At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, an hour after the scheduled start time for the Seneca Wind informational meeting at Camden Falls Reception and Conference Center, the line for entry still extended outside the building.
Hundreds attended the self-described “public outreach meeting” organized by sPower, the company responsible for the newly-named Seneca Wind (formerly Republic Wind) project, which served as a discussion space for county residents and representatives of sPower. While no official speech or demonstration took place, specifics of the proposed wind turbine farms were illustrated through presentation boards, which contained the prospective locations of up to 60 turbines across Seneca County.
The Ohio Power Siting Board, which must approve sPower’s application, also attended to detail the application process.
sPower sits at the first step of approval, the pre-application conference, and the estimated timetable would see construction begin in the fourth quarter of 2019, should approval be granted.
The proposed development would stretch across about 25,000 acres, or 39 square miles – 1/14th the size of Seneca County. sPower reported the turbines are to generate 200 megawatts of power and provide electricity for 57,500 Ohio homes per year.
At an April 11 event in Columbus where the Seneca Wind deal was discussed to promote new legislation regarding loosening restrictions on the construction of wind farms, APEX (sPower’s parent company) was cited as claiming the 30-year deal would bring about $29 million to landowners, $36 million to public schools and $18 million to the county and townships over the life of the contract.
Public reception was generally negative Tuesday. Residents generally were confused by the format, having expected a formal presentation. Representatives eventually announced there was no presentation planned, and apologized if people were waiting for one, prompting many to leave.
Many supporters of the Seneca Anti-Wind Union attended, handing out pamphlets. Representatives said the group’s primary concerns with the turbine projects involve building code restrictions, and the negative impact the projects may have on property values and quality-of-life for residents.
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