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Black Fork wind farm seeks construction extension

The operator of a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm in north-central Ohio wants a two-year construction extension. It’s at least the fourth extension request among proposed Ohio wind farms in recent months.

Construction of the proposed 91-turbine Black Fork wind farm in Richland and Crawford counties has been delayed because of some residential opposition to the project. Opponents appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court in May 2012, and the court decided in favor of the wind farm in December.

Columbus-based attorneys for the wind farm’s owner, Element Power, have asked the Ohio Power Siting Board to extend its construction certificate from January 2017 to January 2019 to make up for the lost time.

The company cites market forces as another reason for the delay; local shale gas production has made electricity prices cheaper, and federal environmental rules in effect next year will take tens of thousands of fossil-fueled megawatts off of the nation’s electric grid.

“As energy companies continue to comply with (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) standards, the Black Fork wind farm project will provide important replacement generation capacity in an environmentally friendly manner,” the company said in its filing.

State regulators last month granted a three-year extension to the Buckeye Wind farm in western Ohio, which cited its own litigation delays in its extension request.

The company said it expects construction to start in October 2016 and service to begin December 2017.

Two phases of the proposed Timber Road wind farm in Paulding County also just asked regulators for an extension.