A wind power company with projects in much of the U.S. says it is making plans to build a big wind farm in southern Erie County and northern Huron County.
Apex Clean Energy says it isn’t ready to give out a lot of details yet about the planned Firelands Wind project, but says the company is talking about 35 to 45 wind turbines spread out over 13,000 acres of land, covering 13,000 acres of cropland. It would be able to produce up to 99 megawatts of energy, enough to power more than 23,000 homes.
A map on the projects’s website shows an “area of interest” east of Bellevue, west of U.S. 250, north of U.S. 20 and south of the turnpike.
Apex has not filed any paperwork yet with the Ohio Power Siting Board to seek approval for the project. The board must approve all wind farms that produce 5 megawatts or more of power, said Matt Butler, a spokesman for the board.
The company says it is ” actively meeting with landowners, community leaders” to discuss the project. Construction is unlikely to begin until at least 2016, it says.
A spokeswoman for Apex, Dahvi Wilson, confirmed that the company has not filed for any permits yet with the power siting board.
She said rules imposed by state lawmakers have delayed the project.
“Firelands Wind is currently in development, but our progress has been delayed due to the passage of unreasonable setback requirements by the Ohio General Assembly. The majority of projects in Ohio, including Firelands, are likely not buildable with the current setback law in place. For this reason, we do not have an accurate timetable for this project at this time,” she wrote in an email to the Register.
“It is critical for the state to amend these rules in order to make it possible for Ohio to take full advantage of its clean wind energy resources and to allow local communities to capture the economic benefits of projects like Firelands Wind,” she wrote.
If the project goes ahead, it could become the second wind farm in Huron County.
The Power Siting Board recently reaffirmed its decision allowing the Greenwich Windpark project in southern Huron County to go forward. That project calls for 25 wind turbines. A group fighting the project is mulling an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Firelands Wind project is descended from an earlier project. In May 2010, officials from JW Great Lakes Wind, owned by the German alternative power company the Juwi Group, met with landowners to discuss a proposed wind farm for Groton and Oxford townships.
Wilson explained that Apex acquired the wind farm project from Juwi in March 2014.
Apex’s website lists projects in 25 states. The company says five wind energy projects will go online within the coming year.
The Ohio Power Siting Board says Ohio now has two operational wind farms: the Blue Creek Wind Farm in Paulding and Van Wert counties, and the Timber Road II project in Paulding County.
Eleven projects have been approved and are waiting to come online, including the Greenwich project. Applications have been filed for four other projects.
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