During the first five months of 2014, the wind energy industry
looked like wind turbines would continue to stretch across the Van Wert
County landscape for years to come. Iberdrola Renewables brought in a
check for over $2 million as its payment in lieu of taxes to cover a
year of operations at Blue Creek Wind Farm.Officials from county
entities and schools had big smiles as the money was divided up between
the entities under an agreed-upon formula. In early spring, Iberdrola
held a meeting at Lincolnview about a proposed new wind farm to be
called Dog Creek Wind Farm. The new proposal was causing its share of
opponents to sound off, but otherwise progress toward construction
seemed to continue even though an agreement on property taxes had not
been reached, nor had an agreement on the roads to be used. But Van Wert
County’s place as a leading destination for wind projects was not in
any real danger. Three other wind farms were discussed during the year.
with the deal for the Ohio biennial budget, negotiations ended up
seeing a two-year freeze in trying to meet the state’s renewable energy
standard. The state had pledged to move 25 percent of electricity to
renewable energy sources by 2025.
Like wind power.
Suddenly the incentive to back alternative energy projects in Ohio was placed on hold.
the next little bit to fall was the distance allowed between a turbine
and an inhabited home. Well, it actually didn’t fall. The distance a
turbine must be set back from a home increased. It increased so much
that it made putting up a wind farm too expensive and too land-intensive
to bother with building one in the first place. At least that was the
opinion expressed by many wind farm developers. A few may keep hope
alive and continue to work on a way to make a wind farm feasible. But
without changes in the setback requirements, the future of Van Wert
County wind farms and the money that comes with them look dismal. Some
are celebrating these developments, but the leadership of Lincolnview
Local Schools are missing out on approximately $1 million per year in
payments had a deal similar to Blue Creek been made for Dog Creek. We
likely have seen a huge change in the outlook of Van Wert County.