This week objections to Everpower’s motion to extend the 2015 deadline for building the Buckeye I wind facility to 2018 were submitted to the Ohio Power Siting Board by Champaign County, Urbana Township and Union Neighbors Untied. The objections all raised the procedural requirement that amendments to the certificate of approval must be requested through filing an application and holding a hearing. Everpower appears to be trying to skirt a hearing by having filed a motion instead of an application. One big difference between a motion and an application is that the public is denied the opportunity to comment on a motion. Champaign County and Urbana Township make the further point that in the hearing for Buckeye II, every attempt by the County, City or UNU to question the cumulative effects of Buckeye I and Buckeye II projects on a combined basis were prevented by Everpower. As an example, efforts to determine how noise levels would be affected by the combination of the two projects were denied. Everpower had successfully argued that Buckeye I and Buckeye II were two entirely separate projects. They are now trying to act as if they are one in the same.
We note also that some citizens filed objections to Everpower’s motion further supporting the need for a hearing. All of the letters and documents in the case can be accessed at the Ohio Power Siting Board at this linkhttp://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=08-0666 .
In Mercer County, Apex, the developer for the proposed Long Prairie facility ignores the Resolution adopted by the Mercer Township Trustees Association in opposition to wind development anywhere in Mercer County and claims they are optimistic about going forward. They blame Governor Kasich despite widespread community opposition. In response, “ Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Kasich’s office, said the setbacks were created to protect property value and human health. “Every industry has rules and provisions,” he said. “This office sees this industry as no different than any other.” Notwithstanding, Apex claims to be working toward changing the law. Van Wert Township Trustee, Milo Shaffner, is quoted as saying:
“They are very unsightly to begin with,” he said. “The sound they make is so disturbing, it sounds like a jet plane going overhead. My wife and I can’t sit on our front porch and drink coffee in the mornings anymore.” Schaffner said his quality of life has “gone down the drain” since the turbines arrived. “We used to have a great landscape to look at,” he said. “Our roads are ruined, my neighbors have health issues. Those turbines are industry and this is supposed to be farm country. They don’t belong here.”
And in Toledo, the incessant drumbeat of the Toledo Blade continues advocate for mandates. Wind lobbyist Terrence O’Donnell is quoted in an article: “But lobbyists such as Terrence O’Donnell , a Columbus attorney from the global law firm of Dickinson Wright, said it’s doable if he and other advocates find the right balance of political diplomacy. They want to ensure Ohio’s new two-year freeze on renewable energy mandates for utilities becomes just that — a timeout from requirements set forth under a 2008 law and not a backdoor strategy to repeal it after this fall’s gubernatorial election.”
A new report from Germany would take the opposite view as the Germans warn: “Finally, the report highlights how large-scale deployment of renewable capacity does not translate into a substantial displacement of thermal capacity. Because wind and solar are intermittent resources, there are many hours in the year during which most generation still needs to come from thermal power plants in Germany. The stopgap role and the corresponding lower capacity factor of thermal power increased costs per units of power produced, and in the long run will increase the price of conventionally produced power. This also affects the technical efficiency of traditional generation plants, given that these plants are designed to operate as consistent, baseload generators, not as cycling units.”
The proposed Long Prairie wind farm project involves about 300 landowners – 17 in Mercer County – who earlier leased property to BP America for the construction of 67 300-megawatt turbines. BP in May sold its 16 operating wind farms in nine states and its portfolio of planned projects to Apex Clean Energy Inc.
Apex president Mark Goodwin called HB 483 an “Ohio job killer.” As it stands, the legislation would eliminate about $114 million in local spending, $15 million in lease payments to local landowners, $45 million in local tax revenue and $22.5 million in new payroll income for the area during the next 20 to 25 years, he said.
Goodwin sent a letter to Kasich soon after the legislation was signed, stating his company has “more wind energy development projects in the state than any other company” and claimed the bill would eliminate more than $3 billion in wind project investments.
Goodwin claims Apex may be forced to take its investment elsewhere. He is hoping the bill will be amended and his company can move ahead with the project.
“We have invested about $10 million in these projects, and we have tens of thousands of acres of private land leased with local landowners,” Goodwin stated. “The setbacks will make it impossible for us to build these projects at all.”
Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Kasichs office, said the setbacks were created to protect property value and human health.”Every industry has rules and provisions,” he said. “This office sees this industry as no different than any other.”Despite the setback issue, the company remains optimistic….