The development of wind farms in Ohio commenced in 2008 upon the enactment of House Bill 562 by the General Assembly. Codified in Ohio Revised Code 4906.20, this bill provided the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) with jurisdiction over the siting of economically significant wind farms in Ohio (namely wind farms with a nameplate capacity of 5 MW or more.
Although the OPSB's rules implementing House Bill 562 took effect in May 2009, Buckeye Wind, LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc.) filed the first ever application in Ohio for the siting of a wind farm under the more general OPSB rules for major utility facilities in June of 2008. See PUCO Case No. 08-666-EL-BGN.
The proposed Buckeye Wind project would involve the construction and operation of an approximately 126-175 MW wind farm in Champaign County, Ohio.
From the beginning, this case proved to be very contentious due to the intervention and active participation of a group of concerned citizens (commonly known as Union Citizens United) as well as various affected public entities, including Champaign County, Goshen Township, Salem Township, and Union Township.
After weeks of hearings, a local public hearing, and the filing of initial and reply briefs, the OPSB issued its Opinion, Order, and Certificate authorizing the construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of Buckeye Wind's project. To date, this is the only fully-litigated wind case that has been decided by the OPSB. Upon the issuance of the certificate, and the OPSB's consideration of applications for rehearing, two of the intervening parties filed appeals with the Ohio Supreme Court.
The first appeal, dated September 3, 2010, was filed by Union Neighbors United and focuses on two issues: 1) the OPSB's conditions pertaining to noise from the wind farm; and 2) the OPSB's minimum setback requirements. The second appeal, filed exactly one week later by Champaign County, Goshen Township, Salem Township, and Union Township, focused on two other issues: 1) financial assurances for repairs to local roads and bridges as a result of wind farm construction activitie, including a case status and all filings, briefs and orders, see Ohio Supreme Court Case No. 10-554.
In early October, the PUCO filed a certified copy of the record with the Ohio Supreme Court. In doing so, the OPSB triggered the 40-day time period in which Union Neighbors United and Champaign County, Goshen Township, Salem Township, and Union Township have to file their initial brief. The date for filing these briefs would be in the middle of November. 20 days after those briefs are filed, Buckeye Wind and any parties filing amicus (friend of the court) briefs would be filing their response(s).