Blue Creek Wind Farm Blowing Into Van Wert County

By John W. Davis

August 26, 2010 Updated Sep 3, 2010 at 3:11 PM EDT

VAN WERT, Ohio (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Winds farms are big business these days especially in Northwest Ohio.

Van Wert County Commissioners passed a resolution to go green Thursday, designating Van Wert County as an Alternative Energy Zone.

The move will bring more than 150 turbines and nearly 300 temporary construction jobs and 15 to 20 permanent maintenance technicians.

"The state have already given the okay on that. We're just allowing them to continue to get set up to go with the project," said Van Wert County Commissioner Chairman Gary Adams.

The project is slated to begin the week after Labor Day but one commissioner thinks the project is moving to fast.

"The Ohio Department of Development has not even written their rules yet. So for an application to be submitted to them, for them to act on it and get it back to us we're looking at least three to four months," said Van Wert County Commissioner Harold Merkle.

Iberdrola Renewables is the international company investing 700 million dollars to build the Blue Creek Wind Farm. Iberdrola's local business developer said Merkle is right about the application process but the Ohio Power Siting Board is authorized to give the final approval and they signed off on the project on Monday.

Farmers will receive about 7-thousand dollars a year for ever turbine they allow on their land.

Meanwhile, Van Wert schools and townships - will split about 2.2 million a year in property tax revenues.

"So for a family farmer, it adds stability, long-term income which is guaranteed and it's a way of being a more intensive use of the land and capturing that winter crop," said Iberdrola Business Developer Dan Litchfield.

Another main issues brought up Thursday was what happens to gravel country roads after thousands of truck loads of building materials barrel through their community.

"We expect there will be some damage to the roads. It's part of the cost of doing business for us. We've built wind farms all over the country. We always repair the roads," said Litchfield.

So where does Fort Wayne come into play.

In 2006, the Blue Creek Wind farm was supposed to be built in Northeast Indiana.

However, our region needs taller turbines to capture our moderate wind speeds.

Therefore, wind turbines in greater Fort Wayne never materialized tall turbines close to major airports - are against government rules.

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