Greene County Chamber and Development’s Executive Director Ken Paxton attributes Renew’s location not only to Hardin Hilltop and further wind development in the area but also to the strong sense of community in Greene County.
“Everyone is pulling on the same side of the rope here,” he says. “We’ve got great community support for the wind turbines and a progressive City Council and Board of Supervisors. As the wind industry grows, it just gets better for us.”
Banking on the Community
In Greene County that industry growth can be traced directly back to Tom Wind and Bill Sutton.
After the completion of Hardin Hilltop in 2007, they looked to a newly built ethanol plant in town and saw an opportunity to provide clean, local power to the facility.
Junction Hilltop Wind Farm became fully operational in March 2012.
Shane Kozal (above)
Benefitting from a temporary grant program under the federal stimulus legislation, the nine local partners of Junction Hilltop were able to fund the five-turbine project themselves through a local bank instead of enlisting the backing of a large equity partner.
Benjamin Yoder, executive vice president of Home State Bank in Jefferson and president of Greene County Chamber, was at the vortex of an 18-month frenzy of paperwork and negotiation that resulted in the financing for the project.
It wasn’t easy, he admits, but the result was powerful: a truly locally funded wind project supplying clean energy to a local business.
“We saw it as a good loan for the bank and the community,” says Yoder. “As a local bank, it’s important for us to play a key role in community development. It’s a quality of life issue.”
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