Many Questions During Tuesday Townhall for Wind Farm Project

An estimated 80 residents of Henry County packed the Wayland Community Center on Tuesday evening for what turned out to be a long discussion over the potential wind farm project. This potential project is courtesy of RWE Clean Energy, a company focused on renewable energy based in Germany. RWE currently operates over 3,000 wind turbines.

The Henry County Supervisors facilitated the meeting, making sure every voice was heard. According to an RWE representative, this project started in 2022, with hopes of construction in 2026 and operation in 2027. Currently, out of the 30,000 or so acres they need to turn this idea into an application, they have 58% of the land they desire. Environmental studies began last year and will continue for another year. The representatives also mentioned that this project will create many construction jobs, and they promise to look local for workers first.

Perhaps the question that many first wonder was asked. How tall are the wind turbines? The room was told that the total height depends on the manufacturer, but the largest ones are 651ft at the climax of the blade and 328ft to the generator. A follow up question about wind speed was proposed. According to RWE, 15.6 miles per hour is the optimal speed in which the turbines would operate at 100% efficiency. Supposedly, the land in northern Henry County is good because the flat land does not block wind.

With many in the room being farmers, concerns arose about the shutdown process, especially when they need their crops sprayed. This question was brought back to attention later in the evening, as citizens wanted to make sure it was explained in detail. A representative mentioned that the process to shut down a turbine takes 2 minutes or less. She also mentioned how that is in an ideal world, and the process is not always that quick.

With anywhere from 50-90 turbines standing around 600ft, safety was a concern for some citizens. They were assured that out of all the turbines RWE has seen, never has an individual been injured or killed.

Another big point of discussion was the set back distance. How far should these turbines be from homes? The proposed ordinance requires that a turbine be set 2 times the height of the turbine, or 1000 feet, whichever is greater. Many people took issue with this, stating that it simply is not far enough back.

When asked what RWE is doing to protect property value, a direct answer was not given. According to the representatives, they have not seen property value go down.

As for property and crop damage, RWE is liable. The proposed rate is 140% for crop damage. The representatives recognized that construction impacts the soil, and mentioned how an adjuster will be brought in to determine the amount. If the property owner disagrees, they can bring their own adjustor on RWE’s dime.

After being repeatedly asked if RWE has a business plan for this potential project, it was announced that a business plan is the application to the county, which is in the works, and could be sent in late 2025.

The company was persistent that this project will bring around 75 million dollars to landowners in the area and 133 million dollars to our county, half of which goes to schools. They also offered to take community members on tours of a turbine they currently have set up so that people can see for themselves.

The Henry County Supervisors urged citizens to contact their email with questions.

There was much more discussed in this meeting on Tuesday evening. If you’d like to ask questions of your own or hear a discussion over this potential project in its entirety, another meeting is slated for Thursday evening at 6:30pm at the Swedesburg Parish Hall.

Monthly Department Head Meeting Report: Town Hall Meetings for Wind Discussion, Overtime Hours for Engineers, and Conversation for Speed Cameras

Henry County Proposed Site for 50-90 Wind Turbines

Henry County Proposed Site for 50-90 Wind Turbines