• Steve Eberly

Benton County Led the way … and They are Reaping the Benefits

You just flip the switch… Thankfully, and for millions of times each day, consumers of electric energy do just that. No thought to it in any manner unless the lights don’t go on. Though, there is so much more to the story now and renewables are helping to write it. Benton County is a tremendous success story of how to leverage partnerships with renewables to enhance local prosperity. Beginning in 2007, Benton County partnered to create a 130.5 Megawatt wind project with 87 turbines. Benton is now the home of multiple wind projects, generating enough electricity to power over 320,000 homes.

The economic benefits since that decision are staggering. Progress in Benton County since 2007 has resulted in:

  • over $38 million in road improvements;

  • $26 million in economic development payments to the county;

  • property taxes that have dropped by 35%;

  • tremendous community partnerships involving enhancements to fire protection;

  • property values have risen; and,

  • farmers still producing crops on practically the same acreage as there was before the project started.

Imagine the enormity of the decision for the county leaders back in 2007. Benton, like most of the adjoining rural counties at that time (and the same today), were facing ever increasing costs for basic services. Roads, schools, fire and safety protection… and wind power generation technology that was unknown in Indiana. Facing long range funding shortfalls, good people, charged with representing thousands of residents, understood that action was required.

It’s a great story to tell and retell. White County, within the same wind belt is mirroring the positive results as Benton. Now multiple projects including the joint Benton/Warren Jordan Creek Wind Project, the Roaming Bison Wind Farm in Montgomery County, and two projects in White County - Rosewater, near Reynolds, will produce 102 Megawatts, and Crossroads Wind Farm, just announced, will produce 302 Mw. The really neat part of this is that all of the aforementioned projects will supply power for Northern Indiana Public Service company which for many of us is local. Power to enable local supply, a low cost power source, and economic benefits that will undeniably affect every resident of the four counties engaged with NIPSCO.

Take some time, study the facts. The truth is, renewable energy is in high demand. Hoosiers for Renewables welcomes your participation via the web page, Facebook, and Twitter. Renewables are here and they are here to stay as a part of the solution for Indiana. Join Us!