Around and around it goes. Where it stops might be Monday, July 20th at 10:00 a.m. in the Ohio Senate Finance Hearing Room when possibly the final meeting of the Mandate Study Committee is scheduled to be held. In the meantime, the dust has settled enough for the folks at the Statehouse to digest the pork in the budget bill. The news is confusing to us as AWEA’s lobbyist Dayna Baird is both happy and unhappy. Happy because the PILOT was extended. Happy because in addition to the PILOT a new tax break for wind was created. But unhappy that the setbacks were not revised even though a limited exemption to grandfathered projects was included. Continuing with the “pork” theme, we think AWEA is a pretty piggy given all that they achieved in the budget bill.
On the unhappy side is Senator Bill Seitz who asserts the new tax break was created for one company – perhaps Facebook. Yesterday, Facebook announced it was going to Texas where a wind facility 100 miles from the new site would provide power. That sounds like a good setback to us! The press from the Statehouse notes Senator Seitz as saying:
“The outfit that is proposing to locate in New Albany said, ‘Well, we want to buy wind, but we can’t pay for it at these prices, so you got to come up with some scheme to rebate the kilowatt-hour tax that would otherwise be imposed on that wind power,'” he said. “We’d like this company to locate in Ohio, but why do they need that form of relief? Obviously because the price at which they purchase their desired wind is higher than conventionally derived fuel,” he said. “If you’re so devoted to getting wind power, be willing to pay the price. Don’t ask Bob and Betty Buckeye to subsidize your environmental preferences.” Sen. Seitz said he was told that the setback exemption for wind turbines would likely only apply to the wind farm that signs a contract to supply power to the same project in New Albany.
AWEA is touting another new “study” promoting wind that is due out this week. But in the meantime, a study from the University of Utah has been released arguing that the costs of wind energy exceed by almost 48% the numbers spun by the wind industry….
If you believe this chart produced by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), then onshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of power – more competitive than nuclear, coal or hydro, and a lot more than solar.