wind energy

Wind turbines line a gravel road in Benton County
Taylor Haggerty / WBAA News

The City of West Lafayette Common Council will debate a resolution Monday to reduce carbon emissions and increase use of renewable energy sources.

The plan calls to reduce carbon emissions by twenty percent, with an additional twenty percent drop every four years thereafter.

“We’re now getting to the point where we’re ruining out oxygen," Mayor John Dennis says. "We’re sort of changing the way the weather works.”

Taylor Haggerty / WBAA News

The front lines of Indiana’s wind farm debate have returned to Clinton County, where residents gathered Thursday night to hear from researchers and industry experts hoping to build a wind farm there.

E. ON Energy hosted a public information session hoping to dispel rumors about turbines’ impact on health, environment and the local economy.

E. ON Midwest Director of Development Lael Eason says the goal was to start a dialogue with residents.

The state's new energy policy task force had its first meeting on Monday. The group is charged with helping Indiana develop a statewide energy plan. Some of the topics discussed were how the transition away from coal would affect Hoosiers and how local ordinances are affecting the siting wind farms in Indiana.

Taylor Haggerty / WBAA News

About 500 people visited Fowler Park in Benton County Saturday for the area’s third-annual Wind Fest. The event offered educational booths and opportunities for residents to learn about wind energy and turbines.

Wind turbines sit on farmland surrounding a home
Taylor Haggerty / WBAA News

West Lafayette will not adopt a ban on large wind turbines going into effect in Tippecanoe County. The city council voted against the ordinance this week.

The ordinance prevents turbines over 140 feet in the county, and county commissioners say it’s to keep the land free for economic development. They have repeatedly said the ban isn’t a statement against renewable energy or environmentally-friendly technology.

But City Council President Peter Bunder disagrees.

“It’s also about environmental energy. And it’s - it’d be difficult to separate those,” Bunder says.

Courtesy: Akuo Energy

Two days after the approval of Montgomery County’s first comprehensive plan for development, county commissioners released a draft zoning ordinance – under threat of a lawsuit. The proposed ordinance includes strict regulations for wind turbines, which have been the source of a contentious debate in the county.

A group of evangelicals in Indiana wants the state to expand wind and solar energy. The Evangelical Environmental Network delivered more than 21,000 signatures to Gov. Eric Holcomb Wednesday demanding 100 percent renewable energy in the state by 2030. 

Wind turbines sit on farmland surrounding a home
Taylor Haggerty / WBAA News

Wind energy is a growing industry in Indiana, but not every community is receptive to the development. Tippecanoe County is working on a proposal to ban wind farms, and Montgomery County is in the midst of an intense debate over two proposed farms.

Indiana lawmakers prompted debate at the Statehouse Thursday over potential conflicts of interest for local officials who approve large wind energy projects.

County commissions and planning boards approve wind farm developments in Indiana. Rep. Dave Ober (R-Albion) says in some cases, those commissioners have also signed lease agreements with developers and would benefit from a project’s approval.

“I see a very large issue with that and I hope we can work on that issue next year,” Ober said to start the hearing.

New data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the wind industry is stronger than ever. The amount of installed wind energy overtook hydroelectric for the first time at the end of 2016, to lead U.S. renewable energy capacity.

That news follows a December report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which projects wind turbine technician is the fastest growing occupation for 2014-2024.

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