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Wind Power: How to Generate in Ohio

Options for wind energy in Ohio

  1. Are you thinking of installing a small wind energy project for your own not-for-profit use? If so, you may qualify as a “customer-owned small wind generator.”
  2. Are you planning to develop a commercial project for profit that will allow others to enjoy the benefits of renewable wind energy? If so, you may qualify as a commercial wind generator.”

Depending on the purpose of your wind project, you may have questions about:

  1. Interconnection
  2. Siting
  3. Selling

An important first step in exercising your options for a wind energy project of any size is to contact the local utility that owns the electric wires connected to the property where the wind project is to be installed.

Interconnection

The PUCO rules for interconnecting generators such as wind turbine projects from 1 kilowatt to 20 megawatts in size to the local electric utility distribution systems are custom made to fit the size and location of your wind energy project.  If you select the size range of the potential project, the interconnection rules will describe the technical requirements you must follow.

Please note:  Interconnection to a system that belongs to a municipal public power utility or a rural electric cooperative must follow the municipal utility or rural cooperative interconnection rules.  Interconnection to the high voltage transmission system regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) must follow interconnection requirements of the regional transmission organization (RTO) operating the high voltage transmission system.  If siting is required for your wind energy project, the interconnection process must commence prior to submission of a siting application to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OSPB).

Customer-owned small wind generators

If you want to install a wind project just for your own residential or business/institutional use, you will likely qualify for a net-metering customer billing option.

Net metering is a customer billing arrangement for customers who generate electricity solely for their own use.  This arrangement can lower the customer’s electric utility bills in two ways:

  1. Your generator can displace the electricity you would otherwise have purchased from the electric utility (or a competitive supplier); or
  2. You can earn a credit on the generation portion of you electric utility bill for any small amount of electricity your generator may feed back onto the electric utility wires when your electric meter runs backwards.

As a net metering customer on a local electric company’s distribution system, your credit is limited to kilowatt-hour (kWh) charges only.  Net metering customers are not reimbursed for distribution or transmission services.  If you also have a demand (kilowatt) meter, these charges also will not be reimbursed.

It your electric meter does not measure both energy received from the utility as well as energy released back to utility’s system, you can request such a meter from your utility company.

Siting for commercial wind generators – a convenient one-stop process

New commercial wind farms (5 megawatts or greater) can receive a single siting certificate through our State’s convenient “one-stop” shopping process at the Ohio Power Siting Board.  This unique siting process is made possible in Ohio because all eleven entities involved with approving the siting application are seated at the same table: the chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO); the directors of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Departments of Agriculture, Development, Health, and Natural Resources; and a public member. The public member must be an engineer and is appointed by the governor from a list of nominees submitted by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. Four non-voting legislative members are also on the Board: two from the Ohio House of Representatives and two from the Ohio Senate. Visit the OPSB website at http://www.opsb.ohio.gov/.

Selling wind power directly to Ohio retail customers

A wind project owner or operator may apply directly to the PUCO to become certified as a Competitive Retail Electric Service (CRES) provider in order to sell wind-generated electricity directly to retail customers.  Instructions for how to be certified as a CRES provider.

Prices for retail sales of energy provided through PUCO-certified CRES providers should be negotiated with the retail customer or may be posted on the PUCO website “Apples-to-Apples” comparison for other providers’ electricity prices.  Information on the price for electricity sold directly to a retail customer should be included in any written agreement with the retail customer.

Selling power “to the grid”

To learn how to sell wind power to a utility company under a bilateral contract, please contact the utility company.

How much will I be paid for the electricity I sell to the grid?

Unless you sign a contract with a utility that locks in your wind energy at a negotiated price, the price per megawatt-hour on the wholesale market can change from day-to-day, depending on changing conditions including the weather, the level of customer demand for energy and congestion on the grid.

Wholesale prices are set by markets run by the RTOs operating the high voltage transmission system.  Ohio is served by the multi-state RTO wholesale market by PJM from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. More information is available at http://www.pjm.com/about-pjm.aspx.