This week will be a busy one. On Monday the Ohio Energy Mandates Study Committee will convene for what is said to be the last hearing before issuing their final report in September. Leading up to this week’s hearing, the left’s environmental activist organizations are making lots of noise. An example is the Natural Resources Defense Council’s article for Midwest Energy News. Ohio is criticized for Amazon Data Services’ decision to source some wind generated in North Carolina to “power” their newly announced data facilities in the Columbus area. We think we see the hand of Iberdrola who has negotiated a master agreement with Amazon. Iberdrola is the developer of the Blue Creek project in Van Wert and Paulding Counties and they are one of the loudest critics of Ohio’s renewable policies including the revisions to setbacks. The North Carolina wind facility will use 2MW turbines manufactured by Spanish owned Gamesa and subsidized courtesy of the American taxpayer.
An amusing coincidence is that the Washington Times published a story yesterday that fairly demolishes the arguments for mandates and reports that yes – even North Carolina is considering their repeal. The article below is well worth reading.
On Tuesday, the United States Senate Finance Committee may take up the issue of reauthorizing the Production Tax Credit. Both Senator Sherrod Brown (202- 224-2315) and Senator Rob Portman (202-224-3353) are members of this important committee. If you get the chance, give them a call and tell them you don’t want to pass along your light bill to your children along with the rest of the federal debt. Lisa Linowes of Wind Action wrote an open letter to Senate Finance Chairman, Orin Hatch. Among her points, Linowes states: Today, hundreds of thousands of acres throughout the United States have been transformed into sprawling electric generating facilities strung together with expansive transmission systems. Thousands of 400+ foot tall spinning towers consume our open spaces and threaten people and wildlife in their way. Before you race to extend the wind PTC, Senator Hatch, we ask that you stop and consider the true impacts of your decision. The wind industry has had 23 years to grow and improve its product. Big wind is now a mainstream energy resource. We are at a point where the industry may be doing more harm to our markets and our communities than good. It is time to say no to the wind PTC once and for all.” Amen!
Also on Tuesday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will be holding a hearing in Columbus from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Columbus Downtown High School Commons at 364 South 4th Street. The purpose of the meeting is to begin the scoping process for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in connection with the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan. Region Three of the USFWS covers the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. In conjunction with AWEA, the USFWS is developing a plan to allow wind facilities in these states to kill an approved number of protected species including the Indiana bat, the little brown bat and the northern long-eared bat, certain bird species and the bald eagle. Our main concern is that the industry wants USFWS to approve plans that are more lenient than federal law requires with respect to avoiding fatalities. As an example, the most effective avoidance strategy is to wait until the wind is rotating the blades at a minimum of 6.5 mps. Many wind companies reject this measure because it can reduce their profitability. Yet the law requires maximum feasible steps be taken for protected species. We see it as yet another request for a concession not unlike local tax abatement, federal taxpayer subsidies or state mandates…
Both witnesses slated for a meeting with Ohio lawmakers on Monday want the state to scrap its clean energy standards altogether—a move that supporters of the law say would cause Ohio to miss out on investments and job growth….
When a state adopts renewable energy standards, “you’re mandating where the energy resources come from rather than letting the market decide,” said Lawson. “There’s a lot of costs that are sort of ignored because of the subsidy issues” in having ratepayers cover any extra costs for meeting the standards, he continued.
“There’s also a lot of costs relative to infrastructure and other generators, because of the intermittent capacity that displaces coal power” and potentially natural gas in Ohio, Lawson added. In his view, such “hidden costs” will “drive up energy prices across the board.”
Yonk and his colleagues at Strata Policy and Utah State University have likewise argued against Ohio’s renewable portfolio standards. An April 2015 report from the group claims that if the standards stay in place, Ohioans will pay roughly $1.9 billion more for electricity, lose out on about $52 million in investments, and forego up to $258 million in personal income by 2026. That same month, Newsweek ran an article on “the true cost of wind power” by Yonk’s cofounder at Strata Policy, Randy Simmons.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and other groups have criticized both reports, saying that Strata Policy’s experts relied on outdated data, ignored subsidies for other types of energy and failed to account for the benefits of job growth, avoided costs from pollution, and other factors….