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Lakefield wind project stalled

LAKEFIELD -- A massive wind energy project that would have included the building of 134 new 1.5- megawatt wind turbines near Lakefield has been put on hold after the Indianapolis Power & Light Company terminated its power purchase agreement with enXco, the project's developer.

Jackson County expected to receive $625,000 in taxes from the project in 2012, which was to be used along with funds from another project to pay back the bonds the county issued for building a new resource center office building.

"With the wind energy revenues that we're getting currently and with the other project, we'd still be able to cover the bond payments on the resource center," said Kevin Nordquist, auditor-treasurer of Jackson County.

Should the project be delayed, the county could receive its funds in 2013, but if enXco finds a new buyer quickly, the funds may be in the county coffers by 2012.

"The project is currently delayed, and we are analyzing our options, which will include remarketing the project" to another buyer, said Sandi Briner, Director of Marketing and Communications at enXco.

Briner said she could not comment on what would happen if no other utility could be found to buy the power produced by the project, but called the notification from Indianapolis "very unexpected."

"We continue to be a strong partner with landowners and we have developed over 500 megawatts of wind (power) in Minnesota... and we have also developed a project with Indianapolis Power and Light Company in the past," Briner said. "Again, the long and short of it is, it's unexpected, and we're not exactly sure what the reasoning is."