Energy / Renewable Energy / Wind Energy

Wind energy growth in Ohio slowed in past year

COLUMBUS — “Wind turbines continue to sprout across the United States and Ohio, but the pace slowed in 2017, and industry advocates continue to have grave concerns about Ohio rules that limit where turbines can be placed.

The industry completed projects this past year that add up to 7,017 megawatts, which is down 14 percent from the prior year, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group.

In Ohio, the 2017 total was 72 megawatts, down 30 percent. That includes one big project, the Hog Creek Wind Farm in Hardin County, which is 66 megawatts and went online in December, as well as two smaller projects that provide electricity to Whirlpool manufacturing plants.

“The entire industry has been in turmoil,” said Jereme Kent, CEO of One Energy, the Findlay-based wind developer that worked on the Whirlpool projects, referring to wind development both nationally and in Ohio. “When the industry is in turmoil, it jumps to the safe, predictable jobs.”

He points to several factors, including changes to federal tax policy and questions about how those changes will affect the ability to finance wind projects. And there is the longstanding concern that Ohio policy is hostile to the industry.”

— Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch

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