Has Logan county, Ohio started a BigWind ‘say no’ trend?

Within the past month, Logan county, Ohio said NO to the enormous tax break, aka PILOT, to Everpower. Here is a county in New York, following in their footsteps.  And, the developer is well known to Van Wert county, Ohio, as it is Apex. Mr. Gray has it right…BigWind does NOT create more than a handful of jobs and revenue is exported (tax$ to investors). BigWind destroys scenery, wildlife, property values and the health of neighbors…the least we can demand of them is to pay their fair share of taxes!!!

Jefferson County lawmakers have voted not to grant tax breaks for big solar and wind projects. County leaders say large-scale alternative energy farms do not provide the county with enough incentives to justify a tax deal.

Legislature Chairman Scott Gray said wind developers are approaching towns in Jefferson County not expecting to pay their full share of taxes.
“You’re asking the property tax payers of this community to subsidize a project. So we want to make sure there is something in return for those taxpayers’ investments.”
Gray said big wind and solar projects only create a handful of jobs. They don’t circulate enough money throughout the local economy. and what money is made, he said, goes to the company’s investors.

“It’s certainly not adding anything to our community so whatever revenue is being generated is being exported,” said Gray….

He said the developer, Apex Energy, is expecting to get a tax break, anyway.
“They are proposing a 80 percent tax abatement, 20 percent of the full value that they should be paying every year….”

Source: Jefferson County lawmakers deny tax breaks to green energy projects

Advertisements

Van Wert county commissioner opinion of BigWind

A Van Wert county commissioner opinion about the new potential for a 35,000 Apex project. He compares this to living next to a hog farm…which no one wants to do. If you have heard that communities are torn apart by the wind industry, he hints at that reality in Van Wert. What will happen if the Apex Long Prairie Project moves forward? It looks like the one commissioner wants to leave this decision up to the people who will reside amongst it. Read a lot of common sense in this article…

Wanna start an argument? Go to almost any random group of people in Van Wert County and state your opinion about windmills. Chances are, you will quickly find someone with whom to disagree…

But, if you are going to build something on your property, you are subject to a tax assessment. Real property taxes are assessed on all land, buildings and structures. If a property owner would choose to build a windmill, they would be taxed on its full value.

The question then is should a wind farm receive a tax break? The pro crowd argues that, yes, most definitely, this is economic development and a tax break should be automatic. The current wind farm is taxed pursuant to a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) wherein the schools, county, townships, and other agencies receive a fixed payment instead of the windmills being normally assessed. This results in about a 70-80 percent reduction in tax payments.

A few years ago, before the state changed the setbacks and after several conferences with our township trustees, the Ohio Power Siting Board and Iberdrola, we determined that the PILOT eliminated our ability to negotiate with wind companies and was not in our county’s best interest. We revoked the Alternative Energy Zone designation for our county that had allowed the Blue Creek Wind Farm to be taxed under the PILOT.

Should the setbacks be returned to a manageable distance for Apex or Iberdrola to build a farm, this is the issue we would present to voters. We would ask the affected townships and the wind company to negotiate a tax scheme that has a chance to be approved and then submit it for an up or down vote.

A concern becomes who gets to vote on this issue? It does not seem appropriate that areas that stand only to benefit from a taxing scheme be allowed to vote to burden another area. For example, if a mega hog farm would want to locate on the outskirts of Convoy and the tax benefits would accrue to every other part of the county, what might be the result in Middle Point of that vote? Or if the roles were reversed, what might be the result in Convoy?

Van Wert City Schools would receive a significant monetary benefit if turbines were located in Liberty Township. But it is the residents of Liberty Township who would be burdened by the presence of the windmills and it would be that township’s tax revenues that are affected by a reduction in the amounts paid by windmill owners. I don’t know a definition of fair that would allow Van Wert City voters, an overwhelming majority of the school district, to determine this issue for Liberty Township….

Personally, I think I’ve been clear on my position in the past. I think windmills are horrible federal policy but as long as the federal government is intent on bankrupting our next generation, I wouldn’t object to see some of that money get wasted locally.

If you are in the pro crowd, I would advise against trying to pressure us to force windmills on a population that, as of now, does not want them. That has been the tactic of the wind companies for the last few years and it continues to have a zero chance of success. Replace lecturing with negotiation – the antis are well aware of the reasons to build these things and are not convinced. Perhaps you can pay their electric bills to win some support….

 

WHY is BigWind HERE? Read this excellent analysis

 

Outstanding analysis showing us WHY BigWind has entered our states…READ ALL THE BOLDS, IF NOTHING ELSE

…Last month, during its annual conference, the American Wind Energy Association issued a press release trumpeting the growth of wind-energy capacity. It quoted the association’s CEO, Tom Kiernan, who declared that the wind business is “an American success story.” There’s no doubt that wind-energy capacity has grown substantially in recent years. But that growth has been fueled not by consumer demand, but by billions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer money. According to data from Subsidy Tracker — a database maintained by Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.–based organization that promotes “corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families” — the total value of the subsidies given to the biggest players in the U.S. wind industry is now $176 billion.

That sum includes all local, state, and federal subsidies as well as federal loans and loan guarantees received by companies on the American Wind Energy Association’s board of directors since 2000. (Most of the federal grants have been awarded since 2007.) Of the $176 billion provided to the wind-energy sector, $2.9 billion came from local and state governments; $9.4 billion came from federal grants and tax credits; and $163.9 billion was provided in the form of federal loans or loan guarantees. General Electric — the biggest wind-turbine maker in North America — has a seat on AWEA’s board….

NextEra Energy, the largest wind-energy producer in the U.S., has received about 50 grants and tax credits from local, state, and federal entities as well as federal loans and loan guarantees worth $5.5 billion….

About $6.8 billion in subsidies, loans, and loan guarantees went to foreign corporations, including Iberdrola, Siemens, and E.On. Those three companies, and five other foreign companies, have seats on AWEA’s board of directors. Many of the companies on the AWEA board will be collecting even more federal subsidies over the next few years. In December, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the latest renewal of the production tax credit will cost U.S. taxpayers about $3.1 billion per year from now until 2019. That subsidy pays wind-energy companies $23 for each megawatt-hour of electricity they produce.

That’s an astounding level of subsidy. In 2014 and 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration, during times of peak demand, the average wholesale price of electricity was about $50 per megawatt-hour. Last winter in Texas, peak wholesale electricity prices averaged $21 per megawatt hour. Thus, on the national level, wind-energy subsidies are worth nearly half the cost of wholesale power, and in the Texas market, those subsidies can actually exceed the wholesale price of electricity.

Of course, wind-energy boosters like to claim that the oil-and-gas sector gets favorable tax treatment, too. That may be so, but those tax advantages are tiny when compared with the federal gravy being ladled on wind companies. Recall that the production tax credit is $23 per megawatt-hour. A megawatt-hour of electricity contains 3.4 million Btu. That means wind-energy producers are getting a subsidy of $6.76 per million Btu. The current spot price of natural gas is about $2.40 per million Btu. Thus, on an energy-equivalent basis, wind energy’s subsidy is nearly three times the current market price of natural gas….

Keep in mind that the $176 billion figure in wind-energy subsidies is a minimum number. It counts only subsidies given to companies on AWEA’s board. Not counted are subsidies handed out to companies like Google, which got part of a $490 million federal cash grant for investing in an Oregon wind project. Nor does it include the $1.5 billion in subsidies given to SunEdison, the now-bankrupt company that used to have a seat on AWEA’s board. (To download the full list of subsidies garnered by AWEA’s board members, click here.)…

 

Source: Wind-Energy Sector Gets $176 Billion Worth of Crony Capitalism, by Robert Bryce, National Review

Are wind developers part of your ‘public’ at county commissioner meetings?

This week Everpower spoke on the record to the Springfield News Sun about their future plans.   Everpower spokesman, Michael Speerscheider, had this to say:

 “ It’s still too early to say whether the legislation will mean the end of the Buckeye wind farm,” said Michael Speerschneider, a spokesman for Everpower. The project is in jeopardy because the state legislation will freeze current mandates for renewable energy, he said, making it harder to find a buyer for the electricity produced by the turbines. Everpower doesn’t have a timeline for when it will decide whether to move ahead or kill the projects. “It’s very early,” Speerschneider said. “We’re still trying to figure out what it all means and if we can work through it. It could very well be something that leads to having a lot more difficulty in completing the projects.”

 

The American Wind Energy Association (“AWEA”) stated they plan to be actively engaged in the process of the new legislative Study Committee and their spokesman states “We’d say it starts a two-year debate and we plan to win the debate,” Kelley said. “I don’t think we can afford to wait two years.”

Meanwhile, Senator Keith Faber  states in the article that: “The renewable mandates might make sense, he said, but the state needs to determine whether the wind farms are a good investment for consumers.

“They’re getting multiple subsidies,” Faber said of the wind farms. “The question is when is enough enough and when should they be viable.”

This is the first time we have heard Senator Faber express concern about the subsidies that federal and Ohio taxpayers and ratepayers have paid out to support wind development.  Under current law, renewable energy is eligible to seek local tax abatement of the public utility personal property tax for projects where construction begins prior to January 1, 2019.  But we believe the mandate is also a form of subsidy so it is difficult to understand exactly what Senator Faber means.   On more than one occasion, Everpower has expressed concern over whether they could go forward without the federal Production Tax credit, or whether failure to be granted PILOT payments would make the project infeasible.  Those two issues didn’t come up in the context of today’s story even though the PTC is currently expired and Everpower has yet to make application for PILOT in Champaign County.   

In the meantime, Everpower’s local team of Jason Dagger and Michael Pullins were busy advising the Champaign County Commissioners on local economic development.  In a public hearing to which only four members of the public went, Dagger and Pullins comprised ½ of the “public”.  They opined as follows:

“Buckeye Wind Farm Project Manager Jason Dagger said this was a tremendous asset to move money back toward economic development.  “I would encourage you to move more (money) towards economic development if there’s ever the possibility to do that because I think that is a driver for this county,” Dagger said. “We need to see groundbreakings in general. Whether they’re renewable energy or general businesses that need to expand in the community, we need to see folks out there attracting them in here and showing the assets that we have.”  EverPower Consultant Mike Pullins suggested the county should partner with surrounding counties to leverage resources toward economic development.”

Could they be working on warming up the Commission for their plea for tax abatement as a “driver” for their debatable economic development?   Is wind development really a positive for a economic development? See our next blogs and decide for yourself…

Everpower Renewables has spent as much as $10 million in Ohio to get a trio of wind projects ready for construction, including in Champaign County, but two recently signed laws are making the firm reconsider if their investment is still worth the effort….

via Long fight over wind turbines, energy laws | Springfield, OH News | www.springfieldnewssun.com.

Wake up Ohio Senator Cliff Hite. Will the people reelect you next time?

Senator Hite

Unfortunately, Mr. Schaffner (an anti-‘wind’er) was not successful in his efforts to unseat Senator Hite; however, pay attention Mr. Hite. Van Wert county is, currently, your only county with industrial wind turbines…that won’t be the case for long. In this only county with turbines, Mr. Schaffner carried 49.8% of the votes. Consider this a wake up call, Senator Hite. The citizens are awaking to the realities behind this industry and in Indiana, incumbents that were pro’wind’ers were UNseated last night…..

State Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, will hold onto his seat after winning a three-person primary for Ohio’s 1st District senate seat Tuesday…

Schaffner, a farmer and tool and die maker, did his best in his home area of Van Wert County, where he led the way with 49.8 percent of the votes. Hite won the other 10 counties in the district.

“I’d hate to guess how much money Hite spent on mailers,” said Schaffner, who said his home received four mailers from Hite. “As usual, the money sometimes can control how people vote. Obviously I couldn’t afford to send out that many mailers.”…

via State races roundup: Hite wins 1st District Senate seat –.