TIRO – The fate of the proposed Black Fork Wind Farm will soon be one step closer to being decided, as its approval by the state continues to be considered by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Opponents of the project, which would feature 91 wind turbines spread across 24,200 acres in Richland and Crawford counties, have appealed its January 2012 OK by the Ohio Power Siting Board. Foes claim there is inadequate financial protection if the turbines are decommissioned and there is no record of how much it would cost to remove the decommissioned turbines, among other technical legal points.
In late March, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. French dismissed two of the opponents’ three propositions of law. Their remaining contention that their due process was violated through the prohibition of evidence presentation and by permitting the project to make post-certificate alterations and information submissions without a hearing was scheduled this week for oral argument Aug. 21.
In addition, Justice French wants to further examine the issue of whether the project is required to post a bond before construction can commence.
Element Power, an Oregon-based alternative energy company, hopes to begin construction of the Black Fork Wind Farm in 2014 and possibly go online in 2015.
Opponents of the project include a handful of residents in Shelby, Crestline and Tiro, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and trustees from Richland County’s Sharon Township.
The wind farm would be west of Shelby, north of Crestline and nearly surround the village of Tiro. Ohio 598 would bisect the entire site from north to south. The vast majority of the turbines would be 494 feet high. The project is expected to generate 200 megawatts of power and have a life span of 20 to 25 years.
The Black Fork is one of several wind farms in the early stages of development across north central Ohio, and would be the largest.
A subsidiary of Windlab Developments USA Ltd. wants to build a 25-turbine wind farm on 4,600 acres of leased land in Huron County’s Greenwich Township, bordering Richland County. The project has a pre-application status with the Ohio Power Siting Board.
The Republic Wind Farm, also in pre-application status at the siting board, would include 83 turbines on 15,000 acres near Republic in Seneca and Sandusky counties. It’s being proposed by Nordex USA Inc. of Chicago.
Finally, a fourth wind farm proposed for northeastern Morrow County, to be operated by Invenergy LLC, also of Chicago, has yet to be submitted to the siting board for approval.
State law says 25 percent of electricity sold in Ohio must be generated from alternative energy sources by 2025. At least half of this energy must come from renewable energy sources, including wind, and half of the renewable facilities must be located in the state.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding