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Seneca Wind project suspended

The Seneca Wind project that had been proposed in Seneca County has been suspended by sPower, its parent company, according to an sPower news release. The announcement was made Tuesday.

The release said sPower “will not refile an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board at this time.”

In early October, sPower filed a pre-application letter with OPSB for a 212-megawatt wind turbine project in Scipio, Reed, Venice, Eden and Bloom townships similar to the project the company withdrew in August 2019.

Related to wind projects in the county, the Seneca County commissioners last spring passed a resolution “sunsetting” the county Alternative Energy Zone in June.

When the Seneca Wind project was revisited, the commissioners noted in their meeting that there was some confusion about the intent of sunsetting the AEZ.

On Oct. 10, they sent a letter to the Ohio Development Services Agency in Columbus clarifying that Seneca Wind would not be grandfathered under the former AEZ. The project would be considered a new filing because the project has been withdrawn from OPSB consideration.

sPower’s decision to not refile the OPSB application will put the project on hold for an undetermined period, the release said, until next steps are defined by the company.

“We would like to thank our landowners and other community partners who have supported this project over the years, even before our acquisition,” said sPower CEO Ryan Creamer in the release. “We hope to do more work in Ohio in the future, but at this time, we are making the difficult choice to place our resources in other states where there is a greater potential for success.”

The release said the project would have provided enough clean energy to power nearly 60,000 homes per year. It was estimated that this project would have contributed more than $3 million annually to the local economy, the release said.

In a statement, Seneca Anti-Wind Union said, “This is a major victory for those fighting to protect Seneca County from being transformed into an industrial zone without local residents having a vote on the matter. We still have multiple projects in our area that we oppose including both the Republic Wind and Emerson Creek Wind projects that are being developed by APEX.

“Going forward, we urge everyone to support Rep. (Bill) Reineke’s work in Columbus to pass HB 401 and SB 234, which are identical bills that would allow for a referendum on wind projects so that all local citizens can have input on such a major change to the fabric of their community,” the organization said. “The current process allows state regulators to make such decisions with no local vote, and that tends to motivate massive opposition.”

For more information on Seneca Wind, visit www.senecawind.com.

The latest Seneca Wind OPSB case number is 19-1831-EL-BGN.