Wind farms in northeast Ohio? Alternative energy sources have certainly been a topic that the Farm Bureau has made a priority to be involved with, and we at the Soil and Water Conservation District are happy to be a partner in that realm.
There have already been meetings between Farm Bureau leadership, and Ohio State University Extension offices with our state governmental officials, as well as conducting reviews of potential grants for energy sources.
Believe it or not, Trumbull County has enough accelerated winds speeds to house many wind turbines which in turn could become an economic development opportunity for our area. Farmers should pay attention to this issue for providing electricity to their farms. Even the urbanized communities could benefit for up to as many as 400 homes could be powered by the larger units.
In a recent Associated Press report, the claim is made that studies have shown that Ohio's wind potential is actually greater than that of Germany, where wind farms are in wide use. Ohio's greatest wind potential location is where it's lagging manufacturing base is: in northeast Ohio and along Lake Erie.
"It's not just where to install the turbines, it's also where to locate the manufacturing plants since the cost to transport these towers can be very expensive," said Rich Houck, Trumbull County Farm Bureau Governmental Affairs Committee member.
"Large turbines need to be near power grids to hook up, and near train tracks or spurs for transportation reasons," Houck said.
"Being from an area with a manufacturing base actually helps northeast Ohio when it competes with other areas of the country that are windy," Houck said.
The local Farm Bureau's governmental affairs committee is working with Congressman Tim Ryan on obtaining federal appropriation dollars to conduct a study on wind turbines. State Sen. Capri Cafaro has also made alternative energy as a priority issue.
One of the problems for Ohio is that it doesn't have goals for alternative energy as 21 other states have. That means Ohio needs to move forward faster if our officials want Ohio to become the Silicon Valley as promised.
Trumbull Farm Bureau's county board are also investigating other energy sources especially those which could have a positive effect on the agriculture industry and our Valley.
Mike Wilson is the Executive Director of the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District and is an Associate Member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau.