Energy / Renewable Energy / Wind Energy

Anti-wind bill costs Ohio schools hundreds of thousands of dollars

New setback rules killed revenue from wind farms that would have gone directly to districts

Students at Lincolnview Elementary display their notebook tablets with Senator Cliff Hite. CREDIT: Alexandria Mick

VAN WERT — “A short drive up the road from Van Wert City Schools, students of Lincolnview Schools saw a different ending to the same story. That district benefits from a program that allows wind companies to provide a portion of their revenue to the local community — 80 percent to schools, 20 percent to the township — instead of paying taxes. Lincolnview’s clean-energy benefactor is the Blue Creek Wind Farm, which went up before the setback rule was changed. The project, consisting of 152 turbines that can power up to 76,000 homes, contributes $400,000 annually to local schools, funding classes like pre-engineering and biomedical.

‘Additional revenue allows us to think out of the box and do something new,’ said Linconview Superintendent Jeff Snyder. ‘We’ve been able to pay for new programs, classes, and technologies as a one-time expenditure. We’ve hired a couple of additional teachers, as well as a Special Ed director and a curriculum director… That money is not leaving our area to go somewhere else. It’s staying in our district to benefit our kids and future generations of students as well.’

If the current setback restrictions were in place when Blue Creek was built, only about a dozen of its 152 turbines would have made the cut. As it stands, the district is still missing out on some $600,000 per year from other, stalled wind projects in the area.”

— Emily Sanders, Think Progress

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