Two representatives from Swift Current — director David Fowler and Matt Birchby, partner and managing director — stopped by the Norwalk Reflector newsroom to share information about the “farm-first” project Tuesday. Fowler and Birchby met with Greenwich-area residents during a landowners meeting Sept. 26 at the Buckeye Community Center in Shiloh.
Swift Current is leasing 4,000 acres in Greenwich Township for 25 wind turbines. The turbines at the tip of the blades could be as tall as 499 feet.
“There are 30 separate farms in the project,” Birchby said.
While he wouldn’t say specifically how long the lease is, he said it’s 30-year program so “these are long-term leases.” According to a fact sheet, the wind farm has an “installed capacity of about 60 megawatts — with enough energy production to power approximately 30,000 homes with clean, renewable energy.”
Although the lease covers 4,000 acres in Greenwich Township, Fowler said the actual “impact area” is 25 to 50 acres, which would include access roads, the turbine pads/foundations, a substation and maintenance building. Swift Current’s construction headquarters will be near the intersection of Ohio 13 and U.S. 224.
A key component of the Crossroads Wind Power project is interfering as little as possible with the area farming and cooperating with farmers.
“It’s a farm-first philosophy,” Birchby said.
Aside from the wind turbines, Fowler added “there are no other impacts on his property.”
The turbines at Crossroads Wind Power, according to the fact sheet, should generate about $540,000 in local tax revenue per year for about 30 years and “will support local schools, roads and other government services.”
The Swift Current representatives touted another benefit of the design for the wind farm. Birchby said the electric cables are underground until they attach to the AEP-owned transmission lines.
The first phase of construction is expected to start in the summer of 2019. Birchby said the more active work will be in May through September 2020, with the large equipment arriving in 2020.
Bringing in the equipment will require road improvements. Fowler said that involves strengthening and improving the roads and enhancing some intersections to accommodate the length of the blades on the wind turbines.
“The blades are the longest component,” he added.
Some of the road updates will see “drastic improvements,” Birchby said. “We bring them to ODOT standards. … We pay for all the road improvements.”
Ohio law requires Swift Current to use at least 50 percent of the construction crews from the state.
“That percentage could be higher,” said Birchby, who noted the company “will try to incorporate” as many local companies as possible.
Specifically, Fowler said the concrete work, delivery dump trucks, road work, such as paving, should be local workers. Each wind turbine requires about 400 cubic yards of concrete for its foundations, which are known as pads in the industry.
“We will use local concrete,” Fowler said.
After being interviewed by the Reflector, Fowler and Birchby met with Huron County Engineer Lee Tansey.
One complaint made about the wind farm by area residents in public forums and letters to the editor has been possible noise pollution. The closest structure would be about 1,125 feet away from a wind turbine.
“It should be like a quiet dishwasher,” said Birchby, who expects the turbines to be powered by G.E. or Siemens-Gamesa technology. “Both are very quiet turbines.”
This isn’t Swift Current’s first wind turbine project. Birchby said there are three each in Illinois and Texas.
Founded in 2016 by six industry veterans, Swift Current bought out Windlab, an Australian publicly-traded firm that focuses on international developments, in September. Swift Current is based out of Maine.