Winds of change might be amended

Within the more than 340,000 words in House Bill 483 – midterm amendments to the two-year budget – as changed by the Ohio Senate’s Finance Committee are 600 words addressing “economically significant” wind farms.

Sec. 4906.20 (B) (2) (a) states a wind turbine in such a farm must be set back at least 1,125 feet from the nearest property line. The current requirement, apparently, is 750 feet from the nearest habitable structure.

If that change remains in the bill, a wind farm’s minimum dimension would be 2,250 feet on each side, with a wind turbine smack in the middle. That would be more than 116 acres, although a lone turbine would not be “economically significant.”

But what would be the impact on, say, the proposed Republic Wind Farm? A pre-application with the Ohio Power Siting Board stated it would be “spread across approximately 15,000 acres of leased land in the townships of Adams, Reed, Scipio and Thompson in Seneca County, Ohio and York Township in Sandusky County, Ohio.”

The amendment does state “the setback shall apply in all cases except those in which all owners of property adjacent to the wind farm property waive application of the setback to that property pursuant to a procedure the board shall establish.”

This could result in neighbors of those who lease land to the wind farm receiving compensation from the utility owners, too. An expensive project could become even more costly.

We haven’t heard much about Republic Wind Farm and the similarly sized Honey Creek Wind Energy Center for a couple years. And if state lawmakers do halt the phase-in of Ohio’s renewable energy and efficiency standards, solar and wind projects in Ohio could come to a halt as well.