Wind energy development expected to pick up in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Some new developments are swirling around wind energy in Ohio after a yearslong lull.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that a trade group cites several projects under construction in the state including a major one involving the online retailer Amazon, although state policies have hindered wind energy development.

“There are some unique challenges that we have now in Ohio that get in the way of deployment,” said Andrew Gohn, eastern region director for state policy for the American Wind Energy Association.

The group says Ohio ranks 25th among states with 444 megawatts of wind energy. A megawatt is 1 million watts of power.

There’s been one new wind farm operation this year, a small 1.5-megawatt facility in Wyandot County. Most of Ohio’s current wind energy comes from two large projects near the Indiana border that date back to 2011-2012.

But the group says a total 207 megawatts in projects are under construction, led by the Paulding County 100-megawatt wind farm being developed by Amazon and the wind energy company EDP Renewables. It’s expected to be completed next year.

Ohio legislation in 2014 added to uncertainty about federal tax incentives and electricity market changes to slow development.

The state measures increased minimum distance between a wind turbine and nearby structures and put a two-year freeze on state standards requiring electricity companies to buy certain amounts renewable energy.

“We have zoning that attempts to protect property rights of people who live in the country,” said Tom Stacy, an energy consultant who supported the state legislation.