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Element Power still intends to construct Black Fork Wind Farm  

Credit:  By Matt Echelberry, Inquirer Reporter | Galion Inquirer | March 29, 2013 | galioninquirer.com ~~

BUCYRUS – Craw­ford County Com­mis­sion­ers met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ele­ment Power on March 26 to dis­cuss Black Fork Wind Farm, a pro­posed project in which 91 wind tur­bines would be installed. 76 would be located through­out east­ern Craw­ford County, the remain­ing tur­bines would be in Rich­land County. If the project is ever started, it would be the largest wind farm in the state, capa­ble of gen­er­at­ing up to 200 megawatts of power.

Ele­ment Power is a global renew­able energy devel­oper that devel­ops, acquires, builds, owns and oper­ates a port­fo­lio of wind and solar power gen­er­a­tion facil­i­ties world­wide. It is a sub­sidiary of Hud­son Clean Energy Part­ners, founded in 2008 and based in London.

Scott Hawkin from Ele­ment said the Fed­eral tax credit for renew­able energy projects has been extended and they are wait­ing on the specifics from the Inter­nal Rev­enue Service.

Com­mis­sioner Doug Weise­nauer said it was his under­stand­ing that to qual­ify for the exten­sion, con­struc­tion needs to start in 2013.

Hawkin replied that they are still wait­ing on the def­i­n­i­tion as to what qual­i­fies as “con­struc­tion,” whether it is phys­i­cal labor being done or finan­cial commitments.

Before con­struc­tion can begin, how­ever, the Ohio Supreme Court will need to rule in Element’s favor in an appeal case involv­ing the per­mit­ting for Black Fork. Ele­ment filed a project appli­ca­tion with the Ohio Power Sit­ing Board on March 10, 2011. The Board issued a cer­tifi­cate on Jan­u­ary 23, 2012. Oppo­nents to the project filed an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court on May 24, 2012.

“We hoped that they would have made a deci­sion by this point,” Hawkin stated. He added that he thinks they will be successful.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, the new project devel­oper for Black Fork was intro­duced: John Knight, direc­tor of devel­op­ment for Ele­ment. His office is in Port­land, Ore. He was also hope­ful the project will move for­ward, say­ing it is “very well-positioned.”

Knight reported that Ele­ment con­tin­ues to work with local offi­cials on the road use agree­ment. Due to the heavy trucks and machin­ery needed for the project, in addi­tion to the hun­dreds of tons in con­struc­tion mate­ri­als, nearby road­ways will be dam­aged. The agree­ment would hold Ele­ment finan­cially account­able to repair those roads.

Mike McBeth, Regional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion exec­u­tive direc­tor, also attended the meet­ing. He advised the rep­re­sen­ta­tives to also keep field drainage in mind. He sug­gested that they work with local farm­ers if the project moves for­ward, because there is a lot of drainage tile in the pro­posed project site.

Knight noted that tile repairs will be included in project financing.

Another key issue dis­cussed was oppo­si­tion from neigh­bors. If one dri­ves through that part of the county, signs are dis­played in many yards that read “No wind tur­bines.” Many oppo­si­tion groups point out that the tow­ers are massive—some more than 400 feet high. The mate­ri­als weigh hun­dreds of tons, so sev­eral acres around each tur­bine need to be cleared.

Knight agreed that there is always some oppo­si­tion to energy projects like this. He said there would be a com­mu­nity meet­ing before con­struc­tion begins (which would take 8–10 months). “A key part of our job is edu­cat­ing the com­mu­nity about this project and what to expect.”

Yet another kink in the project that needs to be resolved is a repeal of the Renew­able Port­fo­lio Stan­dard (see box), which is cur­rently going through the State con­gress. Knight said the repeal would be “dis­as­ter­ous” for Black Fork if it passed.


More on the Renew­able Port­fo­lio Standard:

Ohio law requires elec­tric dis­tri­b­u­tion util­i­ties and elec­tric ser­vices com­pa­nies to secure a por­tion of their elec­tric­ity sup­plies from alter­na­tive energy resources. By the year 2025, 25 per­cent of the elec­tric­ity sold by each com­pany within Ohio must be gen­er­ated from alter­na­tive energy sources.

By 2024, at least 12.5 per­cent must be gen­er­ated from renew­able energy resources, includ­ing wind, solar, hydro­elec­tric, geot­her­mal, etc. At least one half of the renew­able energy used must be gen­er­ated at facil­i­ties located in Ohio.

For more infor­ma­tion, visit the Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion of Ohio web­site at www.puco.ohio.gov.

Source:  By Matt Echelberry, Inquirer Reporter | Galion Inquirer | March 29, 2013 | galioninquirer.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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