The first payment for taxes received from the Timber Road windmill farms was taken in Wednesday, January 30 by the Paulding County commissioners, Treasurer and Auditor. Representatives from the company were on hand from EDP Renewables US headquarters in at Houston, TX.
Several years ago the commissioners worked very hard to bring EDP renewables to Paulding County. The commissioners at that time were Tony Zartman, Ed Straley, and Tony Burkley (currently State Rep 82nd district).
Paulding was the first county in Ohio to adopt resolutions enabling plans to work with wind energy companies after Ohio became a green energy friendly state passing SB 232. Senator Cliff Hite was mentioned as being very helpful getting the wind industry in Ohio. Within five days, the Commissioners were on the ball working to bring jobs and a new industry to the area by passing resolutions for the county.
The fruit of everyone working together to bring about this project has finally paid off. EDP renewables presented the check in the amount of $449,212.50 for the first half of 2012. The next payment for the second half of 2012 should be given in July. It will be coming to the community twice a year for the life of the project.
Tony Zartman had this to say about the new tax revenue stream, “It makes the difference between being open five days a week vs four.” Due to budget cuts the county offices had been closed Fridays. “While other counties are making cuts and suffering, Paulding is holding its own and improving.” said Roy Klopfenstein.
With all the pomp and circumstance finished, what’s the future of wind in Paulding? EDP’s Erin Bowser stated, “Paulding and Van Wert Counties will continue to be hotspots for renewable development because of the policies that are in place.” There are three upcoming projects, two in Paulding and one in Van Wert just for EDP. Everything is ready to start production except for the contracts being signed of who to sell the electricity to and that should be taken care of soon. People will start seeing construction of the new wind farms in the next three to five years as requirements increase for utility energy suppliers.
The Timber Road wind farm project brought over 900 jobs to Ohio during its construction. At the peak of construction there were 400 jobs just in Paulding County. The Ohio law required 60% of the workforce to be from the state. EDP went above and beyond and found it beneficial to have 70% of their workforce from the Buckeye state. Currently there are 11 full time employees working to keep the wind farm functional and operating at peak performance.
More than $1,000,000 is being paid back to landowners in Paulding County annually because of these wind farm projects. Landowners started getting paid immediately from the date they signed the contract.
The Commissioners agreed their experience working with EDP Renewables had been extraordinary. With a company of this size, it is unusual to go out of their way to both the county offices and landowners/farmers, working out agreements instead of strong-arming deals through. Fred Pieper said, “It makes a difference working with a company that communicates with you. We were told ahead of time what would be going on with the project.” The EDP Renewables representatives also praised Claudia Fickel and Lou Ann Wannemacher for working with them in such a professional manner.
Representative Tony Burkley stated a significant portion of the payment will also help fund the budgets, including Wayne Trace Local Schools, Benton Township, Paulding County Hospital, Vantage, PCBDD, Paulding County Health Dept, Senior Center, Paulding County Carnegie Library, Tri-County Mental Health, and the balance to the Paulding County General Fund.