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Company considering Auglaize County wind farm

BUCKLAND – A multinational company is considering building a wind farm in Auglaize County, an economic development official confirmed Wednesday.

U.S. Mainstream Renewable Power Inc. has completed preliminary studies for a 100-megawatt project in portions of Duchouquet, Logan and Moulton townships in north central Auglaize County, said Gregory Myers, president of Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council.

Mainstream is discussing lease opportunities with landowners and whether their properties are appropriate for wind turbine development, Myers said.

The company will continue its analysis throughout 2012 to further determine the wind speeds and the overall feasibility for the development of a wind-generation project.

The Ohio Power Siting Board, which approves wind-turbine projects, does not have an application or pre-application on file for Mainstream and Auglaize County, the board said. Board officials also have not held any informal conversations with the company about Auglaize County. Mainstream has approached the Siting Board informally about other counties in Ohio, said Matt Butler, with the Ohio Public Utilities Commission.

The company is not quite a year into what is typically a two-year preliminary process before permitting, said Dan Schumann, senior development project manager with Mainstream.

“It takes a couple of years, doing some very preliminary work, meeting with people like fish and wildlife officials. It’s a couple of years before you can even get to the point of permitting,” Schumann said. “It’s not a done deal. It has some great potential. We’re getting good response from landowners. We’re not interested in alarming people, but do want to make sure people know we’re talking with owners.”

Mainstream, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, has established wind and solar-energy projects in eight countries on four continents. It is Europe’s leading offshore wind-energy developer, with a portfolio of 5,500 megawatts across Scotland, England and Germany. It is also developing more than 10,000 megawatts of onshore wind projects in the United States, Canada, Chile, South Africa and Ireland.

In addition to wind development, Mainstream is developing 750 megawatts of solar projects in the United States, Canadian and South African markets. The company’s U.S. headquarters is in Chicago.

Wind farms are beginning to dot the west central Ohio landscape. They are built in Van Wert County and Paulding County. Another in Van Wert County is approved and about to be built. A fourth in Hardin County is also about to be constructed. A fifth in Putnam County is proposed.