Ohio Power Siting Board approves construction of Blue Creek Wind Farm

Ohio Power Siting Board approves construction of Blue Creek Wind Farm

Columbus, Ohio (August 23, 2010) – The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) today approved an agreement authorizing Heartland Wind, LLC to construct the Blue Creek Wind Farm in Paulding and Van Wert counties.  Heartland is authorized to provide up to 350 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity and the facility, as approved, will consist of 159 wind turbines spread across 1,700 acres.

“Blue Creek Wind Farm is a significant addition to Ohio’s growing portfolio of clean, renewable energy facilities,” said OPSB Chairman Alan R. Schriber. “The wind farm will play an important role in assuring our state meets its new alternative energy portfolio standard.”

On December 21, 2009, Heartland filed an application for a certificate to site a wind-powered electric generation facility with the OPSB. After conducting an investigation of Heartland’s proposal, OPSB Staff submitted a summary of its findings and recommendation to the Board on June 23, 2010. 

At a local public hearing held in Heartland on July 8, 2010, 17 witnesses provided testimony about the project. Dozens of other citizens contacted the Board by mail. Supporters emphasized the potential economic benefits to Van Wert and Paulding counties. Opponents voiced concerns about potential negative consequences related to noise and aesthetics as well as impacts to the environment, public health and safety and television and cellular reception.

On July 14, 2010, Heartland, OPSB Staff and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation filed an agreement resolving outstanding issues in the case. The agreement recommended approval of the application subject to 61 conditions intended to mitigate the ecological, environmental and social impacts of the project. Included in these conditions, Heartland must:

  • Relocate or resize eight turbines to provide additional setback distance from roads and structures.
  • Implement measures to reduce shadow flicker where significant impacts are found to occur.
  • Mitigate the potential impact of noise at nonparticipating residences within one mile of the project area.
  • Mitigate degradation of television reception problems at its own expense.
  • Install and maintain erosion and sedimentation control measures.
  • Establish a process to receive project-related complaints from the public.
  • Instruct workers on the potential hazard of ice conditions on wind turbines and install an ice warning system.
  • Meet all federal and state requirements for construction of turbines that may affect navigable airspace, radar or communications.
  • Repair all impacted roads and bridges following construction.
  • Repair damage to agricultural land, including field tile.
  • Decommission the facility, or individual turbines, at its own expense.

Heartland expects to begin construction of the wind farm in the fall of 2010.  The project will also include four new electric substations, underground electric collection lines and miles of access roads, as well as meteorological and wind measurement equipment to support the facility.

Under Ohio’s alternative energy portfolio standard, by 2025, 25 percent of electricity sold in Ohio must be generated from alternative energy sources. 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 Blue Creek project, the OPSB has certificated five wind farms across the state totaling 472 turbines and up to 882.2 MW.

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

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The OPSB reviews applications for construction of large electric and natural gas facilities in Ohio. The 11-member board is comprised of representatives of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the state departments of Development, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Health, the Ohio General Assembly, and the public. The Chairman of the PUCO also chairs the OPSB.

Heartland Wind, LLC is a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables. Iberdrola’s North American division is based in Portland, Oregon