VAN WERT - Iberdrola Renewables received their Ohio Power Siting Board certification for the Blue Creek Wind Farm late on Monday and tomorrow the Van Wert County Commissioners will address the Alternative Energy Zone question.

Commissioner Gary Adams told the Times Bulletin on Tuesday that the question of whether or not to approve the AEZ will take place on Thursday.

"We are going to make a decision at 3 o'clock on Thursday," Adams said.

Because the certificate was issued so late in the day on Monday, the commissioners did not have the opportunity to read through entire 43-page document immediately. Commissioner Clair Dudgeon told the Times Bulletin that evening one of the first things they wanted to do on Tuesday was talk to County Engineer Kyle Wendel and get his feedback on the progress of a road agreement. That informal gathering happened on Tuesday.

"(The meeting) went well," he told the Times Bulletin. "They just wanted my opinion on some things, where I thought the process was at and things of that nature." Wendel also said he talked to his attorney and it appeared he would have an amended draft agreement to give back to Wendel and the township trustees perhaps as early as next week. Wendel suspected there might be some more tweaks after that before it would be presented to Iberdrola. Even though the commissioners' vote was going to happen before an agreement was completed, he said in his opinion he thought one would be reached.

"There's no reason not to think things will happen here," he said. "We've just got to see how everyone can compromise. But, there are more people involved than just me. The trustees have been at the meetings and they have input as well. I can't speak for them. I think we can come to an agreement but I can't speak for the whole group."

The fact the commissioners needed time to wade through the certificate order was not surprising. The document was 43 pages long and contained 61 individual stipulations that Iberdrola must abide by while building the wind farms. In particular, the Ohio Power Siting Board specifically mentioned ambient noise levels, public health and safety concerns, shadow flicker, National Weather Service radar and television reception.

The board also acknowledged the letter it received from the Hoaglin, Tully and Union township trustees where they requested the board act as interveners on their behalf, as was reported by the Times Bulletin on August 11. The board said that although the letter did not "constitute an appropriate motion for intervention," they did point out that stipulation 41 "requires that Heartland comply with all requirements of the county engineers on upgrading and/or repairing damage to roads and bridges caused by construction activity."

For his part, Iberdrola Business Developer Dan Litchfield said Monday's certificate was just another step in the process - but a happy one.

"The certificate was identical to the stipulations that were signed in July so it was all as expected," he said. "It's a big milestone. We have a big team working on this. It was filed on December 21, 2009 after about a six-month process to put it together so we've been working on this permit for a little more than a year."

Because Paulding County has already passed their Alternative Energy Zone resolution, that portion of the Blue Creek Wind Farm appears ready to begin. That is not necessarily so, according to Litchfield. He said on Tuesday the Paulding County portion of the wind farm would not stand on its own which means Thursday's commissioner meeting is still vital to the wind farm.

"We definitely need the resolution passed so we can proceed with the project," he said.

Litchfield said he was also under the impression he would be receiving the road agreement back from Wendel and the attorney next week. Much like the county engineer, he believed a road agreement could be reached but until he saw what changes had been requested, he could not say for certain.

Litchfield said the wind farm plan is still on target. A pre-construction meeting is scheduled for September 8 with the Ohio Power Siting Board with construction to begin the next day contingent upon receiving a clearance letter.

Also on Monday, Horizon Wind Energy under the name of Paulding Wind Farm, LLC was granted a certificate for the construction of its wind farm project in Paulding County.