Community balance in renewable energy projects is needed

There’s growing pushback for renewable energy projects in Ohio at the local level as a new state amendment goes into effect.

Peggy Kirk Hall, Director of Ohio State University Extension’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program, tells Brownfield local authorities have expanded abilities to restrict or prohibit solar development projects.

“Because of that opposition, our Ohio Power Siting Board has rejected several and denied those permits so they will not at this point moving forward,” she says.

Kirk Hall says if a farmer is interested in a solar lease, incorporating a dual use or agrovoltaics could help in negotiations.

“I think we need to think about what would be acceptable and how can we kind of bridge that private property right issue against renewable energy need, against community wellbeing,” she shares.

Unfortunately, she says contracts already approved on farmland likely won’t be able to stay in production agriculture if it wasn’t included in the agreement.

An amendment to a township bill last year in Ohio granted counties, townships, and municipalities regulatory authority over small-scale solar facilities in addition to a 2021 law that gave them more say on solar and wind facilities over 50 megawatts.

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