Amazon to build wind farm in NW Ohio

Source: By Mark Williams & Dan Gearino, Columbus Disptach • Posted: Monday, November 23, 2015

Amazon is making another big investment in Ohio.

A day after officially releasing its plan to build two massive distribution centers in central Ohio that will employ 2,000, the Internet giant said on Thursday that it will develop a wind farm in Paulding County in northwestern Ohio that is to begin generating electricity in May 2017.

The wind farm will supply power to Amazon’s rapidly developing data-center business, including its plans for three data centers that it is building in central Ohio at a cost of $1.1 billion.

“We continue to pursue projects that help to develop more renewable-energy sources to the grids that power (Amazon Web Services) data centers and bring us closer to achieving our long-term goal of powering our global infrastructure with 100 percent renewable energy,” said Jerry Hunter, vice president of infrastructure at Amazon Web Services, in a statement.

The electricity from the 100-megawatt wind farm would be enough to power about 29,000 homes in a year. The project cost was not available.

It would be the second- largest wind farm in the state. The largest is Blue Creek Wind Farm, which is nearby and covers parts of Paulding and Van Wert counties and has a capacity of about 300 megawatts.

Amazon is working with developer EDP Renewables, which is based in Spain.

“The fact that businesses such as (Amazon) are playing such an active part in renewable-energy projects is a very clear indicator that the future lies in additional generation of this type of energy,” said Joao Manso Neto, CEO of EDP, in a statement.

From EDP’s perspective, the project is not new. Amazon is agreeing to buy electricity from a wind farm that was initially proposed in 2009 and approved by state regulators soon afterward. The project has been stalled as EDP looked for customers to buy the electricity.

The project is the third to be announced by Amazon for Ohio in just the past few months. Its first commitment was the data centers.

Because state regulators have already approved the EDP project, Amazon and EDP do not need to follow Ohio rules passed last year that reduce the number of turbines that can be placed in a specific area. The new rules apply to projects that have not yet been approved.

Besides the plans disclosed Thursday, Amazon is developing wind farms in Indiana and North Carolina to also support the company’s Ohio data operations. It also has said it will develop a solar farm in Virginia.

Wind-industry officials have said the new Ohio rules will reduce investment and send projects to other states, citing Amazon’s North Carolina plan as an example of a project that could have been in Ohio.

However, it is now clear that Amazon was still considering Ohio.