Emily Bacha, Vice President of Public Affairs, September 17, 2020
Columbus, OH — Today, the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) approved a motion by Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz to remove the ‘poison pill’ provision related to feathering turbines that was included in the Board’s May 21st Opinion, Order and Certificate in the Icebreaker Windpower Inc. (Icebreaker Wind) case. The feathering provision would have shut down the turbines from dusk to dawn for the majority of the year and rendered the project not economically viable.
Today’s decision clears the way for the project to move forward, subject to ongoing oversight by state and federal agencies (as required in the revised joint stipulation) to ensure environmental and wildlife protections are followed.
The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Miranda Leppla, Vice President of Energy Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC):
“Today’s decision by the Ohio Power Siting Board is a win for our environment, our economy and Ohio’s fight against climate change.
“We sincerely appreciate the strong leadership shown by ODNR Director Mertz. She stood by her staff’s recommendation that the protections for wildlife are strong in the revised stipulation as written, and she called for the removal of the ‘poison pill’ provision to ensure this project can move forward with ongoing oversight and protections.
“We also thank Sen. Sandra Williams (SD-21) and Rep. Jeffrey Crossman (HD-15) for demanding transparency in the decision-making process and speaking up for the many organizations, Ohioans and Northeast Ohio legislators in support of this important demonstration project.
“Throughout the siting process, LEEDCo and its partners have carefully studied and addressed the need to both develop a clean energy source to help combat air pollution and climate change with the need to protect water quality, fisheries and migratory birds over and around Lake Erie. The revised settlement agreement, signed by OPSB staff, ODNR, as well as other stakeholders, took all of these factors into account and recommended conditions that balance the financial realities of the project with the environmental protections needed for responsible development of the project. We are pleased to see this agreement upheld.
“For many years, the Ohio Environmental Council and Sierra Club have supported the Icebreaker Wind project. Responsibly developing this offshore wind demonstration project will help us not only achieve cleaner air and healthier communities, but it will also put Ohio on the map as a leader in renewable energy technologies as this project would be the first freshwater offshore wind farm in North America.
“Today’s decision is an important next step in the development of the Icebreaker Wind project, and we look forward to working with LEEDCo, Sierra Club and partners to ensure its success.”