How can I be involved?
Sign up here! We expect this process will take some time, and there will be many different ways to participate. When you sign up, you will have the chance to let us know how you are most interested in being involved.
How long will this take?
Since this process has never been tried, we’re not yet sure how long it might take. That said, we would hope to have a meaningful outcome and results to show from this process within about 18 months. We do not expect that a wind project could be fully built in Vermillion County until at least 2026.
How does the community economically benefit?
If a wind project is built in Vermillion County, there are many ways the community could benefit. These include new tax revenue, new jobs, a long-term source of income for local landowners, and a better economy for local businesses. In addition, as part of the new process we’re pioneering here, we also plan to make the Vermillion County community a royalty-owner in the wind facility, if it is built. That means that if a project gets built, the people of Vermillion County would earn a royalty on the revenues generated by the project throughout its entire lifetime (usually 30 years or more). Since we hope the residents of Vermillion will help us site and create design standards for a project, we want to make sure that the community’s input, influence, and hard work will also result in an on-going benefit if the project is built.
Why are you doing this?
We are doing this because we want to find a more collaborative, less divisive way to develop wind energy projects in this country. The typical development process we have followed elsewhere produces projects that are safe and legal, but it doesn’t always do enough to bring significant community input into our plans. What we are hoping to try in Vermillion is remarkably different than what we’ve done anywhere else, ever. Instead of simply looking at maps and data, leasing land in a targeted area, using computers to design the most optimal project from a technical perspective, and then proposing a more-or-less finished product to community leaders, here we want to involve the broader community in the entire exploration from the beginning. (Sign up to get involved here.)
What about the ongoing wind ordinance discussions?
The Vermillion Area Planning Commission is currently deliberating a wind ordinance for this county, which they will soon send to the County Commissioners for approval. We believe it would be premature for us to play an advocacy role in the current ordinance drafting process, because we have not yet begun to do the work needed to understand what is valued and desired in Vermillion County.
We hope we have the opportunity to come to the table with county leaders once our community process is complete, to ensure that the county’s ordinance is aligned with those outcomes. If we are successful in finding a way to bring Vermillion County the multiple millions of dollars in economic benefit our project could provide, while ensuring that the project’s design meets community desires and needs, we hope the county will be willing to revise its ordinance as necessary.
In the meantime, we intend to remain fully available to serve as a resource for the county if ever we can be of service in their ordinance deliberations.
Who do the facilitators work for?
The facilitators were identified by and are funded by Apex. However, the facilitation team is not a typical contractor. They are not an agent of Apex but have been contracted to facilitate the engagement process. They work under a statement of independence and do not have a stake in the outcome. The facilitators are accountable to the County and participants as well as to Apex.
Are the facilitators experts in wind energy siting?
The facilitation team brings a wealth of process expertise from working with diverse groups across the United States on a host of issues, including energy development and decisions about wind siting. But the facilitators are not experts in wind development, wind technology, property acquisition, project financing, or other such skill sets necessary for wind energy development.
Are the facilitators familiar with Indiana and the Midwest?
Two of the senior facilitators attended college in Minnesota. They have worked in a variety of states including Indiana (for MISO, the regional transmission organization), North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio.
Are the facilitators familiar with farming and agriculture communities?
The team has facilitated agriculture-related projects at the local and national level. These include projects relating to soil health, water quality, sustainable production, financial viability, conservation, farm labor practices, energy siting, and other topics. One member of the facilitation team was born and raised on a ranch in western Colorado and another has spent considerable time on family farms and ranches in northwest Colorado.
Can I talk to the facilitators confidentially?
In their professional roles and abiding by their professional ethics, the facilitation team is bound to keep all required information, concerns, or issues expressed to them by any party confidentially, unless it involves a threat to property or person.
What if I think the facilitation team is being biased?
First, you can reach out to the facilitation team itself to express concerns. If the team does not adjust and address the concern, you can reach out to the County to express your concerns and ask for action.