BigWind ‘Spinning’ the TRUTH

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The New Year is staring off with gusto!  A must watch video has been produced by the Seneca Anti-Wind Union coalition.  Everyone – we mean everyone should watch this video, share it on your social media, send it to your friends and think about ways your community can activate your neighbors.   Watch https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=pzg8qPOgI7s.

Next, educate yourselves about a memorandum filed with the PUCO by the Staff of the Ohio Power Siting Board in connection with Republic Wind in Seneca and Sandusky County.  Last February Apex filed an application for Republic Wind.  In May, the OPSB declared the application complete and ready for review.  In December, Apex filed a motion to change the turbine models and alter the array resulting in all proposed turbines being put in new locations causing changes to access roads and collector lines.  They also requested that the OPSB commence a hearing on the revised application in March, 90 days after submitting practically a whole new application.  The OPSB staff rejected the request citing the customary 60-day window to determine whether the amended application is complete.

Staff sees no need to rush the process.  Apex will ask the PUCO to overrule the OPSB staff. 

If one visits the Apex Republic Wind website, https://www.republicwindenergy.com/ , this is how Apex characterizes it’s amended application and the push to cut short the time period for careful evaluation:

‘“Great news! After months of diligent work to gather feedback from the community, we have found a few opportunities to amend our proposed turbine layout for Republic Wind. We have been working with OPSB to update our permit application for the project with this new layout, which we believe will be even more amenable to the members of the Seneca County community as a whole. We are glad to report that we do not anticipate this shift to delay our project, even with our request to extend the OPSB review process. We want to thank everyone who provided feedback for helping us create an even stronger Republic Wind project.”

Pure spin!  They call this significant amendment, an “update” and does their statement that they do not anticipate a delay mean they do not anticipate the PUCO will support the OPSB?  Something to watch!

Next up is Invenergy’s Hardin Wind project.  This project has not received opposition from the community.  It was approved in 2010 under the old setback rules measured from the neighbor’s house and has been  amended multiple times although it does not appear the OPSB ever required Invenergy to adhere to the new setbacks.  According to the docket in the case, construction started in 2016.   In order for Hardin Wind to secure 100% of the PTC, they would have to place the project in service within four years of commencing construction (2020).  In 2017, the media reported that AEP would purchase the power from Hardin Wind for its subsidiary, Appalachian Power serving West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. But unbeknownst to us, the West Virginia Public Service Commission denied the AEP’s request to buy the output of Hardin Wind last April.  The WV PSC said the cost of the power would impose an unnecessary increase in power bills and be a burden on taxpayers.  WOW!

“Appalachian Power’s push into renewables suffered a setback in April when the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) denied the company’s proposed purchase of two wind farms, one in Greenbrier County and another in Ohio. The PSC ruling stated that construction costs would cause an unneeded increase in power bills and a burden on taxpayers. The PSC decision followed a similar decision made by Virginia regulators in April.

The company had proposed to buy the Beech Ridge II Wind Facility in Greenbrier County and the Hardin Wind Facility in Ohio for more than $86 million.

Appalachianarticlelink 

We are not certain if much construction has actually occurred in the Hardin Wind project and we wonder if it will go forward without a contracted entity that will buy the expensive power. Notwithstanding, it is interesting to look back to 2017 when AEP announced it would purchase the power from Hardin Wind, At the time, Invenergy spun the project this way:  “Wind power’s declining costs and the extension of a federal tax credit “make the purchase of these wind facilities beneficial for customers, improve Appalachian’s fuel diversity, and increase the company’s flexibility to develop and offer renewable products for its customers,” Appalachian Power said in a statement.”  Guess not…..

Elsewhere:

Trouble in Paradise China.  “China has said it will not approve wind and solar power projects unless they can compete with coal power prices.

China says NO to BigWind- Link

It has now been determined that the US emitted more CO2 in 2018 despite less coal and more renewables.  This is a very interesting article which shows that U.S. emissions reductions since 2007 were principally the result of the recession and lower energy use.  As the economy recovers and industry expands, renewables cannot contribute to CO2 emission reductions.  As increases in energy demand continue, more renewables are not the way to address emissions reduction…..

Recharge 

US 2018 CO2 emissions up despite less coal, more renewables

Research firm Rhodium Group reports the 3.4% increase was aided by the power sector with natural gas the main replacement for coal as electricity demand grew

By Richard A. Kessler in Fort Worth 09 January 2019Updated 09 January 2019

US CO2 emissions rose 3.4% in 2018, the largest increase in eight years, despite near-record coal plant closures and the addition of 7.9GW of wind and solar capacity through October, according to a preliminary estimate by research company Rhodium Group.

This compares with declines of 0.8% in 2017, 1.7% the prior year and 2.7% in 2015…

Total US emissions have generally declined since the Great Recession that began in 2007-08, in part because of lower electricity usage in the ensuing years but also from reduced carbon intensity of US energy supply as utilities switched from coal to natural gas and renewables…

Even though 14.3GW of coal capacity likely closed last year, the most since 14.7GW in 2015, additions of renewables fell far short of making up this shortfall as US electric power consumption surged year-on-year in a robust economy.

That raises questions about to what extent renewables can replace coal generation next decade and by extension, contribute to CO2 emission reductions…

 

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BigWind ‘Bouncers’ make bad neighbors

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Nov. 15, I attended the Apex public information meeting for the Firelands Wind LLC-Emerson Creek Project (OPSB case # 18-1607-EL-BGN). These public meetings are required by administrative rules for the Ohio Power Siting Board under OAC 4906-3-03. The meeting had some poster presentations and a map which depicted the locations of 655-foot-tall industrial turbines…

At one point during the meeting, I stopped to speak with a couple I knew from Erie County. I had opened my folder to make a note of the location of one of the turbines in that county. An Apex employee rushed at me and loudly stated “she is signing people up.” I showed her what I had written on my folder but she (the Apex employee) proceeded to insist that the sheriff deputies make me leave. The sheriff deputies were polite and explained that because this was a private venue and Apex had rented it, Apex had the authority to make me leave. I questioned how this could be a public event, posted in the Sandusky Register, yet…The officers explained…I did leave as the officers said they would have to charge me with trespassing if I did not leave at the request of Apex.

…Because we have no say in approving projects or how they will be sited, they really do not think they need to be accountable to us or to take our concerns seriously. And they can throw me out of a public meeting….

original letter in the Tribune

Is BigWind the ‘greatest’ thing to ever come to Ohio? Sorry, many think NOT

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This past week, Sen. Obhof reiterated his feeling that HB 114 to lower the renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and reduce the wind turbine setbacks was not likely to advance given the year-end time crunch and because the changes proposed need “more caucus support”.  “”We have very little time left and, as I’ve mentioned before, I think it’s more important we get policy right than that we set some kind of arbitrary deadline and say, hey, they need to be done by this date,” he said. “If we get to a place we’re comfortable, we’ll pass 114 and if we don’t, we won’t.”   In addition, the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Steve Wilson, publicly expressed that he “views his role as that of a caretaker and that he won’t advance any controversial legislation without the direction of Senate leadership.” Wilson also stated that he does not expect his committee to meet for the rest of the year.

Interestingly, Senator Wilson says he has consulted with former Chairman Troy Balderson to learn more about his role.  He would like to become the new permanent chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year if it meant he would be able to play a part in establishing a “wide-ranging” energy policy to guide the state. “I think these various bills we’re dealing with…they’re all things we should be measuring against a policy, a 30,000-foot policy that says do we or do we not think diversity in power is important?” he said.

The question of whether or not Ohio should have an energy policy that places importance on diversity in power is a good one.  Ohio has many power diversity issues. Whether to prop up nuclear plants, pull support from coal facilities that have years more life, or manipulate the market through subsidies and so forth are legitimate questions.  We think it is also legitimate to ask whether the population density of Ohio excludes sprawling wind developments that destroy the quality of life for rural residents.   If there are few areas where wind is commercially viable and there is also lack of rural community support, should wind be pursued for the sake of “diversity”? What would be the justification?   The riots in France are in opposition to an energy policy that was adverse to rural residents.

Senator Macron Dolan, who is advocating for his setback reduction bill, SB 238, wrote an opinion column in the Cleveland paper.  He claims the market is demanding advanced sources of energy (whatever that means). He seems to equate advanced energy with “renewable” energy despite the fact that Ohio has lots of clean energy from clean coal to nuclear to natural gas.   Like, Senator Wilson, Dolan thinks Ohio needs to take a “macro” look at energy policy.  Dolan also likes to focus on the notion of job creation even though most people in NW Ohio know that jobs would not likely be created in their local communities. Moreover, rural communities are working overtime to retain local employers who increasingly find it difficult to attract employees locally.  (BTW we learn in today’s news that one industry needing as much electricity as data centers is pot farms.)

Dolan’s position seems to be supported by a news article from People’s World.  Who?   People’s World.   Not being familiar with this media outlet, we looked them up on their website  which says:

“Editorial Reviews: The People’s World / Mundo Popular (www.peoplesworld.org) is a national, grassroots newspaper and the direct descendant of the Daily Worker. Published by Long View Publishing Co., the PW reports on and analyzes the pressing issues and struggles of the day: for workers’ rights, peace, equality, social and economic justice, democracy, civil liberties, women’s rights, protection of the environment, and more.

The PW is known for its partisan coverage. We take sides – for truth and justice. We are partisan to the working class, racially and nationally oppressed peoples, women, youth, seniors, international solidarity, Marxism and socialism. We enjoy a special relationship with the Communist Party USA, founded in 1919, and publish its news and views.”

 YOU CAN”T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!

Going back to the discussion on the need for renewable energy and related jobs, a hearing was held in SE Ohio’s Appalachian region where AEP plans to build two solar facilities that will be among the nation’s largest. Testimony in support of the project came from environmental advocates and some local people (maybe some Marxists and Communists). “Not all parties are sold on the project, however, with the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the Ohio Consumers Counsel arguing in filings that AEP’s plan violates the law because the company has not demonstrated adequate need. If the company can’t demonstrate the generation is needed, they argue, consumers shouldn’t be placed on the hook for those added costs. “This should be quite a challenge because Ohio’s electric capacity is not set by utilities, but instead is determined by the market and the regional transmission organization, PJM Interconnect,” OMA Vice President Ryan Augsburger said. It’s a well-known fact that Ohio presently enjoys a significant surplus of electric capacity.”

We now wonder if there is a different standard for utilities like AEP versus private for-profit wind developers who don’t seem to have difficulty getting approval for building unneeded generation facilities. Facilities for which they receive taxpayer support through PILOT on top of uncompensated nuisance  easements across neighboring properties through inadequate setbacks.

If Senator Dolan does not push SB 238 across the finish line in 2018, he promises to reintroduce his bill in January.   

In other news:

  • The Spectator also takes a swipe at wind’s “growth spin.”  The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’. You may have got the impression from announcements like that, and from the obligatory pictures of wind turbines in any BBC story or airport advert about energy, that wind power is making a big contribution to world energy today. You would be wrong. Its contribution is still, after decades — nay centuries — of development, trivial to the point of irrelevance.”   This article is a must read. It furthers the belief that there is nothing that can be believed if it is asserted by the wind industry. Preview: A two-megawatt wind turbine weighs about 250 tonnes, including the tower, nacelle, rotor and blades. Globally, it takes about half a tonne of coal to make a tonne of steel. Add another 25 tonnes of coal for making the cement and you’re talking 150 tonnes of coal per turbine. Now if we are to build 350,000 wind turbines a year (or a smaller number of bigger ones), just to keep up with increasing energy demand, that will require 50 million tonnes of coal a year. That’s about half the EU’s hard coal–mining output.

 

  • A group of Apex leaseholders and wind advocates held a community meeting in Huron County to discuss the Apex Emerson Creek project.  Calling themselves NOW (Northern Ohioans for Wind), the group heard from Miranda Leppla an attorney with Clean Energy Ohio and the Ohio Environmental Council.  Prior to that, Leppla worked on behalf of wind developer clients at the Vorys law firm.  The information she was reported to have shared with the community was literally unbelievable.  She actually said cats are the number one killer of birds and BATS and number two killer is climate change.  Excuse us?  Anyone out there find a bunch of eagles and hawks passed out from the heat?  Leppla went on to claim there is no scientific evidence of any health issue.  Hey Miranda, ever hear of the World Health Organization or their cautions on wind noise? This presentation was nothing short of shameful.

 

  • On the opposing side of Emerson Creek, representatives of the Seneca Anti-Wind Union held their own community information meeting to a packed house.  Concerns were raised about the ability of a landowners to build on their own land at a future point in time if the property was within the setback distance.  “But Natasha Montague, a spokeswoman for Apex Clean Energy, the company developing Emerson Creek, said turbines stopping a home from being built on a nonparticipating property is a myth.  “Any setback (required distance between a turbine and a home) is on the developer, a non-participating landowner is free to do whatever they want with their land,” Montague said. “Ohio has one of the largest setbacks in the country for nonparticipating houses. A turbine’s tip has to be at about a quarter mile from the property line.” The question is why anyone would build within striking distance of a failed blade, a chunk of thrown ice or moving shadows?  Would such a property hold it’s value if subject to nuisance effects?  Could it be financed or insured?

 

  • Apex submitted its own “article” to the Sandusky Register which printed it as news and not opinion.   Apex is beginning its efforts to convince County Commissioners to grant tax abatement for Emerson Creek.  Without really using any figures, Apex dangles the lure of thousands of dollars of revenue within Huron County’s reach.  What they don’t say is that while they may pay about $9,000 per MW, they would be paying about four times that amount if tax abatement is not granted.   Apex also refers to the largely discredited Hoen property value study that averages home prices with a five or ten mile radius of turbines rather than discretely evaluating homes within a ½ mile of a turbine.  Many times, nearby properties cannot sell at any price and foreclosures are omitted from the statistics.

 

  • As a part of their thuggery, the wind advocates falsely claim that local residents opposed to wind development are funded by fossil fuel interests.  Nothing could be further from the truth – and most fossil fuel companies are significantly invested in wind anyway.  Notwithstanding, Ohio wind developers and left-wing environmental activists are sending out mailers, erecting pro-wind billboards and making political donations to curry favor for their interests.  It is a David and Goliath battle and it is getting worse.  Chris Aichholz from Seneca County writes a good rebuttal to wind’s false claims.

 

  • In Henry County, Indiana, an ordinance was adopted by the town of Shirley.   Indiana law allows communities to establish a “four-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction outside its corporate boundaries.” The ordinance cites a state statute under home rule that allows towns to do this.  There are now 11 towns in the county that have created the four-mile zone around their city limits.  These towns acted to protect themselves when the County Commissioners adopted setbacks considered by the residents to be inadequate.  The wind warriors hope that if all the towns in the county adopt the four mile rule, it will be difficult for any wind developer to build despite what the Commissioners legislated.

 

  • In Jasper County, Indiana the local wind ordinance is under review as Renewable Energy Systems (RES) is planning to construct a wind farm. The ordinance amendment affecting turbine use in the county was brought about by changes proposed by a group of local individuals including Jasper County Plan Commissioners. The group’s goal was to provide what it has referred to as “adequate protection to those who choose not to participate in the White Post Wind Project.”

 

  • Huron and Erie County wind warriors will be interested to read about southern Illinois where opponents of a proposed wind development argue that the 600-foot-tall, 2,400-ton turbines would diminish the area’s natural beauty and harm sensitive geologic features that provide habitat to 16 endangered species, including bats and crustaceans that live in caves and underground streams. “Don’t get me wrong, we are all for alternative energy,” said Joann Fricke, 64, a retired U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who lives next to the proposed project along Illinois 156 with her husband, Mike. “But this is just not the right place for a wind farm.” Similar views have been expressed by local environmental organizations, such as Heartlands Conservancy and CLIFFTOP (Conserving, Lands in Farm, Forest, Talus or Prairie).   Opponents got a boost in October, when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources published a report, known as an Ecological Compliance Assessment Tool (EcoCAT), examining how natural areas and endangered species could be affected by the proposed wind farm.  The agency made 19 recommendations. The first was for the developer to consider an alternate location. The tree- and prairie-lined bluffs in Monroe County are largely made of karst, which is eroded limestone that includes caves, underground streams, fissures and sinkholes, according to Keith Shank, an IDNR manager in realty and capital planning, who led the EcoCAT study.  “Wind turbines weigh thousands of pounds, and they need huge concrete foundations that go down 12 to 20 feet,” he said. “That’s a lot of weight that’s not on the ground now, and the thing with karst, you never know whether there’s a void under your feet. So it’s a challenge to build anything in this part of the county.”

 

  • Extensive coverage of setback deliberations are continuing in Ford County, Illinois where Cindy and Ann Ihrke where recently elected to the town Board despite Apex’s aggressive efforts to defeat them.  In a straw poll, all 12 county board members supported restricting wind turbines from being any closer than 1,640 feet from the property lines of any land not being leased to a wind-farm operator. “There are times it is loud,” said board member Tom McQuinn, whose rural Paxton home is about 2,500 feet from a turbine. “It is extremely loud and obnoxious, and I personally could never vote to make someone live closer than 2,250 feet from one. … We should be able to protect those who don’t want anything right on top of them.”  This is an extensive article but worth reading.

 

  • A number of articles in Ohio and elsewhere reflect that labor unions are aggressively supporting proposals to develop wind facilities in order to secure work for local members.  But in Minnesota, the State utility regulators postponed a vote to approve a western Minnesota wind farm after construction unions criticized the project’s nonunion builder for primarily hiring out-of-state workers.  RES, a major renewable energy developer, last year proposed the Bitter Root wind farm near Canby with 44 wind turbines that could generate up to 152 megawatts of power, a decent-sized project. RES would both develop and build the wind farm. The Laborers’ union, representing several construction unions, asserted that the socio-economic benefits of Bitter Root would be “substantially diminished” by a lack of Minnesota workers. RES has used nonunion trades workers on other wind farms in Minnesota, and the Laborers’ union says those workers were mostly from out of state.  RES is currently constructing another wind farm near Woodstock in Minnesota’s southwest corner.   About 85 percent of the license plates on workers’ cars at the Woodstock job are from out of state.

 

  • There is hope that one day the wind turbine will be a thing of the past.  Google is working on a new kite technology to capture steadier winds at higher altitudes. The rotors can generate up to 600 kilowatts of energy, or enough to power 300 homes, Makani executive Fort Felker said in a 2017 blog post. That’s a fraction of the power output of a conventional land-based wind turbine, but the company’s goal is to “build a new wind power technology capable of reaching altitudes not currently accessible to conventional wind turbines,” Felker said in the post.  The kite would fly at an altitude of about 1,000 feet, which is much higher than typical land-based turbines, according to Felker. At that altitude, Hall said, Makani’s kite may be able to tap into winds that are stronger and more constant than the ones terrestrial wind turbines rely on.

(now, back to the picture at the top)…All of these questions and more were answered at the Northern Ohioans for Wind (NOW) alternative energy forum, “Wind and Our Community,” which took place Thursday at Ernsthausen Recreation Center. NOW is a grassroots organization that “gives a voice to local community members who support renewable wind energy development.”

NOW representative and local landowner Kevin Erf, who helped emcee the event, said Apex Clean Energy “has made significant investments in our community” by its wind turbine projects and in looking to bring turbines to Huron County and surrounding areas. He said the projects will benefit the schools, local economy and job rates and the area residents “for generations to come.” …

One Bellevue property owner said he has worked with Apex and the other companies and said from his experience, he believes “everyone of us in Huron County are going to benefit, whether we’re in the footprint or not.

“This is the most beneficial project in our community — ever. It looks like a win-win for everybody. There may be some inconveniences, but it looks like despite that, it’s going to be a win-win for everybody. I don’t know what could be better than this.”

Why do some in Ohio fight against BigWind?

Senate President Larry Obhof surprised the Ohio caucus by naming Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) as Chair of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Media reports noted “I look forward to Steve’s leadership of this committee,” said Obhof. “He has proven himself a hard-working, thoughtful, solution-oriented leader, and he understands the importance of developing a long-term energy policy that provides affordable options for Ohioans and protects our natural resources.”   Wilson was appointed to the Ohio Senate in 2017 and was elected to his first term in 2018. He currently serves on the Education; Finance; Insurance and Financial Institutions; Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs; and Ways and Means committees.  Sen. Wilson, a retired banker,  has not previously served as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee . He  is a co-sponsor of Sen. Dolan’s stand alone bill SB 238 to roll back property line setbacks.

With a new chairman installed, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources resumes its committee work this week.  It should be noted that HB 114 is not on the agenda.  Sen. Matt Huffman, attending a breakfast in Urbana on Saturday,  expressed his belief that there was just not enough time left in year to deal with HB 114.  Senator Huffman gave a brief speech while in town in which he said that there are significant manufacturing expansions occurring or planned throughout his District.  He is very concerned about these employers being able to attract employees. He said that if communities cannot supply a workforce, companies will begin to turn away from NW Ohio.  This begs the question, why would anyone want to live in the middle of an industrial power plant?  How inviting would it be to attract a workforce to an area that had become uninhabitable due to the proliferation of industrial wind turbines? 

As Lordstown, Ohio struggles to accept the loss of the GM plant there.  We should not forget it was only last May that the people of Paulding County destroyed a bit more of their environment and provided taxpayer subsidy (PILOT) to GM to “power” the Lordstown plant with wind. Guess wind and solar aren’t such great economic development/retention tools after all. Wonder how the folks in Paulding are feeling about now?

Out of curiosity, we visited the Ohio Secretary of State’s website to see if we could find more incorporations for Apex wind projects.  While it is not possible to determine where these projects might be, it was instructive to see how many limited liability companies have been created – some of them within the past couple of years. Here are eleven:

Apex                     Ashtabula Wind

Apex                     Buck Springs Wind LLC

Apex                     Emerson Creek Wind LLC

Apex                     Emerson Creek West

Apex                     Firelands Wind LLC

Apex                     Grant Ridge Wind LLC

Apex                     High Springs Wind LLC

Apex                     Honey Creek Wind LLC

Apex                     Long Prairie Wind I         

Apex                      Long Prairie Wind II

Apex                     Sugar Grove Wind LLC

The list, above, should remind all of us WHY it is important to persevere in this fight for property rights. This is a many year long battle, that must continue until our tax dollars no longer subsidize this inefficient energy……

There are many reasons why rural communities are fighting back against wind development. This isn’t some crusade against a cleaner source of energy, that would be silly to think that people against living in a wind turbine project want dirty air and water. What this boils down to is property rights guaranteed by the constitution, and the safety, health, and welfare of all citizens in the rural community.

First on the property rights issue. The rural communities are zoned agricultural/residential. Nothing about industrial wind turbines are either of those. The fact is, wind turbines are industrial electric generators. It is an oxymoron to call them wind “farms.” That is a fancy spin that pushes the idea of it being agricultural. And why do they push that? Because the wind industry expects a special land use exception to site wind turbines like they are agricultural.

I ask a simple question to the readers. Can anyone name one example of zoning regulation that measures someone’s industrial structure to the foundation of another person’s house? You can try to find it but it doesn’t exist. This is largely the language in wind ordinances that wind developers look for when attacking a rural community in the cloak of darkness. They want the public to think this is a farming operation so they can justify measuring these things to a house and not a property line. They want this to look like a confined feeding operation like that of a hog barn which can be measured to a house. Then you get into the argument that “I would rather have a wind turbine than a hog barn.”

Which leads to another question: When you build or choose to live in the rural community that is zoned for agriculture is it unreasonable to think you may experience agricultural nuisances? You know that comes with living rurally. A follow up to that, when you build or choose to live in the rural community that is zoned agricultural is it unreasonable to think you will be dealing with something industrial? Yes, that is unreasonable. It goes against the very essence of why people choose to live in the rural community.

Turbine manufacturers have recommended safety distances in their operations manual that is mainly established by Gcube insurance, the main insurer for liability of industrial wind turbines. The setbacks in these manuals are largely kept from the public for proprietary reasons. Shouldn’t the public have a right to know just how dangerous the wind industry’s own insurers define as what is safe? Setbacks all over the Midwest can easily be proven inadequate by many resources. If you want some specific information about proper setbacks please read some of the following links. Here is a study that proves that a 300′ turbine can sling debris over 1700′ from a physicist. Other recommendations based on safe setbacks can be found in many other places too (1, 2, and 3). As a final follow up to this section, ask any wind developer to produce a scientific, peer-reviewed, independent study that proves the setbacks they advocate for and claim are safe. They will duck and dodge. A developer recently turned that question around on me and I produced the study listed above along with two others studies. Then all I heard was silence.

This is about conflicting land uses and equitable zoning over all else. The language in leasing agreements plainly states there is a “no build” zone that extends out from a turbine. Measuring a turbine to someone’s house can deny them the right to develop their land as they see fit in the future. That is theft, it is referred to as trespass zoning. If developers want to site wind turbines, the zoning must be to a neighboring landowners property line unless they sign a “good neighbor agreement” also known as a setback waiver.

This is perfectly legal right now. But wind developers do not want to negotiate the property rights of all landowners in a footprint. They expect zoning law to allow them to steal uncompensated easements from all non-participating landowners as a part of their robbery scheme. That is unconstitutional. This is the source of the main opposition for people in the rural community.

Next, it is a quality of life issue. Wind developers constantly say there is no scientific evidence that wind turbines affect people’s health. Which poses another question. If that is true, then why does every leasing agreement offered admit all the health effects they so adamantly discredit actually do exist? I have copies of lease agreements and all the health effects are in every contract. And here is the bigger point, when you sign an agreement, you have been essentially “gagged” into speaking negatively about wind turbines to the public. There is a gag order in the agreement. Why are those terms necessary if the wind industry is so right about discrediting the health effects? Independent studies show wind turbines do affect people’s health and you can read that in many places (1, 2, and 3).

Thirdly, wind developers insist wind turbines do not have an adverse effect on home values. That can also be soundly refuted. They constantly cite a study done by the Lawrence Berkley Laboratory. That study is flawed. The Berkley study can be refuted in multiple sources (1 and 2). There is plenty of evidence that says wind turbines absolutely affect home values. Information about property value depreciation can be easily found (1, 2, 3, and 4.). If these reports are so wrong about property values and the wind industry is so right, then why do wind developers fight against offering the citizens a property value guarantee? Doesn’t that seem appropriate given the lengths they go to try to prove that wind turbines do not result in property depreciation?

Finally, some specific refutations of the pro-wind crowd from Van Wert County that was interviewed in your recent series. The Chamber of Commerce president said that the Blue Creek Project is the “number one tourist attraction” in Van Wert County. Where is the proof of that? I and many other residents have not once heard people visiting our community for the wind turbines. That is pure speculation and opinion. Secondly, she calls the turbine money a “game changer” for our schools. The two school districts that receive wind money have been on sound financial footing for multiple decades because their taxpayers have routinely supported ballot issues. It has nothing to do with wind payments. The annual payments are fractions of the annual operating expenses of these districts. School funding can easily be found online to prove it.

The only district in the county that doesn’t receive wind payments has far more academic opportunities than the other districts that do. The Van Wert City School district has fully implemented project-based learning through the New Tech Network, have two programs in the PTLW (project lead the way) methodology in Biomedical Science and Engineering, have a fully functional mass media television production studio on campus, a state respected robotics club, and a more diverse offering of courses. All of these without the addition of wind payments. So it’s a false narrative that wind payments are “game changers”; the truth is they help schools at a fraction of what is claimed.

It is also necessary to disclose some information regarding the pro-wind farmer interviewed in your piece. This farmer, admittedly, is compensated by hosting wind turbines. At a tune of $20,000 or so per year, this farmer has already received over $100,000 in payments and will garner over $400,000 by the end of the terms of the contract. Would that not be enough to say a wind turbine’s noise is “minimal?” Would that allow one to make no distinction between industrial wind turbines and a highway a mile away? If one believes so much in the cause, why would they not just donate their property for the cause? This comes down to money. Money for a minority of landowners at all of their neighbor’s expense.

In conclusion, folks fighting for their quality of life are not against better means to serve our complicated energy needs. We are fighting for our property rights, our health, our guaranteed safety, and energy policy that makes sense. I haven’t even touched on the false narrative perpetuated by the wind industry and how it’s saving the Earth. I have plenty of science that proves that is plainly false.

I also haven’t touched on the complicated economic picture that proves this technology firmly relies on tax and ratepayer support to produce a highly expensive, low-value product that negatively impacts all our bank accounts. Those are arguments that simply do not resonate with the average citizen. The complexities and dynamics are very difficult to comprehend. Lastly, the large amount of people who support wind technologies will never live near any wind installation, thus making it easy to push it on the rest of us.

— Jeremy Kitson, Citizens for Clear Skies, from Van Wert County, Ohio (Thank you to the News Sentinel of Ft. Wayne, for printing this letter!!!)

Jeremy’s printed letter

letter reprinted in entirety w permission from author

Seneca county, Ohio continues its fight against BigWind

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After seeing the information on the proximity of a large number of 650 foot turbines to Seneca East school, and the new World Health Organization concerns about the sound levels that sPower says will be experienced at the school, several people have contacted us about what could be done. We have checked into the issue and learned that the school can intervene at the Ohio Power Siting Board against the project as currently proposed in an effort to get the turbines pushed back farther away form the school for the safety of the children.

If you share these concerns, you can contact the school board members and superintendent. 

We hope that Seneca East takes the relatively easy step of filing an intervention so that all may rest easy that the health of the children is being considered in the siting of the proposed wind project. If this situation is new to you please study the attached map showing the proposed turbine location distances and sound levels around Seneca East school. Anything in the green/tan/gold areas on the sound map is considered unsafe by the World Health Organization.

***ADDITIONAL BREAKING NEWS***

Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas’s Mother-in-law’s Trust officially signed a wind turbine lease on August 4th 2018 with APEX Clean Energy for the Honey Creek Wind Project!!

Since the signing of this wind lease Commissioner Thomas has passed a resolution to intervene in the Republic Wind Project (APEX) and also has voted to officially hire a Pro-Wind Attorney to represent them. This same attorney’s law firm has had ties to APEX as well!!

Is this a conflict of interest? Is this unethical? We will let you decide!!…

 

At this point, it’s safe to say lots of Seneca County residents oppose potential incoming wind turbines.

On Wednesday night, for a little over an hour, county commissioners listened to concerned citizens’ thoughts and opinions on the Seneca Wind Project.

The meeting was organized by Commissioner Shayne Thomas.

“Nothing is pre-scripted, so we’re coming in with open minds and open hearts, and hoping to understand what the townships’ position is and move on from there,” said Thomas.

Every comment that was made, whether it was by the public or township trustees was anti-wind turbines.

Currently, the APEX Republic Wind project is on hold, but the sPower Seneca Wind Project is moving forward in front of the Ohio Power Siting Board….

Coverage of latest meeting 

Citizens for Clear Skies on facebook for more details and pictures- meeting was attending by some 500 citizens!!!

 

Ohio residents fighting BigWind

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Thank you to The Toledo Blade for covering some realities that the media often ignores, even if a little of the information is wrong. Ohio is NOT a great place for wind turbines. Look at the government wind map on our home page for proof.  Additionally, it is IMPORTANT for you to notice the bold blue mid page.  One BigWind development often leads to more….

Look almost anywhere across the United States and the fight against wind turbines comes down to a simple mathematical formula that involves people.

That’s the assessment of Jim Feasel, a fierce opponent of wind power and a resident of Seneca County’s Eden Township….

It’s all about the number of people per square mile. More people equals more conflict, Mr. Feasel said.

Seneca County has about 103 people per square mile, more than many parts of the country where the wind industry prospers and slightly more than the average square mile in the United States, according to the U.S. Census. Van Wert County, which hosts three-quarters of Ohio’s largest wind farm, the 152-turbine Blue Creek Wind Farm,has 72 people per square mile. Paulding County, home to the other quarter of that $600 million project, has less than half the density of Seneca County, with 49 people per square mile….

“It’s a topic you don’t bring up in a room of friends,” Mr. Feasel said. “All of the problems go away when you put [turbines] in areas where there aren’t people.”

He and Deb Hay of Thompson Township are among many residents behind a grass-roots group called the Seneca Anti-Wind Union. The group has drawn crowds in excess of 500 people to rallies twice this year…

Five Seneca County townships comprise the footprint for one of the projects at the center of the Seneca County dispute: Utah-based sPower’s proposed 85-turbine Seneca Wind farm, which the Ohio Power and Siting Board is expected to decide on in early 2019. The project is estimated to cost between $275 and $300 million and is expected to generate $56 million in tax revenue for schools and other local government bodies…

Charlottesville, Va.-based Apex Clean Energy’s $92 million Republic Wind project calls for 58 turbines, each about 591 feet tall, spread across different rural Seneca County townships, according to Ohio Siting Board records…

As if there weren’t enough controversy now, Republic also has two even-bigger projects in the early stages of planning in that part of northwest Ohio: its proposed Emerson Creek Wind project, which calls for 65 to 85 turbines in Erie and Huron counties, and its proposed Honey Creek Wind project, which calls for about 80 turbines in Seneca and Crawford counties…

Rural northwest Ohio is considered one of the state’s best regions for wind farm development…THIS IS WRONG! SEE our HOMEpage picture (near bottom)

Still, in Seneca County emotions are flying high, with several residents saying the projects have torn apart extended families and driven a wedge between longstanding friendships with neighbors.

“I’m concerned about this bitterness,” Greg Smith, a Bloom Township resident and Seneca Anti-Wind Union leader, said. “When you talk about the hard feelings and the divide it has created, it’s big time.”…

“I’ve had a number of people in my office with tears in their eyes worried about their home value and their quality of life,” Mr. Thomas said. “But their neighbor owns the land [next to them] and it’s a legal act in the state of Ohio. There’s the issue. It’s a property rights issue.”

Mr. Thomas has been a target of critics for several reasons, including testimony he delivered to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee on June 7, 2017, in which he sought a repeal of the setback rules the legislature passed four years ago. Those rules require 1,225 feet seperate the tip of a turbine from the nearest property.

Several developers have said those rules are too restrictive, and critics are incensed that Mr. Thomas told the Senate panel 16 months ago that most Seneca County property owners were in favor of softer setback requirements when many of them hadn’t even heard of the Republic Wind project back then.

Although developers began courting property owners as far back as a decade ago, details weren’t unveiled to the public until Republic Wind held an open house in Green Springs, Ohio, last December

Another thing that draws ire from critics is Mr. Thomas’ steadfast refusal to help townships be represented affordably in the Ohio Power Siting Board’s review process.

Mr. Thomas said he and Commissioner Holly Stacy, the other person on the three-member county board who favors the wind projects, have hired a former Apex attorney, Michael Settineri, to represent the county commission for the OPSB proceedings at a rate of $480 an hour. Many believe the county will end up paying more than $100,000 for his expertise.

“Commissioners are using our taxpayer dollars to hire a high-priced attorney to fight us,” Mr. Smith said.

Seneca County Prosecutor Derek W. DeVine, who normally would represent the commission, has offered to represent the townships but only if there is unanimous consent between them and county commissioners. The lone holdout is Mr. Thomas, who said he won’t grant consent because he believes that would jeopardize his attorney-client privilege with Mr. DeVine….

sPower’s Seneca Wind project calls for machines that are 652 feet up into the air at the apex of their blades, which would make them among the tallest structures in northwest Ohio. Only a few turbines in Texas are that tall…

 

Toledo Blade

BigWind smearing political opponents

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In his famous novel, Catch-22, Joseph Heller posits that “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”   Indeed.

Attached please find samples of BigWind smear mailings.  The first mailer was launched against Seneca County incumbent Commissioner Mike Kerschner who is running for re-election.  Kerschner supports the repeal of the Seneca County Alternative Energy Zone designation giving PILOT to local projects; opposes Senator Dolan’s Sub HB 114; and supports local control for siting industrial wind.  The second mailing was sent to voters in Rep. Seitz district. As you know, Rep. Seitz is a staunch supporter of individual property rights. 

There are three things these mailers have in common – and keep in mind maybe it is just a funny coincidence – or maybe we are just “paranoid”. It is Halloween, after all.

 

  1. The mailers attempt to defeat people who advocate for protective siting of industrial wind and who oppose wind subsidies including tax breaks, uncompensated easements across private property and renewable energy mandates.
  2. They are all sent from the same address at 35 East Gay Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215 Suite 403.  This is the location of Innovation Ohio, the Economic Prosperity Project and Battleground Research, Inc.  and some of the staff of former Governor Strickland who brought Ohio its renewable energy mandates.
  3. Apex is fighting to permit the Ford Ridge Wind Farm in Illinois; they are fighting to maintain the Seneca AEZ and to build Republic Wind in Seneca County as well as other Ohio projects such as Emerson Creek and Emerson West.

(We note that Van Wert County Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger was an opponent of the Apex Long Prairie project and he was also targeted for defeat but won an overwhelming victory in the primary this spring. A check on the Long Prairie website reveals it has been removed and it is believed that lease agreements are being terminated.  A cancellation was recorded with Van Wert County yesterday.)….

To:  Members of the General Assembly

You or your constituents may have recently received the enclosed mailer from the “Economic Prosperity Project” urging that “Republican legislators need to STAND UP to Bill Seitz” because “He is using his influence to prevent $4.2 billion from being invested in Ohio wind energy.”

I thought you would like to know that the mailing address associated with this flyer is registered to Innovation Ohio, a liberal think tank run by former Speaker Budish’s Democrat chief of staff, Keary McCarthy, and former top Strickland administration policy chief Jeannetta King. The “Economic Prosperity Project” is a new corporation registered to a former Strickland administration operative, too.

It is of course up to you whether to join the “#StandUpToSeitz” movement. Should you do so, you would be “standing up” for Ted Strickland, Armond Budish, and all their liberal pals. The choice is yours. Real Republicans will be watching which choice you make.

Contrary to the mailer, please know that I am simply resolved not to let Big Wind and their allies ruin rural Ohio with their unsafe and unsightly, expensive and intermittent wind turbines just to line the pockets of a few farmers willing to sell their neighbors down the river by advocating for wind turbine setbacks that are measured from one’s home, instead of from one’s property line. Anyone who has ever lived in a home knows that we like to use the yard we have for gardening, picnicking, shooting hoops, swimming, fishing, and a host of other activities that involve core private property rights. Big Wind, ever desperate to put more turbines in smaller spaces in densely populated Ohio, and biting its nails as the massive federal subsidies for wind production are being reduced by 20% per year, is bound and determined to get its way. It has decided to let Democrat front groups appeal to Republican households in a deceptive attempt to secure yet another government sanctioned advantage. Don’t be fooled….

Sincerely,

William J. Seitz

Majority Floor Leader

Ohio House of Representatives