The history of the Ohio Power Siting Board 

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) supports sound energy policies that provide for the installation of energy capacity and transmission infrastructure for the benefit of Ohio citizens, promoting the state’s economic interests, and protecting the environment and land use. To accomplish this mission, the OPSB reviews applications for major utility facilities and economically significant wind farms. Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4906 outlines the authority of the OPSB and the criteria it must consider when evaluating applications. Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 4906 outlines supplemental rules passed by the OPSB.

In 1972, as part of the legislation creating the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), Senate Bill 397 created the Ohio Power Siting Commission. Member agencies of the Ohio Power Siting Commission included the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio Department of Health, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and a public member, a professional engineer, appointed by the governor. The director of the EPA served as chair of the Ohio Power Siting Commission.

In 1974, state law established staffing, each member agency appointed agency coordinators, and funding for the Ohio Power Siting Commission from the general revenue fund and through fees charged to applicants.

In 1977, the Ohio Power Siting Commission membership expanded to include the Ohio Department of Energy, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and four state legislators.

In 1979, the term of the public member increased from two years to four years and solid waste facilities were exempted from the Ohio Power Siting Commission’s jurisdiction.

In 1981, House Bill 694 made several changes to the Ohio Power Siting Commission. The Ohio Power Siting Commission was renamed the Ohio Power Siting Board and moved to the PUCO. The chair of the PUCO was designated as chair of the OPSB. Finally, the funding structure was amended to include only fees charged to applicants.  

In 1982, Ohio law added agricultural district criteria to the OPSB’s responsibility. An agricultural district is a portion of land set aside specifically for agricultural purposes. Ohio law outlines specific criteria for its creation, use and dissolvement. This addition required consideration of the disruption of an agricultural district when evaluating an application.

In 1983, the Ohio Department of Energy dissolved and was removed from the OPSB.

In 1985, the Ohio Department of Agriculture was added to the OPSB.

In 1986, special legislation regarding coal development projects was enacted. This legislation allowed the OPSB to adopt rules regarding the accelerated review of a major utility facility related to coal research and development.

In 1988, water conservation practices were added to the criteria the OPSB must consider when granting a certificate. This required applicants to consider and outline water conservation practices at the site.

In 1991, airport coordination rules were added to Ohio law, requiring the OPSB to consult with the aviation division in the Ohio Department of Transportation to ensure the project does not obstruct air navigation. 

In 1999, Ohio law was amended to presume need for electric generation projects. Thereafter, only electric transmission line and gas pipeline projects required applicants to demonstrate the need for electric transmission or gas pipeline projects. Today, electric generation projects remain exempt from the need requirement.

In 2004, Ohio law was amended to include a formal complaint process and outlined penalties for applicants for apparent violations of the terms of their certificates. 

In 2008, as part of House Bill 562, the OPSB’s jurisdiction expanded to include economically significant wind farms. 

In 2012, Senate Bill 315 clarified the OPSB’s gas pipeline jurisdiction and expedited the review of generation retirement driven transmission projects.

Setback requirements for economically significant wind farms and electric generating plan consisting of wind turbines and associated facilities were modified in 2013 and 2014 as part of House Bill 59 and House Bill 483, respectively.

In 2015, the OPSB’s rules in Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 4906 were reorganized and restructured to how it appears today.

In 2019, the OPSB adopted a new administrative rule requiring wind farm operators to report incidents affecting wind farm facilities to the OPSB.