The members of the group Pocowind.org gathered at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at North Posey High School, over concerns about a proposed wind turbine project in Posey County.
Energy company E.On is looking to build up to 81 wind turbines in Posey County in the future, which would require landowners to lease out their properties for up to 30 years.
According to E.ON, the project requires approximately 15,000 acres.
So far, E.ON has commitments from landowners for at least 8,000 acres as of December.
Pocowind.Org is a citizens’ group – that says they are digging deeper into the risks behind wind farms.
“Such a large project, with a wind company coming into an area that’s unfamiliar with this, is that people don’t really understand the risks or the rewards from such a project,” said organizer Scott Fisher.
Organizers say this meeting was not planned as a rally or protest, but an educational event to keep citizens informed.
“We hope that they take this information seriously, as we have taken the stance to make sure the sources are accurate and the data is in fact real,” said Fisher.
The group has several concerns, including setback distance of turbines from houses, access by medical helicopters, and “shadow flicker,” or light flicker by the turning blades, which the research they cite claims can cause headaches.
The group encourages the community focus on facts they present.
“This is going to unravel quickly if we start talking about how turbines cause problems they don’t really cause, or how ugly they are, or things that aren’t based in some science or data,” Fisher explains.
A spokesperson from E.ON issued a statement regarding neighbors’ concerns, saying:
“In the 25 communities across the country which host our projects, one of the most important things we do is to engage in a good-faith, transparent conversation during the development and operation of our wind farms. We have and will continue to work closely with farmers and landowners in Gibson and Posey Counties, as well as the community and its leaders, to create the best project possible with the most local benefits as part of that conversation. We look forward to hosting the community at a future date to talk about these and other issues, and continue the dialog as we work to bring the many benefits of wind energy to southern Indiana.”
-Karsen Rumpf, Development Manager, E.ON
“From my discussions with E.ON, they’re respectful but at the same time we just don’t agree,” Fisher told the crowd.
“There’s been no public meeting from really the wind company or any other group to really communicate to the public the basis of the project.”
In that statement, E.ON says it plans to host a meeting at some point in the future.
Fisher says the group is not anti-wind farm, they oppose the project’s current terms.
“We’re not taking a hard stance against the project as a whole, this is really about recommending ways that we could have such an implementation be safe.”
Currently, E.ON’s standard is placing turbines no closer than 1250 ft. from a residential property.
The group is asking for an increased set to a minimum of four times the height of the turnbine, among other requirements.
“The wind companies are going to argue that the property values are not affected,” Fisher said.
People in the audience said the meeting met it’s educational goal.
“He was talking all about facts and research and studies that were done, rather than whether you think they look nice or not. And I think in order to make any kind of intelligent decision, you need to know what the facts are behind it,” said Jim Reising. He is an engineer and Posey County resident.