VAN WERT – The Van Wert Area Chamber got national mention for its efforts testifying before the Ohio Legislature to back wind energy. The effort was named one of the top 10 chamber-in-action stories from 2013-2014 from the group Chambers For Innovation and Clean Energy.
Chamber President/CEO Susan Munroe explained, “Hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line for Van Wert County.” She explained that the chamber’s mission statement includes, “We aggressively promote the interests of our business community.”
Also advocating in Columbus was Lincolnview Local Schools Superintendent Jeff Snyder, Lincolnview Board President Eric Germann, and Van Wert County Economic Development Director Sarah Smith.
In naming the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce to the list, it was pointed out, “In testimony…before the Ohio Legislature, the President of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce made a powerful case for the economics of wind power, saying that a new wind farm has been a tremendous boost for Van Wert County. Economic benefits, she said, have rippled to hotels, restaurants, auto dealers, grocery stores and other member businesses in her rural county as well as providing much-needed funding for local government services and education.”
Munroe said the effort was included as an example of “outstanding advocacy” by a chamber of commerce.
In her testimony, Munroe said that the Blue Creek Wind Farm, which opened two years ago, is now the largest taxpayer in Van Wert County, providing $2 million annually for schools and local governments and millions more to local farmers and other landowners through the annual payment in lieu of taxes agreement made before that wind farm was constructed. “Wind is a lucrative, sustainable “crop” for our farmers and entire community,” Munroe said. “We hope to continue to harvest wind to not only build economic success for our county but provide sustainable, renewable energy for our state.”
The effort from the Van Wert chamber ranked at number four in a list that included chambers across the country doing project like conducting wind farm tours, attracting new business with clean energy clusters and holding regional clean air summits.
Interest in wind energy projects is starting to again to be discussed as efforts to stop the freeze in enforcing alternate energy standards are being pushed. Those standards, along with increases in the distances required between wind turbines and houses made the construction of more wind farms more risky and less profitable.
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