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Developer pushing central Indiana wind farm plans

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A developer has slightly scaled back plans for a central Indiana wind farm as the company tries to win approval from county officials for the estimated $300 million project.

Developer juwi Wind has asked a Tipton County zoning board to reduce the 1,500-foot distance required between the wind farm's turbines and neighboring properties. The company wants the distance minimums approved in March cut to 1,400 feet from properties not involved with the project and 1,250 feet from participating properties, the Kokomo Tribune reported Tuesday.

The Colorado-based company had proposed building up to 94 electricity-generating turbines for the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm in a rural area northwest of Tipton. Its new request proposes building 88 turbines.

"The Board of Zoning Appeals was clear in its direction to juwi Wind when it approved the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm," said Matt Heck, the company's project manager.

Jeff Hoover of Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development said the group's members will discuss the company's proposal.

"We hope the BZA will maintain the 1,500-foot setback," Hoover said.

Another company also is building a large wind farm in the area about 40 miles north of Indianapolis.

Construction finished late last year on 125 turbines in eastern Tipton County and northern Madison County for the Wildcat Wind Farm developed by E.ON Climate and Renewables of Chicago. Nearly 200 more turbines are planned in neighboring Howard and Grant counties in later phases.

Juwi Wind also submitted a property value guarantee plan that will cover residential property within three-quarters of a mile of a wind turbine.

Values will be determined by an appraisal or the average of more than one appraisal and the guarantee only covers a difference greater than 10 percent between the value and a sale price. The plan sets the company's total liability for the property value guarantee at $1 million.

Heck said the company submitted the revised plan because it is committed to building the wind farm in Tipton County.

"The request for modifications strikes a balance allowing the project to move forward, while responding to the BZA and citizens' input and feedback," Heck said.

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