Open Letter Regarding Wind Energy in Henry County IN – Issued August 30, 2016

Local Approval Process:

Before wind turbines are constructed, the local approval process as described below must be completed. The order of completion may vary.

The local approval process is 29 yes votes from 17 different people. The overlap occurs on the Planning Commission.

*Commission Approve Use (CAU) Zoning Approval by Henry County Planning Commission
Minimum of 15 yes votes needed for approval. The Planning Commission is asked three questions and each question must receive 5 “yes” votes. (9 member Board)

Adjacent landowners to the proposed project are mailed a notice of the public hearing. Notice is published in the newspaper and at the Courthouse. The Planning Commission reviews the application and hears from the public before tabling, denying or approving the request. This public hearing and public notice occurs after the wind farm development company  has filed a complete application pursuant to the Henry County Development Code.

*Contract Agreements by Henry County Commissioners
Minimum of 6 yes votes needed for approval. 2 yes votes for each of the three separate contracts. (3 elected officials)

County Commissioners are asked to vote in their public meetings on three agreements: Decommissioning, Road Use, and Economic Development. These agreements are negotiated with the wind farm development company.

*Tax Abatement Request by Henry County Council
Minimum of 8 yes votes needed for approval. Two separate votes are required to approve abatement. (7 elected officials)
The statutory process requires a preliminary vote, public hearing and final vote to grant abatement. There has not been a wind farm constructed in Indiana without tax abatement.

Wind Farm Project Status Updates (as of October 2016):

NextEra Energy’s Whitewater Wind Farm has completed the local approval process for up to 9 turbines in Dudley Township.  Construction start date is unknown.

Apex Clean Energy’s Flat Rock Wind Farm has completed the CAU and tax abatement for 29 turbines in Dudley and Franklin Townships.

Calpine’s Big Blue Wind Farm is seeking voluntary land leases with property owners generally located south of US 36 and west of SR 3.  No aspects of the local approval process have been completed.

Links:

Federal Aviation Administration – Wind Turbine FAQ

U.S. Department of Energy – Wind Program