A public hearing was held on Monday evening in Ada’s Railroad Depot for local residents to give testimony to the Ohio Power Siting Board on the Hog Creek Wind Farm, LLC proposed wind farm. Owned by juwi Wind, LLC, the Hog Creek Wind Farm has two phases, and is located in Washington Township between Ada and Dola. Phase One included up to 31 wind turbines, and Phase Two is an expansion of the project, with another 8-10 wind turbines. In total, annual energy production is estimated at 221,000 MWh. Depending on which model is chosen, the wind turbines will be 476 to 492 feet high.
Only two members of the public chose to testify at the public hearing. First was Luke Underwood, the Assistant Engineer of Hardin County. Underwood stated that his office is neither for nor against the wind turbine project, he was merely reporting on some concerns regarding the roads and ditches that are within the project borders.
Underwood acknowledged that juwi Wind, LLC has been cooperative so far, but that a road agreement has not been completed. He said the roads within the project need to be core-sampled in order to determine their composition. Then the load-bearing capacity of the roads can be determined. If the loads being carried to the project area are heavier than the capacity, juwi Wind, LLC must build up the road surface to handle the extra weight. Also of concern are overloading the local bridges. Underwood said it is a public safety issue as well, and these studies need to be done prior to construction. The engineer’s office also requires a plan for any changes to local ditches along the roads.
The second speaker at the hearing was John Hohn, the Director of Economic Development for Hardin County. Hohn said the purpose of the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance is to “promote and cultivate economic prosperity in the county.” As such, the Chamber endorses the wind farm development in Hardin County. Currently, there are five wind developers with an estimated 78,000 acres already optioned for turbines.
Hohn noted several benefits of wind farm development: the projects pay millions in tax revenues to local schools and governmental bodies. He estimated that Hog Creek Wind Farm, Phase I and II will bring in $590,400 in property taxes. Second, the wind farms will bring in both permanent and maintenance jobs to the county. And while working on the project, construction crews will utilize local hotels and businesses.
A published report at the hearing states that juwi hopes to begin construction in late 2011 or early 2012, depending on approval by the Ohio Power Siting Board.
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