What does the election mean for BigWind in Ohio?

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-11-54-53-am

By the time the next edition of Wind News is published, the election will be over and everyone will be sorting through the results to derive meaning. Election Day is the due date for Reply Comments to the Ohio Power Siting Board’s draft rules. The General Assembly will swing into its year-end session and tackle the mandate freeze while developers will press to revise property line setbacks. On the national level, wind developers will be racing to secure full access to the federal Production Tax Credit before December 31st. One thing feels certain with the election of Clinton…wind turbines could spread like a wildfire across our great lands.

One of the races we will be watching is in Vermont where Iberdrola is trying to buy an election by promising to pay residents of two towns where the Stiles Brook Wind Project is proposed to be built. “ Iberdrola has said such benefits are common at its energy projects. But Stiles Brook opponents cried foul, equating the partnership payments to a bribe.” The Vermont Secretary of State, Jim Condos, asserts “In a democracy, a ballot item should pass or fail on its own merits and not because of cash incentives.” He worries that payment offers “could conceivably invite a bidding war between competing ‘partnerships’ on every controversial ballot item.” “There is what’s legal and there is what’s right, and those are not always the same thing,” Condos wrote.”

In other campaign news, we were amused by the Midwest Energy News story – Midwest is published by RE-AMP whose members include The League of Conservation Voters and Ohio Environmental Council. The article whines about the campaign spending by fossil fuel groups as opposed to the penniless greenies who just want a better world (albeit one presumably without heat or light). When the LCV announced earlier this year that it would coordinate efforts in Ohio with the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund, Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters said, “Our environment should not be a partisan issue, and preserving it should not be controversial.” We juxtapose this story with one from Energy and Environment News headlined: Green groups spend over $100M; LCV hits record level. “In a separate announcement, the Sierra Club revealed today that major environmental organizations — including itself, LCV, NextGen Climate Action, EDF Action, the NRDC Action Fund and Environment America — expect to spend more than $100 million on the 2016 cycle.” We suspect a vast left-wing conspiracy. 

Following the money, there has been recent press accounts of Amazon’s purchase of the Scioto Ridge project in Hardin County developed by EverPower. We thought it might be good to reflect on this for a moment as we think about where Governor Kasich stands with respect to the renewable mandate. We know that Amazon’s cloud computing operations use an enormous amount of power and they seek to comfort the green crowd by offsetting their power use with renewables, and specifically wind. What was Amazon’s price for locating in Ohio? Many claim Amazon insists on access to renewable power and perhaps Kasich promised to support the mandate so that Amazon could appease the green lobby. What would Kasich get in return? According to press reports in 2015, Amazon’s location in Ohio would cause all Ohioans to be subject to sales tax on any purchases made through Amazon.com. “Amazon said it estimates it will collect between $150 million and $300 million annually in Ohio sales taxes that are currently the responsibility of consumers to keep track of and pay.” Given that Ohio sales tax revenue has been lagging, that is probably a big deal to the Gov. Ohio also provided $81 million in incentives to Amazon. Too bad the folks in Hardin County had to subsidize Amazon’s electric bill, too.

A million here, a million there and pretty soon you are talking about money. “AEP American Electric Power Company Inc. plans to spend $1 billion on the renewable energy business, in part with funds from the sale of some Ohio power plants. The Columbus-based electric utility is dipping its toe in the sector, as it expects a capital outlay of $17.3 billion from 2017 to 2019, AEP said Tuesday.” “It has formed two related subsidiaries, one that focuses on smaller-scale wind and solar projects and the other focused on larger projects. AEP Onsite Partners is a “behind-the-meter” company, contracting with, for example, a grocery story that wants solar panels on its roof. Customers include schools, hospitals and businesses.” “AEP Renewables is in charge of what AEP CEO Nick Akins describes as “utility-scale” projects. These are the wind and solar farms whose power output is sold via long-term power purchase agreements to other utilities, cities and corporations that demand their businesses run on clean energy.” We’ll take solar, please.

But our favorite for the week is the idiotic letter to the Dispatch Editor from the Ohio Christian Coalition in support of renewable energy and “reworking wind-turbine setback limits.” Perhaps we could introduce these Christians to Moses and the Ten Commandments. We are thinking specifically of the 10th Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.” If nothing else, wind developers covet the homes, yards, fields and skies of non-participating landowners, known in their own Agreements as “Good Neighbors”….

Thursday November 3, 2016 5:00 AM

Conservative leadership from Gov. John Kasich and the General Assembly has produced a business-friendly, job-creating environment in Ohio. I was encouraged to read the Oct. 24 Dispatch.com article, “Report: State support of clean energy could add jobs, cut consumer costs.” The article outlined the economic benefits that clean energy will provide to the Ohio economy.

A striking statistic included the claim that Ohio stands to add enough clean energy jobs to fill Ohio Stadium by 2030 should the General Assembly do the responsible thing and come to a common-sense, “all-of-the-above” energy solution for Ohio.

Conservatives should always be in favor of creating jobs and cutting costs, and that is exactly what a conservative approach to clean-energy reform can provide for millions of Ohioans.

So what does conservative clean energy reform look like? The Ohio Christian Coalition is joining conservatives from around Ohio to advocate for increasing the use of renewable energy by 5 percent in the next five years and reworking wind-turbine setback limits.

Common-sense, conservative energy reform is a winning issue for conservatives across Ohio.

Tyler Duvelius
State director
Ohio Christian Coalition
Columbus

Advertisements