The Ohio Power Siting Board, the state utility regulatory agency, has given the green light to start building the Black Fork Wind Farm, a 200-megawatt facility that will be capable of generating enough clean electricity to power 10,000 homes.
The approval clears the way for Black Fork Wind Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of Element Power, to begin erecting 91 wind turbines on a sprawling 14,800-acre tract along Crawford and Richland County lines. Construction is slated to start in March and the facility is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.
The wind farm is the latest in the pipeline for Portland, Oregon-based Element Power, which develops and operates solar and wind projects in a dozen countries in North America, Europe and South America.
Although public attention regarding energy in Ohio is focused on shale natural gas fracking, a controversial process that has been blamed by some for a series of earthquakes—including the 4.0 magnitude quake that hit Youngstown early this month—the Rust Belt state has quietly established itself as a clean energy center.
Ohio's ambitious mandates (requiring utilities to get 25% of their power from renewable and "advanced technology sources" by 2025) and ample public incentives have spurred a significant increase in solar manufacturing and wind-producing operations. Statewide, wind power plants currently contribute a total of 1,251 megawatts of electricity to the grid.
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