In an Energize Ohio Blog (https://energizeohio.osu.edu) written by Eric Romich on July 25, he stated that new legislation is “helping to spur utility scale renewable development in Ohio”. This is certainly true for wind development in West Central Ohio. Iberdrola Renewables and Horizon Wind Energy are two wind development companies in the final stages of constructing the first two utility wind scale projects in Ohio, Blue Creek (Iberdrola) and Timber Road II (Horizon).
Seven more projects have submitted applications through the Ohio Power Siting Board, with numerous other projects in the initial planning stages throughout Ohio. It’s very doubtful that these projects would be happening if not for the passage of recent legislation, including SB 221 (2008 portfolio standards) and 232 (2010 property taxes), both of which have positioned Ohio competitively for utility scale investment.
Utility scale wind projects represent significant direct and indirect economic impact in the counties and regions in which they locate. According to a joint presentation given by Iberdrola and Horizon at the Annual Van Wert County Economic Development Dinner on June 22, the Blue Creek and Timber Road II will have the following combined impact on the local economy:
- Peak construction jobs: 495
- New permanent jobs: 30 (high wage technician jobs)
- NW Ohio vendors/suppliers to the projects: 40
- Total spending on local contracts: $21.3 M
- Total local spending (by April, 2011) by out of state workers: $100,000
- Combined annual local taxes: $3.6 M
- Combined annual landowner payments: $2.6 M
- To date local charitable contributions: $145,000
- Contributions to Vantage Career Center for training program: $325,000
Iberdrola estimates that Blue Creek alone will generate $2.05 M in new tax revenues annually, equal to the top 14 current taxpayers in Van Wert County combined.
OSU Extension Educators can play a vital role in helping rural areas in the development of regionally impacting utility scale projects, including facilitating public meeting on the pros and cons, and researching potential economic impact of utility scale projects. Factsheets are also being developed by Educators and posted on OSU’s Ohioline on energy related subjects, including a fact sheet on wind development for rural areas, http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/pdf/11-cmd-849.pdf.