In testimony last week before the Ohio Legislature, the President of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce made a powerful case for the economics of wind power, saying that a new wind farm has been a tremendous boost for Van Wert County. Economic benefits, she said, have rippled to hotels, restaurants, auto dealers, grocery stores and other member businesses in her rural county as well as providing much-needed funding for local government services and education.
Susan Munroe, President of the Van Wert Area Chamber, asked legislators to halt efforts to freeze the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard. Under a 2008 law, utilities are required to get 25 percent of Ohio’s electricity from alternative energy sources by 2025. Some legislators are seeking to roll back the standard or freeze it at current levels. Munroe warned that freezing the standard would also freeze further investment in Northwest Ohio and asked legislators “why would you stop something that’s working just as the law intended it would work?”
Business opposition to the rollback is strong: the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Honeywell, Whirlpool, Owens Corning, the Campbell Soup Company, DuPont, Honda and many other Ohio businesses do not want legislators to stop or freeze effective standards.
Munroe testified that the Blue Creek Wind Farm, which opened two years ago, is now the largest taxpayer in Van Wert County, providing $2 million annually for schools and local governments and millions more to local farmers and other landowners. “Wind is a lucrative, sustainable “crop” for our farmers and entire community,” Munroe said. “We hope to continue to harvest wind to not only build economic success for our county but provide sustainable, renewable energy for our state.”