REEDSVILLE – German energy company Volkswind has undergone negotiations with approximately 60 landowners on Jack’s Mountain to construct a wind farm that would span eight miles and encompass 100 acres of land.
The company, whose U.S. operations are based in Portland, Ore., has been engaged in preliminary discussions throughout the course of the past few months and hope to finalize lease agreements in the near future.
Volkswind representative Michael Easton, told The Sentinel Jack’s Mountain possesses several attractive features including ideal wind conditions and transmission lines that would constitute the “right combination to make it a successful wind project.” Easton said the company’s goal would be to provide clean and renewable energy to the area.
Volkswind is developing a number of wind farms across the U.S. in states such as Iowa, Nebraska, Montana and Oregon, but have operating wind farms in European countries such as Germany and France.
If and when the company receives a commitment from property owners, Volkswind will apply for the necessary permits needed within the municipalities the wind farms will cover. Easton has already spoken with two of the municipalities, Granville and Brown townships, but has yet to approach Union and Oliver townships.
Granville Township Zoning Officer Mary Herto said Volkswind has yet to apply for any permits and the company has not submitted a proposal. She said factors such as height limits may dictate their decision, but added, “as long as it meets all of our requirements, we don’t have an issue with it.”
Brown Township Zoning Officer Tim Plank said he has spoken with Easton but said no plans have been submitted.
Easton said most land owners are in favor of the plan, but he added some communities are more supportive than others.
Belleville resident Ed Glick, who owns 40 acres of land on Jack’s Mountain, said he refuses to sign a lease amid concerns over the unsightly nature of the wind turbines. He said some land owners have a misperception of what financial gains can be achieved and how this may benefit the area.
He said although he is not particularly knowledgeable about electricity and renewable energy, he remains very skeptical. He also questioned how it would deter tourists and disturb wildlife.
“If it is something so great, why aren’t they putting windmills on state property? Why isn’t the state involved?” Glick asked.
Glick was among approximately 25 land owners when he attended a meeting led by Easton in October. He said the meeting was informational, but many hurdles have to be cleared before moving forward.
Another property owner who owns two parcels of land and is supporting this endeavor is Reedsville resident, Mark Glick.
“We need to create our own energy. We need more clean energy in our country,” Glick said. “If we don’t look out for our own country, then who is?”
Not only does Glick believe this project would be beneficial for renewable energy, he also believes land owners will obtain a substantial amount of financial gain as well. Glick said he has attended four meetings of about 30 to 40 people over the last few months, including one six weeks ago, but is unsure of how and when he will hear from Volkswind again.
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