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It was reported in March, 2011, that Horizon was making good progress in construction of Ohio's first commercial wind farm. The project will create many jobs and make an important contribution to the local economy: more than 200 workers are involved with construction, and there will be tens of millions of dollars of landowner royalties and property tax payments.
The company has invested around $175 million in Paulding County, Ohio and worked
with more than a hundred local landowners. Vanessa Kellog, Horizon's Director of
Project Development for the Southwest Region, said, “The landowner relationship is
the most important aspect of it,” and says that Horizon carries out much work with
education and other methods of outreach The farm consists of 55 wind turbines which
will produce sufficient energy to power over 27,000 homes.
Horizon plans to open an office in Indianapolis and build four wind farms in Indiana. This would cost more than $2bn. The resultant wind farms would be the company's largest and would be located at Meadow Lake, White County. 660 turbines would be spread across 100,000 acres. When fully operational, the project could provide more than 1,000 MW of electricity a year, enough to power 300,000 homes. Although the wind in Indiana is a fraction of that found in West Texas, where huge wind farms are being constructed, the state is attractive because the farms would be closer to their users.
Last year, Horizon signed a 20 year agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority to sell 115 MW of electricity from its local Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm. In 2009, the company signed another agreement to sell 102.3 MW. The farm has a capacity of 300 MW, which could power more than 90,000 homes every year.
On average, Horizon spends between $150 and $200 million on a 100 MW wind farm. As well as wind farm construction, this covers payments to lease land and for road construction.
Most of the wind turbines used by Horizon were built by Vestas, a Danish company, and they must be transported on special trucks over reinforced roads. While wind farms do not emit pollution or require water, they still affect the environment, and Horizon works with the Nature Conservancy and other conservation groups to minimize environmental impact. Farmers generally rake in between $4,000 and $8,000 each year for every turbine, a proportion of which is paid as tax.
Farmers cannot use the electricity generated on their land because Horizon cannot
distribute it directly and must instead sell all electricity to utility companies.
Horizon's customers include the TVA, Great River, Direct Energy, and AmerenUE. Continued
Horizon Wind Energy, LLC, describes itself as the fourth largest producer of wind energy in the world, and built, owns, and operates wind farms throughout North America.
It has more than 25 wind farms in 18 states, including New York, California, and Texas. Previously, the company was known as Zilkh Renewable Energy, LLC, but the name was changed in 2005.
The company was established in 1998 and has its headquarters at Travis Street in
Houston, Tex. It is a subsidiary of EDP-
Supporters of domestic wind power wish to generate 20 percent of the electricity required by the United States from wind by 2030.
Since the figure currently stands at one percent, there is much room for growth.
Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens has become a strong advocate of wind power, and is spending million of dollars on a publicity campaign in support. He has also made considerable direct investments.
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