BigWind is showing ‘frustration’ with Ohio legislation

It is apparent that BigWind is experiencing some ‘frustration’ in Ohio, as evidenced in the liberal/progressive article from the Center for American Progress. We love the quote below, “At a certain point, it becomes irrational to continue hitting your head against a wall in Ohio.”  We would love nothing more, than for Iberdrola and Everpower to say goodbye to our state! 

Our friends in the Scioto Ridge project area, have made contact with Mark Stockley, who works for the County Soil Conservation office in PA.  PA farmers have complained about field tile repair and drainage problems, since Everpower ‘planted’ their industrial turbines in the area. A report from Mr. Stockley includes:

Fact: within several months after construction there were major runoff and erosion problems from this project.

Fact: The brother of the landowner who drove this project, called me twice, Feb 2013 being the first time asking for help because of the runoff problems on ground that they farmed. Actually on adjacent property to the non-participating farmer who complained of runoff problems.

Fact: A non-participating landowner had erosion and runoff problems 6 months after construction was completed. 

Fact: Other participating landowners were very upset with runoff erosion and runoff problems post construction, again EverPower was supposed to work with them on correcting these problems.

Fact: In fact Feb 2013 the man with runoff problems into his basement called our office for help.

Despite Everpower meeting their requirements for dealing with post construction and water management, farmers were still complaining in the spring of 2014.  Does this explain why Everpower made an effort to eliminate the OPSB from any oversight and enforcement of drainage issues?…..

the Ohio legislature passed S.B. 310 in May 2014, which froze the clean energy standards at 2014 levels for 2015 and 2016.8 It also eliminated the in-state requirement for renewable energy…

The large-scale onshore wind industry in Ohio is struggling under both S.B. 310 and H.B. 483, which increased the required setback distance for turbines.

Regarding S.B. 310, it is not only the uncertainty about whether the freeze will be lifted that is making investors cautious. Eric Thumma, director of policy and regulatory affairs for Iberdrola Renewables—the second-largest operator of wind power in the country— points out that one aspect of S.B. 310 that is sometimes overlooked is the permanent removal of the in-state requirement for renewable energy. “That will have a long-term, long-lasting impact,” Thumma says. “The key thing that lured people to invest in Ohio was this in-state requirement because you knew you were going to have demand.”35…

Even more destructive to the large-scale onshore wind industry is the turbine setback requirement imposed by H.B. 483….

Iberdrola Renewables had plans to build another wind farm in northwest Ohio, in the small town of Leipsic….

The new legislation, however, affects the financial feasibility of the Leipsic project. Thumma says that 75 turbine sites were planned, but only two sites are allowed under the new setback requirements. “Essentially, that means we won’t be able to do the project … It’s too small,” Thumma says.41

Iberdrola Renewables is therefore returning to the drawing board to somehow make the project viable. “We’re trying to make our projects work,” says Thumma. “We think our host communities want them, but it’s much more difficult now.”44

EverPower, a national developer and owner of wind projects, is also looking for ways to complete projects that were planned before S.B. 310 and H.B. 483 were enacted. “We are still trying to find solutions to make our projects viable,” says Michael Speerschneider, EverPower’s chief permitting and public policy officer, “but our confi- dence in Ohio has changed.”45 Because of this, EverPower will not be investing in Ohio for new projects. “That is not on the table,” Speerschneider says. The company is cur- rently developing projects elsewhere across the country, including in Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Montana, Oregon, and other states.46

Iberdrola Renewables is also shifting its focus from Ohio to other regions. “If you’re Iberdrola or another large-scale wind company, you’re better off investing in markets like Texas, California, or New England,” says Thumma. “At a certain point, it becomes irrational to continue hitting your head against a wall in Ohio.”47…