IBJNews

Wind farm in limbo over tax-credit uncertainty

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

E-on Climate & Renewables is in a race against time.

Unless Congress votes to extend renewable energy tax credits by the end of the year, the company has to have all 125 wind turbines operational in Phase 1 of the Wildcat Wind Farm. The investment in Phase 1 is an investment of $400 million.

Currently, White Construction is in the process of erecting the wind turbines in northern Madison County and eastern Tipton County.

As each of the 307-foot towers head skywards and the blades are attached, the turbines are changing the landscape of this mostly agricultural area. Dotting the skies will be the sight of wind turbines, towering over surrounding trees, farm fields and buildings.

From her back door in west Elwood, Julie Slayton can see several wind turbines off in the distance, but the sight doesn't concern her.

"We recycle and compost," she told the Kokomo Tribune. "Building the wind farm is a natural energy source. It's an alternative farm of energy that is more efficient."

The family is wondering how loud the turbines will be when the turbine blades begin operation. Slayton said the nearest turbine is approximately a half-mile away and the noise should not be bothersome.

"We can see them over the tree line," she said. "I think they are really neat-looking."

Mark McDermit lives on the east side of State Road 37, just north of where the turbines are being located. From his front yard several of the turbines are visible.

"They're far enough off in the distance that it doesn't bother us," he said.

McDermit said the turbines haven't been in place long enough for him determine if the sight of them will bother him in the future.

Although he hasn't leased any ground to E-on for the placement of a wind turbine on his farm, McDermit was unsure if he would sign a lease if one was offered.

"It ties up the ground for a long time," McDermit said.

Each wind turbine is expected to generate enough electrical power for 350 homes.

Andy Melka, project manager for E-on, said as of Tuesday a total of ten wind turbines have been constructed.

"For each one that isn't operational, we won't receive the tax credit," Melka said. "I'm fully confident we will have all 125 operational by the end of the year."

He said a second crane has been brought to the site in an effort to meet the Jan. 1 deadline and the construction crews are working six days a week.

Melka said the erecting of the wind turbines started in the most difficult part of the project along State Road 37, which has a number of power lines.

"Now that we're working west of State Road 37, the project will progress more quickly," he said.

As each of the 12 to 15 turbines are completed in a circuit, Melka said the turbines will be tested and then shut down until the entire project is ready to go on line.

The goal is to erect one wind turbine per day through the rest of the year, he said.

Eventually the Wildcat Wind Farm was supposed to encompass four different phases in Howard, Grant, Tipton and Madison counties.

"Without the tax credits, the rest of the phases are up in the air," Melka said. "Those phases become less likely to be completed without the tax credit."

The hope is that Congress will extend the renewable energy tax credits for several years and not one year at a time, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Not all costs included
    The problem with market pricing is that all of the costs (i.e. the externalities) are not built into the price. On a pure cost of production standard, a kwh of wind energy costs more than a kwh of coal power. But the costs of coal power are measured by more than dollars: water pollution, asthma, air pollution, greenhouse gases, mercury emissions, environmental costs from mining, and many other things are costs of coal power. Because the power producers don't pay those costs, they are not passed onto consumers. The subsidies for wind energy (and other sources of power with reduced negative externalities) help bring the market prices in line. Ideally, no power should be subsidized, and a tax equal to the negative externalities should be imposed on all sources of energy. Let the market be free, but make sure the costs are properly allocated so the market can properly decide which source of power is best.
  • What's your opinion?
    Should we continue to subsidize wind turbines? Shouldn't they be able to stand on their own economically without tax subsidies? People get the wrong idea. Even with tax breaks, wind kwh costs more than others. People need to realize that what is going on is about government policy. It is not about private industry making economic decisions. What do you think?

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

ADVERTISEMENT