Second Public Hearing Planned for OSU Power Plant
The Ohio Power Siting Board has scheduled a second public hearing to gather feedback on a proposed combined heat and power plant on Ohio State University’s main campus. The hearing will be held virtually on August 4 at 6 p.m., utilizing the Webex platform.
The plant, which is proposed for a piece of OSU-owned land at the northeast corner of Tharp Street and Herrick Drive, would provide electricity and heat to the central campus and to the planned expansion of west campus.
Several environmental organizations, led by the Sierra Club, have lined up in opposition to the plant, arguing that the university should be exploring more climate-friendly alternatives that do not rely on fracked natural gas to operate.
Ohio State maintains that the plant will serve as a bridge to a carbon-free future and will lead to a 35% cut in carbon emissions in its first year of operation.
Twenty people expressed their opposition to the proposal at a three-hour virtual hearing held on June 30, voicing concerns about the climate impact of the plant as well as worries about pollution both in Columbus and at the source of extraction in eastern Ohio. Only one participant, an OSU professor, spoke in favor of the proposed plant.
Several speakers at the first hearing implored the Ohio Power Siting Board to schedule a second public hearing, saying that most students and nearby residents hadn’t heard about the proposal and should get a chance to weigh in.
Sierra Club has formally intervened in the case, seeking evidence from OSU that it fully considered renewable energy alternatives before developing the plan to build the gas plant. An adjudicatory hearing on the matter was held on July 14 and 15, but a ruling on the case is not expected until later this year.
More information on the hearing and access to the public documents associated with the case is available on the Public Utilities Commission website.
To provide testimony regarding the project, individuals must register in advance (before 12 p.m. on August 3), by completing an online form or by calling (800) 686‑7826.