Buckeye State adopts new rules for siting wind farms

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COLUMBUS — The Ohio Power Siting Board has adopted rules implementing certification requirements for wind-powered electric generation facilities. The rules outline requirements for aesthetics, setback, noise levels, ice throw, blade sheer and shadow flicker, among other issues.

Ohio House Bill 562, signed by Gov. Ted Strickland June 24, directed the board to adopt certification rules for the construction, operation and maintenance of wind-powered electric generation facilities. The new law extended board siting authority to include wind facilities capable of generating 5-50 megawatts of electricity.

The board is also responsible for certifying the siting of all electric generating facilities capable of generating 50 megawatts or more, including wind facilities. Developers who wish to site wind facilities in Ohio that are capable of generating 5 or more megawatts of electricity must first apply for and obtain a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need from the board.

Description

Under the new rules, the application must include a complete description of the proposed facility including, among other criteria, the type and number of wind turbines to be used, the land areas required during construction and operation, and the footprint, height, and blade length of each turbine.

For each wind turbine, the applicant must list the setback distance from nearby residences and property lines as well as evaluate the noise levels expected at adjacent property boundaries. Each turbine must be located at least one and one-tenth times the height of the turbine from the nearest property line, and at least 750 feet from adjacent residences.

The applicant must also evaluate and describe the potential impacts of ice throw, blade shear, and shadow flicker upon nearby properties, as well as any plans to minimize the potential impacts.

Stakeholders

More than 20 industry stakeholders including the American Wind Energy Association, Buckeye Wind, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and Union Neighbors United filed written comments in response to proposed rules issued by the board Sept. 15. Numerous property owners in Logan and Champaign counties also expressed their views.

All comments were taken into consideration before the final rules were adopted. The rules adopted today will be filed with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, the Secretary of State and the Legislative Service Commission.

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