What is an AEZ?
November 16, 2017
by Kevin Ledet
An AEZ (alternative energy zone) is a designation that county commissioners in Ohio can make for their county. The commissioners pass a resolution to make the county an AEZ. What this does then is basically remove all control the county may have had over an alternative energy development. The state of Ohio then dictates the terms of the financial assessments that the development has to make.
There are no property taxes paid by the development but a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) is determined and agreed to by the state and developer. The local school boards that are affected by this have to agree to the terms also. The county can also claim a $1000 per Megawatt assessment for the project. Usually all the fees together come to $9000 per Megawatt for a project. Once a county has passed a resolution declaring themselves an AEZ that designation remains in effect until another resolution is passed rescinding the AEZ.
Under the alternative energy zone program, utility companies received automatic approval for wind farm construction anywhere in the county, with the only negotiating power the county had being the meetings and appeals held through the Ohio Power Siting Board’s certification process. Quoting a Van Wert county commissioner “Without the blanket approach of the county-wide alternative energy zone, the county will have the option of approving projects on a case-by-case basis for special tax treatment, or not grant any special tax treatment at all”.
Obviously an AEZ is a very bad idea for Huron County. You will have the opportunity to tell your Huron County commissioners so at the special Commissioners meeting slated for Thursday November 30th at 9:00 a.m. at 180 Milan Ave # 7, Norwalk, OH 44857.