BigWind requires ‘magical’ math to make sense in our energy grid

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It has been a momentous week in many ways.   Seneca Wind developer, sPower, officially withdrew its application and the OPSB granted the withdrawal on August 15th.  But this is not the first time this ill-fated project has been withdrawn.   In a previous incarnation, Seneca Wind was owned by Exelon who filed a pre-application notice in 2016 and then withdrew in 2017.   Exelon sold to sPower in 2017 and sPower filed a new application at that time.  Many are wondering if history will repeat itself and sPower will sell the project to a different developer like Apex. 

As proposed, the Seneca Wind project was to have a total nameplate capacity of 212 megawatts and consist of up to 77 wind turbines, access roads, electrical collector cables, laydown yards, an operations and maintenance facility, meteorological towers, a substation, and a 138-kilovolt (kV) electric generation transmission line to connect to AEP Ohio Transmission Company Inc.’s existing Melmore Substation.  The OPSB entry granting the withdrawal notes in a footnote that the 138-kV transmission line will be the subject of a separate filing with the Board.   Hmmm.   That looks suspicious to us.

In its entry, the OPSB describes the project as consisting of approximately 56,900 acres of leased land in Seneca County, consisting primarily of existing farmland.   This, to us, is another problem for the future.  In defining the area, one might agree that, on an acre by acre basis,  farmland is the predominant land-use compared to acreage upon which a home sits.  But is it fair to describe a rural-residential area as farmland?  It appears to us that the description used by OPSB without further detail, is misleading and unfair to the community whose opposed the project on the basis of population density.  That would be people – not livestock.

Transmission is a key aspect that communities should not ignore.  The OPSB lists two transmission projects in the pre-application stage: 19-1073-EL-BTX for Emerson Creek in Huron and Erie Counties  as well as 19-1066-EL-BTX for Republic Wind in Seneca County.   The Emerson Creek transmission line will be a 345 kV overhead line that will be approximately 9 miles long.  The Republic Wind line is planned to be an approximately 7-8 mile line located in Seneca County, Ohio and is needed to connect the proposed Republic Wind electric generation project to the electric grid.  It does not appear that public hearings on these projects have been held.

Happily, the Erie County, Groton Township Trustees submitted a Resolution to the OPSB opposing the Apex Emerson Creek project.  They join Oxford Township which is also on record opposing Emerson Creek.  Norwich Township has filed for intervenor status.    Moreover, the Seneca County Commissioners amended their previous Resolution dissolving the Alternative Energy Zone designation and added language that includes: “The Seneca County Commissioners withdraw all previous support of the Seneca Wind, Republic Wind or any proposed wind turbine projects to the maximum extent allowed by law. 

According to reports we have received, Lake Erie’s LeedCo Icebreaker project attorneys have tried to bar testimony from Dr. Jeffrey Gosse who recently retired from a thirty+ year career with US Fish & Wildlife serving as our USFWS Region’s Energy Coordinator.  In his testimony Gosse states “I have substantial professional experience and expertise in conducting avian radar and bat acoustic studies.”   DrJGosse  The testimony makes the point that:

 

“The Current Record and the Pre-Filed Testimony do not present any indication that Icebreaker has identified a specific technology that it proposes to use for pre- or postconstruction radar monitoring for birds and bats, or for post-construction collision detection for birds and bats, much less that Icebreaker has performed any validation testing of any such proposed technologies and presented the testing results to the Board. As a result, there is no basis for the Board to make findings and determinations as to the probable environmental impact of the Project on birds and bats as required by R.C. 4906.1 0(A)(2), or that the Project represents the minimum adverse environmental impact to birds and bats as required by R.C. 4906.1 0(A)(3). “

 

At the same time, we learn the US  Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it is considering Endangered Species Act protections for the lake sturgeon.  This should also support opposition to building wind turbines in Lake Erie. 

 

We also attach today a copy of a lengthy article entitled Inconvenient Energy Realities. It is a “must read” for all wind and solar warriors as well as government officials.   “Regardless of one’s opinion about whether, or why, an energy “transformation” is called for, the physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically “new energy economy” in the foreseeable future. Bill Gates has said that when it comes to understanding energy realities “we need to bring math to the problem.Inconvenient Energy Realities

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why BigWind CAN’T save the Planet

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From the Time Magazine ‘Hero of the Environment’ and President of Environmental Progress, Michael Shellenberger shares the TRUTH about BigWind in a simple, sensible format.  You don’t need a PhD to understand the logic of his arguments. He was recently featured by Tucker Carlson for his insights. We hope you will pick up on some of these truths and share them with your friends, family and, of course, your legislators….

…After college, I moved to California to work on environmental campaigns. I helped save the state’s last ancient redwood forest and blocked a proposed radioactive waste repository set for the desert.

In 2002, shortly after I turned 30, I decided I wanted to dedicate myself to addressing climate change. I was worried that global warming would end up destroying many of the natural environments that people had worked so hard to protect.

I thought the solutions were pretty straightforward…

Our efforts paid off in 2007 when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama embraced our vision. Between 2009–15, the U.S. invested $150 billion dollars in renewables and other forms of clean tech. But right away we ran into trouble.

The first was around land use. Electricity from solar roofs costs about twice as much as electricity from solar farms, but solar and wind farms require huge amounts of land. That, along with the fact that solar and wind farms require long new transmissions lines, and are opposed by local communities and conservationists trying to preserve wildlife, particularly birds.

Another challenge was the intermittent nature of solar and wind energies. When the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing, you have to quickly be able to ramp up another source of energy.

Happily, there were a lot of people working on solutions…

Other problems didn’t seem like such a big deal, on closer examination. For example, after I learned that house cats kill billions of birds every year it put into perspective the nearly one million birds killed by wind turbines.

It seemed to me that most, if not all, of the problems from scaling up solar and wind energies could be solved through more technological innovation.

But, as the years went by, the problems persisted and in some cases grew worse….

Despite what you’ve heard, there is no “battery revolution” on the way, for well-understood technical and economic reasons.

As for house cats, they don’t kill big, rare, threatened birds. What house cats kill are small, common birds, like sparrows, robins and jays. What killsbig, threatened, and endangered birds—birds that could go extinct—like hawks, eagles, owls, and condors, are wind turbines.

In fact, wind turbines are the most serious new threat to important bird species to emerge in decades. The rapidly spinning turbines act like an apex predator which big birds never evolved to deal with…

As we were learning of these impacts, it gradually dawned on me that there was no amount of technological innovation that could solve the fundamental problem with renewables.

You can make solar panels cheaper and wind turbines bigger, but you can’t make the sun shine more regularly or the wind blow more reliably. I came to understand the environmental implications of the physics of energy. In order to produce significant amounts of electricity from weak energy flows, you just have to spread them over enormous areas. In other words, the trouble with renewables isn’t fundamentally technical—it’s natural…

Dealing with energy sources that are inherently unreliable, and require large amounts of land, comes at a high economic cost.

There’s been a lot of publicity about how solar panels and wind turbines have come down in cost. But those one-time cost savings from making them in big Chinese factories have been outweighed by the high cost of dealing with their unreliability.

Consider California. Between 2011–17 the cost of solar panels declined about 75 percent, and yet our electricity prices rose five times more than they did in the rest of the U.S. It’s the same story in Germany, the world leader in solar and wind energy. Its electricity prices increased 50 percent between 2006–17, as it scaled up renewables.

I used to think that dealing with climate change was going to be expensive. But I could no longer believe this after looking at Germany and France.

Germany’s carbon emissions have been flat since 2009, despite an investment of $580 billion by 2025 in a renewables-heavy electrical grid, a 50 percent rise in electricity cost.

Meanwhile, France produces one-tenth the carbon emissions per unit of electricity as Germany and pays little more than half for its electricity. How? Through nuclear power.

Then, under pressure from Germany, France spent $33 billion on renewables, over the last decade. What was the result? A rise in the carbon intensity of its electricity supply, and higher electricity prices, too…

Energy-dense nuclear requires far less in the way of materials, and produces far less in the way of waste compared to energy-dilute solar and wind.

A single Coke can’s worth of uranium provides all of the energy that the most gluttonous American or Australian lifestyle requires. At the end of the process, the high-level radioactive waste that nuclear plants produce is the very same Coke can of (used) uranium fuel. The reason nuclear is the best energy from an environmental perspective is because it produces so little waste and none enters the environment as pollution.

All of the waste fuel from 45 years of the Swiss nuclear program can fit, in canisters, on a basketball court-like warehouse, where like all spent nuclear fuel, it has never hurt a fly…

But aren’t renewables safer? The answer is no. Wind turbines, surprisingly,kill more people than nuclear plants.

In other words, the energy density of the fuel determines its environmental and health impacts. Spreading more mines and more equipment over larger areas of land is going to have larger environmental and human safety impacts.

It’s true that you can stand next to a solar panel without much harm while if you stand next to a nuclear reactor at full power you’ll die.

But when it comes to generating power for billions of people, it turns out that producing solar and wind collectors, and spreading them over large areas, has vastly worse impacts on humans and wildlife alike…

Bat scientists recently warned that wind turbines are on the verge of making one species, the Hoary bat, a migratory bat species, go extinct

I think it’s natural that those of us who became active on climate change gravitated toward renewables. They seemed like a way to harmonize human society with the natural world. Collectively, we have been suffering from an appeal-to-nature fallacy no different from the one that leads us to buy products at the supermarket labeled “all natural.” But it’s high time that those of us who appointed ourselves Earth’s guardians should take a second look at the science, and start questioning the impacts of our actions.

Now that we know that renewables can’t save the planet, are we really going to stand by and let them destroy it?

 

Ohio gets ‘messy’ when ‘clean energy’ (BigWind) plays ‘dirty’

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Thank you to the Toledo Blade, for covering ‘the rest of the story’. It is rumored that BigWind is steaming mad about this article and they are using muscle to get it retracted. Would you please take a moment to send the news site a thank you? Getting the truth out can be very hard….

We are led to believe that the fictional Madge and Gladys types could be sitting at the regionally-famous local café here, discussing Seneca County politics.

They fawn all over two county commissioners who are supporting the wind turbine project that would spread more than 80 towers across the farmland to the east, with a potentially devastating impact on bats, bald eagles, migratory birds, and the rural landscape. The duo chatter on about the wind business bringing “millions in new revenue to our county” and being a boon to schools, roads, and construction jobs.

Then the sludge barrel is opened, and the spin machine is set to turbo. Commissioner Mike Kerschner, a Republican who opposes the current arrangement with wind energy companies, then gets blasted by the pair of apron-wearing, county fair pie-baking mavens. “I guess Kerschner is against good jobs, better schools, and lower taxes,” they conclude in the radio spot. Giggles follow.

This is clean energy playing dirty.

I don’t know Mike Kerschner, but I’ll assume he likes good jobs, better schools, lower taxes, puppies, rainbows, and occasionally helping an elderly woman cross the street. His mortal sin is pulling back the curtain on a big wind project and asking just what the Wizard of Oz is doing back there.

The radio ads, which saturated the air waves in recent weeks, are the product of a Columbus-based entity with the seemingly innocuous name Economic Prosperity Project. Follow the dusty, purposely circuitous trail further, and you’ll find a Florida-based outfit named Strategic Image Management was paid $20,600 to concoct the radio ads. On its website, one Strategic Image Management employee brags about successful efforts “where TEA Party candidates were used to syphon Republican votes in swing districts to help Democrats retain or flip seats.”

Economic Prosperity Project keeps its financiers confidential.

The firm sPower is the Salt Lake City-based entity behind the Seneca Wind project.

Dan Williamson, senior vice president of Paul Werth Associates — a public relations firm for sPower — said sPower in no way funded the radio campaign, adding they want nothing to do with such an attack on Mr. Kerschner.

“While the commissioner has his position, we respect it,” Mr. Williamson said. “He is a fine public servant and not only would we not run an ad like that, we do not support an ad like that, and we denounce it.”

https://players.brightcove.net/1146616445001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5841949793001

The effort is even swampier when you consider the potential damage that 80-some giant turbines could inflict on bald eagles, migratory birds, and bats. Wind energy companies hire their own experts, conduct their own studies and carefully carve out their own conclusions….

“The data that has been gathered is junk,” said Shieldcastle, who throughout his 30-plus years as a wildlife biologist has focused his work on avian research. “This is the same ballgame that is going on with every wind farm project — the data is trash. There is nothing to support their claims of little impact. They are not answering the questions they are supposed to answer, and basically they are getting away with everything they can.”…

He is not a lone voice in the wilderness with his concerns about where wind turbines are placed.

Bats gain little attention since they do their work under the cover of darkness, devouring billions of insects and saving the agricultural industry loads of money in pest control. But experts fear they could be the most frequent victims of long blades slicing through the night air. The Tennessee Wildlife Federation reported that in just two months, the turbines at the Backbone Mountain wind farm chopped up some 2,000 bats…

And then there is the human impact. Some Seneca County farmers signed wind turbine leases years ago when they were sold by John Deere. That paper changed hands a few times before landing in sPower’s portfolio, and the prospect of one farmer’s 650-foot tall wind turbine casting its huge King Kong erector set shadow over a neighbor’s rural estate has created a schism of tension and resentment across the wind project’s 25,000-acre footprint in Scipio, Venice, Reed, Bloom and Eden townships…

“This wind project will change Seneca County to look like Seneca County on mars,” said Jim Feasel, a retired builder who owns an 800-acre farm in the county but turned down significant financial overtures to put wind turbines on his property. “I just couldn’t do that to my neighbors.”…

The group opposing the wind project contends that, along with the destructive impact on birds and other wildlife, the monetary incentives that sPower will receive are too high a price to pay for what the county landowners will lose in quality of life. They quote investment guru Warren Buffett, who said: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Shieldcastle, the research director for the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in nearby Oak Harbor, who said his organization has not been contacted by the wind companies to consult on potential bird and bat impact, said the torches and pitchforks are appropriate when citizens raise questions about wind farms.

“I’m glad to see people are standing up for themselves because it is becoming more and more obvious that these companies are trying to bully and intimidate anyone who opposes them or even asks questions,” he said…

 

Toledo Blade

15 reasons to kick BigWind away from Lake Erie

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15 Reasons to Reject Wind Turbines in Lake Erie

 

·         Special financial treatment for the wind industry, along with Ohio’s mandate that renewable energy be included in utility companies energy mix, have artificially propped up LEEDCo. It has received $50 million in taxpayer subsidies.

o   “(We) get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reasons to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit” – Warren Buffett

 

·         Contrary to LEEDCo’s statements, wind energy is high cost electricity because turbines spin only when the wind blows, roughly 35 percent of the time. Sixty-five percent of the time they are non-productive.

o   Hidden costs come from base load back-up fossil fuel systems that must remain on standby to fill the gaps. Base load systems are designed to run continually, not to be taken offline and restarted to fill in for intermittent wind energy making them more expensive to operate, too.

 

·         Environmentally, turbines destroy hundreds of thousands of bats and birds annually, including protected bald eagles and golden eagles. LEEDCo turbines in Lake Erie will violate the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

o   A study of one northern California wind farm found it kills about 60 eagles and 2500 other raptors annually . . . The Tennessee Wildlife Federation reported that in just two months the Backbone Mountain wind farm sliced apart 2,000 bats . . . PacifiCorp Energy’s paid a $2.5 million fine for violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act by killing 38 golden eagles and 336 other protected birds at its wind farms. . Duke Energy paid a $1 million fine for killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at its Wyoming wind farm, and more.

·         Wind turbines will spoil the pristine natural horizon of Lake Erie. Cape Wind, which planned to build turbines off Massachusetts, was cancelled after 14-years of planning due to broad public opposition, including lawsuits claiming the project would harm property values, tourism and fishing.

 

o   Lake Erie, once called a “dead lake”, is now a thriving fishery, source of drinking water, and home to countless waterfowl especially the comeback of bald Eagles along the shoreline. It is an internationally important migration route. The BSBO, American Bird Conservancy & National Audubon Society believe that by insisting that LEEDCO completes bird & bat studies through the right process and the right science, it will prove that turbines shouldn’t be built in Lake Erie.

 

·         Icebreaker is a serious environmental threat to Lake Erie and the drinking water it supplies. First, the turbines are certain to stir up and release toxins during their construction and thereafter.

 

o   For decades, multiple toxins, including PCBs, dioxin, mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic were filtering into Lake Erie and now rest in the lake bottom sediment. Moreover, the Army Corps of Engineers dumped toxic sediment from the Cuyahoga River into Lake Erie for decades. There is an unacceptable risk of stirred up toxic sediments while installing LEEDCo turbines and 12-plus miles of cables. There is also legitimate concern over what else could be stirred up from Cleveland’s heavy industrial past when the lake bottom is disturbed.

 

·         Wind turbines contain 400-plus gallons of industrial lubricants in their gearboxes. Those lubricants need to be changed and gearbox seals fail sending oil into the lake below. Even worse, exploding and burning wind turbines are commonplace. When this occurs, burning turbines will create toxic emissions polluting the lake below.

 

o   Research shows about 120 wind turbines catch fire each year – ten times the number reported by the industry. Fires are a problem for the industry, impacting energy production, economic output and emitting toxins, casting a dark shadow over the industry’s “green” credentials. Wind turbines catch fire because highly flammable materials such as hydraulic oil and plastics are in close proximity to machinery and electrical wires. Winds will quickly fan the fire.

o   To see turbines explode, just go to YouTube and search: “wind turbine fires”

 

·         LEEDCo is set to sell the turbines to Fred. Olsen Renewables (a Norwegian multi-national). Olsen will then sell the electricity from Icebreaker to Cleveland Public Power, Cuyahoga County and others who have prematurely agreed to buy at a rate that’s certain to be much higher than other available sources.

 

o   The cost to construct and maintain an offshore turbine is 3 to 4 times higher than an onshore installation, and Ohio ratepayers will ultimately be stuck with the bills. Icebreaker is projected to cost a total of $126 million to construct, resulting in capacity of 20.7 MWh. For comparison, the “Steel Winds” onshore project near Buffalo cost about 75% less and generates more power capacity. Imagine changing out the lubricants or replacing a gear or blade in high waves or during the winter. They will produce no power until spring at the earliest.

 

 

·         LEEDCo admits Icebreaker is the “demonstrator” project leading to Olsen building as many as 1,400 to 1,600 more turbines in Lake Erie (and likely other Great Lakes) and that will threaten the Ohio’s tourism success and reduce property values.

 

o   A view of 479-foot spinning industrial blades runs contrary to the views many seek for their vacations. A study by North Carolina State University documented over 50 percent of vacationers would not rent a vacation home if wind turbines were in view. The other half would insist on a discounted rate to compensate for the lost view. Moreover, home buyers pay a premium for location and view. But property values have been shown to decrease where views are diminished by wind farms. That triggers a reduction in property tax revenues.

 

·         LEEDCo’s contention that there is widespread approval for Icebreaker is refuted by a Cleveland Plain Dealer study that showed 57.87 percent of those surveyed disapproved of Icebreaker, and many more had no opinion.

 

·         LEEDCo’s inference that some 400 public meetings it says it has held shows approval is simply unsupportable.  Holding a meeting does not confirm approval, and may, in fact, demonstrate the opposite. Evidence is clear the general public has not been made aware of the costs or dangers inherent on Icebreaker.

 

o   For example, LEEDCo’s recent meeting at Cleveland Yacht Club was one where the audience raised many of these questions and LEEDCo’s CEO Lorry Wagner couldn’t answer or rebut major questions.  As a result, the audience came out in clear opposition to Icebreaker/LEEDCO/Fred. Olsen’s project.

·         LEEDCo’s claim that Icebreaker will result in many good jobs is nothing more than fantasy.

o   The US’s first offshore project of five expensive turbines at off Block Island created a few hundred temporary construction jobs and only about six permanent ones – these at a cost of $290 million! In addition, Block Island cost about $150,000 per powered household, a monumental waste and a factual argument against offshore wind value.

 

.   Decommissioning and Disposal issues are additional threats to Lake Erie waters.

 

o   The useful life of a turbine is less than 20 years. They must then be decommissioned and removed. In California, for example, there are thousands of industrial wind turbines that have been abandoned and are falling apart. LEEDCo has no plan to address such an issue. Moreover, if the “demonstrator” project fails to exhibit its effectiveness as a reliable supplier of electricity (as is widely predicted), LEEDCo will be long gone leaving no plans to remove them. Indeed, many of the wind farms built in Europe 20 years ago will lose their government subsidies in 2020 and there are no funds or provisions to remove dead turbines.

 

.   There will be a need for “No Boating” security zones to protect the wind farms just like existing security zones around power plants and similar infrastucture. But these new bans on boating and fishing access will encompass dramatically larger wind farm areas, potentially eliminating hundreds of square miles for recreational boating and fishing.

 

o   In addition, Icebreaker’s power cables will be on the floor of the lake, crossing Cleveland’s main shipping channel. If more turbines are eventually built in the lake, freighters dropping their anchors may run the risk of striking the cable areas in the same way dragging anchors are known to hit underwater oil pipelines elsewhere.

.    A recommendation by the OPSB staff to eliminate overnight operations from March 1 to Jan. 1 unless it can prove to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the OPSB that Icebreaker’s the six turbines don’t kill migrating birds and bats is ludicrous.

o   The recommended 2-year radar study of migrating birds must be mandatory, not optional, and results required to be made public at least annually. While the accuracy of such a radar study is questionable given the size of small birds, etc., this and other science-based studies should be required. Up until now, extremely poor studies are being conducted, and the conclusions they reach are not based on sound science. For example, they’ve concluded there were no birds. But they were looking at a time when birds were not moving!

Conclusion:

The Ohio Power Siting Board’s mission is defined as supporting: “sound energy policies that provide for the installation of energy capacity and transmission infrastructure for the benefit of the Ohio citizens, promoting the state’s economic interests, and protecting the environment and land use.”

Going green is fine, but not appropriate in every circumstance or in every locale. In certain places, harnessing the wind just carries an unacceptable environmental risk and unjustifiable price tag. In the case of Icebreaker, the OPSB, ODNR and OEPA must meet their charge to protect the environment and Ohio’s most treasured natural resource, Lake Erie.

Rick Graham

(Big)Wind NOT a boon for ALL Van Wert county, Ohio, residents

Wind not a boon for all Van Wert County residents

This letter is in response to Jason Dagger’s guest perspective concerning a PILOT for Logan County. Van Wert County went through this just a few years ago and we know the local Van Wert Chamber of Commerce director, Susan Munroe(currently employed by ALLEN COUNTY), is active in promoting wind energy for both Iberdrola and Apex. We are unsure how promoting wind energy around the country is a part of her job in supporting the local prosperity of our community. Yes, the construction of an industrial wind site brought temporary jobs for the months it was under construction, When construction was finished only a few positions were established for the maintenance of these turbines. The Blue Creek project manager has not even bought a home in our community nor has he moved his family here although there are plenty of residences for sale under the windmills. We were also told when we built the new schools that the industries would be impressed and decide to locate here. It hasn’t happened. We even have a mega-site that is ready for occupancy and no one seems to be interested in that either.

What we have had instead are landowners who were leased from at different rates. Decommissioning bonds set at, I believe, $5,000 per turbine in Van Wert County vs. $75,000 in Paulding County. Farmers whose crop yields will never be the same again because of the destruction of massive cranes traveling across farm drainage. Roads will never be close to original condi- tion. Many homeowners suffer from headaches, nausea, sleep deprivation etc. The Blue Creek wind project refused to hand over post-construction reports on bird and bat kill even though an area exterminator has to clean under the windmills before the coyotes do. Expect massive bird kill as Ohio is on many migratory routes. The bald eagle is starting to be re-established in this area and what a shame it will be if this protected bird is destroyed by wind energy.

Two of the county schools have reaped benefits and are almost giddy at what wind energy has provided them. They seem to forget where the money originated. You and me. Now some of the poorer districts around the state want their share. What is to stop Columbus from taking from the rich districts to give to the poor? Sounds like Robin Hood.

Now there is “buyer remorse” by those who leased their valuable farms. They are promised where the meteorological towers and turbines will be placed, but it is never where they say because the landowner has given his property right over to the wind developer. He can’t even park his wagons on the drive back to the tur- bine to fill them during harvest even though he owns the land. There is something about a no interference clause. You can’t even build on your own property without permission nor plant trees.

Wind energy is like a very attractive woman, but anybody who has a relationship with her ends up with extremely serious social issues.

http://www.examiner.org/images/WebEdition/041916_BEweb.pdf

 

What are bats worth to our farmers? More than BigWind!

As Halloween approaches, we have scary news for Ohio farmers who want to lease acreage to BigWind. Bats are already under assault d/t the white nose fungus, but turbines are a close 2nd. Estimates range between 600,000-1 million bats are killed every year by wind turbines. What will industrial turbines do, in the long run, to your family legacy? How much money do you want to spend on insecticides? Do you think it is responsible for you to accelerate the use of pesticides? You should think twice before signing a new lease when you consider how detrimental industrial wind turbines are to the bat populations. A new study published by the National Science Foundation finds that bats contribute over a billion dollars in value to corn farmers in preventing crop damage.  Boston University previously reported the economic value of bats as $72 per crop acre in avoided pesticide costs. Union Neighbors United (Ohio) is continuing its challenge to the USFWS rules for threatened and endangered bats….

In the grassy cornfields of Southern Illinois bats are on the hunt for insects, and according to new research, farmers have more than a billion reasons to be grateful for it. 

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today confirms that bats play a significant role in combating corn crop pests, saving more than $1 billion a year in crop damages around the world. Bat Conservation International funded the two-year experiment in cornfields near Horseshoe Lake in Southern Illinois, conducted by graduate student Josiah J. Maine and his adviser at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Justin Boyles….

“The main pest in my system was the corn earworm, a moth whose larvae cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to corn, cotton, tomatoes, and many other crops,” Maine said….

Keeping the bats out meant pests, such as the corn earworm, were largely free to reign havoc on the corn crops….To ensure only bats were excluded by the exclosures Maine moved the structures twice daily so birds could forage normally.

After analyzing the results, Maine said he found nearly 60 percent more earworm larvae inside the exclosures – protected from the hungry bats – than in the unprotected control areas. He also found more than 50 percent more corn kernel damage per ear in the corn inside the exclosures.

“By consuming crop pests, bats have tremendous ecological impacts in crop fields. Based on the difference in crop damage I observed, I estimated that bats provide a service to corn farmers worth about $1 billion globally” Maine said.

In addition to controlling pest populations, bats were also found to suppress pest-associated fungal growth found in corn— a money-saving agricultural service not reflected in Maine’s suggested estimate.

“This was sort of a serendipitous discovery of this research,” Maine said. “I found that [bats] seemed to be suppressing the population of crop pests and thereby suppressing the abundance of the toxic fungus and also the toxins produced by that fungus.”….

Source: Bats Worth More Than $1 Billion to Corn Industry | Agweb.com