Wind energy. Bring the topic up at any local eatery and you’ll find strong opinions on both sides of the issue. While the subject is divisive, there isn’t much happening in terms of Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS), otherwise known as wind farms, currently. There are no commission-approved use permits for wind farms in Henry County as of this publication in late April of 2018. The tax abatement for Apex Flat Rock’s project expired at the end of 2017, and the approval for NextEra expires at the end of 2018. No wind farms in Indiana have been constructed without tax abatement. The New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation is not pursing any wind-related projects.
Before wind turbines are constructed, the companies constructing them must go through at least one public hearing and gain majority support by the planning commission. Adjacent landowners to the proposed project would receive a mailed notice of the hearing, and notices are also published in the newspaper and posted at the courthouse. Before this hearing happens, the wind farm development companies must file a complete application pursuant to the Henry County Development Code. At this time, there are no applications on file.
The New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation was originally pursuing wind energy because it correlated with the organization’s mission of attracting investment and growing the tax base. However, seeing that many members of the community believed the risks of wind farms outweighed the benefits, the New Castle-Henry County EDC issued an open letter to the community in August of 2016. In the letter, the corporation expressed that they would no longer pursue new wind farm development in Henry County.
In 2017, the Commissioners held a series of public meetings with both pro-wind and anti-wind representatives, leading to attorneys drafting final changes to the ordinance and agreements, which are still in process.
There are no currently approved wind farms in Henry County. Approval will require three boards: the planning commission, the County Commissioners, and County Council. The project would need 29 “yes” votes by 17 different people (some members serve on multiple boards).
For more information about the history of wind energy in Henry County, here are some helpful links: