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Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Celina buying wind power

Green energy will account for less than 1 percent of city's total power

By William Kincaid
CELINA - City council members on Monday night agreed to purchase up to 2 megawatts of wind power from Blue Creek Wind Energy in Van Wert for 10 years.
The green energy will account for less than 1 percent of the city's total power, Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel said.
"The wind schedule is a take and pay agreement," Donald Gruenemeyer of Sawvel and Associates, a consulting and engineering firm, wrote in a report to Hazel. "The city pays only for energy generated and delivered."
Council members suspended the rules, doing away with the need for three readings, and passed the ordinance as an emergency measure to meet a June 1 deadline. Councilors Myron Buxton and Angie King both voted no, saying council should have held at least one more meeting to gather public input.
The ordinance was listed on the agenda at the last regular council meeting in April but was removed so council members could have more time to review the proposal.
The item was added to the agenda Monday night after councilman Mike Sovinski made a motion. He said he was surprised the ordinance was not listed on the original agenda, pointing out the approaching deadline.
King said she is not against the proposal but thought another reading was in order, explaining it's a brand new piece of legislation that no one came prepared to act on.
Buxton echoed King's comments, saying he supports the legislation but also wanted another reading.
"It's a great value right now," Buxton said. "Actually, it's a win-win for both of us (Blue Creek and Celina)."
According to Sawvel, wind energy purchased from Blue Creek will cost $35 a megawatt next year. The average price of electricity is $48 a megawatt, Hazel said.
"From 2013 through 2021, the cost per megawatt increases annually to $56, an average of 6.67 percent per year," Gruenemeyer wrote. "In 2022, the cost per megawatt increases 9.7 percent from $56 to $61.43 per megawatt."
The wind power price is greater than estimated market prices in some years and less in others.
"However, market energy prices are currently near historic lows, so the risk of increased market prices is greater than the risk of further decreases," Gruenemeyer wrote. "The wind project provides known prices that are comparable to current low market prices during the 10-year term."
Gruenemeyer also noted that the known prices of wind power can help reduce price volatility associated with market energy prices; wind power increases the amount of renewable energy in the city's portfolio and diversifies its mix of resources; there are no construction, operation or maintenance costs associated with the wind project; there are no fuel costs; the city is only obligated to pay for its share of delivered energy; and wind turbines produce no air emissions.
Wind power also sounds more economical than solar power, councilor Bill Sell said.
"That is a fair statement," Hazel said.
"Renewable energy is more expensive than standard energy," councilman June Scott added.
The Blue Creek farm includes 114 turbines in Van Wert County and 38 in Paulding County, which all produce electricity sold on the open market. The purchase agreement with Blue Creek Wind Energy is through American Municipal Power.
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