|By ANN ALLEN
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Christopher Moore, managing director of Navitas Energy, and John Doster, representing Invenergy, explored the future of wind power for Indiana while speaking to northern Indiana residents interested in establishing a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) for the Hoosier state.
Moore, whose Minneapolis-based company recently constructed a 50 MW wind farm in Lee County, Ill. that produces enough electricity to power 15,000 homes, touted wind power as a predictable, free, inexhaustible resource more cost-effective than coal. While the company requires 5,000-6,000 acres of leased land for a 100 MW wind farm, only a fraction is used by the towers; the remainder is tillable.
“It provides a good income source for landowners,” Moore said.
“Wind energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy around,” he added. “It doesn’t pollute with emissions, excessive noise or waste heat byproducts.”
Many in the audience were concerned about the threat to migratory birds.
“There is little danger,” he said. “We check the nesting and migration routes prior to construction. The towers are tubular with internal ladders and underground wiring to eliminate roosting and nesting sites.”
In addition, the company believes the size and visibility of the blades (some as long as a school bus) are further safe measures.
“The turbines are very quiet,” he said. “The wind will bother residents more than the noise.”
He further predicted no loss in property values. Instead, he said, local communities enjoy economic as well as environmental benefits.
Doster, representing Chicago-based Invenergy Wind LLC, addressed ways to create a booming renewable electricity sector in Indiana, where he predicted a wind farm could almost double a row crop farm’s income in a year.
“Wind will be king for quite awhile,” he predicted. “Indiana has the second largest potential per capita in the U.S. The upcoming General Assembly needs to address wind as a new energy source - and members need to do so in a bipartisan manner. It’s better to be part of the solution than the problem.”
He said previous legislative sessions have perceived wind power as “not good,” giving preference to coal. “We must change that perception,” he said. “We need low-carbon resources.”
This farm news was published in the Nov. 22, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.