Ohio Power Siting Board approves construction of Black Fork Wind Farm

Columbus, Ohio (Jan. 23, 2012) – The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) today approved an agreement that authorizes Black Fork Wind Energy to construct a wind farm along the Crawford and Richland county line. The facility will consist of up to 91 wind turbines capable of generating a combined 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

Black Fork plans to begin construction in March 2012 and to have the facility online by December. The company estimates that between $51 and $69 million will be spent in the region on equipment, materials, labor, and associated costs. The project is expected to create between 70 and 95 construction jobs and 10 permanent positions.

In March 2011, Black Fork filed an application with the OPSB to site a wind farm on 14,800 leased acres in Crawford and Richland counties. After conducting an investigation of Black Fork’s proposal, the OPSB staff submitted a summary of its findings and recommended that the Board certify construction of the project with certain modifications.

At a local public hearing held in September in Shelby, Ohio, 25 witnesses testified about the project. Supporters emphasized the advantages of renewable energy and the economic benefits for area schools and governments. Opponents voiced concerns about noise and aesthetic issues as well as potential impacts to the local environment and public health.

In October, Black Fork, the OPSB staff, Crawford County, and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation filed an agreement to resolve outstanding issues in the case. The agreement recommended approval of the proposal subject to 80 conditions intended to mitigate the ecological, environmental, and social impacts of the project. These conditions address concerns including turbine setback, shadow flicker, noise, construction damage to roads and agricultural land, and the decommissioning of the facility.

The OPSB is responsible for reviewing and certificating plans for the construction of new energy facilities in Ohio. Before any company can build a major utility facility, the OPSB ensures that the facility will benefit Ohio’s citizens, promote the state’s economic interests, and protect the environment and land use.

Under Ohio’s alternative energy portfolio standard, 25 percent of electricity sold in Ohio must be generated from alternative energy sources by 2025. At least half of this energy must come from renewable energy sources, including wind, and one half of the renewable energy facilities must be located in Ohio. With the addition of the Black fork project, the OPSB has certificated nine wind farms across the state totaling 662 turbines and 1,251 MW of generating capacity.

Additional information regarding this project is available at www.OPSB.ohio.gov.

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