The Winds Of Change: Do Wind Turbines Help Or Hurt Quality Of Life?

By WISE Web Admin
By Jeff Neumeyer

February 20, 2012 Updated Dec 4, 2013 at 10:09 PM EDT

VAN WERT COUNTY, Ohio (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- They've changed the landscape, but have they changed life in Van Wert County Ohio for the better?

Whitley County authorities are trying to decide whether to create policies to embrace wind turbines in that location.

In Van Wert County, they already tower over farm fields and residences.

If you've driven on U.S. 30 heading into Ohio lately, you see hundreds of the tall poles and spinning blades.

Van Wert County has more than 120 right now, and power companies are exploring options to build many more.

The blades turn, creating energy that is moved to transmission lines, then on to a nearby power station for wide spread distribution.

Landowners who allow turbines to be built on their property are paid thousands of dollars, and folks, like John Dowler, get hundreds of dollars a year just for living near one.

John Dowler/Doesn't Mind the Turbines: " When they first started, a lot of people were driving up and down the road, gawking at them, but they're now here to stay and you don't even notice them."

Gene Pool/Opposes Turbines: " They are actually an eyesore, they are a nuisance. They do make noise, contrary to popular belief. They wouldn't be here without government subsidies. They don't stand on their own."

Among Pool’s other complaints: they create a shadow flicker that pulses into his home during parts of the day, as the sun hits the turning blades.

Also, though his property value has gone up according to a recent assessment, he's convinced he will get less money for his land, if he ever tries to sell.

But there’s little dispute that the turbines have boosted income for Van Wert County government.

Republican County Commissioner Clair Dudgeon says fees paid by the power company responsible for the turbines generate more than $2-million dollars annually for the county budget.

About 80 percent of that money is turned over to schools, and in coming years, could cut down on the number of school tax hike referendums put to voters in that county.

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