The Ohio Power Siting Board has approved two controversial electrical utility projects in northern Ohio.
Meeting Monday in Columbus, the board approved a plan to run a power line that will stretch from Fremont to near Sandusky. The board said the Hayes-West Fremont 138 kilovolt Transmission line will bypass Peninsular Farms, a historic property near Fremont. A previous proposed route had threatened the farm. The line is being built by American Transmission Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corporation.
The board also authorized 6011 Greenwich Windpark, LLC, a subsidiary of Windlab Developments USA, to build the Greenwich Windpark, which will put up to 25 wind turbines in Greenwich Township in southern Huron County. It will be a 60-megawatt wind park. Opponents of the project said they haven’t given up and will seek a rehearing.
The planned Hayes-West Fremont line will run about 30 miles in an east-west direction from a West Fremont substation to new Hayes Substation in Erie County, on U.S. 4 between Fox Road and Bogart Road.
The initial route would have passed through Peninsular Farms, which is located along the Sandusky River just north of Fremont and which is the site of an old trading post run by Elizabeth Foulks Whittaker, who in 1813 learned of a pending British attack on Fort Stephenson, now the site of Fremont’s public library. She warned the defenders that the British were coming, and the Americans, led by Major George Croghan, won an important victory.
First Energy responded to the criticism by proposing a new route that bypasses Peninsular Farms.
The Greenwich Windpark will cover 4,650 acres of land leased from 26 landowners. The wind farm will be located east of Greenwich and just north of Richland County.
The wind turbines will be up to 490.5 feet tall, with rotor diameters of up to 383 feet.
The wind farm drew a mostly favorable reception during a May 6 public hearing held at South Central High School in Greenwich.
Opponents of the wind farm, however, have been gathering steam. An organization that opposes the wind farm, Greenwich Neighbors United, said they are unhappy about the board’s decision and will continue to fight the project.
The group’s chairman, Kevin Ledet, said his group will take advantage of its right to file an application for a rehearing. The group has 30 days to file its application.
“We’ve lived in this community a long time. We’ve raised our families here. We thought we did what we were told to do by the Power Siting Board to put issues and concerns before the board. We expected to see a board decision that fairly addressed these issues and concerns. So far, the board’s response indicates that it is up to us to protect our farmland, homes and our community from this wind farm developer,” Ledet said.
Gerald and Connie Obey, who own about 1,200 acres of farmland that will be next to the wind park, filed a motion to intervene on Aug. 21. The Obeys contend that at the very least, a second public hearing should be held on the matter. Greenwich Windpark, the company that is developing the wind park, replied that the Obeys haven’t shown a good reason why they waited until the last minute to file their request.
The board rejected the Obeys’ request, noting that it was turned in 125 days after the deadline.
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