BigWind builds in Findlay, Ohio and laughs at Ohio Power Siting Board

What a special time for the people of Findlay, Ohio – home of Marathon, Ball Corp., Whirlpool and State Senator Cliff Hite.  In an amazing feat, wind developer One Energy is developing a facility with five 1.5 MW industrial wind turbines which will have no regulatory oversight from the State of Ohio.  The State regulates “economically significant” wind facilities and defines them as “a wind-powered electric generation facility, including wind turbines and associated facilities, with a single interconnection to the electrical grid and designed for, or capable of, operation at an aggregate capacity of five megawatts or more but less than fifty megawatts.”  

Three turbines will provide power to the Ball Corporation while the other two will supply Whirlpool.   One Energy manager, Jereme Kent, explains that the turbines (which will be the same models built at the same time in  the same place) are two distinct projects that fall beneath the 5 MW regulatory threshold of the Ohio Power Siting Board.    As such, the developer does not intend to follow the State of Ohio’s minimum setbacks designed to limit noise emissions, shadow flicker or other adverse project effects.   OPSB seems okay with that despite more than 100 families living within ½ mile of the facilitly.  We wonder, what does Senator Cliff Hite think of One Energy skirting Ohio law? Was he aware of the project before it was announced? Was someone hoodwinked?

Three of the nation’s foremost experts on turbine-caused acoustical problems were contacted by The Courier.  One of the experts, Dr. Steven Ambrose spoke with the paper for three hours.  They also spoke with Dr. Alec Salt who heads up the Cochlear Fluids Research Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.  and Rick James who provided expert witness testimony in UNU’s case against EverPower.   One Energy’s “Kent dismissed the three men’s criticisms. “There are a host of studies out there that are crap studies”!    Kent claims that there are studies that prove there are no health problems.    Perhaps Mr. Kent should be invited to produce these “studies”.   There aren’t any.   There are no studies that either prove or disprove that wind turbines cause health problems.  There is documentation – proof – that inaudible infra sound from wind turbines is perceived by the human body.   This has been affirmed by George Hessler of Hessler & Associates, EverPower’s noise consulting firm. No wind developer will cooperate with the next phase of research to study health impacts, .  That is why, as we reported previously, Virginia Tech will be pursuing further research in cooperation with the Institute of Acoustics in Chile where a wind tunnel can simulate the noise emissions. 

We continue to be puzzled by the absolute certainty of the environmental left with respect to alleged harms to health from fracking and demands that all fracking stop until studies can be undertaken.  But if the contaminator is industrial wind, the screams call for full speed ahead until medical studies are produced.  The unwillingness of the industry to cooperate in studies insures that they can operate unimpeded in places like Findlay. 

It is disappointing to see that the Ohio Power Siting Board is taking a hands off position.  Do they think this makes them look intelligent? Hardly, it makes them look foolish and useless. Perhaps things will begin to change there as Andre Porter takes over as the newly appointed chairman of the Public Utilities Commission.  Porter is a utilities attorney with experience.  Outgoing Chair, Tom Johnson, will remain on the PUCO board until his term concludes in 2019.  In the meantime, we hope that Senator Cliff Hite will be quick to assist his constituents when and if problems arise….

Construction of five wind turbines, each nearly twice as tall as the Hancock County Courthouse, will begin this spring just outside Findlay, but not everyone thinks they will supply electrical energy as harmlessly and quietly as promised here and elsewhere.
The 262-foot towers, costing about $18 million, will stand near the Whirlpool Corp. and Ball Corp. plants south of Allen Township 215 and north of Hancock County 99 in Allen Township.
One Energy, a Findlay company, plans to sell all of the energy from three turbines to Ball, supplying about 20 percent of the factory’s needs for 20 years. Whirlpool will buy all the energy from two turbines, which will supply about 22 percent of its power needs….

But wind turbines elsewhere have faced criticism on a number of counts….

The Courier » Are wind turbines good neighbors?.