Unlocking Ohio wind resources a multi-billion dollar opportunity for the state
COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 22, 2017 — Ohio Senate lawmakers today advanced an important fix to wind turbine setback policy in the states proposed biennial budget. The states setback policy, among the most restrictive in the nation, has effectively stopped new wind power development - and the jobs that come along with it - since passing in 2014.
"The Ohio Senate took a stand for the states future by aiming to reform burdensome regulation and unleash the job-creating economic potential of Ohios wind energy resources," said Andrew Gohn, Eastern Region Policy Director for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). "We applaud the Senates leadership on this issue and urge the House to support the setback fix as well."
Wind power developers, eager to invest in Ohio, also expressed support for the Senates action on setbacks.
"I applaud the Ohio Senate for moving forward a common sense fix to siting regulations which have stymied investment in new wind energy projects since 2014," said Gabriel Alonso, CEO, EDP Renewables North America. "Since 2011, EDP Renewables has constructed two wind farms in Paulding County Ohio and invested approximately $400 million. The Senates proposal to fix wind turbine siting rules will allow wind energy developers to make billions of dollars of investment in Ohios rural communities."
With the wind turbine setback regulations currently in place, Ohio has lost billions of dollars in wind power investment to its neighbors. Restoring Ohios setback standard to what is was pre-2014 would result in over $4.2 billion in local economic benefits, according to a study published in May by AWEA and the Wind Energy Foundations "A Renewable America" campaign.
Within Ohios business community, there is strong and growing support for less restrictive setback rules. Last week, the Ohio Chamber of Commerces nearly 8,000 members sent a letter to Senator Hite, supporting "a more reasonable wind setback policy than Ohio law currently allows."
Fortune 500 businesses like Amazon Web Services have also called for setback reform because they seek access to low-cost, clean energy from wind and other sources. The Senates setback amendment would make Ohio more attractive for future manufacturing facilities and data centers, like Amazons, in addition to wind power developers.
Wind power has already generated nearly 3,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in wind project investment in Ohio. Nationally, wind power recently became the largest source of renewable energy capacity and supports over 100,000 American jobs, including 25,000 manufacturing jobs at more than 500 factories in 41 states.
AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry. We represent 1,000 member companies and over 100,000 jobs in the U.S. economy, serving as a powerful voice for how wind works for America. Members include global leaders in wind power and energy development, turbine manufacturing, and component and service suppliers. They gather each year at the Western Hemispheres largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, next in Chicago, May 7-10, 2018. Find information about wind energy on the AWEA website. Gain insight into industry issues on AWEA's blog, Into the Wind. And please join us on Facebook, and follow @AWEA on Twitter.