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Seneca Co. wind farm project put on hold indefinitely

ByJON CHAVEZ • Jan 26, 2020 at 4:00 PM

A project that would have placed up to 77 commercial-scale wind turbines in Seneca County near Tiffin has been placed on indefinite hold, the project’s backer announced Tuesday.

sPower, an independent power producer based in Salt Lake City, said that it’s announced Seneca Wind LLC wind farm project to be located in Scipio, Reed, Venice, Eden and Bloom Townships will be placed “on hold for an undetermined period until next steps are defined by the company.”

The power producer said it planned to divert resources intended for the Seneca Wind project to sPower projects in other states.

In 2018 the company originally filed an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board to construct the 200 MW project on 25,000 acres of privately leased land. But last year, sPower officials acknowledged an error in the Determination of No Hazard permit it received from the Federal Aviation Administration and indicated it would have to refile its siting board application.

The company had until this week to refile the application, but sPower spokesman Lara Hamsher said the company “knew that deadline was not going to be met.” Additionally, agreements it had to lease the Seneca County land were put into jeopardy, she said.

“So now we’re reassessing the project and what that looks like in the future,” she said.

In a statement, sPower CEO Ryan Creamer said, “We would like to thank our landowners and other community partners who have supported this project over the years, even before our acquisition. We hope to do more work in Ohio in the future, but at this time, we are making the difficult choice to place our resources in other states where there is a greater potential for success.”

A member of a large countywide grassroots group that opposed the Seneca Wind project expressed satisfaction Tuesday that the group’s two-year efforts had paid off.

“We’re delighted by this news. We don’t think it was ever a good fit for Seneca County and we’ll stand ready to fight any other attempts [by commercial wind farms] that want to come here,” said Greg Smith, a member of the Seneca Anti-Wind Union.

Smith, senior vice president of engineering and operations at National Machinery in Tiffin, said the decision by sPower to put off the project is a big relief.

“I personally live in the project’s footprint. I would have had 16 turbines within a mile from my house. For me personally, I'm delighted by this decision,” he said.

sPower said the project would have provided enough clean energy to power nearly 60,000 homes per year and contributed an estimated $3 million annually to the local economy. Seneca Wind would have created 10 to 15 permanent jobs and 250 temporary construction jobs, the company said.


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