Fund the Police. And Schools, Fire/Rescue, Libraries and Roads. Wind Turbines, Solar Farms Make it Happen

December 18, 2020

Across the heartland, rural communities have been struggling for decades and their economies have been hollowed out by the same forces affecting urban areas.
With a widened deployment of renewable energy, wind turbines and solar farms can be revenue engines that fund essential services, while keeping taxes low.

Toledo Blade:

Another wind farm, Michigan-based CMS Energy’s Northwest Ohio Wind project, consists of 42 turbines in southern Paulding County. It helps power all of GM’s Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities.

To Susan Munroe, a former Van Wert County Chamber of Commerce director now with the Chambers for Innovation & Clean Energy, there’s “no greater opportunity for economic development” than wind power.

Revenue generated by wind turbines have helped improve park districts, township roads, and senior citizen programs while keeping costs down. But, above all, it has brought stability to local schools in uncertain times:

■ At Paulding County’s Wayne Trace Local School District, a higher percentage of students have been graduating and more have scored in advanced and accelerated categories for achievement since revenue from wind farms began coming in, according to state test scores. Superintendent Ben Winans said there has been $4.5 million in turbine revenue since 2014, which has allowed the district to hire 18 additional staffers — mostly for special needs and intervention. Some $848,235 came in the last fiscal year. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without them,” Mr. Winans said of the giant turbines.

■ At Van Wert County’s Crestview Local Schools, wind turbines have generated an additional $880,000 a year, which has paid for new classrooms and other construction, as well as a school resource officer, and money for future contingencies. “It keeps you off the ballot. You can carry that money forward,” Superintendent Kathy Mollenkopf said. “We don’t have to go to our taxpayers for anything. That’s a good place to be.”

■ At Van Wert County’s Lincolnview Local Schools, turbines have generated $2 million since 2014, and — at a pace of $400,000 a year — are expected to bring $8 million in funding over 20 years. It has helped pay for new technology, a boiler, more parking, and a new roof. “Where we decide to put it is endless,” Mr. Snyder said, also stating that the additional money helped refinance bonds to save interest on the community center, which will also serve as a tornado shelter. The new center “would have been a very tough sell” to voters without revenue from wind turbines, he said.

“Our relationship with the wind energy companies has been sensational,” Rick Turner, superintendent of the Vantage Career Center, which serves 430 high school students from Paulding, Putnam, and Van Wert counties, said.

One of my favorite interviews of recent years was with Jeff Westall, Chief of Breckenridge and Wheeler township, MI, Fire Rescue. In my years as a paramedic, I relied on volunteer companies like this for critical backup in dicey situations. Glad to see they are finally getting big-city funding.

Toledo Blade:

As former economic development director for Paulding County, I have seen the transformative impact clean energy projects can have on local communities and economies firsthand. During my time there, we helped bring in $600 million of investment to the county through the development of large-scale wind farms. In total over a five-year period, Paulding County saw a $1 billion in capital investment because of wind energy.

Not only do these investments help decrease carbon emissions, but they provide real, tangible benefits for our communities. The county gets millions of dollars in pilot pay-ments from wind energy companies and millions more goes to landowners for the private contracts to allow their land to be used to site a wind turbine. Local school districts are arguably the biggest winners; in Paulding County, the money from wind farms has helped schools hire new teachers, boost student performance, improve campuses, and create scholarships.

That is why I applaud the Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and the Toledo City Council for moving forward in expanding the role of solar power. These are the kinds of commitments we need to be seeing more of by elected officials and municipal governments; however, there is much more work to do at the federal level if we truly want to help build a stronger clean energy economy here in Ohio and across the country.


2 Responses to “Fund the Police. And Schools, Fire/Rescue, Libraries and Roads. Wind Turbines, Solar Farms Make it Happen”

  1. You’re now spinning industrial wind power as a pro-police policy?! I’m with you on police, but your blog reads like a paid advertisement. When someone sells something of dubious quality, they make sure to never mention what ails it.

    Most arguments detailing wind power blight get ignored here, but I discovered a new word covering those who constantly change the subject. Trump did it a lot with Russia talk, etc.



    “The tactic behind whataboutism has been around for a long time. Rhetoricians generally consider it to be a form of tu quoque, which means “you too” in Latin and involves charging your accuser with whatever it is you’ve just been accused of rather than refuting the truth of the accusation made against you….”

    An example is claiming that the only damage to nature worth discussing comes from mining & drilling, never wind energy sprawl. Climate change is used as a wedge to destroy the countryside, as if nuclear power and serious conservation aren’t feasible.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      While you throw in a lot of bogus arguments about birds and bats and headaches, it keeps coming back to your fixation on the visual “blight”.

      Climate change is used as a wedge to destroy the countryside, as if nuclear power and serious conservation aren’t feasible.

      Why yes, I twirl my mustache in glee as I come up with more and more effective ways to “destroy the countryside”, the ultimate goal of all of my machinations.

      As for nuclear power, feel free to try and convince investors to put their money into multi-billion dollar projects that take many years to negotiate and execute, with bouquets of promises that there won’t be overruns, the contractors won’t cut corners, and the politicians aren’t getting big kickbacks.

      (Person conflict-of-interest disclaimer: In the 1980s I lived in a township that invested in a nuclear power plant. Our electricity cost at least 2¢ more per kWh than the surrounding towns that didn’t invest.)

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