Union and Goshen Twps. have joined Champaign County officials in opposing a request from Everpower Renewables, which is seeking an extension to begin construction on the first phase of the Buckeye Wind Project.
However, Everpower filed a response last week, arguing the court should approve an extension for construction 2018, the same deadline for the project’s second phase. Everpower plans to build two phases of the Buckeye Wind Project, a wind farm that would include a total of about 100 turbines across Champaign County.
In seeking an extension, Everpower argued ongoing legal fights have stalled construction of the project’s first phase. But the county, and now the additional two townships, argued the Ohio Power Siting Board should reject those requests because the company has already had a chance to request an extension and because the two phases should be treated separately.
“Therefore, as separate projects, not joined, they each have differing conditions of their respective certificates,” the townships’ argument states. To extend the first phase now without additional hearings and testimony, “essentially undermines the application and hearing process and the requirement to protect the public interest.”
The townships also argued Everpower should have sought the extension much earlier, in 2013 when the company sought to amend some of the requirements in the first phase of the application.
But in a response filed last week, attorneys for Everpower argued the township arguments had no bearing on why the OPSB should grant the extension.
The deadline to begin construction was about two years away when Buckeye first asked the OPSB to allow some changes in the first phase of the project, including the location of construction yards. The townships and other parties also opposed that amendment and a hearing on that request did not take place until January of this year, Everpower argued.
“Any claim that Buckeye Wind should have asked for an extension when it filed the application for amendment in early 2013 — or should have added the request to its amendment application at the 11th hour before the hearing on the application — lacks merit and has no bearing on the reasons supporting the certificate extension,” Everpower’s attorneys argued.
Everpower’s certificate to begin construction expires in March 2015. If the certificate expires before construction begins, Everpower would have to start the lengthy certification process from the beginning.