2012-03-07 / Front Page

Fulton Co. Wind Farm Put On Hold

An alternative energy company based in Ireland is not going to pursue a wind farm in Fulton or Henry counties.

But Dan Schumann, a project manager for Mainstream Renewable Power, Ltd., said, “we feel the area has a lot of potential.

“We are still interested down the line.

“We were surveying four different sites in Fulton County. We looked at the power grid, environmental factors, and we talked to landowners to determine if there was any interest.”

Wind farms are large areas of land that support a number of utility-size wind turbines.

The first utility-scale wind project in Ohio was built near Bowling Green. Two large wind turbines, capable of generating more than one megawatt each, were built in 2003. Two more were added later.

Fulton and Henry counties are attractive sites for wind farms because:

•There are two 138,000- volt electricity transmission lines running across the area, one near the Fulton- Henry County line. Power generated by a wind farm could be fed into one of those lines for distribution.

•The land is largely flat, open farmland, which lends itself to wind turbines.

•There are few environmental concerns, such as endangered species, that could impact a wind farm project.

Schumann said right now, Mainstream has alternative energy sites potentially capable of producing as much as 2,500 megawatts of en- ergy under development in the United States and Canada. In December 2011, Mainstream received construction permits for 350 megawatts of renewable energy projects, all outside of the U.S.

South Africa, Chile

There are three projects to be constructed in South Africa, and two in Chile. Three of the five are wind turbines; the others are large-scale solar arrays.

With five projects to construct, Schumann said Mainstream decided to put the North American projects on hold.

Other Issues

There were other issues as well.

Schumann said there is a lot of uncertainty in the U.S. renewable power market.

It’s a presidential election year in the U.S., and a change in administration could impact the economic viability of alternative energy projects.

Also, economic growth in the U.S. is slow, which relates to the nation’s demand for electricity.

Schumann said in three to six months, Mainstream may revisit Fulton and Henry counties and decide to push a wind farm project forward again.

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