Ohio state utility regulators have been busy this year reviewing plans for new transmission lines, natural gas-fired power plants, and wind farms. Much of the increased activity at the Ohio Power Siting Board stems from the ongoing retirements of several large-scale, aging coal-fired power plants as utilities overhaul transmission lines to compensate for the decrease in base load generation from in-state facilities.
New transmission lines, however, are not the only development intended to offset the decline in coal-fired electricity. OPSB approved a proposal to build a large new natural gas plant this year in Oregon and recently received an application for a similar facility in Carroll County, in the heart of Ohio’s shale drilling activity. OPSB cleared two proposed wind farms (Paulding County @ 100MW and Champaign County @140 MW) for construction in 2013, and the Ohio Supreme Court recently upheld a previously certified project against a legal challenge from local residents in Crawford and Richland counties for 200 MW and 91 wind turbines.
OPSB is reviewing three more proposals:
Greenwich (25 turbines, 60 MW),
Scioto Ridge (176 turbines, 300 MW) and
Icebreaker (6 turbines, 18 MW).
Increasingly stringent federal environmental regulations, along with historically low prices for natural gas, have prompted utilities to shut down dozens of coal-fired power plants in Ohio and nearby states. FirstEnergy Corp., American Electric Power, Duke Energy, and Dayton Electric & Power have already shut down dozens of coal-fired power plant units and have proposed shutting down dozens more in the next few years.