Work progressing on eastern Indiana wind farm

Dozens of 320-foot-tall towers are going up in an eastern Indiana county for what will be another wind farm in the state.

The new towers are changing the look of what is now mostly corn and soybean fields in Randolph County southwest of Winchester. The Headwaters Wind Farm will have 100 electricity-generating turbines when completed by year's end, The Star Press of Muncie reported.

Texas-based EDP Renewables North America is leasing land from nearly 200 property owners for the towers, access roads and transmission corridors. The lease payments will range from $8,000 to $12,000 a year for each land owner.

Many of the towers are near the town of Lynn, about 25 miles southeast of Muncie. Lynn Clerk-Treasurer Kaylene Straley said the turbine towers haven't been as divisive as the large animal farms — known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs — that have started up in the area.

"It changes the skyline … but you don't want to stay in the horse-and-buggy age," she said. "The public doesn't appear to be complaining about them like they do about CAFOs."

Most complaints have been about construction traffic, dust and road damage that officials say will be repaired once construction is finished.

"It will help the farmers," wind farm operations manager Jeremey Chenoweth said. "They will be getting quite a bit of money off the land."

Indiana has five utility-scale wind farms operating with a total capacity of 1,544 megawatts, according to the Indiana Office of Energy Development, providing 3.2 percent of Indiana's electricity and putting it 13th in the nation for wind power. Wind farms currently operate in northwestern Indiana's Benton and White counties and Madison and Tipton counties of central Indiana.

The Randolph County wind farm is expected to produce 200 megawatts of electricity once fully operational.

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