Wind Energy

Will the Ohio legislature allow the wind industry to thrive?

Ohio has far fewer utility-scale wind farms than neighbors Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. This map shows wind farms of 5 megawatts or greater as of the third quarter of last year. Two more projects have come online in Ohio since then but are not shown on this map. (Credit: American Wind Energy Association)

CLEVELAND — “Ohio has enough wind to generate electricity on a large scale. What it lacks is a rulebook that allows developers to do just that.

In 2014, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation that more than doubled the distance wind turbines have to be from unoccupied neighboring property, assuming the owner of that property doesn’t grant a waiver.

The change was made at the last minute and without public hearings, leaving windenergy advocates little time to state their case to legislators and Gov. John Kasich.

The change stymied Ohio’s wind industry, and placed it at a disadvantage to neighboring states, where so-called setback rules are more accommodating, industry advocates contend.

Wind developers still have their sights on Ohio and are hoping to persuade state lawmakers to return to the old setbacks. But will that happen? Or might there be a compromise that legislators and the industry can agree on, especially if those legislators see the wind industry attracting good jobs to the state as a result?”

— Peter Krouse, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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