Please sign the petition to Stop the Production Tax Credit for BigWind

Link to the petition is below. You must sign before December 12th!!

This petition is to ask our Congress to halt or limit the Production Tax Credit for Industrial Wind. The negative impacts of Industrial Wind on our homes, our land, our farms, our health, our wildlife, our economy and our landscapes have not been considered in this short-sighted quest for wind energy. Communities and rural residents are being overrun in the mad dash for the Production Tax Credit carrot. Please see the in-depth letter that we will be including with this petition.

The letter that will be sent with this petition to the US Congress on Tuesday Dec.12, 2017 can be seen through this link. I don’t know if this site will allow this to hyperlink so you may have to copy and paste this into your browser. http://www.windaction.org/posts/47629-2017-letter-to-congress-end-the-wind-tax-credits#.Wiv5Ozdrw2x

 

via Petition · Stop the Production Tax Credit for Industrial Wind · GoPetition.com

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Hard lessons learned from BigWind in Indiana (pay attn Ohio)

Words of wisdom. Let us share them with our Ohio Senators who are considering a turbine setback repeal!!…

I recently read that Cass County was presented information about a possible wind farm project. When Tipton County went down this path, as a county commissioner, I missed a few due diligence items.

Setbacks: I did not take into account that the towers in Benton and White counties — at 350 feet in height and a setback from non-participating landowners of 1000 feet — should not be the standard setback in other counties where turbine heights were going to be 500 feet and over. The taller the tower, the greater the setback should be, and it should always be from the property line and never from the residential structure, as that limits the property owner full use of their property.

A local government should never use a non-participating landowner’s property as part of the setback because a person should be protected via a setback from all locations of their own property. Since I have now experienced the noise and shadow flicker in the homes of non-participating landowners at distances of even 1500 feet, I would recommend a 1/2 mile setback from the property line of any non-participating land owner…

 Property Values: The property values of the non-participating landowners within even a mile of the turbines will decrease. It may not show in the “assessed value,” but the stark reality is that the pool of people interested in living in a home close to the turbines is far less than those interested in homes far away from the turbines.

Jobs: No one in our county was qualified for the few permanent jobs and the 200 “local” jobs were given to union workers 50 miles away — and those jobs, of course, were temporary.

Community Partnership: In the first year, the company gave some sizable donations to various nonprofits and philanthropies, but after that they were absent from the community.

Other Facts: We have 69 turbines. Investment was $175 million. With abatement, the company will pay $3.5 million over 10 years in property taxes and $7 million in the next 10. Our financial consultant conveyed that this would amount to a mere $25-per-year decrease in most property tax bills. You can see the towers in the daylight easily from 8 miles away and at night the red blinking lights are visible from 15 to 20 miles. The turbines affect nearly everyone in your county in some way and it will most assuredly divide your community because the turbines are a constant reminder of conflicting views.

 We’ve had 3 blade breaks in the 69 turbines. Our ordinance of a 1000-foot setback was inadequate in protecting our non-participating citizens and their testimonials of despair are real. After seeing what this project did to Tipton County — both aesthetically and to the quality of life for some — Howard and Grant Counties voted to terminate their relationship with the same wind company for “Phase II.” Clinton County tabled turbines. Marshall and Hamilton Counties banned turbines. Many other counties increased setbacks to a 1/2 mile for non-participating landowners. These neighboring counties learned a valuable lesson from our experience. If there had not been documentable adverse issues, then the aggressive actions of other counties to protect their citizens would never have occurred.

I live with the people who are adversely affected by industrial wind turbines and deeply regret having signed the documents enabling the construction of the wind farm.

This is why I am sharing my experience … so that you will not have to regret being a part of facilitating something that is a “windfall” to a few, but a curse to many…

 

via JANE HARPER: Hard lessons can be learned from Tipton Co. wind turbine project | Columns | pharostribune.com

 

 

BigWind setback debate revived in Ohio

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Wealthy Chagrin Falls, Ohio Senator Matt Dolan has introduced SB 238, a carbon copy of the Hite setback bill which measures setbacks from homes rather than property lines.  In addition, the bill repeals all previous requirements for property line setbacks for any project which received approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board under the old rules.  It appears that Sen. Dolan and a number of his colleagues drank the Kool-Aid that AWEA and lobbyist Terrence O’Donnell have been serving. 

In his press statement, Dolan says “ Local control remains a crucial aspect of this bill as well, by allowing county commissioners to approve construction on a project-by-project basis or declare the entire county an alternative energy zone, which qualifies all projects.”    Laughable!  Dolan can only be speaking of the PILOT program to grant tax abatement to a project. He asserts that vitally important local control is protected,  presumably because county commissioners can deny PILOT.  That is no guarantee whatsoever that a project will not go forward and, in fact, EverPower’s  Dagger has been quoted more than once saying failure to be granted PILOT is not an impediment to development.  The truth is that tax abatement has nothing to do with setbacks…NOTHING.

SB 238 does what its predecessor bill did – grant an uncompensated easement across neighboring properties.   We continue to illustrate this point with legislators, a number of whom have never considered this fact.  When they understand that Dolan’s bill totally disenfranchises a property owner, stripping them of their rights, they begin to wonder about whether it is possible to find common ground.  We believe that common ground lies in giving the electorate in the affected townships the affirmative right to vote on wind turbine setback reductions.  Chairman Balderson indicates hearings on the issue will resume after the first of the year.

While members of the General Assembly are home during the holidays, it is a good time to ask for a meeting and inquire about what kind of documentation they may have that supports a 1,225 foot setback from a home.   We believe this is an arbitrary number designed to accommodate the wind developer/leaseholders rather than protect the public.  One area of science supporting increased setbacks comes from the study of ice throw as well as the throw of other detached objects.

Two papers have come to our attention concerning ice throw.   The first is a  2017 Ice Throw Ph.D. Thesis from Texas State University. This was primarily a survey of ice throw knowledge of people around turbines in Texas. 75% of turbine personnel had witnessed an ice throw incident from a wind turbine. Each person who had witnessed seeing ice thrown, reported on average seeing 15 ice throw incidents. This is a 2017  “peer reviewed” current technical publication that completely debunks the idea that turbines don’t throw ice. It reports a multitude of ice throw incidents actually seen by industry personnel. The study is based on Texas turbines, with Texas being the largest wind energy state in the US. The authors also found that most community members do not witness ice throw and therefore do not have an appreciation of the danger.

 The second paper is a 2016 Peer-Reviewed Research Paper in the journal “Wind Energy” / Wiley Online Library titled “Analysis of throw distances of detached objects from horizontal-axis wind turbines”, Hamid Sarlak and Jens N. Sorensen. Wind Energy, 2016: 19:151-166.  This document can be purchased online by going to http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/we.1828/full.   The paper is protected by copyright and anyone who chooses to purchase it should explore obtaining permission to use it.  The authors of this study estimate throw distances for ice, full blades, and blade fragments for current typical turbine designs, operating at normal and high rotational speeds. Consideration is given to normal operating speeds of a typical 500′ turbine with 100 m/sec tip speed (very similar to a Vestas V112).  A full rotor blade can be thrown 2,000 feet, a partial blade shell 3,300 feet, and typical ice pieces 2,600 feet.   For larger turbines, full blade and blade fragments could possibly be thrown over 6,000 feet.

Perhaps our dear Senators would like to share the research upon which they are relying.  Our guess is they have been given outdated information, if any.  As we understand it, turbines don’t just fall over, the spinning blades can propel ice, debris, or blade fragments for very large distances. The Sarlak and Sorensen Wind Energy paper concludes that throw distances are determined primarily by the tip speed, not height. Tip speeds have been increasing, especially as the industry has moved to variable speed turbines….Wake up Ohioans and speak up now, or you may regret your silence later…

Statehouse News

Dolan Takes Up Effort to Revise Wind Turbine Setback Restrictions

 Sen. Matt Dolan is picking up the effort to loosen wind turbine setback requirements left unfinished after the abrupt resignation of former senator Cliff Hite.

 

Mr. Hite was the legislature’s leading proponent of easing the restrictions and authored a bill to that effect SB 188 that received two legislative hearings this year.  But when Mr. Hite resigned Oct. 17 following sexual harassment allegations, wind groups lost a key ally and the future of the bill fell into question.

 

On Wednesday, Sen. Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) introduced his own bill SB 238, which is identical to Sen. Hite’s, in an attempt to get the effort back on track…

 

Sen. Dolan said he made the bill identical so everyone can start on the same page. That means the bill calls for increasing the setback to 1.2 times the blade’s length – up from the current 1.1 times – while at the same time requiring the minimum distance from the nearest blade to be measured from the nearest residential structure rather than the nearest property line. The net impact of those two changes is a shortening of the required setback distance.

 

In modeling the legislation after the same bill, he said, all prior testimony received on the Hite proposal will still apply to the new bill, thereby speeding up the legislative process. The bill is likely to be assigned to the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, which conducted hearings on the Hite bill…

 

The sponsor said he is eying some changes, particularly in making it clearer that county commissioners have the authority to grant approval for a wind farm project.  “I feel there’s a misunderstanding of what the setbacks actually do,” Sen. Dolan said. “It doesn’t interfere with the ability of the county to say yes or no to a project.”

 

The bill has the same cosponsors as the prior iteration – 13 Republicans and one Democrat…

 

 

 

 

Who is doing the ‘research’ on BigWind for your Ohio commissioners?

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Many of us, sadly, have seen this scenario before.  The community asks their leaders to make and informed decision. But, how will these commissioners become informed? It is often from the salesperson representing the BigWind developer…an individual with oodles of biased information, that he/she is more than happy to share.  For many of us, we have learned the negatives associated with these developments, over the course of many years, not just a few weeks.  Information searching takes time….lots of it and the reality is that few have the time or discipline to do their due diligence in this matter.  If you reside in this area, encourage one of these commissioners to reach out to Van Wert county. It behooves all of our readers to do your own homework and research and then politely offer it to your leaders.  Help them, in order to help you. BigMoney talks LOUDLY, so organize your facts, educate yourselves, and then you can choose to help educate others….

Pro and con, area residents came out for a public hearing Thursday morning about Huron County possibly becoming an alternative energy zone (AEZ).

One man said he wants the board to consider the “unintended consequences” of allowing wind turbines in the Greenwich area and what might happen if they are installed and the county decides later the turbines aren’t wanted or needed.

“I just ask you to do your research,” he said.

And that’s exactly what the commissioners said they have been doing — working on gathering as much information as they can.

“We are just in an information-gathering process,” Boose said at the end of the hearing…

When it comes to the wind turbine industry, one man considered it the most deceptive business since “the tobacco industry of yesteryear.” He said the commissioners need to consider getting involved in an industry with a “25-year track record of failure” and that if the wind turbines are decommissioned, the concrete and rebar will remain in place.

Wilde said he and the other commissioners are doing “our due diligence” and listening to what the community has to say.

Hintz has been a commissioner for about seven years. He said “the old board was caught off-guard” with the proposition of wind turbines and an AEZ years ago, noting he and those commissioners didn’t receive any opposition from residents until much later.

“We are trying to make a difference this time around,” Hintz told the crowd. “We are trying to make an informed decision.”

via Norwalk Reflector: Residents want commissioners to ‘do your research’ on wind turbines

Will Ohio be pressured by both BigWind AND Amazon?

“To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making. The making of laws like the making of sausages, is not a pretty sight.”  Otto Von Bismark

This coming week will be a nail-biter as Congress seeks to move tax reform forward.  There are too many possible scenarios to predict the outcome.  The House version of tax reform would cripple the wind industry and the Senate version would maintain the status quo and continue the phase-out of the PTC.   Conventional wisdom was that the Senate bill would be the bill that would move forward until the Senate put the Obamacare mandate repeal and the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes in their version.   If these costs were no longer an obligation of the federal government, the savings could offset the cost of continuing the PTC for wind and other special interest subsidies.  But if these items are removed from the Senate bill, Congress will need to find other ways to save money.  Eliminating the PTC or the PTC annual inflation adjustment would be one place to look for $.   Senator Grassley will do everything in his power to preserve subsidies for wind.   There is much wheeling and dealing going on and just this past week Grassley made a very surprising move to discard some rules that have impeded Trump’s judicial nominations from going forward.  This is a huge gift to Trump and ensures his nominees will be approved quickly, thus changing the nature of the federal bench for years and years to come.  Having received such a fine gift from Grassley, we don’t think Trump will push to kill off the wind industry.

At the state level, Senate President Obhof, who has been a behind the scenes supporter of industrial wind, is urging the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to move forward on a priority basis to consider HB 114 which deals with the renewable energy mandate and energy efficiency requirements.   Sounds fishy to us.   The fate of former Senator Hite’s setback legislation is still unclear.  It is possible that the setback language could be offered as an amendment to HB 114.   Rumor was that Senate leadership under Obhof had ordered the Senate Finance Committee to approve setback reductions  in the budget bill.  

We note both Ohio House and Senate members have written letters of support for the development of industrial wind in Lake Erie.  It is probably safe to assume they have no idea what they are talking about. 

Other Ohio Senators are busy supporting wind indirectly by asking the PUCO to approve a deal between Amazon’s data centers (Vadata) and AEP for a 120 month discount on their cost of electricity. WHAT?  

 Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) and Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) wrote the Public Utilities Committee requesting approval of a deal between an Amazon affiliate Vadata and AEP Ohio.  Vadata has argued the move would be an “incentive for the growth of data centers in Ohio, driving unique and highly desirable economic development in Ohio.” According to media reports, the senators argued in favor of the move in a letter sent to Chairman Asim Haque earlier this year that was published in the case docket this month.  They touted the economic impact Amazon’s three existing data centers have had on the region, including hundreds of millions of dollars of investment and the creation of new jobs. Electricity, they argued, is one of the highest operating costs for these centers.”  “This reasonable arrangement will enhance Ohio’s competitiveness and accelerate data center investments,” the senators wrote. Through such a deal “the state of Ohio can help keep Vadata’s energy costs in check without a need to raise rates or cause an impact for other energy users.”

If Amazon gets a break on its electricity costs, Ohioans are likely to see increased pressure to build wind farms in Ohio.  It is sickening.

Next door in Indiana, Fulton County residents scored a huge victory over wind developer RES which is planning a three county project.  We congratulate the people of Fulton County on a credible and persuasive campaign that enabled the Commissioners to make the right decision against RES.  One Commissioner was quoted saying “Although the monetary gain could be big, money is not the most important factor to consider. Quality of life is,” he said. “I feel if I vote in favor of the current ordinance before us we may jeopardize the community.”  Lewis also spoke about a common response he would receive when questioning those that do not live in or near RES’ proposed project area. “They say they don’t mind it but wouldn’t want to live by it,” he said, adding “If people don’t mind them but wouldn’t want to live by them, then why would I want to impose something on the people that very few would want to live close to.”  He concluded by saying that a commercial wind farm in Fulton County is “not something that the good people of this county want,” and encouraged those in attendance to come together as a community with solutions “to help move us forward with projects the people, as a whole, can get behind.”

We note that In the Indiana RES project, planned for three counties, one Commissioner each in Fulton and in Miami county were required to recuse themselves from the vote.  In Miami, the Commissioner has actually been contracted by RES to negotiate leases for them.  This is appalling and should be a warning to any community where RES may be planning a project to watch closely how they may try to establish connections with elected officials. 

As we enter the holiday season, we encourage readers who are dealing with a prospective wind development in your community to regularly check with the Ohio Power Siting Board website.  Wind developers often count on people being distracted during the holidays and we see an increase in filings and activity…

 

Dear Chairman Haque,
We write to ask support for Vadata Incorporated’s application for a reasonable arrangement….Vadata is an affiliate of Amazon web services and has constructed 3 data center campuses in Central Ohio…
Through a reasonable arrangement approved by the PUCO, the State of Ohio can help keep Vadata’s energy costs in check without a need to raise rates or cause an impact for other energy users….
via

http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/TiffToPDf/A1001001A17K08A93552F01456.pdf

 

BigWind ‘kicked to the curb’ in Nebraska

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Yet, another example, of a BigWind setback being EXPANDED….well beyond Ohio. But you would never hear of this if you only listened to the BigWind lobbyists in Ohio, where the industry cries that our setback hinders their growth….that our setback is too restrictive…that there is no danger or problem with having 600 foot industrial wind turbines as neighbors.  Read below, and you will see that Nebraska has become wise. Setbacks have been expanded to 2,700 feet and banned in another. Congrats!…

Wind turbines will not be dotting the Stanton County landscape anytime soon.

The Stanton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously today to approve a land use matrix that did not allow for wind developers to purchase conditional use permits – effectively preventing any wind farms from attempting to build in Stanton County…

 

The Board also passed regulations extending the setback requirements for a windmill to 2,700 feet and capping the potential noise generated at 50 decibels. These requirements would only matter if the Board retracted the ban on wind permits in the future…

 

via Stanton County Bars Wind Development Sandhills Express

(Yet another) county pursues INcreased BigWind setback…wake up, Ohio legislators!

Yet again, we find an area that is experienced with BigWind, now seeking to INcrease the distance between turbines and property lines. Yet, Ohio wants to DEcrease the distance? Well below any measurement mentioned below. All of this comes down to $ from BigWind. We will never know if deals were made, unbeknownst to the public, between BigWind and certain individuals…which explain the lack of common sense from certain legislators. Read below, and you will find excellent arguments for INCREASING the  safety setbacks.  That’s right, SAFETY setbacks, something many legislators seem to forget…

Members of the public on Monday night urged Ford County Board members to consider, among other measures, the need to increase the minimum distance that wind turbines can be located from homes….

Ann Ihrke told board members that it was their duty to protect the “health, safety and welfare of all citizens of the county.” She presented board members with a packet containing a letter written by attorney Brent Holmes concerning many of the issues citizens have complained about, such as the inadequacy of the county’s 1,500-foot setback for non-participating landowners.

Numerous studies by independent professionals recommend a 2,500-foot setback between a wind turbine and the property lines, not the foundations of structures, of non-participating landowners, Ann Ihrke said.

Such studies also reveal numerous health problems when turbines are allowed too close to homes, including frequent sleep disturbances when sited closer than 2,500 feet.

Ann Ihrke also questioned whether the county’s ordinance governing wind farms adequately protects the county from liability if turbines need to be removed. She noted that there will be no new revenues generated for the purpose of demolition, adding that the county may be stuck having to pay for decommissioning if the companies that have owned and operated Ford County’s wind farms become defunct or bankrupt before turbines need removed…

Ted Hartke, a licensed professional land surveyor and licensed professional engineer in Illinois, said he has concerns about wind farms after living near a wind turbine in neighboring Vermilion County. He and his family moved due to problems with wind turbines being too close to their home, and they finally were able to sell their house…

“You guys already have problems,” Hartke told the board. “There is a safety manual that says in case of a fire or malfunctioning turbines, the employees of the wind company are supposed to run upwind a minimum of 1,640 feet. If my house or my land is within 1,640 feet from my property line to the wind turbines, that’s the distance they are to run upwind from. So if you are downwind, I seem to think that the distance should be about 2,000 feet.”…

“Your only job as a county board is to protect all of your citizens,” Hartke said.

Meanwhile, Leo Weber, a road commissioner for Rogers Township, said there remain issues with the repair of roads used in constructing the Kelly Creek Wind Farm.

“We have a meeting set up to go back to our attorney to assess what our next steps will be,” Weber said, “and we look to the board to get any support they can extend our way to get this resolved.”

Weber said the owner of the Kelly Creek Wind Farm — EDF Renewable Energy — has “failed to uphold the road-use agreement” it made with his township and others.

“Roads that our school buses travel on are dangerous,” Weber said. “There are deep drop-offs where a truck got too far to the edge and rolled over. … Five miles (of roads) in Ford County are not fixed correctly.”

Weber also told the board that as a taxing body, his township was given inaccurate information a year ago on the assessed valuation of land in the wind farm’s footprint. That error or omission, he said, cost Rogers Township $12,000 of revenue that it could have captured, and it cost the Tri-Point school district $44,000.

 

via Public urges Ford County Board to strengthen wind-farm rules Paxton Record