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The next steps for Ohio’s energy

• Aug 2, 2019 at 2:40 PM

On behalf of Ohio’s farmers, schools, teachers and everyone else who benefits from wind development, thank you to the members of the Senate Committee for Energy and Public Utilities for not including the local referendum provision in House Bill 6.

This provision would unfairly target wind development projects by allowing municipalities to put wind projects to a referendum vote even after the project has planned, financed, mapped out and even approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board, the agency whose mission it is “to support sound energy policies that provide for the installation of energy capacity and transmission infrastructure for the benefit of the Ohio citizens, promoting the state's economic interests, and protecting the environment and land use.” Despite all of this planning, commitment and diligence, a last minute kill switch would be in place for wind projects, which would almost certainly severely dampen the interest of private companies considering making investments in wind projects in our state. The addition of this amendment would have created a stumbling block against wind project development, making it likely that our state would miss out on the benefits of a multi-billion dollar industry.

In the northern part of the state, the winds of Lake Erie are an ideal resource for wind energy projects which are critical to the economic development of the state, especially its rural communities. The prevalent agricultural community in northern Ohio stands to gain a tremendous amount of economic support from the wind projects.

Subsidies from wind energy projects would go a long way to combat the rising cost of farming operations. The average land leasing payments are $2,000 to $5,000 a turbine. This kind of support allows farmers to reinvest in their farms, buy new equipment, and secure financial stability for their farms future. For example, Paulding County landowners were paid more than $12 million by the Timber Road Wind Farm, and almost $20 million was spent in a 50 mile radius around the farm.

As farmers continue to monitor the effects of weather, commodity prices and bank rates for their farm’s operating costs, one thing that could and should remain predictable is the development of wind projects. It is up to the state’s legislature to, at the very least, not get in the way of positive opportunities for economic development that can provide support for residents.

Nick Erf

Northern Ohioans for Wind Board Member

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