The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Feb. 26, 2021

Wind farm brings $$ to Paulding County

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

HAVILAND — General Motors, Starwood Energy Group, and a number of Paulding County officials participated in a ceremony for a new 42-turbine, 100-megawatt wind farm that is expected to be fully online later this year.

Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy for General Motors, speaks during a ceremony at the Northwest Ohio Wind Farm near Haviland. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

The Northwest Ohio Wind Farm is an important step toward achieving our sustainability commitments, and we thank Starwood Energy Group and the Paulding County community for helping make this project possible,” said Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy for General Motors. “As we realize our vision for a zero emissions future, renewable energy will help us to efficiently build vehicles while providing a greener grid to power them.”

“Our customers mitigate or eliminate societal or environmental issues,” Threlkeld noted, adding that, while renewal energy is good for the community and environment, it’s also good for GM’s bottom line. “Prices for clean, renewable energy have declined dramatically over the past decade.”

Threlkeld said the Paulding County wind farm, as well as wind turbines in Illinois, will power GM’s manufacturing facilities in Ohio and Indiana — plants that manufacture the Chevrolet Cruze and the Silverado and GMC Sierra light pickup trucks.

Threlkeld added that, when this project and an Illinois wind farm come online later this year, renewable energy will power approximately 20 percent of GM’s energy globally, something he said is important since GM has pledged to generate or source all electrical power for its facilities globally with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Alex Daberko, managing director of Starwood Energy Group, which purchased development rights to the Northwest Ohio Wind Farm in 2014, thanked GM for its efforts in getting the project up and running, while he also noted that the Paulding County community “has been one of the most supportive and well run localities that we’ve ever worked in.”

Paulding County Commissioner Roy Klopfenstein also spoke, noting that it has been more than 11 years since the Northwest Ohio Wind Farm was conceived by a group of local landowners. He thanked former commissioners Tony Burkley and Ed Straley, as well as current Commissioner Tony Zartman for establishing the county as an Alternative Energy Zone, and former state legislators Cliff Hite and Steve Buehrer for spearheading state legislation that helped make wind farms possible in Ohio.

Also speaking were Mikayla Pieper, director of the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce; Paulding County Development Director Jerry Zielke; Lisa McClure, a member of Wayne Trace Local Board of Education, as well as a board member for the Paulding County Foundation; and local landowner Terry McClure.

Zielke noted that the Northwest Ohio Wind Farm is the fourth wind farm in the county, adding that the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) payments will provide resources for community agencies and organizations for many years to come.

Wayne Trace board member Lisa McClure noted that the funds have allowed the district to hire 21 additional staff members, which has had a positive impact on the district’s report card without having to seek more tax dollars.

Terry McClure, who was one of the original members of the landowner group that created the wind farm idea originally, noted that the project “has literally had nine lives” because of the various challenges that it underwent before coming to fruition.

McClure also talked about the community support for wind farm projects, noting that there was not one negative comment during public hearings on the project.

He also thanked Starwood Energy and GM for finally getting the project completed.
“Without your vision and foresight, what we see around us today could not have happened, and welcome to our community,” McClure said.

The new wind farm, along with Paulding County’s three previous wind farms, make it the largest producer of wind energy in Ohio. The financial benefits have already been significant for the county, with county agencies, organizations, and schools receiving more than $7 million from the previous three wind farms since 2013. That includes a total of $3.7 million for the Wayne Trace Local School District and more than a half-million dollars total for Vantage Career Center. The county commissioners also have received a total of approximately $1.5 million from the three existing wind farms since 2013.

Meanwhile, current state setback regulations for wind farms has brought new wind energy production to a halt. Because it was in development, the Northwest Ohio Wind Farm was grandfathered in under the old regulations.

POSTED: 05/01/18 at 7:41 am. FILED UNDER: News