Airport Rules Prevent Farmers from Installing Wind Turbines in NW Indiana

by | Jun 16, 2010

Farmers in Kentland, Ind., say a hardly used airport is preventing them from installing wind turbines on their farmland, reports Chicago Tribune. Both the town’s mayor and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) say they are not shutting down the airport.

According to the FAA, 77 square miles of Newton County are off limits to wind turbines because of safety rules for the Kentland Municipal Airport.

Farmers told the Journal & Courier of Lafayette that hardly anyone uses the airport and it costs the town money, while the wind farms could bring in revenue and jobs to the city and country.

Mark Simons, who owns a 400-acre farm next to the airport, told the Journal & Courier that 100 turbines installed at the airport could generate $1 million in tax revenue.

Natalie and Greg Gilbert, who own 1,200 acres near the airport, said in the article they could earn $8,000 to $12,000 a year per turbine.

According to FAA records, the airport averaged 26 flights a day in 2008, but only reported 36 flights for last month, which was attributed to bad weather, reports the Chicago Tribune. The Kentland airport has received more than $1 million in FAA improvement grants since 2001.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s most recent wind resource assessment finds that Indiana is one of the top 20 windiest states in the nation. Last April, the American Wind Energy Association reported that Indiana was adding wind power at the fastest percentage rate in the nation.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the area northwest of Lafayette near the Indiana-Illinois state line has the greatest average winds in the state, reports the Chicago Tribune.

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