Ohio Power Siting Board denies second solar project

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COLUMBUS — The Ohio Power Siting Board denied Kingwood Solar’s application to construct a 175 megawatt solar farm in Greene County, citing overwhelming local opposition to the project.

The solar facility, developed by Texas-based Vesper Energy, would have covered 1,500 acres in Cedarville, Miami and Xenia townships. 

The OPSB noted in a press release that “all four local governments in the Kingwood Solar project area opposed its approval and that the overwhelming number of public comments filed in the case, which largely disfavor the project, reinforce the local government opposition.”

The project then would not serve the “public interest, convenience and necessity” as required by Ohio law, the board said.

The project would have paid out more than $1.5 million in taxes annually, as well as creating 200 construction jobs for Ohio residents, according to Vesper. The company has 30 days to file an application for rehearing with the Ohio Power Siting Board. If the board again rules against the developer, Vesper can then appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Kingwood Solar was the second utility-scale solar rejected by the Ohio Power Siting Board in its history. The board approved applications for more than 30 solar farms throughout the state before denying Birch Solar, in Allen and Auglaize counties, in October. 

Neither project was subject to the new public input process created last summer by the signing of Ohio Senate Bill 52, which granted local governments control over where renewable energy projects are built. They were both grandfathered in under the old rules. 

Other projects

Also at the board’s Dec. 15 meeting, the board approved a settlement agreement for the Springwater Solar farm in Madison and Franklin counties. The 155 MW solar farm will sit on about 770 acres within a 1,085-acre project area in Fairfield Township, Madison County and Pleasant Township, Franklin County.  The project includes a 75-MW battery storage system. 

The power siting board also authorized Grover Hill Wind to build a 150 MW wind farm in Latty Township, Paulding County. The project is slated to have up to 23 wind turbines.

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