How much do turbines benefit (or hurt) Ohio schools?

How are the Ohio school turbines performing? Finally, we hear ‘some’ truth. First, USV was a disaster with and $800,000 liability created by the UNDERperforming turbine on their property. Their new superintendent saw the truth- the turbine produces too little energy and the energy is too expensive. He chose to switch to a traditional energy provider.  Second, is the Ada school district, where the cost to savings ratio is a “wash”. It is only a wash b/c the turbine was paid for by our taxdollars through a grant. It would be a loss, otherwise. At what point will their superintendent see that the maintenance costs outweigh the benfits? Finally, we take a look at Lincolnview schools. Their situation is entirely different that the previous 2 schools, because Lincolnview sits in the county within an industrial turbine site.  Taxpayer dollars, from all of us that live OUTside that district, and our state, have funded this project. Each industrial wind site costs us, the taxpayer, hundreds of millions of $ to build. Then, we pay them to produce power through the wind production tax credit. No other energy producer is given this gift. Mr. Snyder must be thankful that ‘we get the value off the turbine itself , not how much power they generate’ because the facts paint a dismal picture for NW Ohio wind energy. According to a federal site, the NW Ohio industrial wind sites produce LESS than 30% of the power that they are capable of producing. How many industries do you know that can survive by only producing 30% of what they told the public? None, unless the government supports you!  Finally, Mr. Snyder mentions what a great benefit it is for OSU to have purchased this wind energy and that it supports 20% of their energy usage. Baloney! That is just a lie. OSU purchased this energy because they wanted to ‘appear’ green to their students and they were probably given a tax credit or break from some grant. They could surely purchase energy from another supplier, cheaper, just like USV schools…

Superintendent Rector had quite the challenge when he first began.
“We had less than seven days cash remaining in our budgets,”…In a very short period of time he cleared out an $800,000 liability owed to the state from the former wind academy...
Rector spoke of the wind farm and academy which he believes led to large fallout in the community.
“Everybody did things with the best of intentions but it really tore at the heart of this community.”…
As for the two windmills on the school property, the negotiated price for their generated power costs more than what they can get directly from the local utility company. So far they have saved over one hundred thousand dollars by switching to a commercial provider.
“And money saved, is money made,” he stated as he looks toward a better future. “What is done is done. They’re not going anywhere. Will they eventually see a savings? That would be nice. By the same token we’ve been able to, through negotiation, bring costs down.”
Ada School districts acquired a windmill on their property during the same period taking advantage of grant funding during the alternative energy incentive program. Ada Superintendent Suzanne Darmer believes the cost to savings ratio comes out as a wash and everything is working fine.
“That was a onetime opportunity many years ago,” Darmer said. “When that came into place we had the opportunity to secure a grant through the federal government through the NexGen Company.”
Darmer further added, “It has not been a problem for us. We have regular maintenance, but nothing to speak of about them being down.”
The wind turbine is not an issue at the school, however, they do not have any plans to put in any more….
“I’d like to see enough windmills in Hardin County so that it’s giving back to the school districts.” said Superintendent Jeff Snyder at Lincolnview.
The Lincolnview school district has reaped the benefit of a $400,000 annual payment from the 42 windmills located there. Snyder said the program was developed from federal legislation and tax incentives for alternative energy and brokered by the Van Wert county commissioners. The county commissioners worked out the deal with the wind energy company, Iberdrola Renewable, a Spanish public multinational electric utility company. The company pays the school and the county directly.
“We get value off the turbine itself, not how much they generate,” Snyder said. “We don’t get any energy to run our school districts off our turbine. The turbine is putting power onto the grid for us to consume. What they try to do is to get people to buy into their energy in advance.”
Snyder says the Ohio State University (OSU) has already seen a tremendous savings with the locked in rate from their windfarm. He stated, “Twenty percent of all the power OSU uses is coming from this wind farm. They locked in their rate for the next twenty years.”
Snyder says the revenues generated from the windfarm greatly benefits the school and saves the taxpayers. Lincolnview received a mere $81,000 in funding from the state this year, which, by the way, won’t even pay for a school bus….
“We’re one of the first school districts to provide laptop devices to every student from kindergarten through 12,” he added, “We’ve started pre-engineering and bio-medical programs in high school, knowing we have this money for the next twenty years. It’s been a world of difference for our school district and we’re going to keep doing great things here because we have the opportunity to do that.”

Source: Ada Herald

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