By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor
WINDFALL — For the past year residents around Windfall and on the eastern side of Tipton County have experienced first hand the construction and operation of a wind farm.
E-on Climate & Renewables started constructing 69 wind turbines as part of the first phase of the Wildcat Wind Farm. The wind farm began operations in January.
Looking east along Ind. 213 in the Windfall area is a view of the wind turbines turning in the breeze.
Three local residents, whose property is surrounded by the wind turbines have differing emotions on the wind turbines and their impact on the rural community.
Terri Stout said her family has leased ground to E-on and there are nine turbines are property owned by her extended family.
“There have been absolutely no problems,” Stout said. “E-on has done everything they said it would. The company has been upfront. The whole community knew about the project before they came in and started signing leases.”
She said there is some shadow flicker from the turbine blades when the sun is right and the blades are turned in a certain direction. She said it doesn’t happen every day and lasts for about 20 minutes.
Stout said there is barely any noise and the other day she was outside building a snowman and couldn’t hear the turbines. She said sometimes there is a whooshing sound.
The red lights on top of the turbines have not been a problem.
“I think they’re calming,” Stout said.
With the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm being considered on the western side of Tipton County, Stout said she didn’t know what was going on there.
“I don’t know anything about that company (juwi Wind) or how it was being approached,” Stout said. “E-on has my utmost respect.”
Stout said she really doesn’t notice the turbines on a regular basis adding she enjoys them.
Coming from a farming family, Stout said its easier to farm around the turbines than utility poles.
From his home, Bill Rund’s property is surrounded by turbines, he is concerned about the loss of the value of his home.
“I didn’t care for them before we got them,” he said. “I’ve seen them before. I never thought they would be the most economical energy producers. I didn’t like them before and I still don’t like them.”
Rund said what he doesn’t like is what he believes the turbines will do to the price of his home and that he won’t get a fair price.
“Would you want to buy this house? Someday we would have liked to have sold out and moved to a condo,” he said. “We won’t be able to do that without giving it away.”
“No one is going to come in and want to buy it,” Rund said. “I wouldn’t want to buy it now.”
He said several neighbors are also concerned about the impact on property values. Rund said he doesn’t begrudge the farmers from leasing their ground, but wish more consideration was given to the neighbors.
Rund said they can hear the turbines, even inside the house when the winds are calm or the house is quiet. He said they have never had to deal with shadow flicker.
“I can learn to live with the noise and the lights on top,” Rund said, “but I’m upset about what it did to the property values.”
Rund said the turbines have changed the entire landscape around his property. He said for a period of time both the birds and deer disappeared, but are slowly returning.
“I don’t know how people don’t notice them,” he said. “You drive up and down the road, you see them turning.”
Rund said people on the west side of the county should keep them out if they have a choice.
Susan Fowler, who also lives on property surrounded by wind turbines, said they don’t bother her at all.
“There is some noise,” she said. “We can see shadow flicker, but it goes away once the sun goes down.
“I don’t have a problem with them,” Fowler said. “I enjoy that we have the resource of it and it is helping the school system. I’m for the wind mills.”
Fowler agreed that at times she doesn’t notice the turbines.
“They’re part of the landscape,” she said. “Actually it’s calming.”
Fowler’s only complaint was that the roads were still gravel.
Andy Melka, project manager for E-on, said the company can’t install chip and seal on the roads in the cold weather. He said the company is waiting for the weather to break.
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