Ohio approves 200-MW Black Fork wind project

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) has approved Element Power’s 200-MW Black Fork wind project that will be located along the Crawford and Richland county line in largely-rural north central Ohio.

Element Power, a renewable energy developer, said in a Jan. 25 news release that the project is being marketed to power customers throughout Ohio and the PJM Interconnection (PJM). The company also said that extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC) and securing a contract are keys for the project to move to construction.

An underground electric cable will connect the wind power project to American Electric Power’s (NYSE: AEP) transmission system and the AEP Howard substation, according to the state order.

“This permit adds the Black Fork Wind Farm to a short list of approved wind projects in the state of Ohio,” said Element Power CEO Ty Daul.

Black Fork could begin commercial operation as early as 2013, Element Power said in a new release. The company estimates that between $51m and $69m 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 facility on 14,800 leased acres in the two counties.

At a local public hearing held in September in Shelby, Ohio, 25 witnesses testified about the project.

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.

Under Ohio’s alternative energy portfolio standard, 25% 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, the board said in a press release.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.