Will the Ohio Power Siting Board say YES to BigWind (again)?

Thursday, the Ohio Power Siting Board announced that it would meet on Thursday, August 27 to consider the requests for rehearing in the cases of Buckeye Wind and Greenwich Wind and a Blackfork Wind case. In the case of Buckeye Wind, Champaign County, Union and Goshen Townships and Union Neighbors United opposed an extension of Phase I of the project until March, 2018. The objections chiefly centered on the fact that EverPower now considers Phase I and Phase II to be one project which would be constructed at the same time. During the hearings on Phase II, the OPSB denied the intervenors the opportunity to question the project as a whole because EverPower objected to any questions on the cumulative impacts of both phases. EverPower asserted that each phase was a separate project. Subsequently, EverPower filed their request for an extension of time to build Phase I and asserted that both phases were, in fact, one project. The intervenors objected. The intervenors requested that a rehearing be held to consider the project as a whole. The decision on that request will be made next week.

In the matter of Greenwich Wind, the Intervenor Omega charged that OPSB failed follow statutory requirements concerning setbacks. In their request for rehearing, Omega states “Economically significant wind farms like the one proposed in this proceeding affect the inalienable rights of adjacent property owners and citizens like Omega. Among these rights are the right to acquire, possess and protect property, as well as seeking and obtaining safety and happiness.” Among the issues are the fact that adjacent non-participating property owners were not given the opportunity to agree with or reject setback waivers.

In the Blackfork case, citizens in the project area sought a hearing on the developer’s request to substitute turbine models that were different than those considered in the original hearing. A hearing on the matter and an amendment to the certificate of approval would have triggered the application of revised setbacks from property lines. The OPSB staff has recommend to the Board that an approval for the new turbines be granted because they do not cause significant changes to the project and do not rise to the level of “amendment”. The recently passed Ohio budget bill included language which would exempt certain changes to approved projects from requiring amendments that would trigger property line setbacks.

The items on the OPSB’s Agenda for next week are listed below.

In the meantime, the foreign-owned turbine manufacturers are having a heyday. “Global installations will jump by a quarter in 2015 to a record 60 gigawatts, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts. The targets have helped Vestas shares surge about 70 percent this year. Nordex is up almost 80 percent, and Gamesa leads the pack with a 90-percent rise, the best performer in the Stoxx Europe 600 index. Vesta’s reports operating on an 8 .5% profit margin. Mary Kay Barton has an excellent post at Master Resource which we highly recommend reading. https://www.masterresource.org/windpower-problems/industrial-wind-vs-rural-america-electricity-markets/ . In her closing paragraph she says, “These things aren’t ‘wind farms,’ they’re tax farms – in the business of harvesting our taxpayer and ratepayer dollars, and transferring them into the pockets of rich, multi-national corporations. All of this enabled because of cronyism in high places and short-sightedness, willful ignorance, and greed of those willing to suck on the teat of wind welfare at the rest of our expense.”

There was one good thing that happened this week. A federal judge in California threw out the 30 year take permit for eagle kills that had been authorized by US Fish and Wildlife. We hope this is precedent setting and will cause USFWS to reconsider giving 30 permits for bats and any other protected species. The court noted that ” … While promoting renewable energy projects may well be a worthy goal, it is no substitute for the [agency’s] obligations to comply with NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] and to conduct a studied review and response to concerns about the environmental implications of major agency action. … “

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

OHIO POWER SITING BOARD MEETING

Thursday, August 27, 2015

3:00 p.m.

180 East Broad Street, Room 11B

Columbus, Ohio 43215

AGENDA

1. Approval of the minutes of the regular Ohio Power Siting Board meeting held June 4, 2015.

2. Case Numbers 00-513-EL-BGN, 04-1011-EL-BGA, 14-1142-EL-BGA. In the Matter of the Application of Lima Energy Company for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to Construct a Power Plant in Allen County, Ohio. (Entry considering motion to transfer certificate to American Future Fuels Corporation.)

3. Case Number 02-3082-EL-BGN. In the Matter of the Application of Nordic Energy of Ashtabula, LLC for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to Construct an Electric Generating Facility in Ashtabula County, Ohio. (Entry considering dismissal of the application.)

4. Case Numbers 08-666-EL-BGN, 13-360-EL-BGA. In the Matter of the Application of Buckeye Wind, LLC for a Certificate to Construct a Wind-Powered Electric Generation Facility in Champaign County. (Entry on Rehearing considering application for rehearing of August 25, 2014 Entry granting motion for extension.)

5. Case Number 10-847-EL-BGN. In the Matter of the Application of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to Construct a Waste Energy Recovery/Combined Cycle Electric and Steam Generation Facility in Middletown, Ohio. (Entry considering dismissal of the application.)

6. Case Number 13-990-EL-BGN. In the Matter of the Application of 6011 Greenwich Windpark, LLC for a Certificate to Construct a Wind-Powered Electric Generation Facility in Huron County, Ohio. (Entry on Rehearing considering application for rehearing of August 25, 2014 Opinion, Order, and Certificate.)

7. Case Number 14-1591-EL-BGA. In the Matter of the Application of Black Fork Wind Energy, LLC Regarding its Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need Issued in Case No. 10-2865-EL-BGN. (Order on Certificate considering application.)

8. Staff Update

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