Please note the live session has ended but below is the recording
The terms “solar farm” and “wind farm” could not more perfectly demonstrate the inevitable pairing of renewable energy and agriculture as uses of land. Although harvesting the sun and wind for distribution through the electric grid is far from a traditional agricultural practice, farmland is typically the anticipated location for utility-scale wind and solar facilities. Policies that encourage increased production of wind and solar energy, then, can be at odds with those that promote agricultural uses of land. Additionally, local opposition to utility-scale wind and solar development can be strong. The friction forces a policy decision on whether to prohibit or limit wind and solar development on farmland in the face of mandates and incentives for renewable energy. Continue reading
By Peggy Hall, OSU Extension Educational Lawyer
Monday marked the effective date for new laws in Ohio addressing utility-scale solar and wind facilities. As a result of Senate Bill 52, the new laws expand local involvement in the siting and approval of these facilities, as follows:
- County commissioners may designate “restricted areas” where such facilities may not locate.
- County citizens may petition for a referendum to approve or reject restricted area designations.
- Developers must hold a public meeting overviewing a proposed facility in the county where it would locate.
- County commissioners may prohibit or limit a proposed wind or solar facility after learning of it at the public meeting.
- County and township representatives must sit on the Ohio Power Siting Board committee that reviews facility applications.
The new laws also require wind and solar developers to submit decommissioning plans and performance bonds to address the removal of a facility at the end of its lifetime.
To help explain the laws, Eric Romich and I have developed the law bulletins and videos you see below. We also have a podcast that Amanda Douridas and Elizabeth Hawkins recorded with us. You’ll find all resources on the Farm Office website at go.osu.edu/energylaw. Also on that page are the Farmland Owner’s Guide to Solar Leasing and our Solar Leasing Checklist.