OPSB Approves Construction Of Champaign County Wind Farm

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) has modified and approved Buckeye Wind's proposal to construct a wind farm in eastern Champaign County. The facility will include more than 50 wind turbines and related infrastructure, generating a combined capacity of up to 135 MW.

The OPSB evaluated the company's proposal, the comments and testimony of the public and interveners, and authorized construction of up to 54 turbines. The board denied the siting of 16 turbines proposed near Champaign County's airports, as they present a potential hazard to aviation, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The OPSB set additional conditions that the company must follow in order to address the environmental and social impacts of the project. These conditions include the following:

– Buckeye cannot construct turbine 57 and turbine 70, unless the company modifies their location. As proposed, the two turbine locations do not meet Ohio's minimum setback requirements.

– Buckeye must establish an informal process to receive project-related complaints from the public, including – but not limited to –Â the topics of noise and shadow flicker. The OPSB staff must receive notification of all complaints. Turbines are subject to review, and possible removal, if they exceed 30 hours per year of shadow flicker.

– Buckeye must meet all federal and state requirements for construction of turbines that may affect navigable airspace, radar or communications. If it is determined that an individual turbine negatively impacts radar or communications facilities, Buckeye must mitigate the effects.

– Buckeye must repair damage to agricultural land, including field tile.

– Buckeye must provide local fire and emergency response personnel with turbine layout maps, tower diagrams and safety manuals.

In April 2009, Buckeye filed an application with the OPSB for a certificate to construct a wind farm in Champaign County. The company's proposal consisted of 70 wind turbines, an electric substation, electric lines and miles of access roads spread over approximately 9,000 privately leased acres in six townships.

Buckeye plans to begin construction of the wind farm later this year and place the facility in service by the end of 2011. The wind farm will connect to the Urbana-Mechanicsburg-Darby 138 kV electric transmission line that crosses the project area. Depending upon which turbine model the company selects, each turbine will measure approximately 500 feet from the ground to the tip of the blade at its highest position.

SOURCE: The Ohio Power Siting Board Â

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