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Citing concerns that "landowners with wind farms on their property are afraid to testify on legislation in his committee because of confidentiality clauses in their leases," the senator then asked wind developers "to provide written assurance that they would not take action against leaseholders who publicly testify."
Opponents of the wind development project, however, say the letter’s “only the facts” tone is not what they expect from community leaders. “The question becomes is it fair to allow some innocent citizens to be subjected to significant quality of life and homestead property value loss for the gain of neighboring land owners …” Zanesfield activist Tom Stacy wrote in reply to the letter.
Concerns with the safety of the Buckeye Wind Project and the process by which it was approved were among the chief issues raised by opponents before the Ohio Supreme Court. Champaign County prosecutors and members of Union Neighbors United filed arguments recently with the Ohio Supreme Court, one of the final steps in deciding whether the controversial wind project can move forward. Combined with an earlier first phase, the project could include a total of about 100 turbines spread spread throughout six townships.
A letter filed by Logan County Engineer Scott Coleman with the Ohio Power Siting Board says that wind developer Everpower neglected to address Logan County roads in its original application.“It appears that the transportation study submitted to the Ohio Power Siting Board failed to address Logan County roads. However, several Logan County roads are being used according to the mapping included in the application.”
The Ohio Power Siting Board will hold a public hearing to provide area residents an opportunity to testify about Hardin Wind, LLC’s proposal to construct the Scioto Ridge Wind Farm in Hardin and Logan counties.
“We’ve been working on a road agreement for two years, but these energy companies have never sat down with us,” said Commissioner Gary Utt. “I’ve been told by the Paulding County clerk that they (wind farm companies) fixed the roads the first time, but the second time, when they replace equipment, they won’t be as forthright.”
Richland County Commissioners say developers of the proposed Black Fork Wind Farm still need a road agreement before they can begin construction of their wind turbine project west of Shelby.
The 2012 approval of the Black Fork Wind Farm by the Ohio Power Siting Board was affirmed in a decision handed down Wednesday by the Ohio Supreme Court. Opponents of the planned wind-turbine project, to be constructed in northern Richland and Crawford counties, included a handful of residents in Shelby, Crestline and Tiro. They had appealed the siting board’s approval.
Representatives from the Buckeye Wind farm said they are backing out of a controversial proposal that would have relocated a temporary construction yard outside Urbana. Buckeye Wind LLC had planned to use the staging area during construction of two phases of the wind farm, which would build about 100 turbines across several townships in Champaign County.
Northwest Ohio has had wind farms in operation for about three years. Some are not happy with the wind farms, while others think the arrival of alternative-energy companies is the best thing that could happen to the region. ..."We were told that the noise was minimal and that light flickers are only noticeable at 1,000 meters and only for a few minutes," Schaffner said. "That simply is not true."
Turbines must be placed at least 541 feet from a non-participating land owner's property line under the current agreement, and at least 919 feet from a non-participating house. The prosecutor's appeal argued those setbacks don't go far enough, and that the state should instead use recommendations from turbine manufacturers. ...prosecutors pointed out that one manufacturer recommends clearing an area of about 1,300 feet in the event of a turbine fire.
On Wednesday, county commissioners and trustees from Goshen, Union and Urbana townships met in executive session and then voted to ask Kevin Talebi, Champaign County prosecutor, to seek a rehearing with the siting board on the decision.
The Champaign County Commission and three townships, in a special meeting Wednesday, authorized asking that the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) hold a rehearing on Buckeye Wind II. Commissioner Steve Hess said the meeting was called at the request of county Prosecutor Kevin Talebi.
Opponents who live near the proposed project said immediately after the meeting they will ask the siting board to review its decision. If the board reaffirms its decision, the case could be appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) approved a certificate Tuesday allowing for the construction of more than 50 wind turbines in eastern Champaign County as part of the second phase of the Buckeye Wind farm.
Its operator hopes to file an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board early this summer and begin construction by the end of the year. Commercial operations would then begin in the summer or fall of 2014. Construction would have to begin this year for the operator to take advantage of a federal tax credit, unless it is renewed for next year.
Several issues are still pending, including how the project will be taxed. Developers are expected to seek a Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, if the project moves forward. Under that scenario, Buckeye would make an annual payment to the county between $1.2 and $1.8 million spread between numerous entities.
The update touched on many topics, but little new information was brought out. BP Wind is still working toward applying with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB), probably in early September. The licensing process will probably take up to nine months to complete.
Having the power to withhold special tax incentives would, in effect, make a wind farm project much less attractive to energy companies, and would provide the county with more clout in bargaining with utilities seeking to locate wind turbines in Van Wert County.
Future industrial wind farm development in Mercer County is getting turbulent as BP America announced it will sell its wind energy division. BP spokesman Matt Hartwig said the Great Britain-based company decided to sell its American wind division "as part of a continuing effort to become a more focused oil and gas company and reposition the company for sustainable growth into the future."