Energy / Renewable Energy / Wind Energy

Citizens debate rules on distance between wind farms and Their property

Wind farm in Van Wert County. Photo: Jason Goins

VAN WERT  — “The Wind Energy industry has been taking off in the Midwest. The number of wind farms in the region has doubled since 2011. In Ohio though, new development worth up to 1.6 billion dollars has stalled because of the debate over set-back rules, the guidelines that govern the distance between wind farms and property.

 That debate is heating up in rural Van Wert County, where a large wind farm was built a few years ago. Community Voices Producer Jason Goins traveled to Van Wert to ask community members about their views on the farms.

…Susan Monroe, the Van Wert Chamber of Commerce President and Eric Germann, local school board member are frustrated with the current hold up over setback rules. They say the tax revenue from wind-farms has helped fund local projects and schools during a time of state budget cuts. Last year alone, Blue Creek Wind Farm paid approximately $1.5M to local schools. And any revenue from the wind farm is money the counties can count on, says Monroe. “I view this coming from a point of economic development and that’s a guaranteed income stream for the next 20-25 years.”

Kitson, of Citizens for Clear Skies, acknowledges the extra money, but doesn’t think it justifies the downsides. ‘Are we a county that’s desperate for some economic development? Yeah, I think we are. But at what cost?'”

— Jason Goins, WYSO

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