VAN WERT – With another energy company poking around Van Wert County and the wind currents above it, the Ohio Farm Bureau says it needs to educate its members on the facts and debunk the myths surrounding large-scale wind farms.
Tonight and again March 22, the Van Wert Farm Bureau is hosting meetings with the state farm bureau’s director for energy services
“We know that there is need for information out there,” said Jennifer Wilson, organization director for Van Wert County. “People have questions as to what information is correct.”
For farmers, leasing land for wind energy production can be lucrative because it gives them some added cash without forcing them to give up more than an acre or so of cropland. Wilson said farmers often feel forced to sell off part of their land when money is tight. Wind can be a boon to them.
“By having windmills on their property they’re able to make a little bit of extra income, they’re able to farm around those windmills, they’re providing a renewable resource for everyone,” she said.
Right now, BP Wind Energy is beginning to lease land for a potential wind farm. It isn’t clear how large or exactly where the energy giant is considering locating a wind farm.
Roger Brown, a business developer for BP Wind Energy, couldn’t be reached Monday.
A spokesman for the Ohio Power Siting Board, which approves all wind farms, said BP had not filed any paperwork with the board.
“They’re signing land into leases. BP’s kind of in the stage of their project where Iberdrola was for Blue Creek back in 2008,” Wilson said.
Iberdrola Renewables, one of the first players in the area, began construction on its 150-plus turbine Blue Creek Wind Farm, which is split between Van Wert and Paulding counties in September. Production is likely another year away.
At tonight’s meeting, the farm bureau’s Dale Arnold will give some basic information on wind farms and the turbines that stretch hundreds of feet into the sky. He’s given similar talks in Kenton on Hardin County’s wind development.
“He can tell people the good, the bad and the ugly,” Wilson said, “and really there’s not a whole lot of bad and ugly with the windmills.”
Brown is expected to be at the meeting later this month to outline BP’s plans.
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