Could wind turbine farms power the valley's future economy?

VAN WERT — "The Blue Creek Wind Farm operated by Avangrid Renewables is not far from the small rural, suburban city of Van Wert.

The farm's 152 wind turbines catch your attention while traveling on Route 30 to the Ohio-Indiana border.

The largest wind farm in Ohio generates enough electricity to power the entire nearby communities.

'We're in both Paulding and Van Wert counties. That's more homes than we actually have in Paulding and Van Wert, so we could theoretically supply every home here,' said Neil Voje said, plant manager at Blue Creek Wind Farm.

Voje says you need the right amount of space and a certain amount of wind for a wind farm to be successful. He says most areas around the country are viable locations.

The wind turbines can generate power starting with winds as low as 5 miles per hour, but the sweet spot for maximum production is 25 to 35 miles per hour. They're larger than the wind turbines of the past spanning 100 meters tall.

The movement from the turbines means money for two local school districts to the tune of more than a million dollars each year.

'That's big money for our schools, for county general- $300,000 comes into the county general fund, which we use for lots of different expenditures,' said Thad Lichtensteiger said, Van Wert County commissioner.

Money from the wind farm helped the Crestview Local Schools enough financially that it didn't have to ask voters for a renewal levy in recent years. He says Lincolnview Schools used the funding to provide all of its students with tablets in the classroom.

While traditional jobs of the past in the Midwest continue to disappear, employment in the renewable energy sector is expected to power the economy in the years to come."

— Lindsay McCoy, WFMJ Weekend Today

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