PAYNE, Ohio – On the eve of continuing courtroom drama Friday over a proposed Seneca County wind farm, a state board approved plans for another wind farm to be constructed over in Paulding County near the Indiana state line.
The Ohio Power Siting Board on Thursday authorized Paulding Wind Farm IV LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of EDP Renewables of North America, to build its proposed Timber Road IV Wind Farm near Payne, Ohio.
The Timber Road IV Wind Farm will include up to 37 wind turbines and will have a total generating capacity of up to 125.1 megawatts. Seventeen miles of access roads will be constructed to support the facility.
Paulding Wind Farm IV aims to begin construction during the second quarter of 2019, and finish before the end of the year.
“It’s going to be another great summer in Paulding County,” Jerry Zielke, Paulding County economic development director, said, adding that the project also helps support a local cement plant and area parts suppliers.
“We’re excited about it. We’ve been waiting on it for quite some time. We’re glad to see it’s moving forward,” Mr. Zielke said.
The project is to span 20,400 acres in Paulding County’s Crane, Harrison, Paulding, Blue Creek, and Benton townships.
Although the project is authorized for up to 37 turbines, the actual number to be erected will be 31, according to Erin Bowser, EDP Renewables project director.
She said the project is contingent upon neighbors agreeing to sign setback waivers. Rules that went into effect in 2014 are so onerous that most turbines today cannot be erected without adjacent property owners signing waivers, Ms. Bowser said.
EDP Renewables, which expects to be generating more total wind power than any other company in Ohio once Timber Road IV is completed, would have a lot more flexibility if the Ohio General Assembly eased up on the setback requirements, she said.
The company also owns the 55-turbine Timber Road II project and the 50-turbine Timber Road III projects in Paulding County, as well as a wind farm in Hardin County.
“Paulding County is one of the most supportive for wind power in the state. They’ve just been real leaders. The only reason we can do this is because the community is so supportive,” Ms. Bowser said.
“We would love to invest more in Ohio,” she said. “The only way we’re going to be able to do that is to fix these property line setbacks.”
Meanwhile, over in Tiffin, visiting Judge Robert Pollex is scheduled to hear arguments at 9 a.m. Friday on the fourth floor of the Seneca County Courthouse in a case Seneca Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Utah-based sPower, has brought against 30 landowners who’ve had a change of heart since signing leases more than a decade ago.
The private property owners don’t want to let the developer proceed with preconstruction work the company insists is part of the massive Seneca Wind project it wants to build. Seneca Wind contends they are in breach of contract.
The company wants to erect 77 turbines across five Seneca County townships. That project would become one of the state’s single largest wind farms.