MONTICELLO — During the joint meeting of the White County Council and Commissioners, the boards approved another phase of the Indiana Crossroads Wind Farm project, which will add another 42 wind turbines to generate electricity for NIPSCO.

County Attorney George Loy explained the plan to the boards, which included the economic development agreement and road use agreement. Loy said he’s been asked, “Why do these companies have to come to the county at all?” He said they have to appear before the commissioners for permission to use the county’s roads and the council for tax abatements.

The first wind turbine project came before the county in January 2009. This is the 11th or 12th project Loy said in addition to four solar projects. White County has developed the template for most counties when drawing up these agreements, he said.

The project is a $317 million with the county being paid $33,000 per megawatt for $6.6 million paid to the county over four years in the economic development agreement. “The agreements have worked out for EDP and for the county as well,” Loy continued.

The road use and drain repair agreement includes the 23 miles of designated roads that are cement stabilized and 17 miles of light haul roads, “all of which during the life of the project will be improved,” Loy said. The county will receive $5.1 million for the improvements as well as $136,000 for culverts paid by EDP. They will be replacing 51 county corner markers also for $16,000. “We try to make it as complete and comprehensive as possible,” he explained. There is a $5 million bond in escrow to protect the county if the company fails to pay or if it goes “belly up.”

The final document to be approved by the commissioners is a decommissioning agreement, which covers the time when the wind turbines have fulfilled their purpose or if the company is no longer in business and the turbines must come down. The land must be returned to its original condition as close as possible. If EDP isn’t around to do that, there is also a bond for that, which is reviewed over the lifetime of the projects.

EDP Project Manager Andrew Magner spoke to the boards. He said this is the eighth wind farm in White County. “White County has been a leader in renewable energy and continues to be,” he said. He explained NIPSCO has purchased the power from this project. He said the project is in the northwest corner of Princeton Township, north of US 24 and south of State Rd. 16 on the east side of the county line.

David Diener, president of the Board of Commissioners, asked if this area fell in the no-fly zone established by the National Guard. Magner said it did not, and it is west of that area.

Magner said they initial work on the project would begin in a few weeks with erection of the turbines beginning next spring. He said they would start by working on the roads. The project is to be completed by June 2024.

Both county boards approved the resolution to adopt the agreements unanimously
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