COLUMBUS – State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) was joined by a group of local officials and school representatives in Columbus today to urge support of Senate Bill 238, legislation sponsored by Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls). The bill will reform wind turbine setbacks passed in 2014, which decelerated wind energy production in Ohio. Communities such as Seneca County, which Reineke represents, have been negatively impacted by these setbacks.
A recently released study from A Renewable America shows that Ohio stands to gain over $4 billion in investment from wind farm construction. This can only happen if Ohio first fixes its restrictive wind turbine setback law, which acts as a functional moratorium on new projects.
The report focuses on two projects, one of which is a proposed project in Reineke’s district. The study shows that this wind farm represents a $400 million capital investment and would provide the rural community with $140 million in local economic impact over its life. For a rural area such as Seneca County, investment on this scale can be a boon for the local economy.
“This wind farm and others like it hold the promise of tremendous economic benefit for Ohio’s rural communities,” said Reineke. “I am hopeful the General Assembly will act soon to at least give our local community the opportunity to move forward with this project, because current law is acting as a significant statewide barrier.”
Reineke was joined by Seneca County Commissioner Holly Stacy, CEO of Seneca Industrial and Economic Corporation David Zak, and Seneca East Local School Superintendent Dr. Laura Kagy to encourage passage of the legislation, which is needed in order to provide revenue to area farmers and local governments-- including the schools.
Seneca County Commissioner Holly Stacy stated, “We want the ability for landowners, our schools, our communities, and our county benefit from the construction of this wind farm—as has happened in Paulding County. The community wants this wind farm and its economic benefits, and we should have the option of seeing it constructed.”
Senate Bill 238 is currently being considered by the Ohio Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.