On June 24, 2008, Governor Strickland signed Amended Substitute House Bill No. 562 (HB 562). The legislation directed the Ohio Power Siting Board to adopt rules for the construction, operation and maintenance of electric generation wind facilities. After receiving numerous comments from individuals, renewable energy associations, and other interests, the Power Siting Board has finalized the rule for wind facilities. The rules outline requirements for issues including aesthetics, setback, noise levels, ice throw, blade shear and shadow flicker. Here are some of the major issued under debated were resolved:
Siting of Wind Farms Treated Like Other Major Utilities
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) argued that the siting of wind farms should not be treated like other major utility facilities. As a result AWEA argued some of the standards and application requirements would not apply to siting of wind farms. The organization cautioned that doing so may discourage development of wind farms in Ohio. But the Board rejected this approach after the sponsor of the bill, Senator Seitz, indicated it was the legislature intention to treat wind farms equally.
One significant issue of debate among commenters was whether the rules should include noise standards. The Staff responded to those comments by rejecting the proposal to adopt a specific noise standard and evaluate each project on a case by case basis:
The Board and Board Staff shall evaluate the noise levels in
association with each application on a case-by-case basis in
light of the composition of the area surrounding the proposed
facility and will impose conditions on the noise emissions
during construction and operation of the wind-energy facility
as the Board determines to be appropriate. Such conditions are
enforceable pursuant to Section 4906.98, Revised Code.
Accordingly, we find it unnecessary to impose noise standards
as proposed by E-Coustic or to adopt operational noise
standards and measurement protocols as proposed by UNU.
Under the rules, each applicant will have to use computer modeling software developed for wind turbine noise measurement or a similar wind turbine noise methodology, including consideration of broadband, tonal, and low frequency noise levels to evaluate operation noise levels.
Another issue of significant debate was requisite setback requirements from wind turbines. Many individual commented that strong setback requirements were needed to protect their property values and for public safety. Similar to the issue with noise levels, the staff of the PUCO has decided to evaluate setbacks on a case by case basis.
(Photo: Kevin Dooley/everystockphoto.com)