Ohio’s energy policy and the issue of setbacks continues to be the hot topic as the wind lobby uses the remaining days of summer to build their case in the media and with lawmakers that industrial wind setbacks should be measured from the foundation of the neighbor’s home rather than their property line. We hope that our readers will be visiting with their lawmakers who are home in the district for the month of August to advocate for retaining the current property line setbacks and requiring a vote of the people before changes can be made. This will be the focus of setback debate in the fall and your legislators need to know what their constituents want. After all, it is your community that will be impacted and you don’t need some guy from Chagrin Falls telling you what’s good for you. Against that backdrop, the following news is well worth noting:
- Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bob Cupp who now represents Allen County and his hometown of Lima has been tapped to succeed Rep. Bill Seitz as the Chair of the House Public Utilities Committee. Cupp should take quite a personal interest in the topic of setbacks since it will likely affect his constituents. Notably, Cupp remarked in an interview that “We’ll take these issues as they develop and try to build as much consensus as possible and make decisions on what’s the best public policy where consensus isn’t possible,” he said. We can guarantee there will not be consensus on wind setbacks and we hope the “best public policy” means a voice for the residents of townships affected by wind development.
Chagrin Falls Republican Senator Matt Dolan has announced he will co-sponsor with Cliff Hite a bill to roll back setbacks from property lines. Dolan’s family owns the Cleveland Indians and it is unlikely he will ever be required to “eat his own cooking” as they say. Rumors are flying around that Hite might want to make a run at Senate President and maybe Dolan is looking to polish his image with Hite. Otherwise, Dolan’s arguments in favor of mandates and unacceptable wind siting don’t hold up. He claims Ohio business and industry needs a certain and reliable policy. Ohio’s policy today lets the consumer choose what they want. What could be more certain than that?
- A commenter who opined on the Hite-Dolan wind proposal article states “Wind power companies in Ohio at least are free to build within the safety code, but they will need to lease more land to achieve the setbacks required. This costs money, so they are appealing to the politicians to change the law and effectively give the use of unleased land to the wind power companies for free. 1300 feet of setback from the property line is now on the low side of such measures, western states have moved their setbacks to 2500 feet and more. They have lived with wind farms much longer than we in Ohio have. A study by the University of Michigan strongly supports the distance of 2500 feet, once again from the property line to minimize the impacts of wind turbines on neighboring land and homes. I am all for renewable energy, but let’s do it safely and fairly. It makes the politicians feel powerful and generous when they give our rights away, but theft by any other name is still — theft. (Hite-Way Robbery!)
- Flying in from the Far Left (or perhaps the moon) is Harvey Wasserman. Harvey will be remembered by many who sat through the renewable energy mandate hearings nearly a decade ago as the whacko who roamed the halls of the legislature in a moon suit wailing that without a renewable mandate we were all going to die. Harvey is now claiming wind will die along with the rest of us if industrial turbine setbacks are not shortened. He also claims “Farmers in the region strongly support wind-energy projects. The footprint of a utility-scale turbine covers up just an acre of land. Farmers who host them lose a small fraction of their agricultural productivity, and access roads to build turbines can temporarily cost some crop space. But in many cases, once the windmills are in, farmers just plough over and plant those strips of soil on the usually safe bet that not much will go wrong. Once installed, the turbines provide farmers with substantial lease payments that can even exceed what they make from actually raising crops other than electricity.” Earth to Wasserman, come in please….farmers do not strongly support wind-energy projects!
- A letter written from the Navy to a U.S. Senator has come to light and confirms the military’s concern with wind turbines near airfields. ““The general conclusion of the study confirmed that primary radar detection may be significantly degraded in airspace immediately above wind farms and in some cases beyond the windfarm,” Balocki wrote. “When flying in such areas of degraded primary radar coverage, there is increased risk to Navy pilots from civilian aircraft operating without active transponders.” The letter stated that the Navy and wind turbine developers can’t agree on a way to mitigate the interference of wind turbines, the service branch would recommend the Secretary of Defense object to future industrial wind turbine development near bases.
- An excellent but very long article titled: Researchers Have Been Underestimating the Cost of Wind and Solar by Gail Tverberg reports that “the current methodology is quite misleading. Wind and solar are not really stand-alone devices when it comes to providing the kind of electricity that is needed by the grid. Grid operators, utilities, and backup electricity providers must provide hidden subsidies to make the system really work. This problem is currently not being recognized by any of the groups evaluating wind and solar, using techniques such as LCOE, EROI, LCA, and EPP. As a result, published results suggest that wind and solar are much more beneficial than they really are. The distortion affects both pricing and the amount of supposed CO2 savings.” Click on the link below to read the full article.
- In contradiction to the above, the Lawrence Berkley Lab claims “50% Rise in Renewable Energy Needed to Meet Ambitious State Standards” and they go on to say that this insane notion is doable and affordable through aggressive state renewable portfolio standards.
- Meanwhile, “American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP) announced a $4.5 billion project yesterday that includes a massive wind farm and a new power line to help send renewable energy to customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The project, called Wind Catcher Energy Connection, could provide close to 9 million megawatt-hours of new wind energy to consumers in the four states annually, AEP said. AEP will be working with Invenergy on this project and we are just happy they are working in Oklahoma and NOT Ohio. Maybe there was something to those lyrics from the classic musical: “Ooook-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain; And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet, When the wind comes right behind the rain.”
- In Chautauqua, New York where EverPower is developing the Cassadaga Wind “Farm” the League of Women Voters held a public debate between the anti-wind community and the Sierra Club. The article is an interesting read and the claims of the Sierra spokesperson were classically untrue wind-speak (aka “blowing smoke”). No wonder the developer didn’t participate and left it to a surrogate. No one would want to be accountable for what the Sierra representative claimed.
- And in West Virginia, EverPower is being sued by residents near the New Creek Wind “Farm” who claim that from day one, “Beginning Nov. 1, 2016, and continuing on a daily basis, when the plaintiffs are outside on their properties, they are constantly confronted with irritating and unabated audible noise that significantly limits the use and enjoyment of their property and results in annoyance, along with headaches, hearing problems, anxiety, irritability and other symptoms, according to the suits. The plaintiffs claim inside their homes, they experience disturbed sleep, headaches, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, nervousness, joint pain, an inability to clear ears, fatigue, vertigo, depression, tinnitus, irritability and anger. The presence of the defendant’s business so close to their homes has substantially and unreasonably negatively affected the plaintiffs quiet use and enjoyment of living in a previously tranquil rural/wilderness country setting, according to the suits.”
The one thing we can conclude from today’s news is that we in Ohio are not alone.