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OPSB considers Logan County wind farm  

Credit:  By Matt Sanctis, Staff Writer | Springfield News-Sun | March 17, 2014 | www.springfieldnewssun.com ~~

Members of the Ohio Power Siting Board approved a 300-megawatt wind farm Monday, which will install more than 176 turbines throughout Logan and Hardin counties and could add $2.7 million annually in shared payments.

The Scioto Ridge Wind Farm could also add as many as 149 jobs during construction and 14 full-time jobs to operate the wind farm once construction is complete, according to an economic impact study submitted to the OPSB. The project is being developed by Everpower Renewables, Inc., which is also in charge of two phases of the controversial Buckeye Wind Farm in Champaign County.

The Champaign County project is slightly smaller, and would install about 100 wind turbines throughout the county. The Champaign County project could add about $1.8 million in annual revenue to the county if a Payment In Lieu of Taxes is approved, according to information from Everpower.

The Scioto Ridge project would stretch across 17,000 acres of land, including Richland and Rushcreek Twps. in Logan County and Lynn, McDonald, Roundhead and Taylor Creek Twps. in Hardin County.

Both projects have been a source of controversy. The second phase of the Buckeye Wind Project is being appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. Officials from Champaign County, as well as members of Union Neighbors United, a group opposed to the project, have filed arguments with the Supreme Court. The court is waiting for a response from Everpower this spring. Officials from the OPSB are also expected to file briefs with the Supreme Court by March 25.

Opinions on the Scioto Ridge project have also been split among residents, said Scott Coleman, Logan County Engineer.

Earlier this year, Coleman filed a list of concerns with the OPSB. Among them are a transportation study submitted to that agency which failed to address Logan County roads, although they would be used during construction of the Scioto Ridge project.

“Our concern here at the engineer’s office is primarily going to be with protecting the investment we’ve made in our transportation infrastructure and making sure that the residents and users in Logan County have those roadways protected,” Coleman said.

In Logan County, Coleman said residents are passionate about the project – both for and against.

“It’s a very important issue among the residents, specifically in that area of the county,” Coleman said.

It’s not clear when construction on the Scioto Ridge project could begin, said Jason Dagger, a spokesman for Everpower who has also helped promote the Champaign County wind farm. However, he said it’s possible it could begin as early as next year. A road use agreement is in place in Hardin County, and developers are working with officials in Logan County, he said.

Hardin County has also been designated as an alternative energy zone, which allows the project to be taxed at a reduced rate and makes similar projects easier to site, Dagger said. That is not the case in Logan County, where developers would have to ask the county commissioners to approve a Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT.

A construction timeline in Champaign County has also not yet been determined, although Dagger said it is possible work could begin on the project’s first phase by the end of this year. In recent months, most of the company’s attention has been focused on getting state approval for the Scioto Ridge project, Dagger said.

Documents filed with the OPSB shows residents in Logan County are split on the Scioto Ridge wind farm. While some argued the project will bring needed jobs and tax dollars into the county, several government entities opposed the project.

Trustees in Richland Twp. in Logan County voted in February to oppose the project due to concerns about the proximity of the project to Indian Lake, damage to local roads and potential issues related to noise and shadow flicker created by the turbines. Trustees in Taylor Creek and McDonald Twp. in Hardin County also filed letters asking the OPSB deny the project.

Council members in Belle Center in Logan County also unanimously opposed the project, raising concerns that the wind farm is sited too close to homes and could be a nuisance to residents and damage property values.

“Our community consists of many people who live outside city limits and come into town on a daily basis,” the letter states. “We are concerned about what will happen to relationships amongst community members and how this may negatively affect the village as a whole.”

However, several area property owners also filed letters of support with the OPSB, arguing the project will add jobs and provide additional revenue to area schools.

“I am one of many landowners which feel that this is an opportunity our region cannot afford to pass up,” said Shadd Shaffer, of Belle Center, in a letter to the OPSB. “A portion of this money will go directly to our local Hardin and Logan county schools each year. This is money that the schools need to provide a sound education for our children.”

By the numbers:

170 – Approximate number of turbines being considered for the project—

300 megawatts – Estimated power generated by the Scioto Ridge Wind Farm

200 megawatts – Estimated power generated by the nearby Buckeye Wind Project

$2.7 million – Estimated annual revenue to be split between Hardin and Logan Counties for the Scioto Ridge project

By the numbers:

170 – Approximate number of turbines being considered for the project—

300 megawatts – Estimated power generated by the Scioto Ridge Wind Farm

200 megawatts – Estimated power generated by the nearby Buckeye Wind Project

$2.7 million – Estimated annual revenue to be split between Hardin and Logan Counties for the Scioto Ridge project

Source:  By Matt Sanctis, Staff Writer | Springfield News-Sun | March 17, 2014 | www.springfieldnewssun.com

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

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