but slowly.

NextEra Energy Resources says it has land agreements for all of the turbines planned in the West Fork Wind project, according to Bryan Garner, the company’s communications director.

“The West Fork Wind project has strong landowner interest and participation. It also has secured the necessary local permitting. We are currently marketing the project to potential customers,” he wrote.

Originally, the project was to have been completed by the end of 2019, according to testimony submitted to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

Earlier this week, Garner wrote in an email, “The timeline of the project will be driven by the market and customer needs.”

Most of the sites are planned for Fairview and Posey townships. On Wednesday, Bill MacDaniel, Fayette County area planning director, said the company has not filed any new documents or changes of plans with his office for many months.

A group of people have expressed continuing opposition to the project. Among them is Craig Mosburg, who lives in the area where the turbines would be put up. He has asked the Fayette County Commissioners for an update on the project. Asked by the Connersville News-Examiner if he wanted to make comment for this article, he declined.

The project had originally included several more sites in Henry and Rush counties. It faced opposition in those two counties and they have been dropped from the plan.

NextEra had asked the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to exclude it from IURC jurisdiction, stating the NextEra will not be selling to retail customers. Since it would be selling only to wholesale customers – such as other utilities – the IURC should not have authority over the project, Next Era said.

If the request is granted, it would mean West Fork Wind would not need to obtain a “certificate of public convenience and necessity” from the IURC.

NextEra had presented information to the IURC that included data for the original project’s 98 proposed towers, including Rush and Henry counties. The IURC asked NextEra to present updated information about the project before it decides whether to grant the company’s request.

The company has said it plans to comply.

“We are awaiting the results of additional interconnection studies before moving forward with the IURC declination,” Garner wrote.

A hearing on NextEra’s request is scheduled on April 30 in Indianapolis, having been delayed twice since the original hearing date in April 2018.

To review documents in the case, go to the IURC website, iurc.portal.in.gov/legal-case-details/?id=86c43f0d-150d-e811-811d-1458d04eaba0

Comments about the company’s request should be made in writing by mail, fax or online to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, c/o PNC Center, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

For guidelines on submitting comments, go to the OUCC website: www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm