Will Proposed Wind Farm Come Through Without Tax Credit Support?

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 5, 2012 Updated Jun 5, 2012 at 6:51 PM EDT

GRANT COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Will pressure for debt reduction kill a wind turbine project in Grant County before it even gets built?

Opponents are calling for more safety measures in connection with a proposed wind farm, but the whole debate may be silenced because of a funding shortage.

At least that’s the fear of Grant County Commissioner Mark Bardsley.

Approvals have been granted for at least 60 wind turbines to be constructed south and west of Marion, similar to ones already operating in Northwest Ohio.

The plans call for the towers to be just less than 500 feet tall.

The Needler family with an address in Swayzee Indiana has been pushing for better protection for homeowners, in case something goes wrong with any of the wind turbines.

But will they ever get built?

Commissioner Bardsley says there's a debate in Washington about whether to continue alternative energy tax credits that have helped subsidize wind turbines.

Mark Bardsley/(R) Grant Co. Commissioner: " The plug could be pulled on us, and what we would have to do is encourage the company to find other means to get those towers up."

Residents like Joshua Needler expect the wind farm will get constructed.

He wants to make sure if that happens, the structures are set back a safe distance from roads and homes.

Joshua Needler/Pushing for More Safety: " Our biggest concern has been safety, and it hasn't been trying to stop the wind farm project, as much as just give homeowners and property owners more protection against one of these turbines being built only 500 feet from their property lines."

Commissioner Bardsley says E-on Climate & Renewables has agreed to setbacks of more than 1,200 feet, but an ordinance approved by county officials only guarantees setbacks of around 500 feet.

Needler's argument is that more space should be provided, in case a tower falls over, or if debris from a blade flies off.

A situation like that happened recently in Paulding County Ohio, forcing the shutdown of a whole batch of wind turbines for several weeks.

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