Three wind energy developers that say they’re prepared to invest a total of $2.7 billion in Ohio have sent letters to Gov. Ted Strickland asking him to push to include in pending legislation benchmarks that will require energy companies to buy power from renewable sources almost immediately.
The three companies – Horizon Wind Energy of Houston, Iberdrola Renewables of Spain and Invenergy Wind LLC of Rockwell, Md. – said they needed assurances that the market would be there in the 2009-2014 period to give them the confidence to build wind turbines in Ohio.
Gov. Strickland earlier this month said the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio should be able to waive early renewable energy benchmarks because of the dynamics of the nascent wind energy market. Also, utility companies have been reluctant to accept short-term targets for their purchase of renewable energy and have argued that, in any case, the demand for wind turbines would not be available for the near term because of worldwide demand for wind power.
However, the wind energy companies said they are ready to move ahead.
For instance, Horizon Wind is working in western Ohio to develop 800 megawatts of wind power at a planned cost of $1.5 billion. In his letter to Gov. Strickland, Horizon project manager Bill Whitlock said, “We have secured turbines for 2008 and 2009, and have partially secured them for 2010 and beyond.”
Hans Detweiler, manager of state legislation for the American Wind Energy Association, urged the governor to include early renewable benchmarks in House Bill 487, sponsored by House Speaker Jon Husted.
“If Governor Strickland and the Ohio Legislature act to create a market for the wind industry in the vital period of the next several years, the wind industry is ready to invest billions of dollars in Ohio,” Mr. Detweiler wrote.
By Jay Miller
19 March 2008
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