KENTON — An initiative to build a 105-turbine windmill farm stretching from Hardin County into Logan County is moving toward construction as project developers tie up loose ends and manage opposition from those who see it as an eyesore.
EverPower continues to negotiate with Logan County commissioners to reach an agreement on taxes while the land for each turbine is surveyed with the hope to start construction before this year is over.
“We have to sell our power on the open market so we need a fair taxation structure,” said Jason Dagger, the manager of the $350 million project called the Scioto Ridge Wind Farm.
A representative for the Logan County Commissioner’s Office could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
While Dagger said he understands the concerns from people opposing wind farms he said the projects offer many more benefits to communities such as the $1.8 million in tax revenues the Scioto Ridge project is expected to generate. Almost half that will go to school systems in those counties, he said.
“In the rural part of the state to have something that generates $1.8 million annually is a big deal,” he said.
There’s other benefits such as upgrades to public roads leading to the windmill sites, construction jobs to build the windmills and up to 12 full-time maintenance jobs once the windmills are operating, Dagger said.
Land rental also is attractive for local farmers who will not have to worry about flooding or a drought to keep receiving a check, he said.
“For a landowner to receive, lets say $10,000 to $12,000 a year for an acre of land, that is significant. You are not going to find corn or soybeans for $10,000 or $12,000 a year,” Dagger said.
Electricity generated from the windmills, enough to power more than 50,000 homes annually, will be sold on the open market with corporate clients already lined up, Dagger said.
Those opposed do not like the appearance of windmills they say litter the landscape. The blades, at the highest point, stretch nearly 500 feet high and can be seen for miles.
Dagger said he is very aware of such concerns, one reason why his company was willing to negotiate and ultimately cut the number of turbines in Logan County near Indian Lake.
EverPower has reached agreements with all landowners where turbines are slated to go. Each would receive between $8,000 and $20,000 annually, for the use of their land, he said.
Hardin County, which will have 87 of the windmills, already has in place a taxation rate of $9,000 per megawatt of electricity, Dagger said.
Once construction begins, Dagger estimates the windmills will be operational and feeding the power grid within a year.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.