Ohio does not require money in escrow to protect our citizens from a company going bankrupt. Our bonds aren’t even big enough to pay for the cranes which will dismantle the machines, but this county was SMART. Why is Everpower requesting this? Could it be that they plan to leave this area after a short time? Because these foreign companies are given accelerated depreciation and then tax subsidies for the 1st 10 years of production, some companies ‘leave Dodge’ at approximately year 7. Remember, the gearbox warranties typically expire at year 5 and some studies show an actual turbine life of only 10-15 years….Everpower appears to be making exit plans….
When the Big Sky wind farm started a few years ago in Bureau County, it set aside money in escrow, in case the company abandoned the project and the county needed to take down the turbines.
That money was required by the county. The account contains nearly $1.8 million.
Now, the wind farm’s prospective owner wants to do away with the escrow account and go, instead, with a letter of credit, which is a bank-guaranteed promise to pay….
Ever Power has 114 turbines, about evenly split between Bureau and Lee counties, many of which surround the Bureau County village of Ohio.
Deb Anderson, who lives in that area, has long called for more regulation of wind turbines, including tough decommissioning standards.
“A letter of credit is only as good as the paper it’s written on,” Anderson said. “The way the banking industry is right now, what’s to say the bank won’t go belly up?”
Besides, she said, the nearly $1.8 million is nowhere near the amount of money that would be needed to take down the turbines.
Former Franklin Grove Village President Bob Logan, who has researched wind energy issues, agreed.
“Cash escrow means you have the money on hand,” Logan said. “If the [wind] companies go bankrupt, as many of them do, the letters of credit are worthless. Cash escrow is definitely better than a line of credit.”…