Jane Huh, Post-Tribune
A Kansas wind energy company will begin erecting a 330 foot-tower in Pleasant Township to embark on a wind farm project.
TradeWind Energy, based in Lenexa, Kan., petitioned for approval to build the meteorological tower, which would be located about 2,700 feet east of County Roads 500E and 1125S.
County officials approved the variance request at Wednesday night's Board of Zoning Appeals meeting.
But before the vote, there were some at the meeting who were baffled about the project and had concerns about noise and lighting.
"I'm just curious as to what's going on here and why it's taking place," said Eric Kaeb, a Kouts resident who lives near the location.
At the suggestion of board members, TradeWind Energy officials met with Kaeb and others at the meeting to address questions.
TradeWind has been working with some landowners near the site to secure lease agreements while working on financing contracts and gathering meteorological data.
Within a two-mile radius from the location are already two meteorological towers that each stand 197 feet high.
At a higher elevation, the new tower will better measure the wind speed, said Duane Enger, TradeWind Energy development project manager.
The tower, scheduled to be up by fall and remain for the next seven years, "is solely in support of measuring the wind for future wind farm development," Enger said.
Last November, Porter County planners adopted an ordinance on wind turbines.
It was one of TradeWind's projects, the LaCrosse Wind Farm, that spurred county officials to draft standards for large wind energy conversion systems.
LaCrosse Wind Farm straddles the southeast part of Porter County and LaPorte County.
The ordinance sets forth standards for a variety of matters such as height, distance boundaries and shadow flicker.