The BigWind backers at the Van Wert Chamber of Commerce seem ready to bet their whole county on government dependent wind energy. A number of local chambers across the country have created a make-believe organization, put themselves on the Board and then turned around and given themselves an “Award” – how slick is that? But it is exactly what happened in Van Wert County. Susan Munroe, the President of the Van Wert Chamber sits on the Advisory Council of the “Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy”. They honored the Van Wert Chamber for testifying in support of government guaranteed markets for subsidized wind energy that result in higher costs for ratepayers, including Ohio manufacturers, despite the fact that the Ohio Chamber testified on directly the opposite position! Then they made up their own “press release” and sent it to the paper. Unbelievable.
We have spoken with residents of Van Wert County and some wonder if Susan is delusional. In a 1/9/15 article from The Times Bulletin, she states, “a new wind farm has been a tremendous boost for Van Wert County. Economic benefits, she said, have rippled to hotels, restaurants, auto dealers, grocery stores and other member businesses in her rural county…” Actual residents claim that most, if not all, of the contractors were from out of state. The ‘boost’, if any, was very short lived, and more like a ‘blip’. Additionally, the wind office, downtown, is now closed (the wind company has sold their development already). Electricity rates have NOT dropped. Local taxes, have actually risen to 7.25%. Some are sick of the noise and lights at night and headaches. No one can blame Lincolnview schools for their support because this is free money that any school would welcome. Van Wert schools receive nothing. However, remember, the pocketchange being thrown back to farmers and schools is tax dollar subsidies. A wind energy representative was recently overheard as stating that we subsidized every turbine in that area at a cost of $2-3 MILLION dollars. These are taxdollar subsidies that could have been better spent in other areas, maybe all American schools? How is this fair to your student who does not reside in the footprint of a noisy industrial wind site?
We close with a reminder from Warren Buffet in the May 12, 2014 US News and World Report: “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” At the end of 2014, Buffet’s Mid-American Energy Company had invested $6 billion in wind developments. Ouch….
The Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce’s participation in legislative hearings on wind energy resulted in the local Chamber’s selection by Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy as one of its national top 10 stories….
Susan Munroe, local Chamber president/CEO, was one of several local officials who testified on behalf of the economic benefits of wind farm projects during legislative hearings in Washington, D.C….
Other county officials testifying on the benefits of local wind energy projects included County Economic Development Director Sarah Smith, Lincolnview Superintendent Jeff Snyder and Lincolnview Board of Education President Eric Germann. Lincolnview Local Schools stands to gain hundreds of thousands of dollars in Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) payments from the proposed Dog Creek Wind Farm project, which is currently on hold because of a decision by Ohio legislators to increase setbacks needed for wind turbines….