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Company scraps plan for county wind farm

ROCKFORD – Apex Clean Energy is scrapping plans for a proposed 450-megawatt wind farm in southern Van Wert and northern Mercer counties, with company officials saying current state policies have created unnecessary barriers.

Dahvi Wilson, ACE’s vice president of public affairs, wrote in a statement to the newspaper that the state’s policies have made their continued investment in Ohio a “highly risky proposition.”

Amendments made to the state’s budget in 2014 created “one of the nation’s strictest wind-turbine setback laws, almost tripling the required distance from turbines to property lines,” Wilson wrote. The change, which he claimed was unsupported by legitimate evidence, crippled investments and brought wind development to a halt.

“Prior to the passage of HB 483, there were a dozen wind projects permitted in the state. Zero project received permits since its passage,” Wilson wrote.

“Our high-quality Ohio portfolio promises to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in local revenue and school funding to the state, along with a critical, low-cost source of power. Unfortunately, the state’s current anti-business policies are making it necessary for us to reduce our investment exposure in the state and to choose which of our projects we continue to advance in Ohio. Due to some challenges presented by the transmission system around Van Wert and Mercer Counties, Long Prairie Wind has been selected for divestment,” he wrote.

Leases to properties in both counties that had been made in anticipation for the project will reportedly be released over the next several weeks.

“Van Wert and Mercer counties remain excellent locations for a wind facility, and we anticipate that if and when the state becomes more welcoming to these investments, the area will once again have a bright future in wind energy,” Wilson wrote.