Iberdrola Renewables is currently building the 304-MW Blue Creek Wind Farm in western Ohio. It is located in Tully, Union and Hoaglin townships in Van Wert County, and Benton, Blue Creek and Latty townships in Paulding County.
"Developing the Alternative Energy Academy, which includes a training program on the Vantage campus in wind turbine repair, is an exciting venture as we look forward to this new energy source sprouting in our area,” said Staci Kaufman, the Superintendent of Vantage. "We are honored to be recognized by Iberdrola Renewables, the first renewable energy company to provide monetary support to grow the program and help us meet the long-term demand for good local jobs here in Ohio.”
“With each new wind farm needing skilled, safety-conscious workers, strong training programs are essential to meet the demand for these jobs,” said Dan Litchfield, business developer for Iberdrola Renewables. “One of the many immediate and long-term benefits to Van Wert and Paulding Counties will be the substantial economic benefits we create, and a new training program will help all of Ohio capitalize on these good job opportunities. With their history of exceptional education programs, we are excited to work with Vantage to support this new industry in Ohio.”
The Blue Creek Wind Farm represents an approximately $600 million investment in Van Wert and Paulding Counties. The wind farm and the donation to Vantage are a result of the Ohio property tax law, SB 232, which opened the door to wind energy development in Ohio and requires an educational partnership with Ohio schools.
Construction for Blue Creek Wind Farm began in September, 2010. Iberdrola Renewables expects construction to be completed within the year. The Blue Creek Wind Farm also brings approximately $1.1 million in annual lease payments to local landowners, $2.7 million in annual local taxes, 15 to 20 new permanent jobs, over 300 construction jobs, and local purchase of some supplies and construction materials. Already 18 Ohio companies are supporting or supplying the construction effort. Ultimately, the project will include 152 Pennsylvania-built wind turbines rated at 2 MW each.
Vantage Career Center is a public career technical high school for juniors and seniors from 13 participating schools, serving Van Wert, Paulding, Putnam and Mercer Counties. Vantage Adult Education offers career programs, college classes and online educational options.
Partnerships with Northwest State Community College and Owens Community College will provide additional instructional coursework for training and degrees in the Alternative Energy Academy at Vantage Career Center. The first wind technician repair course is projected to begin in the fall of 2011, by Owens State Community College.
Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. is headquartered in Portland, Ore, with more than 850 employees at the end of 2010. It is part of the Iberdrola Renovables global group, the world’s leading provider of wind power with more than 12,500 megawatts of renewable energy in operation around the world, and more than 4,700 megawatts of that wind power located in the U.S.