PRINCETON — Gibson and Posey County officials planned to meet privately with representatives of the National Weather Service Tuesday to gather more information about a proposed industrial wind farm’s potential effect on Gibson County’s NWS Doppler radar tower near Owensville.
GibCoWind spokesman Sarah Newton of Poseyville told Gibson County Commissioners last month that the proposed turbines would be too close to the radar tower and could interfere with the accuracy of low-level data supplied to NWS offices.
Citing information she obtained from Don Waddell, a physicist who has given expert testimony on wind turbine impact on Doppler radars and from Jessica Schultz of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service, Newton reported that experts say the wind turbulence generated by the turbines, while not visible, can mask true low-level weather data from the Doppler radar.
She told the board that E.ON Climate and Renewables' proposed turbines, at 591 feet tall, would be the tallest in the state, and she said NWS/NOAA have no legal authority to stop a wind project. Newton also said experts told her there's no equipment that can be attached to turbines to prevent the interference.
GibCoWind proponents called on commissioners to enact a zoning ordinance to protect the integrity of the Doppler radar's ability to monitor low-level weather. The county has no zoning ordinance to regulate land use.
Commissioners asked Gibson County Management Agency Director Terry Hedges to consult with NWS to learn more about the subject. Gibson County Commissioner Gerald Bledsoe, a Posey County Commissioner, Hedges and a Posey County EMA counterpart, representatives of GibCoWind and the NWS planned to meet Tuesday.
The session is not considered a public meeting, according to Gibson County Attorney James McDonald, because only one commissioner is attending.
The three Gibson County Commissioners meet in regular public session Tuesday at 6 p.m.