It’s good to see public discussion of wind power. A recent opinion piece praised the elimination from House Bill 6 of a proposed referendum that would give residents affected by the installation of wind turbines a voice in the project.
The project slated for Erie and Huron counties impacts the following townships: Groton, Oxford, Lyme, Ridgefield, Sherman, Norwich and Richmond. Townships were an ideal choice for this project’s location because, absent a referendum, the residents have no direct voice in the matter.
Most residents want a referendum, and the time for one is critical. I agree that a referendum should not be held after a project receives certification from the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB). The time for both a referendum and a public meeting is when leases are offered to landowners. Although land for the Emerson Creek Wind Project was leased as long ago as 2009, the first public information meeting required by the OPSB was nine years later in November 2018.
A good place to get an idea of the scope of this project is on the OPSB’s website at https://www.ohio.opsb.gov. The docket number for the project is 18-1607-EL-BGN. The project has filed a 5,350 page application for certification with the OPSB in 18 separate pdf files.
Information about the cost and financial backing of this project is not available. When I asked the Power Siting Board about that, public spokesman Matt Butler replied, “It is not uncommon for an applicant to request confidential treatment of financial data, as APEX has done in this case.” A number of published sources state that without tax benefits and outright subsidies, no company would be involved in building a wind project.
The issues are serious. These turbines are 655 tall. Compare that with Cleveland’s Terminal Tower at 52 stories and 709 feet (without the cupola). For some money is most important. For others it’s quality of life. Still others see no downside to wind power. Everyone needs to be heard.
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