BigWind Halted by Seneca County, Ohio

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The Seneca Anti-Wind Union (SAWU) was created by residents who are concerned about the growing number of wind farms popping up throughout their community. The group has been talking to elected officials, gathering research, and growing rapidly. They believe they have just won a significant victory – Seneca Wind withdrew its application for a large wind farm on August 9.

“After a long tough battle Seneca Wind has withdrawn its application to build its 77 turbine project in Seneca County. Seneca Wind applied for delays in the process five times due to unfinished details, but the Ohio Power Siting Board has denied any further delay causing Seneca Wind to withdraw,” SAWU member Chris Aichholz told The Ohio Star. 

“Problems with the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] approval seems to have been the final straw. Although Seneca Wind reserves the right to re-apply for the project this would be an expensive and lengthy process. Also complicating things for them is the fact that a large number of leases have expired and many of the landowners want out of the project,” Aichholz added.

“Seneca Wind had made the case in court that the leases were still in force because the project was in the construction phase, but since the application has been withdrawn that argument would no longer seem to have any validity. This is a victory for those fighting to protect Seneca County from being transformed into an industrial zone without local residents having a vote on the matter,” he said….

The group said they are working with State Reps. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) to draft a bill that includes language stripped from House Bill 6 – language that would have given local residents the right to referendum a wind farm.

One major argument against wind farming in Ohio is that farms aren’t generally located in areas that have sufficient wind resources to make them profitable. According to the government data, Seneca County and most of Ohio barely have those minimal requirements.

State Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), who sits on the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee, said, “Wind turbines are not as viable an option here in Ohio because our wind isn’t as steady as out west. Most wind farms would not exist [here] without federal and state subsidies.”…

Another opponent is the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. They testified against the Seneca Wind Project, one of several wind farms slated for Seneca County, when the issue came before the Ohio Power Siting Board. In addition to noting that local birds and bats can be killed by wind turbines, the Observatory also said they are “located squarely within the migratory pathway of birds flying through Seneca County on their way to and from breeding areas in the northern United States and Canada and wintering areas of Central and South America. This migratory pathway is one of the preeminent and most important migration routes for birds in North America.”…

The National Weather Service revealed the impact of wind farms on weather radar in their article Wind Farm Interference Shows Up on Doppler Radar. The Department of Energy acknowledged the radar problem as well.

“If not mitigated, such wind development can cause potential interference for radar systems involved in air traffic control, weather forecasting, homeland security, and national defense missions,” it said…

Additionally, SAWU and other opponents note the environmental issues with wind energy. The Wall Street Journalwrote, “building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of plastic.”

Mark Mills’ article in the Journal, “If You Want ‘Renewable Energy,’ Get Ready to Dig,” claims “renewable energy” is a misnomer. He explains that turbines require massive batteries made from non-renewable products. A massive increase in wind farms will require a significant investment in mining. The decommissioning of old turbines will produce millions of tons of waste…