The Ohio Power Siting Board on Feb. 18 approved a series of amendments to a site certificate it had issued previously for the Buckeye Wind LLC project in Champaign County, Ohio.
In March 2013, Buckeye filed an application to amend the certificate issued in 2010 which covered a facility with a total generating capacity of between 125 MW and 175 MW, depending on final turbine model selected. In its amendment application. Buckeye proposed six changes to the certificate including: adjusting the construction staging areas; moving one staging area 1.3 miles west; shifting the project substation by 1,000 feet; adding a new access road; modifying four previously approved access roads; and moving the electric collection line system underground.
Michael Speerschneider of EverPower Wind Holdings described at hearing the proposed amendments. He explained that it would result in significantly less impact on the environment and the local community, primarily as a result of eliminating overhead collection lines in favor of underground lines.
Speerschneider is the Chief Permitting and Public Policy Officer for EverPower Wind Holdings and an officer of Buckeye Wind LLC, which is a company within the corporate structure of EverPower. Buckeye Wind LLC holds the certificate for the Buckeye I Wind Farm. He is also an officer of Champaign Wind LLC, a company that is also within the corporate structure of EverPower and which holds the certificate issued by the board for the neighboring Buckeye II Wind Farm.
A benefit of the design change approved by the board on Feb. 18 is that the majority of the collection line system, all staging areas and the substation for the Buckeye I Wind Farm will now share the same locations as the collection line system, staging areas and substation for the Buckeye II Wind Farm. This design change avoids redundant impacts that would result if the Buckeye I Wind Farm and Buckeye II Wind Farm were constructed and operated as proposed under the current certificates. Instead, under the new design, both projects can utilize the same substation and staging areas as well as the same locations for the majority of the collection line systems.
Champaign Wind filed an application in 2012 to construct up to 56 turbines of 1.6 MW to 2.5 MW in size with a maximum generating capacity of 140 MW in Champaign County within the Buckeye II Wind Farm project. The board approved construction of 52 of the 56 proposed turbines in May 2013.