An amendment passed in the recent state budget that will change turbine setback requirements will not affect either phase of the Buckeye Wind Farm.
The budget amendment will change the minimum setback distance from 750 feet to 1,125 feet for an economically significant wind farm. However, Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) spokesperson Matt Butler said for any existing projects that have received a certificate the setback distance will remain at 750 feet.
“If they received their certificate under the (minimum) 750-foot setback then that setback will hold,” Butler said. “Going forward, after the effective date of legislation – which is Sept. 29 of this year – the new distance will apply.”
According to a comparison document from the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, the House of Representatives version of the amendment proposed for the setback distance to be increased to 1,250 feet but the final bill enacted the Senate’s proposal of 1,125 feet.
The minimum setback distance for wind turbines of an economically significant wind farm is defined as the horizontal distance measurement from the tip of the turbine’s nearest blade at 90 degrees to the exterior of the nearest habitable residential structure, if any, located on adjacent property.
The board’s order of certificate states the turbine setback in the second phase of the project is 541 feet from non-participating property lines and 919 feet from residential structures using the tallest possible turbine model proposed in the project application.
The OPSB granted a certificate in the second phase of the Buckeye Wind project May 28, allowing for construction of up to 52 turbines. Combined with the first phase of the project, the project would construct more than 100 turbines in eastern Champaign County.
Through Hardin Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc., the company filed an application last month for a certificate for the Scioto Ridge Wind Farm.
Butler said if the project’s application is deemed to be in compliance by the board before Sept. 29 the old setback rule will go into effect for the project.
The proposed project would be located in Hardin and Logan counties and consist of up to 176 wind turbine generators, according to the project summary of the application.
City responds to Champaign Wind’s motion to strike
The city of Urbana filed a rebuttal to Champaign Wind’s motion to strike on Thursday responding to the applicant’s argument that the city’s application for a rehearing should not be considered.
In their motion to strike, Champaign Wind argued that the city missed the deadline to file for rehearing by one day.
Intervenors had 30 days to file applications for rehearing following the board’s decision on May 28.
The city states the OPSB should consider any delay on the city’s part excusable given seven circumstances.
These circumstances include that the board’s order and certificate was not available when the city requested it following the OPSB meeting on May 28 and when it was electronically docketed there were five minutes remaining in the city’s business day.
The city stated they received a hard copy of the order by mail on May 30 and because they were served by mail instead of personal service or email, three days must be added to the 30-day deadline citing the Ohio Administrative Code.
In addition to their motion to strike, Champaign Wind filed responses on Monday to intervenors Champaign County and the townships of Goshen, Union and Urbana and citizens group Union Neighbors United (UNU).
The applicant responded to the county’s arguments involving financial assurance for decommissioning and possible road damage as well as turbine setbacks. In response to UNU, Champaign Wind contends the areas of environmental impact, noise impacts and other health concerns.