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Great Lakes Article:

Conference considers Ohio's potential for wind power
By M. R. Kropko
Associated Press
Published November 10th, 2004

CLEVELAND - Ohio's only commercial wind farm is celebrating its one-year anniversary by increasing output, and a new wind resources map for the state shows potential for development.

Daryl Stockburger, utilities director for Bowling Green, said the number of operating turbines at the wind farm in Wood County was expected to double to four this week. He said the wind farm was expected to produce 7.2 megawatts, about the amount needed to power 1,800 homes for a year.

"A large area of the state has a wind resource that with current technology is not going to be commercially attractive," Stockburger said. "On the other hand, along the Lake Erie area, the wind resource is much greater."

Stockburger was among about 250 people at the 2004 Ohio Wind Power Conference, which began Tuesday and continues Wednesday.

Experts at the conference were optimistic about a new wind resources map.

"We are testing wind at higher elevations, and it's clear the wind is much better. The new wind map really opens up a new vista on Ohio," said William Spratley, executive director of Green Energy Ohio, a renewable energy organization that is one of the hosts of the conference.

"We've now got a federal grant to do tall towers, measuring the wind at 100 meters (330 feet) in height. A bank will not invest $2 million to $3 million in one turbine without knowing the (power generation) output," he said.

The government's National Renewable Energy Laboratory's wind map for Ohio was completed about four months ago, and focuses on wind speeds at 50 meters (165 feet) above the ground. It was the state's first new wind map since 1985.

"It's looking at a finer level of detail than we've had in the past," said Peter Dreyfuss, director of the Department of Energy's Midwest Region Office in Chicago.

The wind map shows potential for commercial-grade wind turbines mostly in northwest Ohio, parts of central Ohio, along much of the Lake Erie shoreline and offshore. A plan for a Lake Erie wind farm near Cleveland is still in the testing phase.

"What we are trying to do with technology development is capture the wind at lower speeds," Dreyfuss said. "The wind in Ohio is not the wind in the Dakotas for example, but the wind in Ohio is near load centers (users) and access to the grid."

Dreyfuss said wind "is probably the fastest growing new renewable technology that's out there for electricity production. We expect a banner year this year for installed wind capacity, because of pent up demand and the (federal) production tax credit coming together."

More than 16,000 businesses across the nation have the technical potential to enter the growing wind turbine manufacturing sector, according to research presented at the conference by the Washington-based Renewable Energy Policy Project.

The results indicate that a national investment in wind might benefit regions other than those with the best wind resources. Ohio ranked second to California in potential for wind turbine parts production.

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