By Kyle Bailey
Special to the Times-Junction
On Aug. 25, the Ohio Power Siting Board approved the construction of the Greenwich Windpark Project in Huron County. A group of landowners in the affected area who oppose the project, have 30 days to file an appeal on the approval. (See related stories in Monday's Times-Junction.)After reviewing the project application filed on April 19 2013 and the events that have lead to this decision the board has decided to certificate the project and allow Greenwich Windpark, LLC, based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan and a subsidiary of Windlab Development USA, Ltd, to move onto the next phase of the process. Some of the steps prior to the approval included a public informational meeting held on May 22, 2013 at South Central High School, a local public hearing held on May 6 at South Central High School and an adjudicatory hearing held May 19. According to the report filed by the OPSB, it was recommended the board find that the nature of the probable environmental impact has been determined for the proposed facility, and therefore does comply with the requirements. Those requirements are specified in Ohio Revised Code Section 4906.10 (A)(2). The staff report of the investigation was prepared by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in coordination with several other agencies. They included Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Health Ohio Development Services Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Historic Preservation Office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Aviation Administration. According to the approval granted by the OPSB, Wind Lab will be responsible for constructing and operating the wind turbines that will feature up to 25 units in total, capable of generating up to 60 megawatts for the area. At least 26 landowners will be involved in leasing private lands to provide the 4,650 acres of land required for the windpark project. The wind turbines that will be used for the project are Nordex model N117 turbines, according to the OPSB. These turbines will stand at a maximum height of up to 490.5 feet with a maximum rotator diameter of 383 feet. Wind Lab has projected it expects these turbines will be capable of providing approximately 210,000 megawatt hours annually to the village. To operate and maintain the turbines, Wind Lab, in the report submitted by the OPSB, has proposed that a 6,000 square foot operations and maintenance building is necessary to house operations personnel, provide parking, and store equipment and materials. Currently, Wind Lab is looking to use an existing structure; however, it is possible that a brand new building may be constructed to serve those purposes. Any new building constructed would need to involve no less than three acres of land for facilities as well as be aesthetically pleasing and comparable to other area agricultural buildings. According to Wind Lab, the tentative location for the proposed O&M building is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Ohio 13 and Plymouth East Road. A meteorological tower standing 262 feet high has been constructed off of Baseline Road to monitor wind resources within the project area. A second tower could be installed at a later date. Access roads will be constructed totaling 9.1 miles, for utility workers to have access to the turbines, according to plans from Wind Lab. During construction of the turbines, the roads will be approximately 40 feet wide, while after the installation process the access roads will be approximately 16 feet in width. Final designs and detailed construction drawings should be completed between August and January 2015. Wind Lab has proposed that construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2015 and should be completed within four to six months. Upon completion, facilities should be operational, which is anticipated for the fourth quarter of 2015. To see the entire report filed with the OPSB, go to www.opsb.ohio.gov.