Alternative energy sources have certainly been a topic that the Farm Bureau has made a priority to be involved with and we at the SWCD are happy to be a partner in that realm. There have already been meetings between Farm Bureau leadership, and Ohio State University Extension offices with our stategovernmental officials, as well as conducting reviews of potential grants for energy sources. Our Governor and U.S. Senators pledged to make Ohio ’’the Silicon Valley of Alternative Energy.”
Believe it or not, Trumbull County has enough accelerated wind speeds to house many wind turbines which in turn could become an economic development opportunity for our area. Farmers should pay attention to this issue for providing electricity to their farms. Even the urbanized communities could benefit for up to as many as 400 homes could be powered by the larger units.
In a recent Associated Press report the claim is made that studies have shown that Ohio’s wind potential is actually greater than that of Germany, where wind farms are in wide use. Ohio’s greatest wind potential location is where it’s lagging manufacturing base is: in Northeast Ohio and along Lake Erie.
’’It’s not just where to install the turbines, it’s also where to locate the manufacturing plants since the cost to transport these towers can be very expensive,” stated Rich Houk, Trumbull County Farm Bureau Governmental Affairs Committee Member.
’’Large turbines need to be near power grids to hook up, and near train tracks or spurs for transportation reasons,” Houk added.
’’Being from an area with a manufacturing base actually helps Northeast Ohio when it competes with other areas of the country that are windy.” Houk said.
The local Farm Bureau’s governmental affairs committee is working with Congressman Ryan on obtaining federal appropriation dollars to conduct a study on wind turbines. State Senator Capri Cafaro has also made alternative energy as a priority issue. One of the problems for Ohio is that it doesn’t have goals for alternative energy as 21 other states have. That means Ohio needs to move forward faster if our officials want Ohio to become the Silicon Valley as promised.
Trumbull Farm Bureau’s President Glenn Smith and our county board are also investigating other energy sources especially those which could have a positive affect on the agriculture industry and our valley.
Mike Wilson is the Executive Director of the Trumbull Soil & Water Conservation District and is an Associate Member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau
8 May 2008
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