Crews facing deadline on Indiana wind farm project
Associated Press November 30, 2012 4:46PM
Updated: November 30, 2012 10:26PM
WINDFALL, Ind. — Construction crews are hustling to beat a Dec. 31 deadline to finish 125 turbines in the first phase of a wind farm that is eventually planned to reach into four central Indiana counties.
Project developer E-on Climate & Renewables needs to have the turbines in operation before current federal tax credits for wind energy expire at year’s end, the Kokomo Tribune reported Friday.
Crews are working overnight shifts to finish building 69 turbines in eastern Tipton County and 56 in northern Madison County, said Andy Melka, project manager for the Wildcat Wind Farm.
Melka said 75 of the electricity-generating turbines — each standing about 400 feet tall — have been completed and crews are working from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. only because the winds are calmer.
“We’re still on schedule to have all the turbines up and operating by Jan. 1,” Melka said.
The Chicago-based company plans in future phases to build nearly 200 more turbines in Tipton, Howard and Grant counties in the area about 40 miles north of Indianapolis.
Melka said the wind farm’s maintenance and control center building near the Tipton County town of Windfall will be ready by the end of December.
E-on said it is spending about $400 million on the wind farm’s first phase.
Whether the project’s future phases are built might depend on whether Congress extends a tax credit based on how much electricity is produced by a wind farm. The Obama administration supports extending the credit.
Matt Tullis, a spokesman for E-on, said the company was optimistic about the credit being extended and wasn’t certain about a proposal that would phase out the credit over five years.
“We would have to see how the five-year phase out is structured,” Tullis said. “A longer extension will be beneficial. It would have an impact.”