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Ottawa County Commissioners restrict large-scale renewable energy projects

Projects over 50 megawatts in production must first get input from involved townships. Some residents hope large corporations stay away.

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — Ottawa County Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday making it harder for new, large-scale renewable energy projects to come to the county.

"It's at the finish line here," County Commissioner Mark Coppeler said. "If anybody wants to come into these areas where they are allowed, they would have to come before the commissioners before they would be allowed to just go ahead."

Ohio Senate Bill 52, which gives counties the power to restrict new projects of that kind, makes the resolution possible. Coppeler said the resolution doesn't affect citizens in a major way, as they can still have solar and wind projects for their own homes.

"Most people would still be able to do whatever they want to do," Coppeler said. "If they wanted to put their own wind turbine up, solar panels, etc., I don't think it's going to impact them at all."

The vote was delayed for several months to allow for more discussion, but residents like activist Dennis Slotnick say there are still unanswered questions.

"Who has the right to the wind that blows past my farm?" Slotnick asked. "And the sunshine that shines on my farm? Do I have a right to that right resource? And that's not a question we've answered yet."

Slotnick doesn't want to see corporate control of green energy but says the restriction of the large projects could make it harder for corporations to control that energy.

"If you restrict the very large ones, you're also restricting the very large corporations that could take over the wind and solar energy, and then fix their prices and do everything that large corporations do," Slotnick said.

The resolution goes into effect immediately. Anyone with questions about individual projects can reach out to their respective zoning officials.

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