The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) has approved an agreement that authorizes Black Fork Wind Energy to construct a wind farm along the Crawford-Richland county line.
The facility will consist of up to 91 wind turbines capable of generating a combined 200 MW of electricity.
Black Fork plans to begin construction in March and to have the facility online by December. The company estimates that between $51 million and $69 million 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 farm on 14,800 leased acres in Crawford and Richland counties. After conducting an investigation of Black Fork's proposal, the OPSB staff submitted a summary of its findings and recommended that the board certify construction of the project with certain modifications.
At a local public hearing held in September, 25 witnesses testified about the project. Supporters emphasized the advantages of renewable energy and the economic benefits for area schools and governments. Opponents voiced concerns about noise and aesthetic issues, as well as the potential impacts to the local environment and public health.
In October, Black Fork, the OPSB staff, Crawford County and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation filed an agreement to resolve the 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.