The Ohio House of Representatives has insisted upon removing an important fix to wind turbine setback policy from the state’s proposed biennial budget, after Senate lawmakers advanced a compromise measure last week. Adopted in 2014 with no public debate, Ohio’s current wind turbine setbacks are among the country’s most restrictive and have essentially functioned as a ban on wind development and the economic benefits that come along with it.
“It’s hard to understand why the Ohio House under the leadership of Speaker Rosenberger would stand in the way of $4.2 billion dollars of economic development,” said Andrew Gohn, Eastern Region Policy Director for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “House lawmakers turned their backs on Ohio’s businesses and rural communities with this decision. They turned away economic growth by ignoring the business community’s plea to make Ohio attractive for companies wishing to power their facilities with renewable energy. And they ignored the needs of the state’s rural communities, who would have seen enormous investment if setbacks had been fixed.”
Besides bringing new resources into rural communities that could improve schools and fix roads, new wind development would have also attracted new business into Ohio. The business community rallied behind the setback fix, with vocal support from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Partnership, the Columbus and Toledo Chambers of Commerce, Amazon, and several other Fortune 500 companies.
By including a fix in its proposed budget last week, the Ohio Senate prioritized attracting billions of dollars in investment, recognizing onerous setbacks have pushed wind development into neighboring states.
“We appreciate the strong leadership shown by Senator Cliff Hite, Senate President Larry Obhof, and the Senate leadership team who championed this vital regulatory reform,” added Gohn. “With their support in continuing the fight, as well as support from Governor Kasich, we’re confident that common sense will soon prevail and that Ohio will grow more prosperous by unlocking the vast potential of wind power.”
Wind power has already attracted $1.1 billion of investment into Ohio and supports over 3,000 in-state jobs. Nationally, there are over 100,000 wind jobs across all 50 states and more than 500 wind-related factories.