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Journal & Courier: Businesses urged to buy into Tippecanoe wind farm project June 26, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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by Max Showalter , Lafayette Journal & Courier, Thursday, June 23, 2011, www.jconline.com

The installation of wind turbines could start next April in northern Tippecanoe County as part of a project that combines electricity generation with research and tourism.

Nearly a dozen large energy users in Greater Lafayette got an update Wednesday on Purdue Energy Park, which is expected to generate 100 megawatts of power from 61 turbines placed on property owned by Purdue University and 19 adjacent landowners.

While negotiations continue with Indiana power companies to purchase the output of the turbines, plans also are being made to build a research and development and welcome and innovation center on the site.

“This is a first in the country, taking 100 megawatts of wind and combining it with a research facility,” said Scott Zigmond, vice president of sales and marketing with Performance Services, which will own and operate the facility.

“We plan on making this a destination for tourists and a place for kids to learn. This is unmatched when it comes to the research piece.”

Creating approximately 200 construction jobs and long-term employment for about eight people, the wind farm is expected to be operational by Dec. 31, 2012.

A portion of it will be on 1,600 acres that encompass Purdue’s Animal Science Research and Education Center west of county roads 600 North and 450 West.

Zigmond urged his audience to contact their energy suppliers to urge them to buy into Purdue Energy Park.

“We would like four or five (energy) companies to take 25 or 30 megawatts each,” Zigmond said. “If Indiana utility companies are not on board, we’ll go outside the state. We don’t want to do that, but we need to get this project up and going.

“We have excellent transmission capability locally. We have all our wind assessments completed. We’re ready to go. It’s just a matter of selling (electricity) to someone.”

Jody Hamilton, director of economic development with Greater Lafayette Commerce, said she and others in the organization have been working with the Carmel-based company on the alternative energy proposal.

“Performance Services came to us as a first stop,” Hamilton said. “We got the county commissioners involved and the mayors involved to make this a really great project.”

For wind research purposes, two of the 61 turbines planned for the wind farm will be larger and have the capacity to generate 2.75 megawatts.

Sound and flicker effects of wind turbines could be studied, along with learning how turbines impact agriculture.

“We believe this is a win, just because of the research,” said Gregory Napier, assistant director of real estate and physical facilities with the Purdue Research Foundation. “There are research dollars available — $20 (million) to $30 million annually to be had. Seven jobs are created for every million dollars of research, at a minimum. We believe we have a great relationship with utilities.

“The educational opportunities, the community benefits, the welcome and innovation center. It will be good for our local economy.”

Performance Services, Inc. is a member of Indiana Distributed Energy Advocates.

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