BigWind huffing and puffing all over Ohio, especially near the Farm Bureau

In addition to news reports, there are three important items to relay on Ohio wind projects:

Invenergy’s 175 MW Hardin Wind project is awaiting regulatory approvals in Virginia and West Virginia for the sale of the facility to Appalachian Power, a subsidiary of AEP.  If approved, Appalachian would directly own and operate Hardin Wind.

Union Neighbors United in Champaign County announces that (with the exception of Turbine T-107) EverPower will refrain from constructing wind turbines in Union Township;  EverPower will file an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board to seek approval to reduce the 108-turbine location design approved under the combined Buckeye I Project and Buckeye II Project to a 55-turbine location design, of which no more than 50 turbines maximum will be installed; and the UNU will not oppose the reduced project.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled against the Black Fork Wind motion to dismiss the appeal brought by citizens in Richland and Crawford Counties.  The case before the OSC challenges the failure of the Ohio Power Siting Board to consider a revision to the Black Fork Certificate as an “amendment”.   If the OPSB had ruled the Black Fork motion to revise its project was, in fact, an amendment of the certificate, a hearing on the project change would have been required and property line setbacks would be triggered.  Black Fork had previously been grandfathered under the old setbacks measured from homes. In seeking to dismiss the appeal, the Vorys law firm argued that Black Fork should be denied a hearing based on an alleged technical flaw in their appeal.  One June 6th, Black Fork filed a second amendment seeking approval to allow the use of the Vestas VI10 turbine model with a 2.2 megawatt capacity which has the same physical dimensions as the previously approved Vestas VI10 turbine model with a 2.0 megawatt capacity. Black Fork Wind Energy has also requested an extension of its certificate to January 23, 2020.

This court filing is worth reviewing as the FB  states:

Farm Bureau members have an interest in effective wind energy development. Along with enhancing their income, farmers engaged in wind leasing agreements want to make sure that construction activities on their property adhere to procedures ensuring soil and water conservation as well as air quality. Residents in rural neighborhoods want assurances that environmental considerations, such as setbacks, noise standards, shadow flicker, and other factors, are addressed with effective turbine placement. Area businesses want to make sure that a wind facility in the community enhances local commerce and economic development. In short, OFBF has extensive experience gathering input, addressing the needs of, and representing farm, small business, and rural residents concerning energy development. OFBF’s interest in this case is guided by policy resolutions from Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 2017 State Policies.

 

This articulation of the Farm Bureau’s role raises more questions than answers given that they have consistently taken the side of the wind developer in every case before the OPSB.  In looking at the Farm Bureau website for the “policy resolution” which they contend is “guiding” them, we find only this:

 

Energy: Development of the state’s comprehensive energy policy continues to be a priority for Ohio Farm Bureau. Agriculture is being called upon to provide feedstocks to help produce energy, as well as accommodate generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure on farm ground. In 2017, Farm Bureau will provide education and outreach for its members. Finding ways to ensure energy lease and easement holders are provided information on project developments and advocacy in regulatory proceedings will be priorities. Farm Bureau will promote a diversified energy portfolio of advanced technologies which includes, but is not limited to, coal and nuclear as well as cost effective renewable technologies….

Ohio Power Siting Board says YES to BigWind’s ‘Top Secret’ information (again)

The Ohio Power Siting Board approved a request in the Buckeye Wind case from turbine maker Gamesa to extend the protective order which keeps noise and safety information secret.  In 2013 Gamesa was granted a protective order for 18 months,  On June 1, 2015, the OPSB granted an additional 24months of secrecy until June 1, 2017.    But on May 30thGamesa filed for yet another 24 months of protection from public view.  This request was  granted with the OPSB Order stating:

 

{¶ 12} Ohio Adm.Code 4906-7-07(H)(6) requires a party wishing to extend a protective order beyond 24 months to file an appropriate motion in advance of the expiration date, including a detailed discussion of the need for continued protection from disclosure. If Gamesa wishes to extend this confidential treatment, it should file an appropriate motion at least 45 days in advance of the expiration date. If no such motion to extend confidential treatment is filed, the Board may release this information without prior notice to Gamesa.

 

So mark your calendar for June 2019 to see if the Gamesa noise information is made public.  But in the meantime, Google Gamesa and noise complaints.  Maybe there is a reason they do not want us to see their manual….

New wind farms with a capacity of 5 or more megawatts must obtain a siting certificate through the Ohio Power Siting Board. This unique siting process is made possible in Ohio because all seven entities involved with approving the siting application are seated at the same table: the chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the directors of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Ohio Departments of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, and a public member….

 

Source: Wind and other Renewable Energy – OPSB

http://www.anthonycreditexpert.com

Big Bad Wolf (BigWind) is trying to blow up Ohio’s economy!

 

“Little pig, little Pig, let me come in.”

“No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.”

“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.”

In this case, the Big bad wolf of industrial wind is determined to blow Ohio’s economy to pieces with the help of the Kasich Administration. But we “little people,” like the little pig, are building strong arguments to protect our homes and families. 

The pressure is building on the legislature concerning the mandates. We urge you to read the article below that indicate a showdown is coming. Governor Kasich appears more determined than ever to veto any continuance of the mandates or any effort to eliminate them. What would that mean? Ohio currently gets 2% of its electricity from renewables. If the freeze is lifted, Ohio utilities would have to secure 3.5% by the end of 2017 or face fines. This is coming in the face of considerable publicity from Ontario, Canada as to how renewables have increased rates and wrecked their manufacturing economy. Similar stories are reported from Wisconsin.

AEP wrote a notable column in the press about their preference for the PUCO to have – no pun intended – all the power to do whatever they want so that Ohio will have a predictable regulatory environment. They seem to reject the notion that Ohio is a part of a regional power system. Julie Sloat, president and COO of AEP Ohio is quoted as saying “Instead, Ohio needs to take control of its future by ensuring that the state has a diverse mix of power generation resources that protect Ohio jobs and the tax base. Ohio’s energy future needs to provide a more stable and predictable environment for business development and enable more investment in power plants – including wind and solar – within Ohio’s borders, while still allowing for customer choice.” Forget it. AEP’s position appears to be one which invites the people of NW Ohio to be trampled and its migratory flyways transformed into a new kind of ‘highway to heaven’ for birds.

The Ohio Power Siting Board’s comments period on proposed rules for siting industrial turbines closes on Monday, October 24th. The OPSB’s website notes: “In May 2016, the OPSB initiated a new rulemaking docket in case number 16-1109-GE-BRO for the purpose of issuing for formal comment proposed revisions to Ohio Administrative Code 4906-4-08. In an entry dated, September 22, 2016, the OPSB issued proposed rules in amended Ohio Administrative Code 4906-4-08 and newly proposed 4906-4-09. The OPSB requests that interested persons submit comments on the proposed rules by October 24, 2016, and reply comments by November 8, 2016. At the conclusion of the comment-and-reply comment period, the OPSB will issue final rules to be reviewed by the legislature before taking effect. Specific information on the proposed rules can be accessed at http://www.opsb.ohio.gov/opsb/index.cfm/Rules/.

One excerpt from the proposed rules speaks to setbacks as follows:

(2) For wind farms only, the applicant shall provide a map(s) of at least 1:24,000 scale showing the proposed facility, habitable residences, and parcel boundaries of all parcels within a half-mile of the project area. Indicate on the map, for each parcel, whether the parcel is being leased by the applicant for the proposed facility, as of no more than thirty days prior to the submission of the application. Include on the map the setbacks for wind turbine structures in relation to property lines, habitable residential structures, electric transmission lines, gas pipelines, and state and federal highways, consistent with no less than the following minimum requirements:

(a) The distance from a wind turbine base to the property line of the wind farm property shall be at least one and one-tenth times the total height of the turbine structure as measured from its tower’s base (excluding the subsurface foundation) to the tip of a blade at its highest point.

(b) The wind turbine shall be at least one thousand, one hundred, twenty-five feet in horizontal distance from the tip of the turbine’s nearest blade at ninety degrees to the property line of the nearest adjacent property at the time of the certification application.

(c) The distance from a wind turbine base to any electric transmission line, gas pipeline, hazardous liquid pipeline, or state or federal highway shall be at least one and one-tenth times the total height of the turbine structure as measured from its tower’s base (excluding the subsurface foundation) to the tip of a blade at its highest point.

(d) Minimum setbacks from property lines and residences may be waived in the event that all owners of property adjacent to the turbine agree to such waiver.

We understand that the proposed rules also require that setback waivers be in writing, and the developer must notify the property owner of the setback requirements and why the property is subject to the minimum setback requirements. The waiver must apply to subsequent owners or tenants of the property, and must be recorded in the County Recorder’s office.

With respect to noise, the proposed rules adopt the +5 dbA over background standard but do not use the recommended L90 measurement which is the accepted form. It is also silent on low frequency noise. Noted acoustical expert, Rick James along with audiologist Jerry Punch have recently released a peer reviewed paper Wind Turbine Noise and Health: A Four-Decade History of Evidence that Wind Turbines Pose Risks. Both James and Punch have testified as expert witness on behalf of UNU in the Buckeye Wind project being developed by EverPower. Rick has asked that we share the link to the paper with you. We encourage everyone to read this paper that specifically rebuts 12 false claims by the wind industry regarding impacts to health. The authors recommend that distances separating turbines and residences generally should be in the area of 1.25 miles. They also caution that setbacks for physical safety do not protect against adverse health effects. This makes the standard for acceptable sound levels critically important because they can provide support to the property line setbacks currently required in the rules. James and Punch favor a standard ranging from 30-40 dBA, which is consistent with the recommendation of nighttime noise levels by the World Health Organization.

Finally, we recommend to your attention an outstanding summary of impacts from industrial wind turbines in Canada. Did you know “Earthworms are absent around turbines. (it is thought to be from the vibration in the ground). Farms need the three types of earthworms to keep the land fertile for crops. No worms, no crops.” Go to http://www.windontario.ca/ for more great, but disturbing information….

How much of Ohio’s electricity is powered by renewable energy?

Five percent? Ten?

According to the most recent annual report of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it’s 2 percent.

In other words, 98 percent of the energy powering Ohio’s lights, stoves, air conditioners and so much more is created from nonrenewable sources, like coal and natural gas.

Is that OK? And if not, should state government do anything about it?…

Seitz’s view on clean energy regulations

1. The senator’s view on climate change.

“My view on climate change is that the climate has changed for millions of years and continues to change. I think there may be a contribution from manmade sources.”

2. Seitz: This is about cost.

During a 45-minute interview on the topic, Seitz said, “this is not about renewable energy” and “this is not about coal. … Since everyone is for clean energy and thinks it’s free, we thought it would be a good idea to disclose on their bill just how much we are paying for this stuff … By golly, here we are at the lower reaches of it (3 percent) and we’re going to 12.5 percent on renewables, and we have bill increases of about 9 percent. We’re not trying to protect the utilities here, we are trying to protect the ratepayer … I recently read that wind and solar prices would decline by 59 percent by 2026. So my answer is: We’ll buy it in 2026.” Note: Seitz made clear that he meant an increase of 9 percent on the “generation” portion of people’s utility bills, not the total cost.

2. Renewable energy companies are already getting a tax break.

“Federal taxpayers, which include you, me and everybody I guess but Donald Trump, are paying them a 30 percent subsidy now,” Seitz said, referring to the renewable electricity production tax credit. “Why do you (companies) not only need this generous tax break and require the states to mandate that the utilities buy your overpriced stuff?”

3. Ohio isn’t a good state for solar and wind.

“Natural gas is what we have in Ohio. We are not a particularly good sun or wind state. There are places where that makes a great deal of sense – extremely windy and extremely sunny places.”…

4. Senator asks why create state rules until we know what will happen with the federal Clean Power Plan?

“Under the Clean Power Plan, the federal government mandates to reduce carbon dioxide by 30 some percent by 2030. … Why would we subject Ohio businesses and Ohio residents to escalating costs under the 2008 state mandate until we know how these mandates sync up?”

What did Gov. John Kasich say in Texas?

Ohio Gov. John Kasich recently sat down with CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit Texas Tribune Evan Smith for The Texas Tribute Festival in Austin, Texas. They spoke about a wide variety of issues facing America, energy and the environment were two of them.

Evan Smith: You, I believe, have said climate change is …

Kasich: I think it’s real. I don’t want to overreact to it, but I think it’s real.

Smith: You know, the mere fact that you say those words, that’s a controversial thing.

Kasich: Look, look. You know, when you get to be in public life, where you get responsibility, put your hands on the wheel and drive the car. What am I supposed to do? Take a poll? Who’s going to like this or that? Now look, when I say I believe there’s climate change, what do you do about it? I’m not for shutting down all this fossil fuel, I think this is extreme.

Smith: You did advocate for a tax on hydraulic fracturing, did you not?

Kasich: Yours (in Texas) is higher than ours, and I’d like to get ours higher so I can cut my income tax, instead of you taking all my liquids out of my state and living high on the hog here in Texas, you know. I like you, but I don’t like that idea. What I’m saying is, I think we need everything. Look, the Tesla is an amazing car. Are we going to get a breakthrough in battery technology? If we do, it will change everything in this country. I believe in solar and wind and all that, but let me tell you, I believe in fossil fuels, as well. With coal – clean it. Dig it, clean it and burn it. Nuclear power, you know … I think there are a lot of people who are extreme, but this environment needs to be managed. I believe this Earth was given to us by the Lord, and we have an obligation to take care of it, but not worship it….

 

Source: Ohio produces less renewable energy than Kentucky. Is that OK?

Pay attention Ohio- Board member who regrets deal with BigWind

Related

Will Ohioans share the same sentiment, as BigWind spreads across our state? If you think this won’t affect YOU, then think again. BigWind plans to blanket our state. Just read about it on our home page. Every wind site has multiple ‘phases’ in the works, that usually, quietly begin before the 1st site is even completed….

I am writing to you all as a former commissioner colleague who aided in the negotiations and agreements with E.ON Climate Renewables with Tipton County (Indiana)in 2011. From the onset, I was open to windfarm development in a small section of Tipton County because the commissioners had received no opposition and I felt that the landowners wanted it. … As you know, public notices are small and often overlooked in the newspaper, so not much resistance was present……………until the towers went up, and people saw how enormous and intrusive they were. The red blinking lights even disturb my own summer evenings and my home is 6 miles from the closest tower….. !!!! You don’t have the time to read what all I could tell you, so in a nutshell I just want to say that I wish I had the knowledge then that I have now….

In Tipton County……….my 83 year old mother is mad at me (since I signed the agreements) because she no longer has colorful birds coming to her feeders……..my brother’s view from his family dining room table used to be a vast expanse of crops and natural habitat…….now that pristine ‘vista’ is forever marred by giant metal structures………….neighbors hate each other…………back and forth letters to the editor have been selling papers for over a year now………….families are torn apart,,,,, and because the physical presence of the towers will be there for 30 years, these relationships will never be repaired. In short. . . . this has become an issue that has divided our community like no other.

It has torn our county apart….

If I had this to do over, I would NEVER enter into an agreement with any wind company now that I know what it has done to my home community. I am not proud that my name is on those documents. The wind company has breached many parts of the agreement, but insist that their failures are “minor”. Their field representative is arrogant and cavalier in his attitude toward the people who are suffering with the effects of the noise and flicker.

You can’t lose something you never had…………so you are not “losing” the supposed ‘windfall’ of money that the project purportedly brings in. What you WILL lose however, cannot be measured in dollars. You will lose the rural landscape as you know it and you will lose the closeness of “community spirit” because people will hate each other over this and the presence of the towers will always be a constant reminder of the rift…………thus the wounds will never heal.

Please consider this: What do you think of a company that KNOWS it has fierce opposition from a segment of the Howard County citizenry, but would STILL want to build in your county? It is akin to forcing themselves onto you when they KNOW they are not wanted by those in the project area who would be affected by their presence and are receiving no compensation for the change in their environment. How much of a “community partner” would they be when they really don’t care about the wishes of the people?…

Any issue that has become so contentious that it has caused large groups of people to assemble and vehemently oppose it. . . . and which has caused so much heartache and angst among the citizenry . . . . just cannot be good for the whole. I do not feel that Tipton County will ever wholly heal from the deep personal wounds incurred by many from the placement of wind turbines in our county….

 

Jane Harper
Tipton County Commissioner 2009-2012

Source: Meet Jane Harper – Board member who regrets voting pro-wind –

Is Terra Firma seeking a divorce from Everpower? Ohio cheers

What could this mean for central Ohio, where citizens are fighting Everpower from taking over (10’s of) thousands of acres for an industrial wind site?  Terra Firma appears to be tired of empty promises from Everpower. And, it is very interesting that Everpower believes that a yieldco could become the new sugar daddy. Why? Yieldco’s are structured to deliver dividends in a low interest-rate economy. However, in order operate properly, they require stability- renewables that are about to generate electricity AND  have long-term contracts to sell their power.  In Ohio, Everpower’s future industrial wind sites are tied up in litigation AND, as mentioned below, it has ZERO buyers for the future energy….

When EverPower Wind Holdings put out feelers this summer to gauge who might want to buy a wind farm, “yieldcos” didn’t even show up. Six months ago, that would have been unthinkable. Yieldcos are a relatively new game in the energy world. They are publicly traded companies that hold wind and solar assets, distribute most of their revenue to shareholders, and are predicated on continuously growing their holdings to increase those distributions…

Wind growth isn’t much of a question mark, said Michael Speerschneider, EverPower’s chief of permitting and public policy. The Clean Power Plan, the federal answer to climate change that mandates carbon reductions from power generators, will incentivize more wind development. The law, which is being heavily challenged in the courts, is set to go into effect in 2022….

EverPower sale coming soon

Mr. Spencer said he expects EverPower to be sold within the next six months.

It’s been six years since a London-based private equity firm, Terra Firma Capital Partners, bought a controlling stake. That’s reaching the top range of how long private equity funds hold an investment before looking for a payout.

Since 2009, EverPower has grown from being a startup with 62 megawatts of wind capacity installed to operating hundreds of turbines with 752 megawatts of capacity across five states.

It also has a pipeline of at least 13 wind projects that would more than triple its installed capacity if all are built. Mr. Speerschneider said all are in the “mid-to-late stages” with some still awaiting certain permits but none having secured long-term customers for their power nor the financing to build.

“In our evolution, it’s probably as good a time as any to go to a new owner,” Mr. Spencer said. “There’s no shortage of capital or equity to build. The sector is as attractive as it’s ever been.”…

Source: Market for wind firm has changed

Ohio legislators, are you listening? Wisconsin declares BigWind a HEALTH HAZARD!

Is Ohio’s 1300 ft setback enough? On Monday night, the Brown County Board of Health in Wisconsin voted to declare the Shirley Wind Project to be a human health hazard.  The approved motion states:

“To declare the Industrial Wind Turbines at Shirley Wind Project in the Town of Glenmore, Brown County, WI. A Human Health Hazard for all people (residents, workers, visitors, and sensitive passersby) who are exposed to Infrasound/Low Frequency Noise and other emissions potentially harmful to human health.”

This is an important step forward in the debate about industrial wind setbacks and the effects of low frequency noise.   The study of LFN by four acousticians was underway at Shirley when Union Neighbors United intervened in Everpower’s Buckeye Wind II before the Ohio Power Siting Board.  One of the researchers working on the Shirley Wind study was Everpower’s noise expert, David Hessler.   On the witness stand at OPSB in November, 2012, Hessler responded to a question from UNU’s attorney about LFN as follows:

Q: Low-frequency noise cannot be ruled out as a potential problem at wind farms, can it?

 

A: Yeah, up until recently my belief was that it could essentially be ruled out, but I’m changing my mind on that a little bit.

 

Hessler was changing his mind because of what he was learning at the Shirley Wind project. 

The OPSB hearings closed on December 6, 2012.  On December 12th , the Shirley Wind study was concluded and on December 24th the report was issued.  That report concluded two important points.  

Ø  “An important finding on this survey was that the cooperation of the wind farm operator is absolutely essential. Wind turbines must be measured both ON and OFF on request to obtain data under nearly identical wind and power conditions to quantify the wind turbine impact which could not be done due to Duke Energy’s lack of cooperation.”

 Ø  “A most interesting study in 1986 by the Navy reveals that physical vibration of pilots in flight simulators induced motion sickness when the vibration frequency was in the range of 0.05 to 0.9 Hz with the maximum (worst) effect being at about 0.2 Hz, not too far from the blade passing frequency of future large wind turbines. If one makes the leap from physical vibration of the body to physical vibration of the media the body is in, it suggests adverse response to wind turbines is an acceleration or vibration problem in the very low frequency region. The four investigating firms are of the opinion that enough evidence and hypotheses have been given herein to classify LFN and infrasound as a serious issue, possibly affecting the future of the industry. It should be addressed beyond the present practice of showing that wind turbine levels are magnitudes below the threshold of hearing at low frequencies.”

On January 17, 2013, UNU requested that the record in Buckeye Wind II be reopened to allow inclusion of the Shirley Wind Report. (See attached Motion)  Everpower objected and the OPSB denied the request.   Now the Health Department in Brown County, Wisconsin has determined the Shirley Wind project is a health hazard to “residents, workers, visitors, and sensitive passersby.”     The Health Department’s decision was made public on a local radio talk program.   We have provided the link to the radio program.  

 The radio program makes several important points.  First, the State of Wisconsin controls the siting of industrial wind turbines and local governments are unable to put restrictions on them unless they are deemed a health hazard.   The mere designation of health hazard will not shut down the turbines. However, it will force the debate and the wind industry will have to present evidence that LFN does not cause adverse health impacts.  It is believed they will not be able to refuse to cooperate as Duke Energy did previously.  That will be a tall order.  The radio program host asserts that the wind industry  “can no longer put smarmy editorials in newspapers around the state that obfuscate the real issue which is what the wind lobby has done again and again and again.”  “They are not going to be able to do that this time.”  … 

Brown County Board of Health votes Shirley Wind farm a health risk….audio at site: via Brown County Board of Health votes Shirley Wind farm a health risk. – Podcasts – WTAQ News Talk 97.5FM and 1360AM.

Will Ohio SB310 begin a ‘domino’ effect to repeal BigWind mandates?

Today will be a busy day as around 30 witnesses will testify in the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee concerning Senate Bill 310.  Today’s Columbus Dispatch reports that the bill may spark a national movement toward repealing mandates for renewable energy.  Americans for Prosperity has thrown their support behind the bill. 

The Urbana Daily Citizen reports that two appeals were rejected by the Ohio Power Siting Board.  Both appeals were directed toward Everpower projects: Buckeye Wind and Scioto Ridge.  In Scioto Ridge, the citizens were trying to address the fact that they had no real opportunity to  register objections to the project because most are summer people in the Indian Lake area.  Everpower waited until after Labor Day when they were gone, to hold a public hearing.   In Champaign County, the County and Townships had objected to amendments in the Buckeye I project that moved the staging area further to the east and made modifications to roads and underground lines.  Today, one of the witnesses who will testify  in support of Senate Bill 310 is a County Engineer who has similar concerns about damage to local infrastructure that may be beyond the County’s financial ability to repair…

Ohio is on the cusp of becoming the first state to significantly ease its renewable-energy standards, a milestone that would be noticed in statehouses across the country where similar debates are being waged.

Proposals have gained traction in Kansas and several other states and have at least been introduced in a dozen or so others.

But none has had as much success as Ohio’s Senate Bill 310, which has passed the Senate and appears poised to pass the House as soon as this week.

The Ohio bill would place a two-year freeze on annual increases in standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency. It also would repeal a rule that says utilities must buy half of their renewable energy from in-state sources and would make it easier for utilities to buy low-cost hydroelectric power and count it toward the standards.

Many of the same groups with an interest in the subject are active in multiple states. The American Wind Energy Association, Sierra Club and others are fighting to maintain rules that say utilities must obtain a certain amount of their energy from renewable sources. Meanwhile, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, and Americans for Prosperity are helping to push for change in the rules….

via If Ohio eases green-energy rules, will it spark national trend? | The Columbus Dispatch.