Ohio’s Local Chamber Leaders Share Story of Wind Benefits with State Legislators

Local chamber, economic development, and community leaders traveled to the state capitol on multiple occasions in 2017 to share their front-line stories about the benefits of wind energy. 

“Wind energy has been one of the biggest investments in Ohio and has the potential to contribute much more to Ohio’s future economic prosperity,” said Susan Munroe, President and CEO of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce, home to the Blue Creek Wind Farm. “We want to work with legislators to encourage further investment and job growth created with wind energy development.” 

Wind energy has resulted in investments of more than $775 million in Ohio. This new “cash crop” delivers significant tax benefits to schools and other institutions, income to landowners and local supply chain businesses while supporting county services in communities able to host these wind farms. 

In 2014, however, the Ohio legislature tripled the setback provisions, which determine how far a wind turbine must be situated from the nearest property line—resulting in a near moratorium on wind farm development and investment. 

In one example of the economic benefits of wind investments: Iberdrola Renewables is, by far, the single largest taxpayer in Van Wert County. It contributes more than $2 million a year in tax payments, and nearly as much to the country’s landowners who allow wind turbines to be placed on their property. 

Much of the tax money benefits local schools, which at least one superintendent  (Jeff Synder of Lincolnview) has called a “godsend.” 

Meanwhile, major corporations such as Amazon have recently announced increased demand for wind energy to power their data centers in the state.  

And, in 2015, the Toledo-based Owens Corning signed the largest wind power purchase agreement by an industrial company in the world—though it must source wind energy from Texas. 

Munroe and Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas recently addressed the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to describe the value that tax base increases, property owner payments, and increased economic activity deliver to their economies when utility scale wind farms are constructed. Read their testimony here and here.

Pictured at top from left to right: Tom Bullock, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy; Jim Hoops, Northwest State Community College; Peggy Emerson, President & CEO Paulding Chamber of Commerce; Susan Munroe, President & CEO Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce; Senate President Larry Obhof; Jeff Snyder, Superintendent, Lincolnview Schools, Van Wert County; David Zak, President & CEO Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corp.