Horizon Wind Energy in Indiana
Alternative energy giant Horizon Wind Energy wants to trap the immense potential of wind energy. They are planning to open an Indianapolis office for developing up to four new wind farms in Indiana. It will cost them more than $2 billion. Indiana wind farms will be the largest of the Horizon’s farms and the proposed site will be at Meadow Lake in White County. The company will install up to 660 turbines spread over 100,000 acres. When the project is fully operational it could produce more than 1,000 megawatts per year – enough to power 300,000 houses.
Additionally, they are planning smaller farms in Randolph and Howard counties and up to four more in Ohio. They also own and operate seven wind farms in New York, Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Illinois and Minnesota.
Horizon is the first wind-energy company willing to have permanent plans in the state, although several others are negotiating with farmers for land leases, said Brandon Seitz, director of the Indiana Office of Energy and Defense Development.
Though Indiana’s wind pales in comparison to that of West Texas, where huge farms are under construction. So why is Horizon Wind Energy investing so much money here? They are of the opinion that they can transfer energy to the users easily and here the energy doesn’t have to travel far. They can offset the disadvantage of the moderate wind resource by having the wind farms closer to the users. Horizon has made determined efforts for the last few years to secure 50-year leases for its wind farms. They are quite hopeful to have the first phase running by next year.
The presence of all the new turbines will change the landscape, but residents are not complaining. Farmers typically earn $4,000 to $8,000 per turbine per year, revenue that also adds to local tax coffers. But farmers won’t be able to use the electricity generated on their own farms. They have to put up their own windmills. As an independent power manufacturer, Horizon can’t distribute straightforwardly to customers. Instead, it sells to utilities.
Wind-energy supporters hope to afford 20 percent of the nation’s power from wind by 2030. Currently this figure is at 1 percent, leaving plenty of scope for growth. The trend is further boosted by the billionaire oil man T. Boone Pickens, a new public advocate who is spending millions on an ad campaign supporting wind energy. He’s also a big investor in wind energy.