Monday, June 14, 2010

"In Indiana, power is growin' in the wind"

From the

For the second year, hundreds of wind turbines have been built in rural Indiana, placing the state among the fastest growing in the renewable power industry.

This year, construction of about 300 megawatts of new wind power electricity -- mostly expansions of the Meadow Lake and Fowler Ridge wind farms in White and Benton counties -- has been approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

However, looking beyond 2010, the IURC has just one application for a wind farm under review. If approved, the Spartan Wind Farm phase 1 by Duke Energy Generation Services would generate 101 megawatts of power on a Newton County site due to open in early 2011.

One megawatt of power is enough electricity for 225 to 300 households for a year.

The national recession and uncertain state policies concerning alternative power sources have caused the slowdown, said Horizon Wind project manager Ryan Brown. Horizon Wind is building Meadow Lake wind farm in White County, a large site visible to travelers along I-65 in Northern Indiana.

"We have seen a $2 billion investment by the industry in Indiana, and that is a great start for the state, which could continue if there are some strategic moves on the policy front," Brown said.

The wind industry nationwide has sought either a national or state-by-state requirement for a percentage of electric power to be produced by wind and other renewable alternatives to coal and natural gas.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, developers of Indiana wind farms feeding power to the multistate electric grid added about 905 megawatts of wind power in 2009.

That put Indiana second only to Texas in construction of new generating capacity from wind turbines last year, according to AWEA, which held its annual national convention in Dallas last week, with more than 23,000 in attendance. In 2008, the association said Indiana had the fastest increase in wind-generated power in the country.

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