Occupational Health & Safety talks about setbacks (Ohio)

Next week the Ohio House will hear testimony in favor of HB 190 to give County Commissioners the authority to override local setbacks.    The wind industry has been actively promoting the bill and enlisting citizens to take action in support of it. 

We try to keep legislators aware of significant news and one important discovery was that a speaker at an OHSA safety conference spoke of turbine manufacturer setback recommendations of 500 meters.   That is the equivalent of 1,640 feet.  Is Ohio’s current setback of 1,125 feet really that outrageous? Particularly, when so many other counties/states are even greater? Additionally, if our laws are so prohibitive against ‘green’ energy, why is the following occurriing?…

A new renewable energy company announced its intention to build on the south side of Columbus.   TerraSmart supports the solar panel industry with the distribution and manufacture of racks and giant screws (up to 18 feet!).    Green Energy Ohio and the media were aghast to learn of TerraSmart’s Ohio location decision given the uncertainty of  mandates for renewable energy.  Between Amazon Web Services and now TerraSmart, the phony argument that mandates are required for Ohio’s economic development has now been further undermined.  When asked about their decision, TerraSmart’s EVP  replied “the advantages of Ohio outweigh concerns about the law.  “Being centrally located was really, really critical for us,” he said.  He noted that TerraSmart has vendors in the region, including one on the South Side, and is now closer to markets in the Midwest and West. “  …

The hazards faced by workers performing maintenance work on wind turbines are increasing as the turbines multiply and grow larger, Craig Bierl, an assistant vice president and senior energy risk specialist for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, explained during his June 8 session at ASSE’s Safety 2015 in Dallas…

The industry has seen explosive growth since 1999, and so have the turbines, which have increased by about 50 percent in height (they were 60-68 meters high a few years ago but now are 100-110 meters high) and by 96 percent in rotor diameter, he said, and annual installations are predicted to stay high through 2050. While most turbine manufacturers recommend a minimum of 500 meters of clear space around a turbine, many now are sited close to schools, homes, and other important structures, Bierl explained….

He showed a photo from a nacelle fire and discussed some serious incidents, including a fire in a turbine’s nacelle that resulted in two workers’ deaths, a wind turbine destroyed by spinning too fast, and a worker who fell inside a turbine blade during maintenance work….

Wind Turbine Hazards Multiply — Occupational Health & Safety.

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