Ohio Senator smashes BigWind

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Senator Seitz is Ohio’s Super Mario! Read his reply below…

From: Van Wert County/Delphos Citizen

To: Senator Seitz

December 20, 2015

Dear Sen. Seitz,

I am writing this letter concerning your stance against wind power and renewable energies. Although I feel that everyone has a right to their own opinions, I feel that you are putting the people of Ohio at risk of ever increasing energy bills, lost jobs and lost revenue to land owners.

In 2014, it was released that wind power was sold at a lower cost than coal, natural gas and nuclear power. And since Ohio has no coal left that is worth using for energy generation and we import all that we use that’s not surprising for coal. Natural gas is plenty in Ohio but since we pipe in different states to be processed, we then have to buy it back so it is, in a sense, also imported. Our nuclear power plants are the back bone of our grid, no doubt, but they are at the end of their expected life span and the cost to maintain or build new plants are astronomical.

This is why I can’t understand going so hard against wind power. Since natural gas is becoming a larger part of energy generation pie peak usage times are now in the winter when people are using gas to heat their homes. This is perfect for wind power since the wind blows much more consistently in the winter. It has also been proven by the Blue Creek wind farm that wind power does work in Ohio. Last year, as you know, they fulfilled their PPA (Power Purchasing Agreement) on November the 12th and 2015 looks even more promising.

As more and more states take advantage of the wind by either building wind farms or converting manufacturing plants to supply the demand for components, Ohio becomes at risk of falling behind. And as a proud Buckeye, I don’t like falling behind in anything. I am requesting that you and the rest of Ohioans representing governing body look at wind as a way to grow and prosper. This is Ohio’s energy not imported from somewhere else.


Sent: Wednesday, December 30, 2015 11:55 AM

Thank you, “Name”,

Thank you for your Dec. 20 email. I am not against wind power or renewable energies. I am for using the cheapest and most reliable form of fuel to generate electricity. I am against the government subsidizing one form of fuel over another. I am against the government mandating where private utility companies have to buy their fuel, or mandating their fuel mix. I am for allowing each consumer to designate for themselves the fuel they desire to be used to produce their electricity, so long as they are willing to pay the price for that fuel. If you disagree with any of the foregoing propositions, I’d sure like to know why.

Now let me turn to some specific points made in your letter. It is not true that wind is sold at a lower cost than coal, gas, or nuclear:

1) a federal tax credit (tax dollars) pays for about one-third of the wholesale cost of wind electric generation–add back in the tax subsidy and wind is not cheaper;

2) such comparisons generally understate, or do not include, the capital cost of building the wind farm and overstate the useful life of the turbines.

3) such comparisons fail to include the added transmission cost of bringing the wind power from the rural area where it is generated to the more populated places where it is used.

4) it is a documented fact by the PUCO that in-state Ohio wind (and solar) are more expensive than out-of-state wind (and solar) which are generated in windier and sunnier states.

Second, wind power produces only, at most, 20% of the time. The regional transmission network PJM gives it only a 13% capacity factor. Yes, there have been a handful of days in 2014 and late 2013 where wind helped meet the power demand when gas was in short supply and coal supplies were frozen/immoveable by barge. But if you showed up for work only 13% of the time, I suspect you wouldn’t be employed very long.

Third, contrary to your letter, we have copious supplies of natural gas in Ohio and just recently I read an article by an energy expert calling Ohio “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” It does not have to be “processed” in order to be used for electric generation. All experts agree natural gas, to the exclusion of every other fuel, sets the market price for electricity today. Coal of the type usable for electricity production in Ohio is readily available from neighboring states. And wind farm component manufacturers can sell those components from Ohio plants to locations all over the U.S (and abroad) whether Ohio mandates renewable energy or not. We will make the components and sell them to wind farms in states where the wind blows more reliably.

Finally, you overlook the vast amount of space that a wind farm occupies compared to the compact nature of a baseload coal, nuclear, or gas plant. Doesn’t make much sense to me to litter the landscape with all these turbines unless, of course, you are one of the landowners paid to allow them to be built on your property. The neighbors of those landowners, however, may see it differently than the ones getting paid.


William J. Seitz