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Blue Creek Wind Farm Case Study

June 19, 2012

The Blue Creek Wind Farm is Ohio's largest commercial wind project, with a capacity of 304 megawatts (MW). Featuring 152 Gamesa 2-MW turbines, the project represents a $600 million investment and will provide many economic benefits to the local community.

Project History

Iberdrola Renewables began measuring the winds at various heights in the Van Wert County area in 2006, finding that the average wind speed at 100 meters is approximately 14 miles per hour. Construction on the project began in fall 2010. The project consists of 114 turbines in Van Wert County and 38 in Paulding County. According to Iberdrola, the project is eligible for reimbursement grants of up to 30% of capital costs through the federal stimulus program, which can be applied for when the project reaches commercial operation or a "placed in service date" as defined by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Jobs and Economic Development Impacts

  • Construction jobs generated: approximately 180* (with more than 500 people employed at the peak of construction)
  • Local companies utilized during construction: 20
  • Total spending on local contracts: $21.3 million
  • New permanent jobs: 15 to 20
  • Annual payments in lieu of taxes to local authorities: $2.7 million. Iberdrola will be the number one taxpayer in Van Wert County and will pay more than the top 14 other taxpayers combined. Under restructured Ohio rules, the company pays $18,000 a year per turbine
  • Annual lease payments to property owners: $2 million a year, including approximately $8,000 per turbine to about 250 parties and smaller amounts to neighboring landowners. More than 100 people signed "Good Neighbor Agreements" and receive payments (these agreements are designed for individuals who are not directly involved in the project but may be impacted by it)
  • Iberdrola also made a $150,000 donation to start an educational partnership with Vantage Career Center, Owens Community College, and Northwest State Community College for turbine technician training. Iberdrola also created a scholarship fund for all residents of the project area and for adjacent areas where future projects are planned and made donations to the Van Wert County Junior Fair Board.

*The number 180 is the result of a calculation factoring the number of man-hours worked on-site and the length of the construction period (which is ongoing) and provides a number that is equivalent to one job for a year.

—Julie Jones