The wind industry’s campaign is in full swing. The first hearing on HB 190 to roll back property line setbacks and extend the PILOT program another five years was held on Monday. Our comments are strewn throughout this article in [brackets].
Misrepresentations the wind industry makes are that:
Ø Property line setbacks enacted last year have stopped wind development in Ohio.
o Truth: All eleven OPSB-approved projects were grandfathered under the old setbacks. Nothing impedes their development.
o Truth: Setbacks can be waived today with the consent of adjoining property owners.
Ø Giving County Commissioners the authority to decrease setbacks restores local control.
o Truth: Local control currently rests with the landowner. Wind is seeking to have County Commissioners seize the land of their constituents and effectively grant nuisance easements for noise and moving shadows without compensating the landowner. Under current law, the local control is with the property owner.
Ø Economic Development hinges on the availability of renewable energy generated in Ohio.
o Truth: Ohio is a “customer choice” state that allows Amazon, Facebook or any other customer to buy as much “wind” as they want. The location of the wind generators does not matter relative to an individual customer’s generation mix preference. This allows the power generation to be built in places which have better wind conditions. Amazon’s purchase of a wind facility in Indiana is one such example. Data centers in Nevada are pushing customer choice legislation so they can do what Ohio does today.
Points that the wind industry avoids:
Ø Wind turbines emit both audible and inaudible noise. The inaudible infrasound or low frequency noise is felt rather than heard. The presence of LFN in homes near wind turbines has been documented around the world from Brown County, Wisconsin to Australia. Understanding the health effects requires studies in which the wind developer participates. To date, the US wind industry refuses to cooperate. Virginia Tech has recently teamed up with Jorge Arenas, the director of the Universidad Austral de Chile’s College of Engineering Sciences and director of its Institute of Acoustics to study wind turbine vibrations at a large Chilean wind farm. Both the annoyance and the health impacts on humans will be studied.
Ø Setback waivers have been granted in numerous projects including some that have yet to be built. The contracts are sometimes called “wind participation agreements”. Agreements often require the landowner to waive “project effects” such as noise and shadow flicker. The agreements have confidentiality clauses that prohibit the landowner from complaining to anyone. If there are any setback waivers in Van Wert or Paulding County where the landowner is negatively impacted, we would not know it.
Ø Safety manuals like Vestas’ recommend that people stay 1,300 feet from a turbine. Other manufacturer’s may recommend longer distances. The principal wind industry insurer, GCube, reports there are about 3,800 wind turbine blade failures per year. A blade failure occurred on April 24, 2012 at the EDP Renewables Timber Road project in Paulding County. According to EDP’s own investigation report, a 6.6 lb. chunk of turbine landed 764’ from the turbine tower. Testimony in the Buckeye Wind case indicated this would have the same impact as dropping a 40 lb. concrete block from an 8-story window. In other words, it could easily have killed someone. According to the Ohio Power Siting Board, EDP did not look for chunks smaller than 6.6 lbs (3 kilograms). Testimony in Buckeye indicated that smaller chunks could be thrown 1,640 feet.
County Commissioners need to be educated on these issues. If so, it would seem that no unit of government would want to expose themselves to liability claims arising from nuisance, health or safety claims. And a final thought – we are still wondering why HB 190 doesn’t give the County Commissioners the power to lengthen the setbacks!…
Big Internet companies want Big Wind to make their electricity, even in Ohio at http://www.cleveland.com
By John Funk, The Plain Dealer
on June 03, 2015 at 2:05 PM, updated June 03, 2015 at 4:59 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The construction of “wind farms” in Ohio’s rural regions was supposed to generate millions of dollars in new taxes for schools and a new cash crop in the form of lease payments to farms.
But those developments were derailed a year ago when Republican lawmakers slipped last-minute language into a budget bill limiting how close turbines could be to adjacent properties. Gov. John Kasich ignored pressure from the wind industry to delete the new setback rules.
That language, which followed months of public bickering about unrelated state energy efficiency rules, has stymied the construction of 11 already-approved wind farms in eight counties with a projected construction cost of $2.7 billion. [WRONG: all eleven were grandfathered under the old law.]
It has also become another obstacle for Jobs Ohio, the development company charged with bringing new business and industry to the Buckeye State. Jobs Ohio has been working to attract major Internet-related corporations, including Amazon and Facebook, which are building data centers and want to power them with electricity from wind farms. [WRONG; Jobs Ohio has landed 1 Billion+ Amazon commitment with about 6,000 jobs in all. The fact that I-71 and I-70 intersect in Ohio is not based on the wind blowing.]
The wind farms already approved but which have not been built could be generating more than 1,400 megawatts of new power, according to Ohio Power Siting Board records. [WRONG: These are wind developer estimates not independently developed figures from the OPSB.]
According to the industry, the wind farms would also be paying $13 million to rural school districts and $10 million in lease payments to farmers… [Courtesy of the taxpayer and the ratepayer.]
Susan Monroe, president and CEO of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Blue Creek wind farm in that county added about $25 million in extra hotel, motel, restaurant and even auto dealer business. [bologna. that amount of $ would have made a significant impact in that small community. Where did it go?]
Estimates provided by the American Wind Energy Association — and available to Ohio lawmakers – are that there are $7 billion in Ohio wind farm projects now under review by regional high-voltage grid manager PJM Interconnection. [There is no evidence that any of these projects would be affected by setback rules. More likely, the projects may depend on renewal of federal Production Tax Credits and resumption of renewable mandates as well as the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan being challenged by Ohio Atty. Gen. DeWine.]
Those wind farms, if built, would account for 8 million hours of construction labor jobs and create 225 permanent jobs. [Gee, $7 billion investment for 225 jobs = $31 million per job!]
They would generate $34 million annually in local taxes and $27 million in lease payments to farmers…. [Courtesy of the taxpayer and the ratepayer.]
A third wind farm, which would add another $600,000 annually to Lincolnview’s tax base, is one of those projects hung up by the new setback rules. [WRONG – Developer can negotiate setback waivers and compensate the landowner.]
All told, proposed Ohio wind farms under review at PJM would add a total generating capacity of 3,665 megawatts in Ohio, the equivalent of roughly three Perry nuclear power plants. (Of course, they would not be generating power 24 hours a day.) [WRONG – they would need to generate power 24 hours x-7 days a week x 365 days a year.]
Now lawmakers from northwest Ohio are proposing legislation that would end the log jam. House Bill 190 would give county commissioners the authority to revert to the former setback rules.
The wind industry is championing the bill as a return to local control. [WRONG. Local control=landowner control]
The legislative effort, with full support of the industry, comes at a time when Ohio is under pressure from national corporations demanding electricity generated by renewable technology.
The state is trying to court a number of Internet-based companies interested in building huge data centers in the state — data centers that require enormous amounts of electricity.
Internet retailer Amazon has been mum on how it will power its proposed Ohio data center announced a week ago. Appearing at a news conference with Gov. Kasich, Amazon’s Paul Meisner, vice president of global public policy, did not face questions regarding electricity because Kasich did not allow any questions…. [WRONG AND WRONG. Amazon announced the purchase of Fowler Ridge in Indiana. Meisner was asked about energy and said their decision was “holistic” and they couldn’t have picked a better partner.]
Amazon in January signed a 13-year contract to buy power from a new wind farm in Indiana capable of generating 150 megawatts, power that could have been generated in Ohio. [WRONG – Indiana has better wind resources.]