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Wind energy company wants poles across Allen County

LIMA – A representative with BP Wind Energy met Tuesday with Allen County Commissioners to discuss constructing utility lines in the county to extract energy coming from a future Van Wert County wind farm.

Because power relaying stations in Van Wert County are at capacity, BP Wind Energy Business Developer Roger Brown said the utility is looking to have that wind farm power extracted to Lima.

“The transmission that flows through that county is full. That’s the easiest way to describe it,” Brown said. “So you have to go where you can actually connect to power lines that have the ability to carry more power.”

Several utility pole routes have been drafted, Brown said. He showed a map of the five possible pole routes to commissioners Tuesday morning. Some proposed routes dip south into Auglaize County and back into Allen County. Others offer a more direct route. If everything is approved, the poles would connect from already approved lines in Van Wert County, along Port Authority railroad property and private properties, to an American Electric Power substation in Lima.

“The Port Authority owns the Spencerville-Alger railroad from Lima to the Van Wert County line,” said Jeff Sprague, Port Authority of Allen County Board Chair. “BP Wind came to the Port Authority because they were looking at citing the power poles into Lima. So they looked at the best route and what potentially would not impede on the general public. … From our standpoint, what is the best option?”

Power line construction would take less than a year once things are approved, Brown said. However, the new Van Wert wind farm and its accompanying power lines likely are two years from completion. Brown said he expects to submit a project application including the proposed power lines this year.

Because of state law, a series of wildlife studies need to be conducted to ensure the turbines would not cause significant impacts to the environment before an application can be submitted. Some of those studies only can be done during specific times of the year.

“For instance, we’re looking at bald eagle nests,” Brown said. “You almost have to do that when there are no leaves on trees.”

Ohio’s Renewable and Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard in State Revised Code dictates 25 percent of energy sources should come from alternative energy resources by the year 2025. At least 12.5 percent must be generated from renewable energy resources, including wind and solar.

There are currently more than 200 wind turbines in Van Wert and Paulding counties, run and maintained primarily by Iberdrola Renewables and Horizon Wind Energy. BP Wind Energy has been pursuing a wind farm project in Van Wert County since 2010.

BP Wind Energy does nothave plans to develop a wind farm in Allen County.