Cooper Farms, a producer of poultry and pork products, recently installed three 1.5-megawatt wind turbines in 2011 and 2012 at its Van Wert location. The project produces 12 million kilowatt hours annually and offsets approximately 80% of the facility's electrical consumption. Other companies and individuals are looking at ways to generate their own electricity.
As the green energy movement gains popularity, Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is offering training and other educational resources to help businesses and other organizations make informed decisions on energy investments, including the feasibility of implementing on-site renewable energy projects.
On-site renewable energy production is part of a larger trend called distributed energy, which involves the generation of power through small, modular, decentralized energy systems located in or near the place where the energy will be used.
Expansion of distributed energy generation systems is being incentivized by states and utility companies via net-metering policies that allow consumers to generate their own electricity to offset a portion of what they purchase from a utility, said Eric Romich, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist in energy development and leader of OSU Extension's Energize Ohio signature program.
"Ohio is one of three states in the U.S. that has no capacity limit on net-metering systems," Romich says. "This allows Ohio businesses to essentially neutralize the amount of electricity they purchase from a utility by investing in on-site electricity generation projects."
To disseminate details about Ohio's energy policy and share renewable energy strategies implemented by local companies, OSU Extension organized a workshop last March at Owens Community College in Findlay, focused on the development and financing of on-site green energy projects.