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Ohio Transmission Siting Overview (8-OH-a)

Information current as of 2020
In Ohio, a developer must obtain a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) from the Ohio Power Siting Board (Board) for the construction of a “major utility facility,” including electric transmission lines and associated facilities with a design capacity of 125 kV or more. O.R.C. § 4906.01; O.R.C. § 4906.04; Ohio Rev. Code § 4906.98(A). The Board has the authority to regulate transmission facilities pursuant to Ohio – Ohio Rev. Code §§ 4906.01 et seq., Power Siting.

Transmission Siting Overview Process

8-OH-a.1 – Hold Pre-Application Meeting (Optional)

The developer of a major utility facility may wish to request a pre-application meeting with the Board prior to submitting a Certificate Application. However, any such meeting does not constitute approval or disapproval of the proposed project and does not influence the Board’s decision as to whether or not to approve the project. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-02.

8-OH-a.2 – Conduct Site and Route Selection Study

Prior to submitting a Certificate Application, the developer must conduct a site and route selection study, evaluating all practicable sites, routes, and route segments for the proposed facility within the study area. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-04.

8-OH-a.3 to 8-OH-a.4– Does the Proposed Project Qualify For Accelerated Review?

A project may qualify for accelerated review under Ohio Rev. Code § 4906.03(F) if it is one of the following:

  1. An electric transmission line that is:
    • Not greater than 0.2 miles in length.
    • Greater than 0.2 miles in length, but not greater than 2 miles in length.
    • Primarily needed to attract or meet the requirements of a specific customer or customers.
    • Necessary to maintain reliable electric service as a result of the retirement or shutdown of an electric generation facility located within the state.
  2. A rebuilding of an existing transmission line.
  3. Construction of a new electric power transmission substation.
  4. Additional construction to existing electric power transmission stations or converting distribution stations to transmission stations.
  5. Replacement or relocation of an electric power transmission line and associated facilities where the project is required by publicly funded entities and is located on or adjacent to right-of-way or land owned by the public entity requiring the project.

Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-1-01.

If a project that qualifies for accelerated review is an associated facility of another project subject to accelerated review before the Board, the projects may be combined into a single accelerated Certificate Application. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-6-02(C). However, if a project that qualifies for accelerated review is an associated facility of a major utility facility that must use the standard Certificate Application, the projects may be combined into a single standard Certificate Application. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-04.

For more information, see:

Accelerated Transmission Siting:

8-OH-a.5 to 8-OH-a.7– Publish Notice of Public Informational Meeting

The developer must hold at least one informational meeting no more than ninety (90) days prior to submitting a Certificate Application to the Board. Notice of the informational meeting must be published in the legal notices section of newspapers of general circulation in the project area 7-21 days before the date of the meeting. O.A.C. § 4906-3-03(B)(1). Notice must fulfill the requirements of Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-03(B)(1).

Additionally, at least 21 days before the informational meeting, the developer must send, by first-class mail, a letter to each property owner and affected tenant:

  • Within the planned site or along the proposed route options for the proposed facility;
  • Contiguous to the planned site or contiguous to the preferred or alternate route(s) of the proposed facility; and
  • Who may be approached by the developer for any additional easement necessary for the construction, operation, or maintenance of the facility.

Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-03(2).

The developer must also send a letter to the affected property if the property owner’s address is not the same as the address affected by the project. O.A.C. § 4906-3-03(2)(d). The notice letter should include the following:

  • A brief description of the certification process, including information on how to participate in the proceeding and how to request notification of the public hearing;
  • The developer’s website;
  • The Board’s website, mailing address, email address, and telephone number;
  • The date, time, and location of the informational meeting;
  • A brief description of the project.

The developer must notify the Board that notice letters have been sent and must provide a list of the names of each tenant and property owner notified. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-03(2).

8-OH-a.8 – Pre-Application Notification Letter

The developer must submit a pre-application notification letter to the Board at least fifteen (15) days before the date of any public informational meeting. The letter must including the following:

  • A basic description of the project, including information about the anticipated function, equipment size, approximate areal extent, general location, schedule, and purpose of the project;
  • The date, time, and location of the public informational meeting;
  • A list of any anticipated waivers of the Board’s rules that the developer will be requesting for the project.

Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-03(A).

8-OH-a.9 – Public Informational Meeting

The public informational meeting must be open to the public in the area in which the project is located. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-03-03.

If the location of the project changes after the informational meeting, the developer must send notice letters to any property owners and affected tenants at least 21 days before the public hearing, following the same requirements as the original notice letter. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-03(B)(3).

8-OH-a.10 to 8-OH-a.11 – Are Substantial Changes Made to the Application?

If substantial changes are made after the public meeting is held, the Board may, in its discretion, require the developer to hold another informational meeting. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-03(B).

8-OH-a.12 – Standard Certificate Application

After the public informational meeting, the developer may submit a Certificate Application to the Board. The Application may not be submitted more than five (5) years before the planned date of project construction commencement. Ohio. Rev. Code § 4906.06(6).

All standard Certificate Applications for electric power transmission facilities must include fully developed information on two viable sites/routes, designated as the preferred site/route and the alternative. Additional alternatives may be included. Routes are considered alternatives if twenty percent of less of the routes are in common, calculated based on the shorter of the two routes. If any segment of a route makes use of existing transmission structures or is entirely within existing transmission rights-of-way, that segment may be excluded from the calculation of the percentage in common. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-05.

The Certificate Application must provide the following information:

  1. A summary of the number and types of comments received at the informational meeting. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-03(B)(4).
  2. A summary of the proposed project that is suitable as a reference for state and local governments, as well as for the public. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-02.
  3. A statement explaining the need for the proposed facility, including a listing of the factors upon which the developer relied to reach that conclusion and references to the most recent long-term forecast report (if applicable). Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-03(A).
  4. An explanation of how the facility fits into regional expansion plans. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-03(B).
  5. An analysis of the impact of the proposed facility on the electric power system economy and reliability. The impact of the proposed facility on all interconnected facility systems must be evaluated, and all conclusions must be supported by relevant load flow studies. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-03(C).
  6. An analysis and evaluations of the options considered which would eliminate the need for construction of an electric power transmission line, including electric power generation options and options involving changes to existing and planned electric power transmission substations. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-03(D).
  7. A description of why the proposed facility was selected to meet the projected need, including how the facility will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. O.A.C. 4906-5-03(E).
  8. A detailed project schedule. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-03(F).
  9. A description of the route alternatives analysis. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-04.
  10. A project description, including the following:
    • A description of the project area’s geography, topography, population centers, major industries, and landmarks. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-05(A).
    • Information on the facility layout for each route/site alternative, and a description of the installation methods. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-05(B).
    • A description of the proposed transmission lines, as well as switching, capacity, metering, safety, and other equipment pertinent to the operation of the proposed project and associated facilities, including any provisions for future expansion. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-05(C).
  11. A statement of the current and proposed ownership status of the proposed facility, including leased and purchased land, rights-of-way, structures, and equipment. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-06(A).
  12. Estimates of applicable capital and intangible costs for the various components of electric power transmission facility alternatives. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-06(B).
  13. Information regarding public interaction and the economic impact for each of the site/route alternatives. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-06(D).
  14. Health and safety information for each site/route alternative. O.A.C. § 4906-5-07(A).
  15. Information on land use. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-07(B).
  16. Information regarding agricultural districts and potential impacts to agricultural land. Ohio Admin. Code §4906-5-07(C).
  17. Information regarding land use plans and regional development. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-07(D).
  18. Information on cultural and archaeological resources. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-07(E).
  19. A map of at least 1:24,000 scale, including the area one thousand feet on each side of the transmission line. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-08(A).
  20. For each of the site/route alternatives, the results of a field survey of the vegetation and surface waters within 100 feet of the potential disturbance area of the facility. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-08(B).
  21. For each of the site/route alternatives, the results of a literature survey of the plant and animal life that may be affected by the facility. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-08(C).
  22. For each of the site/route alternatives, a description of the site geology, suitability of the soils for foundation construction, and areas with slopes that exceed twelve per cent and/or highly erodible soils (according to the natural resource conservation service and county soil surveys) that may be affected by the proposed facility. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-08(D).
  23. Information regarding compliance with environmental and aviation regulation. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-5-08(E).

The Certificate Application must also meet the following requirements:

  1. Each page of the application must be numbered.
  2. Copies of the application must be submitted in hard-cover, loose-leaf binders with the following information:
    • Name of developer.
    • Name of the proposed facility.
    • Year of submittal of the application.
    • Case number.
  3. Each application must be accompanied by a cover letter containing the following information:
    • Name and address of the developer.
    • Name and location of the proposed facility.
    • Name and address of the developer’s authorized representative.
    • An explanation of any information that was presented in the pre-application notification letter that has been revised by the developer since the issuance of the letter.
    • A notarized statement that the information contained in the application is complete and correct to the developer’s best knowledge, information, and belief.

Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-2-04.

8-OH-a.13 to 8-OH-a.16 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

The Board will review the Certificate Application for completeness and for compliance with Ohio Admin. Code § 4906.06 and Ohio Admin. Code §§ 4906-1 – 4906-7 and within 60 days of receipt of the Application will issue a determination. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-06(A).

If the Certificate Application is incomplete, the Board will reject the Application and set forth in a letter mailed to the developer the specific grounds on which the Board based its rejection. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-06(A)(2). The developer may then supplement the Certificate Application with the information necessary to resolve the deficiencies. However, if a lengthy period of time passes, the developer may need to start the process over and submit a new application.

8-OH-a.17 – Letter of Completeness

If the Certificate Application is complete, the Board will issue a letter of completeness to the developer. Ohio Admin. Code § 46-3-06(A)(1).

If the developer wishes to make any amendments to the accepted, complete Certificate Application, it must do so following the requirements laid out in Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-11.

8-OH-a.18 – Distribute Application

Once the developer receives a letter of completeness from the Board, the developer must do the following:

  • Serve a copy of the accepted, complete Certificate Application, either electronically or by disk, on the chief executive officer of each municipal corporation, county, township, and the head of each public agency charged with protecting the environment or land use planning in the area in which any portion of the project will be located. The developer must also make hard copies available upon request.
  • Place a copy of the application, or notice of the availability of the application, in the main public library in the area in which the relevant municipal corporations, counties, and public agencies are located.
  • Supply the Board with additional copies of the application, as requested.
  • Provide the Board with proof of service.
  • Submit the application fee, as described in Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-12.

Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-07.

The developer must also provide, on its website, information about how to request a copy of the Certificate Application. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-07(B).

8-OH-a.19 to 8-OH-a.20 – File Application

Once the developer has completed the above actions, the Board or the administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to the case will file the Certificate Application and will set the dates for the required public hearing. O.A.C. § 4906-3-08. The public hearing must be set between 60 and 90 days after the Board accepts the Certificate Application as complete. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906.07(A).

8-OH-a.21 to 8-OH-a.22 – Conduct Investigation

The Board will investigate the filed Certificate Application and will issue to the developer a written report detailing the nature of the investigation and recommended findings as to whether to grant or deny the Certificate. The investigation may include interrogatories and discovery, depositions, field and site visits, and member agency analyses. Ohio Power Siting Board – Standard Application Process Flowchart. The resulting staff report must be submitted at least 15 days before the hearing and a copy of the report must be made available to any person upon request. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906.07.

8-OH-a.23 to 8-OH-a.24 – Provide Written Notice of Application

Once the Certificate Application is filed with the Board, the developer must provide written notice in the following ways:

  1. Within 15 days of the accepted application being filed, the developer must notify all individuals that received service of a copy of the application, as outlined above, as well as to each owner of a property that is crossed and/or adjacent to both the preferred and alternative routes. The notice must contain the following information:
    • The name and a brief description of the proposed facility, including type and capacity;
    • A map showing the location and general layout of the proposed facility;
    • A list of officials served with copies of the accepted, complete application;
    • A list of public libraries where the application, or notice of the application, may be found, as well as other readily accessible locations where copies of the application are available (e.g., the developer’s website, the location of the Board office);
    • A statement, including the assigned docket number, that the application for a certificate to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facility is now pending before the Board;
    • A statement setting forth the eight criteria listed in Ohio Rev. Code § 4906.10, which are used by the Board when reviewing the application;
    • The time and place of the public and adjudicatory hearings; and
    • The deadline for filing a notice of intervention or petition for leave to intervene.
  2. At least seven (7) days, but not more than 21 days before the public hearing, the developer must publish notice of the accepted, complete application in newspapers of general circulation in the municipal corporations and counties in which the chief executive received service of a copy of the application. The notice must contain the following information:
    • The name and a brief description of the project;
    • A map showing the location and general layout of the proposed facility;
    • A statement, including the assigned docket number, that the application for a certificate to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facility is now pending before the Board;
    • A statement that the public will be given an opportunity to comment on the proposed facility; and
    • A reference to the date of the first public notice.

Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-09.

The developer must provide proof of the first notice to the Board within fourteen (14) days after the notice is sent and must provide proof of the second notice to the Board at least three (3) days before the public hearing. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-3-10.

8-OH-a.25 – Hold Public Hearing

The Board will conduct a public hearing, overseen by an ALJ, near the project location in order to obtain relevant public comment. O.A.C. § 4906-2-09(A). Both written and oral comments are accepted and comments become part of the record upon which the Board makes its decision. Ohio Admin. Code §§ 4906.08, 4906.09; Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-2-13.

8-OH-a.26 – Hold Adjudicatory Hearing

In addition to the public hearing, an adjudicatory hearing is held at the Board’s principal office. O.A.C. § 4906-2-09(A). An ALJ presides over the hearing, administering oaths and affirmations, issuing subpoenas, and ruling on objections, among other duties. O.A.C. § 4906-2-09. At this hearing, the ALJ must accept written or oral testimony from any person, regardless of that person’s status. However, only the parties may examine witnesses. O.A.C. § 4906-2-13. A record is made of the hearing and of all testimony taken. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906.09. The ALJ will issue a report following the conclusion of the hearing.

8-OH-a.27 to 8-OH-a.28 – Does the Board Issue a Certificate?

The Board must issue its final decision, based only on the record, within a reasonable time after the hearing. Ohio Rev. Code § 4906.11; Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-2-30. The Board will either grant or deny the developer’s filed Application and must issue an opinion stating the reasoning in granting or denying the Certificate. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906.11.

If the Board grants the Application, it will issue a Certificate. The Board may grant the Certificate conditioned upon any terms or modifications of the project’s construction, operation, or maintenance, as it considers appropriate. In granting the Certificate, the Board must find and determine all of the following:

  1. The basis of the need for the facility;
  2. The nature of the probable environmental impact;
  3. That the facility represents the minimum adverse environmental impact, considering the state of available technology and the nature and economics of the various alternatives, and other pertinent considerations;
  4. That the facility is consistent with regional plans for expansion of the electric power grid of the electric systems serving the state and interconnected utility systems, and that the facility will serve the interests of electric system economy and reliability;
  5. That the facility will comply with O.R.C. Chapters 3704, 3734, and 6111 and all the rules and standards adopted under those chapters, and under O.R.C. §§ 1501.33, 1501.34, and 4561.32. In determining whether the facility will comply with all rules and standards adopted under O.R.C. § 4561.32, the Board must consult with the office of aviation of the division of multi-modal planning and programs of the department of transportation under O.R.C. § 4561.341;
  6. That the facility will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity;
  7. What the project’s impact will be on the viability as agricultural land of any land in an existing agricultural district established under O.R.C. Chapter 929 that is located within the project’s site and alternative site.
  8. That the facility incorporates maximum feasible water conservation practices, as determined by the Board, considering available technology and the nature and economics of the various alternatives.

O.R.C. § 4906.10(A).

A copy of the Board’s decision and any associated opinion must be served upon each party to the case. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906.10(C).

The developer may withdraw the Application if the Board grants the Certificate on terms, conditions, or modifications other than those originally posed in the Application. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906.10.

The Certificate expires two (2) years after the date on which electric power is first generated by the facility, after which the facility transfers to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s jurisdiction. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906.10(A)

8-OH-a.29 to 8-OH-a.32– Does the Developer or an Interested Party File an Application for Rehearing of the Board’s Decision?

Any party or any affected person, firm or corporation may file an application for rehearing following the procedures in Ohio Rev. Code. § 4903.10 within 30 days of the Board’s grant or denial of the Certificate. The application must set forth specific grounds upon which the party or affected person considers the Board’s decision to be unreasonable or unlawful and must be accompanied by a memorandum in support of the application. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-2-32(A). The Board or the ALJ may issue an order granting a rehearing for the purpose of affording the Board additional time to consider the issues raised in the rehearing application. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-2-32(E).

8-OH-a.33 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

Any party to the case may appeal a final order by the Board to the Ohio Supreme Court, however the party must first submit an application for rehearing to the Board. Notice of the appeal must be served upon the chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission within 60 days after the Board issues its final order. Ohio Admin. Code § 4903.13. A notice of appeal may not be delivered via fax or email. Ohio Admin. Code § 4906-2-33. The Ohio Supreme Court may permit any interested party to intervene by cross-appeal. Ohio Rev. Code § 4903.13.

The Ohio Supreme Court will reverse, vacate, or modify the final order if, upon consideration of the record, it determines that the order was unlawful or unreasonable. Ohio Admin. Code § 4903.13.

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