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Firm offers wind farm details

BLOOMVILLE – Bloomville’s skyline could look radically different in 2013.

Thursday evening, representatives of NextEra Energy hosted an open house at Bloomville Community Center to answer questions about a 14,000-acre wind farm which could be coming to the area in two years. Up to 116 turbines are to be spread across Bloom and Venice townships in Seneca County and Lykens and Chatfield townships in Crawford County.

The Honey Creek Wind Energy Center, proposed by the Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra, would be the company’s first project in Ohio, although the 20-year-old organization has 86 wind projects around the United States and Canada, as well as solar, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric power producing projects.

The wind farm is to have the capacity to generate 185 megawatts of electricity – enough energy to power about 46,000 average homes – using turbines with a capacity of 1.6 megawatts each. The turbines, produced by GE, are to be 328 feet tall, measuring above the highest hill of Cedar Point’s Millennium Force, 310 feet.

According to NextEra, a single turbine and access roads are to take up less than 1 acre.

Landowners the company wants to work with have been notified, spokeswoman Mary Wells said.

NextEra is to invest $345 million in Seneca and Crawford counties over a 30-year period, with estimates of $39 million for lease payments to landowners and $27 million in property tax revenue for counties and local school districts. There are to be 150 jobs created during peak construction, and 10 people are to be full-time throughout operation for about $21 million in salaries and benefits.

The wind farm is expected to be operational for more than 30 years. A decommission plan is to be set and funding guaranteed, and the company is obligated to remove turbines, including towers, substations, power lines and foundation. Clean fill and topsoil removed at construction is to be restored and areas reseeded if necessary.

Seneca County Commissioner Jeff Wagner, who attended the meeting, said he believes the project would be “a positive when all is said and done.”

Honey Creek Wind Energy Center is one of three potential wind farms coming to the county within the next few years.

Commissioners are to host a special meeting at 3 p.m. Monday with a representative of Nordex concerning another wind farm project near Bellevue which includes Sandusky and Seneca counties.

County commissioners have had two meetings to discuss the project and establishment of an Alternative Energy Zone to allow overall tax reductions for renewable energy sources.