Change in law would let wind turbines sprout

Just as one domestic energy option finishes being buried beneath Seneca and surrounding counties, pursuit of another energy source above ground might resume.

The ET Rover pipeline project, which could be completed this fall, is to transfer 3.25 billion cubic feet of domestically produced natural gas daily. The availability of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions is why natural gas-fired power plants are sprouting up in Ohio, including two in Oregon.

Next, wind turbine projects could be sprouting up in our area, if state regulations are eased to allow it.

State Sen. Cliff Hite has introduced a bill in the Ohio Senate that would undo restrictions on wind turbines put in place in 2014. State Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, may introduce similar legislation in the House.

Previously, state law required 1,125 feet between the extended tip of a wind turbine and the nearest home. It also provided for a setback from the nearest property line of 110 percent of the tower’s height — to prevent a tower from falling across property lines, if it were to collapse.

The 2014 restriction changed the rules to 1,225 feet from the property line, not the nearest residence. No large-scale wind farms have been built since. Two projects were in the pre-application phase with the Ohio Power Siting Board; one has been withdrawn.

Pursuit of large-scale wind projects could resume in Seneca County if the state requirements are rolled back. How one feels about wind turbines and pipelines may depend on one’s proximity to such projects.

But we may not have seen the last of energy projects impacting northwestern Ohio.