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RWE terminates wind turbine farm project

PRINCETON – RWE Renewables will not pursue its proposed wind turbine farm in Gibson and Posey counties, citing provisions in the newly adopted Gibson County zoning ordinance that make the project unfeasible to develop.

Company officials confirmed that more than 300 landowners were notified RWE plans to terminate the proposed $600 million investment in a 200-megawatt turbine farm on more than 30,000 acres leased across the two counties. RWE made about $1.2 million in payments to landowners over the past three years.

“The decision to terminate the Gibson County and Posey County wind projects is a disappointing end to what we had hoped would be a collaborative, productive conversation with the counties about the future of renewable energy development opportunities here,” RWE Development Manager Karsen Rumpf said in a statement issued Monday afternoon.

“Unfortunately, in the face of a small but loud group of opponents, the counties passed ordinances that made clear they don’t want to see the hundreds of millions of investment dollars wind projects could bring,” he wrote.

“We want to thank our hundreds of participating landowners and supporters for working hard to help make these projects and the jobs and investment they would have created here a reality. We remain committed to driving Indiana’s transition to a clean energy future and we had hoped the Tri-State area’s long history as a leading energy producer in the state would continue into the next century with renewable energy. Unfortunately, we now have to look to invest elsewhere in Indiana due to the anti-business stance of Gibson and Posey counties,” Rumpf wrote.

RWE officials said the Gibson County zoning ordinance’s provisions that make the project unfeasible to pursue included stipulations that require setbacks of 4.4 times the height of a wind turbine, and prohibiting turbines closer than two miles from towns, schools, hospitals, medical clinics, residential center for the developmentally disabled or mentally ill, or adult care property lines.

They also cited Sound and shadow flicker restrictions in the zoning ordinance. It includes restrictions on sound pressure levels within a half mile of project boundaries for any non-participating landowner’s residential lot, public school or library or recreational area, and prohibits turbine shadow flicker at a non-participating landowner’s dwelling.