Wind Energy

Ohio wind turbine setback rule may be changed in budget bill

Iberdrola Renewables built these wind turbines as part of the Blue Creek Wind Farm in Van Wert, Ohio. But wind development in in the state has stalled since 2014 when lawmakers created the most restrictive turbine property setback rules in the nation. Legislation proposed last year to allow county commissioners to modify the state rules failed. Now the 2014 rules are being challenged in this year’s budget bill (Credit: Karen Schiely).

CLEVELAND — “Ohio’s official hostility toward wind farm development may be about to change.

State Sen. Cliff Hite, a Findlay Republican whose 11-county district contains some of the best wind in Ohio, this week said that he is submitting an amendment to the Senate’s final version of state budget bill that should enable the industry to return to the state.

If Hite’s amendment survives final budget negotiations over the next two weeks, the change could immediately usher billions of dollars of new wind turbine projects into the state.   It would also make Ohio more attractive to companies such as Amazon and Facebook, which want to power their facilities with renewable energy.

His effort has already won the support of the politically powerful Ohio Chamber of Commerce, which Friday in a letter to Hite and Senate President Larry Obhoff, a Medina Republican, stressed the importance of ‘an energy policy that fosters economic development and strengthens our diverse generation portfolio.’

The wind industry’s growth in Ohio has been stymied since 2014 when language mysteriously appeared in the June budget bill that more than doubled the distance a turbine could be from adjacent property of anyone who opposed a project, creating the most restrictive setback rule in the nation.”

— John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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