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Published: Saturday, 10/1/2011


Serious, not just curious

The Green Energy Ohio Tour that starts today looks like a parade of homes on steroids. More than 260 houses, schools, churches, museums, farms, and businesses in 137 communities will be on display today and tomorrow -- for free -- for Ohioans to learn about solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy.

One of the largest events of its kind in the nation, the tour suggests ways that northwest Ohio can diversify its employment base and stabilize its economy by emphasizing real-world applications of renewable energy.

"Our goal is to turn the curious into the serious on this tour," says Bill Spratley, Green Energy Ohio's executive director.

According to the Ohio Department of Development, the sites on display in this weekend's tour have created at least 764 jobs and retained at least 1,146 more. Formerly known as the Ohio Solar Tour, the green tour chronicles the state's progress in renewable energy with open houses in 51 counties, as well as 20 guided tours.

This year's 19 stops in northwest Ohio include the state's first two utility-scale wind farms, where 200 large turbines near Van Wert are part of the Blue Creek Wind Farm or the Timber Road II wind farm. Another 350 wind turbines have been approved for this part of the state.

Other local tour stops include the Toledo Museum of Art, Sylvania United Church of Christ, and several homes. To the east, near Upper Sandusky, you can see Ohio's largest solar field, which is a year old.

Mr. Spratley notes work by the University of Toledo, Owens Community College, and other area schools in renewable-energy research and development. He accurately, and excitingly, calls northwest Ohio "solar central" for the state.

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