Van Wert blade shear gets NO media attention? Help us change this!

Against the backdrop of an upcoming election and a diminishing legislative calendar, the wind lobby is working overtime to press its case for reduced setbacks.   President Trump is a broken record on fake news but what about “no news”?   A blade failure occurred at Avangrid’s Van Wert County Blue Creek project on August 26th.    The turbines in the project are 476’ and a 10-foot section was documented by the local people via use of a drone to have flown approximately 825’.    Neither a 1.1x turbine height from the property line nor a 1.2x distance as suggested in H.B. 114 would have protected the neighbors, children or livestock from the thrown fragment.   

 

In this recent case, it appears the “systems” designed to stop the turbine did not work.  The rotor continued to spin for at least ten minutes after the blade fragment was thrown.  Neighbors called 911.  The Avangrid representative arrived two hours after the failure.  As far as we know, there has been NO media report or statement from the Blue Creek operator. 

 

Likewise, in Texas where a blade failure caused an overspeed situation and possibility of fire, a family of five was evacuated from their home.   There has been almost no press coverage of this event which occurred on the same day as Blue Creek   Lack of access to timely, actual  failure reports is one more compelling reason for statutory protective setbacks measured from property lines.  As seen in the story below, the mechanical safeguards intended to prevent the Texas overspeed situation, did not work.  ….

Texas family forced to leave home

Ohio Mayor shares the realities of BigWind in Van Wert, Ohio

BigWind does NOT generate a windfall for the communities in which it resides and Van Wert is no exception. BigWind avoids paying tax, thanks to the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) that they INSIST each community accepts.  Additionally, they are given dozens of other incentives/subsidies to bully their way into a community.  BigWind is a plague on our grid and it will increase our electricity rates.  Let us say thank you to this mayor for stating some hard facts and numbers, so the public can see the truth.  Unfortunately, our legislators are being told another, completely different story from the BigWind lobbyists. Senator Cliff Hite is a perfect example, as he appears to do everything he can to pave the way for more BigWind in Ohio.  Please share these truths with YOUR legislator…because most are drinking the BigWind koolaid….

By Jerry Mazur

This has been a week filled with misquotes, misunderstandings, and personal attacks. I think the full moon stimulated some strange thinking in a few of the uninformed or misinformed among us.

Recently, in a discussion, I made reference to the number of people needed to work in Van Wert to generate an additional $530,000 of income tax. This is approximately the dollar amount of the State’s government funding that Van Wert received annually from Columbus. This was prior to the dollars being reallocated to the State’s budget seven or so years ago. This government funding (our money) being sent back to us was a major infusion for our General Fund.

To get back to the point of my discussion, I used Federal Mogul as a data point due to the number of people working there who are paying City income tax. My statement was that “it would take about two companies the size of Federal Mogul with approximately the same number of employees to fill the gap that the shortfall in government funding created.” I went on to say, “or maybe one company the size of Eaton.”

My point to all this was, while we are aggressively seeking new businesses and jobs to come to Van Wert, it will take years and all the blessings available to us to see the fruits of our labor. In the interim, we must make the decision to step to the plate and vote yes to the .28 tax increase proposal.

I received a Facebook posting from Mr. or Ms. HTW, also known as misinformed. He or she stated that the Blue Creek Wind Farm was adding about $6,000,000 to the local economy and that tIn the interim, we must make the decision to step to the plate and vote yes to the .28 tax increase proposal.he City should forget the 0.28 tax and explore wind farms as a source of revenue.

Well, let me set the record straight. According to the County Auditor’s Office, several schools, some townships, some property owners, and the County government have received payments from wind energy. However, in searching the financial records with City Auditor Martha Balyeat, we find no direct wind energy contributions being made to the City of Van Wert. To that I say, Mr. or Ms. HTW, we’re still looking for our portion of the $6,000,000 you boasted about in your Facebook posting.

If by chance you’re speaking to the guy who signs the checks at Blue Creek Wind Farm, please have him send a check in the amount of $531,000 to Martha Balyeat, Auditor, 515 E. Main St., Van Wert, Ohio 45891, and mark it General Fund Contribution. By the way, we’re going to need this amount year over year. Thank you.

To all reasonable thinkers out there, please don’t hold your breath. I think it’s going to be some time before we see either Mr. or Ms. HTW or Blue Creek Wind Farm coming up with the cash. In the meantime, we must go to the polls and say yes to the modest .28 tax question. Consider this: if you are earning $50,000 dollars a year, you would be asked to pay an additional $2.69 cents per week. If you have no earned income, such as being on retirement, Social Security, or receiving no earned income, you will not be paying additional tax. And yes, I am asking the seniors to get out and vote. It is important to you, your children, and your grandchildren. We must keep City services funded for the good of the order.

With regard to the economic windfall created by the wind farms, we have looked at the hotel/motel tax that is paid to the City. Yes, there has been an increase in these tax dollars. This tax was greatly stimulated by the addition of the new Holiday Inn Express and a modest amount attributed to the wind farm construction crews with overnight stays. On the other hand, construction crews typically rent by the month and are not subject to this tax. Therefore, this is not a great source of economic impact to the City. The crews do spend dollars in our stores and restaurants and do pay sales tax. These taxes go to the County.

As mayor of Van Wert, I have and will continue to maintain a neutral position regarding additional wind farms. It is my opinion that this should be decided by the voters in those districts which will be impacted by them. I would say, however, that I would be concerned if the wind farms were to consume potential housing development areas around the City. I have concerns about setback requirements choking off housing developments. Housing will very much be in demand should we be successful in attracting new companies and jobs to our area. This is a long-term outlook, but my experience tells me that we must have available housing areas in order to make us attractive to interested companies. In addition, if the turbines use up all of the land and create set back situations, we will be unable to provide much needed space to future industry which would directly feed dollars into the City of Van Wert….


In closing, Sir, it is not my nature to look down on or treat people poorly. I am a blue collar worker such as yourself. I have worked my entire lifetime building my personal character and staunch life-long relationships. I have great respect for the people of Van Wert and thank them for allowing me to serve as their mayor.

Early voting has started, so please step up to the plate for the .28 tax increase proposal.

Source: Mayor responds to comments – Times Bulletin

WOW, AWEA can’t do basic math

In Ohio, BigWind is/has building/proposing projects that consume, on average 16,000 acres each. Now, if we look at Blue Creek, alone, there are 152 turbines. 16,000 divided by 152 is 105 acres/turbine.  Obviously, each turbine does not take up 105 acres, but when you include setbacks, homes, roadways, communities, etc. AWEA is blatantly WRONG.  You canNOT extrapolate acreage based on the actual, physical consumption of land by the industrial wind turbine.  According to Ohio’s average land consumption of 16,000 acres, our math shows that the AWEA assumption needs to be revised to be multiplied by 141!! In this case, the mass of Rhode Island x 141 = 169,200 square miles…LARGER THAN THE SIZE OF CALIFORNIA.  And, does this actually power America? NO, because we need MORE coal and MORE gas to ‘backup’ the intermittency of the turbines….

…The Supreme Court put a hold on enforcement of the plan in February to allow legal challenges to it to be resolved in court. If the Court of Appeals rules that the government can legally enforcement the plan, the country will have to start using a lot more renewable energy (like wind and solar) — and much less coal — by the year 2030.

Part of the plan calls for the creation of incentives to encourage states to build wind farms. Though the US invested $14.5 billion in wind-power project installations last year, wind farms still provide less than 5% of the nation’s energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

But what would a US powered only by wind actually look like?

To answer that question, AWEA’s manager of industry data analysis, John Hensley, did the following math: 4.082 billion megawatt-hours (the average annual US electricity consumption) divided by 7,008 megawatt-hours of annual wind energy production per wind turbine equals approximately 583,000 onshore turbines.

In terms of land use, those 583,000 turbines would take up about the total land mass of Rhode Island, Hensley says, because wind projects typically require 0.74 acres of land per megawatt produced….

Source: Here’s how much of the US would need to be covered in wind turbines to power the nation

The ‘rest of the story’ about Van Wert, Ohio turbines

How often does BigWind create a positive atmosphere in the community? How often does it bring unity? How often do Facts relay the Truth? rarely…..

To the editor,

Citizens for Clear Skies is a group formed to bring the truth to the community on the dynamics of wind energy. We are accused of only being negative from the opposition group. This is our collaborative response to their last letter:

We see significant reductions in this technology globally due to governments becoming more educated in time over the detrimental impact to consumer power bills.

We see an intermittent “resource”, one that is rarely present when consumers need it most….

We see structures that bring an “urban” feel to the country by dominating the skies, not the peace and quiet we feel we deserve by choosing to live rurally.

We see greed at the expense of your neighbors in their property value depreciation.

We see companies that use schools as their primary pawns, then paint those opposed as anti-school and anti-community.

We see taxpayer backed technologies that put hundred of millions into the pockets of company investors, while providing a fraction of that profit to a community affected….

We see farmers that have a choice whether to prevent urban sprawl or choose to sell their land.

We see a community where farmers by far have the most capital and land, as compared to other residents.

We see and hear countless stories of shadow flicker, sound and vibrational disturbances that cause serious negative health impacts on many, not non-intrusive objects to farm around.

We see trespass zoning and zoning laws that protect all citizens, not someone’s right to circumvent laws that have existed much longer than this technology.

We see small town residents buying into the massive expansion of government instead of maintaining the small government principles that make our country work better.

We see energy that is inherently more expensive and less reliable when we need it most, one that does little or nothing to reduce CO2 emissions.

We see an issue in climate change, one where relevant studies and data from opposition is completely suppressed by a willing media to promote their leftist agenda, rather than allow public debate.

We see a negative contribution to a country already 20 trillion dollars in debt, a debt that our children will have to repay at some point, the kind of big government that would make Eastern European countries proud (while they are ironically reducing this technology significantly)….

We see community and family division, not a positive attitude, solely created by this intrusion.

Hopefully Van Wert really digs into this issue and realizes what is happening globally with this technology. Recently one wind developer claimed that Ohio was not a solid wind energy resource. Wind energy is being fought and failing in many places in the country, not just Van Wert. People in the Blue Creek foot print are suffering. There are ample testimonials of families and their dealings with wind energy. It is claimed that wind energy will attract people to live here, but we find that to be dishonest. Ask someone considering relocation to Van Wert if they would buy a rural property under monstrous wind turbines, or would choose to live in the city or elsewhere? We think that answer is pretty obvious.

Citizens for Clear Skies

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….

 

(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

 

How Big will the turbines be, planted next to you, in Ohio? Bigger than you think…

 

No sooner had we written about the prospects for the Clean Power Plan, Justice Scalia died and now there is much speculation about his successor and whether the U.S. Senate will hold hearings on any nomination that might be made by President Obama. We cannot speculate on what will happen but thought you should know the constitutionality of the Clean Power Plan hangs in the balance. In some states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, the Governor has ordered that no further work on the CPP be undertaken while in Kansas and Missouri, the legislatures are working to halt activity. Ohio waits to hear what happens next.

In advance of a major Wind Operations and Maintenance conference coming up in Texas, a report has been issued reviewing issues that are arising as the fleet of wind turbines deployed across America age. The numbers are sobering and should give any community thinking about approving a wind facility second thought. Principal findings include:

• Bearing failure/ repair & maintenance focus set to double by 2017

• Original Equipment Manufacturers could lose 15% share of the O&M market by 2020

• Condition Monitoring Systems & Analytics investment to increase 1/3 by 2017

• Optimization of power generation, not cost cutting the real driver of investment (63/37%)

This means among other things, the noise from turbines is going to get a lot louder as the turbines age and are in need of gearbox repair. Also, repowering existing turbines with longer blades will increase. Moreover, those turbines that cannot be viably repowered will be decommissioned (or left to rust in the fields). Finding Q13 “What is the single biggest focus for you over the next 12 months?” was decommissioning.

What does “optimization of power generation” mean? It means taller turbines and longer blades and it should mean longer setbacks. We think the giants are coming to Ohio. The FAA reviews all potential structures that exceed 200 feet in height for possible air traffic obstruction. Recently, they have reviewed a wind development planned for Bellevue for turbines listed at 660 feet! Bellevue straddles Erie, Huron and Sandusky Counties. We include an article about this sort of monster below with a link to the monster movie showing its construction.

Going back to the Operations and Maintenance issues, our colleague, Tom Stacy, advises us to think about them in the context of annually increasing renewable energy mandates. Tom says, “Consider the implications of annually ratcheting energy market share mandates with a total schedule term longer than the lifespans of wind turbines. The deployment rate must increase markedly in later years of the program when new turbines are required to meet both replacement of old machines as well to meet annual benchmarks. And all this to produce randomly timed energy without firm capacity – dictating redundant infrastructure that includes necessarily underutilized conventional power plant assets. “

With respect to the setbacks defined in law, the notion of having the minimum be defined as a formula like 3xtower height plus blade length would be more desirable than a fixed number like 1,250 feet from a property line. In the case of the 660’ turbines, the minimum would then be 1,980’. That is a significant difference.

If you haven’t read the blog from, yesterday, please see that Kevon Martis, Director of Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, has teamed up with Senator Seitz to challenge those who would seek to override the property line setback law through HB 190. They coined the phrase “trespass zoning” and have written a terrific opinion piece for the Ohio media. They conclude by saying: “Good neighbors don’t trespass. If Big Wind wants to be a good neighbor in rural Ohio, it needs to abandon its demand for trespass zoning.” The Lima News has printed the article and we hope the papers in Van Wert, Bellefontaine, Urbana and Springfield follow suit. We believe it was distributed to all of them.

Notwithstanding all of the above, on February 18th, Trishe Wind filed an Amendment to the next phase of the Blue Creek project in Paulding County proposing larger turbines and seeking to be considered under old rules that measure setbacks from homes even though Amendments to previously approved projects are supposed to be subject to the revised setbacks.  Looks like that ole “optimization of power generation”! Attention! Trespass Zoning coming to Paulding County…again!

  Enercon E126 – The Most Powerful Wind Turbine in the World

 

 

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