Howard County has passed its first ever wind ordinance. Kokomo-Howard County Plan Commission Executive Director Glen Boice said two factors prompted the ordinance, increasing national demand for alternative energy sources and more companies expressing interest in building wind farms in the area.
“So we needed to address it so that we get the standards out before people are spending their money,” Boice said. “Or, in the case of the utility scale, their bankers have told them that they want to see the rules in place before they start financing any of these projects.”
The ordinance addresses different scales of wind mills everything from small rooftop units, to the large-scale utility units currently found in places like Benton County. Boice said construction of wind mills will bring some construction jobs to the area but he doesn’t know whether that will translate into permanent jobs because wind farms have been proposed in multiple counties. However, Boice said all Howard County residents will reap tax benefits from the construction, adding wind farms will bring in tax revenue without the city having to add many more services. Boice said so far the prospect of building a wind farm in Howard County hasn’t ruffled too many feathers.
“At the hearings we had a fairly large crowd for us, a large crowd in this case being about twenty people, of which only two of them spoke in protest,” Boice said. “The others were part of the group of landowners and supporters that wanted to see these things come in.”
Boice said Howard County is an attractive spot for wind farms because of high-level winds and the presence of a major cross-country transmission line making it easy to add energy to the electric grid.