Governor Mike DeWine recently signed Senate Bill 52, which will restrict large wind and solar installations in Ohio, and was among a flood of legislation passed in the final days before the legislature left for summer break. The measure was sponsored by Senators Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) and Rob McColley (R-Napoleon).
SB 52 became a sharp point of contention between supporters of renewable energy development and frustrated residents looking to halt the expansion of wind and solar projects in rural Ohio. The new law enables a board of county commissioners to establish a restricted area that would prohibit large wind or solar facilities, or a significant addition to an existing facility. Such decisions can be subject to referendum. Project applicants will now be required to hold public meetings within each county in the project footprint and provide detailed information to the public and the board of commissioners, who could then vote to block or limit the scope of that project.
Additionally, the law expands the Ohio Power Siting Board in those cases to include two ad hoc voting members representing the counties and townships impacted by the project being voted on. The law further strengthens decommissioning requirements for such facilities.
Senate Bill 52 will take effect in mid-October.