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Sudden Demise of Solar Project Raises Questions in Ohio

The Ohio Power Siting Board through a wrench in plans for a solar project in southern Ohio, raising questions about the viability of renewable energy in the state.
November 2, 2019, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"The Ohio Power Siting Board [in October] voted to pull the final approval for a solar project planned for southern Ohio," reports Mark Williams.

The project in question, Nestlewood Solar Farm, was an 80-megawatt solar project proposed for Brown and Clermont counties in southwestern Ohio. "The energy generated by the project would deliver power to a single point of interconnection (POI) into Duke Energy Ohio Kentucky’s existing South Bethel-Brown 69-kV transmission line," according to an article written in February 2019 by Corina Rivera-Linares.

The decision to kill the project caught environmentalists and renewable energy advocates by surprise, according to Williams, and now there's "fear the move will further discourage development of solar and other projects in the state."

Sam Randazzo, who serves as the board’s chairman by virtue of his job as chairman of the Public Utilities Commission from Ohio, pushed for the sudden demise of the project. According to Williams, Randazzo cited environmental reasons—like endangered species, glare off the solar panels, and agricultural and stormwater impacts—as reasons to suddenly kill the project.

One quote from the article sums up the concerns of renewable energy advocates in response to the news:

“Yesterday’s surprise regulatory delays at the Ohio Power Siting Board could introduce tremendous new uncertainty to the permitting process — in a state that has already presented renewable energy developers and consumers with policy challenges,” Bruce Burcat, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition, said in a statement. “We continue to be concerned Ohio is going backwards.”

Full Story:
Published on Saturday, October 19, 2019 in The Columbus Dispatch
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