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'It's kind of a frustrating situation'

Wind energy lessors express frustration with county

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John Gilbert

Hardin County farmer John Gilbert stands on his land in Ellis Township. Gilbert signed a lease agreement with RWE Renewables to build a windmill on his property. That project is now in jeopardy.

When the Hardin County Board of Supervisors voted to change parts of its commercial wind energy ordinance in August, that triggered a lawsuit filed by a clean energy company that has invested more than $2 million on its Hardin County project.

Now, farmers who had already contracted with RWE Renewables are expressing frustration with the supervisors' decision as well. 

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines near Radcliffe

(4) comments


If you "do something on your ground" that does not affect others, then you can do it. But, the blinking lights, noise, and damage to drainage tiles caused by the windmills affects (and costs) others. Therefore, everyone should have a say in windmill placement, not just the very few landowners that financially benefit from this. And, it is important to note that the ordinance does not eliminate windmills-- it simply puts sensible restrictions on their placement. The only ordinance RWE would be in favor of would be one in which it can do anything wherever and whenever it wants. One question: why is the Times Citizen seemingly promoting the windmills and RWE? From a recent editorial, to a "column" written by RWE, to this article, it seems you never get to hear from the opponents of this windmills in the pages of the TC. Both sides of the argument should be given an opportunity to be heard.

Sara Konrad Baranowski Staff
Sara Konrad Baranowski

I'm happy to answer your questions, Timothy.

News coverage (like this story) is different from editorials and op-eds. Editorials are written by the Times Citizen editorial board. Op-eds are written by guest columnists. In the case of the RWE Renewables op-ed by Josh Odom that was published last week, the company contacted us to request space to publish it. As we've done on many other occasions, we accommodated that request. We think it's important to include many different opinions on our opinions page (just as, in the past, we've published letters to the editor about this issue - both for and against it).

News coverage is just that - coverage of the news. We've reported extensively on this issue, going back to last fall. There's been frequent mention of the people who signed leases with RWE Renewables for this project, so we decided to reach out to some of them to ask their opinions about what's transpired. This story was the result of that reporting. Previous news reporting (and, as I mentioned above, letters to the editor) has also included comments from people opposed to the windmill project.

Thanks for the comment (and for reading!).


Sara- I encourage the Times-Citizen team to set aside your implicit bias on this topic and truly allocate some print space to a conversation about the concerns regarding commercial wind energy and this specific project. I am not referring to more quotes from public meetings, but an actual deep dive, just as the Times-Citizen has allocated plenty of space to discussing the pro-wind viewpoints of RWE/E.ON, IFADC, and leasees (well above and beyond a few quotes from public meetings).


Since Mr. Odom wrote a guest editorial outlining RWE's point of view, I'd appreciate seeing another guest piece written by Mr. Baumann or Mr. Bolson or someone else they might recommend who shares their point of view. Our local newspaper only has so many resources; it can't be expected to do a "deep dive" into every contentious issue in the county. You've got your reasons for opposing the wind energy project; what are those reasons? Folks are genuinely interested.

Welcome to the discussion.

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