Ohio Senator to Propose Loosening Setbacks for Wind Developers

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Setback standards for Ohio wind turbines may soon be loosened, thanks to an Ohio state senator, who is expected to soon introduce an amendment to the legislature.

Republican Senator Cliff Hite from Ohio says the amendment will adjust how far a wind turbine needs to be from an unoccupied land parcel, which will once again make it economical for developers to build wind farms. Hite expects the support of both Gov. John Kasich and other Republican senators.

Ohio currently has some of the most restrictive setback standards in the country, which according to a recent report, is preventing up to $4.2 billion in economic activity.

Larry Obhof, new Senate president, expects that a number of different proposals modifying wind-turbine setback will be advanced:

“I don’t know what the odds are, but there are a number of members who are interested in it. I expect we will probably see several amendments, maybe as many as a half-dozen about that, but you know we’ll see what the amendments look like and we’ll decide when it’s actually in front of us.”

Prior to the setback revision, a wind turbine needed to be located at least 1.1 times the height of the turbine in distance away, or about 550 feet for an average turbine. After the regulation was changed, the setback from unoccupied property was changed to require the same setback as a house, about 1,300 feet in total, or 1,125 feet from the tip of a horizontally extended blade.

According to Hite, his proposed bill would determine the setback difference by using the distance from ground to turbine hub, add the length of a single blade, and increase the calculated distance by approximately 20%.