Iberdrola Renewables presented checks to local officials in both Van Wert and Paulding counties to commemorate the first of the annual PILOT payments the Blue Creek Wind Farm will be making to the counties.
Van Wert County, with 115 turbines, received $2,070,000, an amount that will make the wind farm the largest single taxpayer in the county. Paulding County received $666,000, based on the 37 turbines located in the county that each pay $18,000 per year.
|Source: Iberdrola Renewables / Business Wire|
“This is proof that state policies are doing what they were intended to do: generating tremendous local economic development as well as clean energy. Ohio Senate District 1 has abundant wind resources and we look forward to more investments like Blue Creek,” said State Senator Cliff Hite.
As the wind farm is spread across two counties, six townships and four school districts, the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) funds will be spread far and wide too. The townships will each see an average of $1,400 per year per turbine. With 76 wind turbines, Union Township will see a revenue boost of about 25-30% in 2014 compared to 2013. Likewise, the school districts will see the lion’s share of revenue. With 81 turbines spinning within its boundaries, Crestview Schools will see about $850,000 per year in new revenue, a boost of about 10%.
“These funds support projects and services that benefit everyone across the region, from schools, public safety and public health programs, to road repairs,” said State Representative Tony Burkley. Mike Estes, a Crestview Superintendent, also said: “This is my 40th year in education and I don’t think I have ever seen a source of revenue like this offer itself to a school district like this.”
The approximately $600 million wind farm was the largest single private investment in Ohio in 2011 and achieved commercial operation in June, 2012. Even before the plant became operational, building Blue Creek created more than 500 construction jobs, $25 million in local spending, and put more than 30 Ohio companies to work on the project. Blue Creek is the largest wind farm in Ohio with a total output of 304 MW, which can provide enough electricity to 76.000 Ohio homes each year.
“With great wind, supportive communities, great workers, and we hope a stable regulatory environment, wind should continue to have a bright future in Ohio,” said Neil Voje, the Blue Creek plant manager. “We’ve built strong partnerships here, and we’re hopeful we can do more.”
The Blue Creek Wind Farm has already begun making approximately $2 million in annual lease payments to local landowners. Of 28,000 leased acres of corn, soybean and wheat fields, Blue Creek occupies less than 200 acres. Besides, Iberdrola Renewables has already sponsored numerous partnerships in the local community.