VAN WERT — One more wind turbine is set to be built to the north of Van Wert, but like two others nearby, this one is going to increase the amount of green energy for one local company.
Cooper Farms has already jumped headlong into wind energy by putting up two turbines intended to provide more than half of the plant’s electrical usage.
“When we built the first two, we built them with the idea of supplying about 60 percent of our electric needs for our plant... and it did.” explained Cooper Farms CEO Jim Cooper. He went on to explain that in the two years it took between the initial study of using wind power and the time the turbines were on line, the firm expanded the Van Wert plant.
“So instead of producing 60 percent of the needs, it was down to around 50 percent of the needs, so that’s why we are in the process today of breaking ground for the third turbine which will take us up to around 75 percent of our production needs at the Van Wert plant,” he shared.
Cooper Farms officially broke ground for the company’s third wind turbine Monday morning at a site just north of the company’s cooked meats operation just off U.S. 127. Jim Cooper was joined by Dianne Cooper, the firm’s corporate secretary, and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cooper in turning up shovels of dirt at the turbine construction site. Then for good measure, Jim Cooper climbed into a backhoe and did a little more serious digging to get the project underway.
The new turbine will be identical to the two existing units. They can be distinguished from the turbines of the Blue Creek Wind Farm by looking at the top of the tower on the opposite end from the blades. The turbines Cooper Farms are using have a small button shape while the Blue Creek turbines are longer at the nacelle.
The turbines themselves are 431 feet high with components made in both the U.S. and China. As with the installation of the first two turbines, One Energy, of Findlay, is heading up the construction.
On Monday, Cooper Farms was given a proclamation from the offices of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. Northwest Ohio Regional Liaison Chase Francis made the presentation at the groundbreaking site. Also speaking was Ohio 1st District State Sen. Cliff Hite, who congratulated Cooper Farms on this step.
This third turbine is scheduled to be ready by the end of the year. One year ago, Cooper Farms started construction of the two current turbines. Those were finished and operational in approximately the same time frame.
In all, Jim Cooper noted that he and the company think wind power is a good alternative.
“We figured that wind power would be a good thing for us. It fit our mentality,” he stated. “We’ve got an ongoing commitment to providing the best products while incurring the least environmental impact in the surrounding communities and farms and waterways. We know it is vital that we are good stewards of the natural resources all around us, and providing a good place for our children and grandchildren to live in the years to come.”