HAVILAND – More than 100 people turned out Tuesday evening at Wayne Trace High School to find out about a proposed new wind farm in Blue Creek and Latty townships of Paulding County.
The wind farm is being developed by Northwest Ohio Wind Energy and is slated to see construction begin by the end of December.
“The project is a 250 megawatt project. We’re working on Phase I right now which is 100 megawatts,” explained Joe Jennings, direction of communications of parent company National Wind, which is owned by Trishe Group Company in London, England. “We’re trying to get construction started this year. We’re working with the Ohio Power Siting Board who require us to have this meeting.”
The number of turbines is not yet clear for this first phase since the company has not made a final decision on the turbines it would use in this project. If Northwest Wind would decide on a 2.0 MW (megawatt) turbine model, that would mean 50 turbines would be a part of the first phase.
No new transmission lines would need to be installed to handle the power generated by the proposed project.
Jennings said, “AEP has a 138 KV line going right through the project, so it will not require any new overhead lines. We’re working actively for what is called an off-taker, which is somebody to buy the electricity on a contract. That’s become very challenging. We’ve been responding to multiple Request For Proposals. We’re talking very actively with one of the firms that we sent an RFP to, so we’re hopeful that will come through, but we are continuing to send out others.”
Tuesday night’s meeting was a required public informational meeting. The meeting needed to be held before Northwest Ohio Wind Energy could file an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) for state approval. Jennings noted that reaction at the meeting was good.
“It’s been a very useful meeting, I’d say, representing our leaseholders, people who are neighbors, and people who are just interested from the area. I think it was a successful meeting,” he stated.”I think this has been informative. I mean there are people with a lot of different opinions on lots of different things, but very polite, and very much a respectful interchange of information.”
According to Jennings, the company has been working with both AEP and regulator PJM to get transmission and an interconnection to the grid. They are hoping to get permission for the interconnection and transmission by the end of September.
Most of the other major hurdles have been cleared. The wind farm has enough land under lease for the first phase of 100 MW, the company is working with the OPSB preparing to file an application, and transmission approval is expected later this year. The tough part now will be finding a buyer for the power to be generated.
That has been a hurdle for both the Timber Road and Blue Creek wind farms which are already operational. If more power can be sold from those projects, more turbines will probably be built. For example, Timber Road Wind Farm already has state approval to build what is known as Phase I of that project (Phase II is already operational) which would include another 35 turbines along the Paulding County skyline.
Jennings is encouraged by the progress of the Northwest Ohio Wind Energy project thus far.
“I’m getting a sense that we’re really moving forward and we want to get it under construction by the end of the year,” he commented. “I think there’s a lot of support for it among our people because they want the supplemental income. That’s very important in an agricultural community, because there are good years and bad years, but the wind always blows! And around here, it really blows!”
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