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Horizon Wind Energy opens its first Indiana wind farm

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Horizon Wind Energy LLC has sent the propellers spinning on its first Indiana wind farm, with 121 turbines in Brookston, in northwestern Indiana.

At full tilt, the units of Meadow Lake I Wind Farm can generate about 200 megawatts, enough to power 60,000 average size homes in a year.

By comparison, that’s equivalent to less than one-fourth of what Indianapolis Power & Light’s coal-fired Harding Street plant can generate.

Horizon has begun construction on a second phase of the farm that would add another 99 megawatts. The company, owned by Portugal-based EDP Renovaveis SA, said it also is exploring the potential of 700 additional megawatts of wind farms in White and Benton counties.

Indiana is a latecomer to wind but is the fastest-growing state in wind energy installation, according to the American Wind Energy Association. About 850 megawatts of wind-energy capacity could be installed in the state by year-end.

Though environmentally superior to coal-powered generation, wind energy still struggles in cost against coal when factoring in the need for standby power for periods when the wind isn’t blowing. The technology for storing wind-generated electricity is not yet cost-effective.

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