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Ohio Power Siting Board Approves 483 MW of Wind

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) this week approved the construction of three wind projects, which represent 483 megawatts (MW) of capacity. At completion, the plants would vault Ohio into the mix for leading wind states and bring Ohio closer to its RPS target of 25% renewables by 2025.

OPSB approved and modified Buckeye Wind’s proposal to construct a wind farm in eastern Champaign County. The facility will include more than 50 wind turbines and related infrastructure generating a combined capacity of up to 135 MW. The OPSB evaluated the company’s proposal and authorized construction of up to 54 turbines. The Board denied the siting of 16 turbines proposed near Champaign County’s airports as they could present a potential hazard to aviation according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Under the ruling, Buckeye must establish an informal process to receive project-related complaints from the public, including but not limited to the topics of noise and shadow flicker. The OPSB staff must receive notification of all complaints. Turbines are subject to review, and possible removal, if they exceed 30 hours per year of shadow flicker. Buckeye must also decommission the facility, or individual turbines, at its own expense. Similar conditions were levied for the other two projects as well.

In April 2009, Buckeye filed an application with the OPSB for a certificate to construct a wind farm in Champaign County. The company’s proposal consisted of 70 wind turbines, an electric substation, electric lines and miles of access roads spread over approximately 9,000 privately leased acres in six townships. Buckeye plans to begin construction of the wind farm later this year and place the facility in service by the end of 2011.

The wind farm will connect to the Urbana-Mechanicsburg-Darby 138-kilovolt electric transmission line that crosses the project area. Depending upon which turbine model the company selects, each turbine will measure approximately 500 feet from the ground to tip of the blade at its highest position.

The second project approved by OPSB was JW Great Lakes Wind LLC's (JWGL) 27 turbine project in Hardin County. The wind farm will have a generation capacity of approximately 48 MW. JGWL anticipates beginning construction in 2010 and beginning commercial operation in mid-2011.

The construction phase is expected to provide between 50 and 100 temporary construction jobs, and three to five full-time maintenance staff. The project will also include a 69-kilovolt overhead transmission line that will connect to American Electric Power’s (AEP) substation in Dunkirk.

The third project approved was Hardin Wind Energy LLC's 200 turbine project in Hardin County.  The facility will have a generation capacity of approximately 300 MW.

“The Hardin Wind Energy wind farm will become the largest of its kind in Ohio,” said OPSB Chairman Alan R. Schriber. “The wind farm will play an integral role in assuring Ohio meets new alternative energy portfolio standards by providing clean and renewable energy.”

On July 10, 2009, Hardin filed an application for a certificate to site a wind-powered electric generation facility with the OPSB. The construction process, expected to begin in mid-2010, will consist of two phases. Depending on the turbine model Hardin chooses, the initial phase will consist of up to 157 turbines, and the second phase up to 47. The project also includes a transformer substation, interconnection substation, underground electric collection system and nearly 30 miles of access roads to support the facility.

Under Ohio’s alternative energy portfolio standard, 25 percent of electricity sold in Ohio must be generated from alternative energy sources by 2025. At least half of this energy must come from renewable energy sources, including wind, and one half of the renewable energy facilities must be located in Ohio.

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