|9/30/2015 10:44:00 AM
Apex Clean Energy continues to advocate wind turbines in Rush County
|Kevin L. Green, Courier-TimesApex Clean Energy isn't giving up on Rush County, despite a recent vote by the county commissioners there to cease negotiations with the company."Apex Clean Energy is still committed to working with Rush County to develop a wind energy project that works for (that) community," Apex Clean Energy President and CEO Mark Goodwin said.
On Sept. 8, the Rush County Commissioners unanimously voted to cease talks with Apex about the placement of large wind turbines commonly referred to as the Flat Rock Wind Farm. Following the vote to cease negotiations with Apex, Rush County Commissioner Paul Wilkinson said he and his fellow commissioners voted the way a majority of their constituents preferred.
The company's original plan was to place approximately 65 wind turbines in Rush County, a roughly $200 million investment, and as many as 29 turbines in Henry County, an investment of nearly $100 million.
"We know there is more work to be done, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to help the community understand this project and our company. Apex and its private sector financial partners plan to invest about $300 million dollars in the development of this clean energy project," Goodwin said. "Both science and history support the fact that local development of wind energy is safe and beneficial for local communities, and we are personally invested in helping to educate the community about these facts."
According to Goodwin, Flat Rock Wind will generate more than $18 million in additional revenue for Rush and Henry counties, including the Rush County and Southern Henry County school districts. According to a report prepared by Umbaugh, Southern Henry County schools would receive an estimated $900,000 in additional revenue over a 25 year period if the project becomes a reality.
Rush County Economic and Community Development Corp. Executive Director John McCane indicated he is hopeful county officials and Apex representatives can reach an agreement both sides are satisfied with.
"The Rush County ECDC has been a proponent of wind energy from the time when the County, and the Agriculture Committee began work on a comprehensive ag zoning ordinance for Rush County in 1998. We believe wind energy to be a positive economic opportunity because Rush County has the wind resource, the investment is great, and the impact on local services is practically nonexistent," McCane said.
Apex has filed a legal appeal regarding a decision made by the Rush County Board of Zoning Appeals that allowed for construction of the turbines but which changed setback requirements for the turbines from 1,000 feet to 2,300 feet.
At New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Corey Murphy's urging, the Henry County Commissioners have voted to continue to work with Apex with or without Rush County as a partner in the proposed project. It is unclear at this time if the project is feasible without Rush County's participation.
Apex is one of two companies that have expressed an interest in placing wind turbines in the Fayette, Henry and Rush County area. The other is the NextEra Energy Resourcesproject, commonly referred to as the Whitewater Wind Farm. It involves placement of approximately 77 wind turbines including 43 in Fayette County, 25 in Rush County, and eight in southeastern Henry County.