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Wind farm plan spurs questions

A number of Crawford and Richland County residents have reservations about wind turbines popping up in their farmlands. John Warrington, of Vernon Township, and Brett Heffner, of Jackson Township, conducted a community meeting outside the Vernon Township building Tuesday. More than 40 residents attended to listen to information about the proposed Phase 1 Black Fork Wind Farm project.

VERNON TOWNSHIP -- A number of Crawford and Richland County residents have reservations about wind turbines popping up in their farmlands.

John Warrington, of Vernon Township, and Brett Heffner, of Jackson Township, conducted a community meeting outside the Vernon Township building Tuesday. More than 40 residents attended to listen to information about the proposed Phase 1 Black Fork Wind Farm project, which could begin in the second half of 2010 and finish in January 2011.

Gary Energetics, an alternative energy company based in Denver, Colo., is leading the project to turn wind into electricity.

"This is an industrial wind farm. This is not an agricultural thing," said Heffner, showing the audience a map of proposed wind turbine sites across Crawford County. "If I were looking to move to a community and see 112 of these, I would look elsewhere."

The Black Fork Wind Farm will consist of 112 turbines -- 1.8 megawatts each -- on 46,000 acres across the county borderline. The turbines would connect to underground transmission lines belonging to American Electric Power.

The 201.6-megawatt project would cost $445.7 million dollars, according to Gary Energetics. The project... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

VERNON TOWNSHIP -- A number of Crawford and Richland County residents have reservations about wind turbines popping up in their farmlands.

John Warrington, of Vernon Township, and Brett Heffner, of Jackson Township, conducted a community meeting outside the Vernon Township building Tuesday. More than 40 residents attended to listen to information about the proposed Phase 1 Black Fork Wind Farm project, which could begin in the second half of 2010 and finish in January 2011.

Gary Energetics, an alternative energy company based in Denver, Colo., is leading the project to turn wind into electricity.

"This is an industrial wind farm. This is not an agricultural thing," said Heffner, showing the audience a map of proposed wind turbine sites across Crawford County. "If I were looking to move to a community and see 112 of these, I would look elsewhere."

The Black Fork Wind Farm will consist of 112 turbines -- 1.8 megawatts each -- on 46,000 acres across the county borderline. The turbines would connect to underground transmission lines belonging to American Electric Power.

The 201.6-megawatt project would cost $445.7 million dollars, according to Gary Energetics. The project features six meteorological testing towers that have been collecting wind data for more than a year.

Developers will not build turbines within 1,250 feet of a residence.

Gary Energetics approached Warrington about a lease agreement to set up several turbines on his property. There is one testing tower by his home.

"The most important thing is the money part of it. The value of your homes and the leases," Warrington said. "This is almost as bad as your cell phone agreement."

Warrington and Heffner shared information from wind energy activist sites such as Industrial Wind Action Group, National Wind Watch and AWEO.org. According to National Wind Watch, there are misconceptions about the benefits of commercial wind power. The coalition claims commercial wind power will not reduce the need for foreign oil.

The site also says electricity costs would go up to cover the increased balancing and transmission costs and subsidies given to developers.

Local residents are concerned about noise. Gary Electric says the noise will be about 5 decibels; a whisper is about 20 to 30 decibels, according to acoustics experts.

Residents also worry about appearances and flickering shadows from the spinning turbines.

Sen. Karen Gillmor, R-Tiffin, is concerned about having turbines in her district, primarily in Logan and Crawford counties.

"The financial issues are many. We don't know yet how the wind turbines will be taxed," Gillmor said. "Whether the wind company would ultimately receive permission from the Ohio Power Sitting Board and (AEP) could take years."

Marti Keller, of Vernon Township, is afraid digging to create the wind farm will harm well water systems.

"This affects the whole county. It's concerning changing the landscape of Crawford County for a long time," Keller said.


Source: http://www.bucyrustelegraph...

JUL 9 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/21053-wind-farm-plan-spurs-questions
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