Ohio Power Siting Board WILL say YES to BigWind

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How can we be sure? They ALWAYS do! We have blogged about this board before. Their name should be the ‘Say Yes to BigWind’ board. There has NEVER been even one instance when the board has sided with the people of Ohio. Have they been bribed or infiltrated by BigWind? It certainly appears so…..

Champaign County officials and a handful of townships are opposing a proposal to extend deadlines to begin construction on a controversial Buckeye Wind farm before a possible decision expected later this week.

Members of the Ohio Power Siting Board could decide as early as Thursday whether to extend certificates needed to build the project. The Champaign County commissioners, along with trustees from Goshen, Union and Wayne Twps., recently filed briefs asking the state to take no action to extend the deadlines until a hearing is scheduled and the state provides an opportunity for public comment.

MORE: Lawmaker: Current wind farm regulations ‘stifle’ investment in Ohio

If the certificates are not extended, it’s possible the developer would have to restart the lengthy application process for the project. Attorneys for Everpower Wind Holdings, the developer, argued the projects have been fought in the courts for about eight years, which has created the need for an extensio0n…..

But attorneys representing Champaign County and Goshen Twp. recently argued the developers have had opportunities to begin construction in recent years but have not done so. Instead, they argue, the developers have sought to make changes to the projects and are now seeking an extension just two months before they are set to expire.

RELATED: Champaign wind farm may move forward after nearly decade-long fight

Attorneys for the county also argued that extending construction deadlines would also mean tougher setbacks should be applied to the turbines in the project’s footprint. The Champaign County projects were among the earliest approved in the state, before lawmakers imposed tougher requirements for how far turbines in more recent projects should be from neighboring properties.

County attorneys also argue that the two phases of the project have always been considered as separate, independent projects and to extend the deadlines for both “undermines the spirit of the application and hearing process and the requirement to protect the public interest.”…

 

Article

BigWind blowing lots of hot air in Ohio (and Indiana)

 

Speaking up and speaking out are important – we are reminded of the phrase “you create your own future.” At the risk of seeming over confident, we think those who are speaking out in Ohio and in Indiana are truly creating a better future for themselves and their communities.

First things first. One Van Wert County Commissioner has stepped forward to publicly express what he thinks and we blogged about this last week. Todd Wolfrum was first elected County Commissioner in 2013. He is a practicing attorney who also writes a weekly column for the local newspaper pertaining to estate planning and other legal matters of interest to the public. Commissioner Wolfrum also sits on the local hospital board, the Community Investment Corporation and he is President of the Regional Planning Commission. His main interests are promoting advanced education and the generation of business opportunities in the Van Wert area. In winning his current seat on the Board of County Commissioners, Wolfrum defeated the Superintendent of Vantage Career Center in a landslide – garnering 65% of the vote. Why is this important? Because the Vantage Superintendent is an outspoken supporter of industrial wind who has testified on behalf of wind. Vantage operates the wind technician training programs for local developers. Wolfrum’s credentials speak to the fact that he is not some crazy anti-wind nut to be ignored.

On July 2nd, Commissioner Wolfrum used his newspaper column to express his thoughts on wind. He questions what would happen if Sub HB 190 were to pass (which it won’t) giving local commissioners more authority over siting and setbacks. He states that after giving Iberdrola a 70-80% tax reduction through PILOT because Van Wert County had chosen to be designated as an Alternative Energy Zone, the Commissioners realized they had made a mistake and they rescinded their AEZ designation going forward. Now, they speculate that if a developer wanted to get a tax break, they would have to come up with a proposal and put it up for a vote – but who would be eligible to vote? Everyone in the County? “It does not seem appropriate that areas that stand only to benefit from a taxing scheme be allowed to vote to burden another area.”….” 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.”…”But, imagine if we started giving tax breaks to incentivize a hog farm to locate next door to you?”…” 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.” …” And perhaps there is no way to win support. But if a majority of people in a zone for a proposed wind farm cannot be convinced to accept a tax plan, then someone will need to explain why it should be forced on them over their objection, because that is really the only thing that has been proposed to date.”

This is something to think about as the legislature continues to grapple with how to deal with the renewable mandate. Before December 31, 2016, the General Assembly (Ohio) must do one of three things: eliminate the mandates, continue the “temporary freeze” or resume the mandates. Governor Kasich has said he will not accept the elimination of the mandates. But, resumption of the mandates will put pressure on communities where developers want to build. Almost every community with the exception of Hardin County and perhaps Seneca will, like Logan County and now Van Wert, object to the burden of hosting an industrial wind facility or granting tax incentives for doing so. Why mandate a source of power generation that requires tax incentives that most are unwilling to support in their community? The reality of Ohio is that we rank 7th nationally in population density and we are not a suitable place for the development of industrial wind. Perhaps, Commissioner Wolfrum has made that point a little clearer for our legislators.

In Indiana, the story is the same. Multiple counties are pushing back hard and “A wind-farm aversion is driving a handful of other rural counties – including some that already have turbines – to put moratoriums on any future development as local debate unfolds. “They’re losing favor all over the state,” said Campbell, who’s now working with like-minded opposition in other communities. Ben Kenney, of the Indiana Office of Energy Development is reported to have pledged that “the state won’t push for wind-energy projects where they’re not welcome. “ via:  http://www.batesvilleheraldtribune.com/news/local_news/wind-farms-whipping-up-opposition-across-rural-indiana/article_c0e2464e-b771-50a9-a4ac-14cd84f738d2.html  

How about it in Ohio? We think the Ohio Public Utilities Commission and the Ohio Power Siting Board has one of the worst records of facilitating wind development over the objections of Ohio communities who do not want them. And now comes the appointment of Vorys attorney Howard Petricoff to the Public Utilities Commission. Word on the street is that Mr. Petricoff has demonstrated a poor record of acting in the public interest during his career representing wind developers and others in the electricity business. In fact, the Statehouse news reports are that “The top Democrat on that Senate panel, Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland), likewise wants hearings on whether Gov. John Kasich’s nominee is the best fit for the office…. As the committee’s ranking minority member, Sen. Williams said in an interview she is “not impressed” with the governor’s selection.” Petricoff’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 1:00 in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. 

Tuesday is a double header of sorts in that oral arguments will be heard in the Ohio Supreme Court on Champaign County’s appeal of the OPSB approval of Amendments to the Buckeye Wind project. The Court will convene at 9:00 a.m. sharp and anyone who is able to attend is encouraged to do so. A show of support for Champaign County and the Townships would be appreciated.  The County and Townships assert two points in their appeal:

A. The Board’s approval of Applicant’s amendments in its Order of February 18, 2014 and its Order of May 19, 2014, without holding a required hearing was unreasonable and unlawful, as such amendments would result in a material increase in the environmental impact of the facility or a substantial change in the location of all or a portion of such facility.

B. The Board’s approval of the amendments in its Order of February 18, 2014 and its Order of May 19, 2014, without hearing was unreasonable and unlawful, as it denied Appellants County and Townships the only opportunity to be heard.

If the Court finds in favor of Champaign County and the amendments are sent back to the OPSB for a hearing, it is presumed that property line setbacks would be applied to the EverPower Project. A separate pending appeal from Union Neighbors United in connection with the extension of the certificate for Buckeye I has not been scheduled for a hearing.

Recent maddening news is that the wind lobby (aka Big Wind) is ramping up their $$green$$ machine to go after more of everything: more “purchased” politicians to deliver more federal tax credits and more local tax incentives; more lenient conservation rules; more renewable mandates; more biased news reports; blah blah blah. American Wind Action (“AWA”) has been born. “AWA, a nonprofit 501(c)(4) advocacy group, can engage in political campaign activities as long as those efforts are not its primary activity. At its launch, it claimed an “initial seven-figure budget.” Enfield declined to specify just how much AWA has raised so far or where it will target its funding. But he indicated the main focus will be states where pro-wind-energy policies such as tax breaks and minimum requirements for renewable energy appear to be at risk.” Look for AWA recruits in your neighborhood or under a rock at your area career center and defend against them because, as we said at the outset, “You create your own future.”….

The U.S. wind energy industry is the fastest-growing new source of electricity in the country. But it’s not resting on its laurels, especially in an election year.

Hence the launch of American Wind Action, a group that will promote the benefits of wind energy to the public…

“We will be working to identify and activate supporters of wind energy to encourage action from their elected officials, and we will educate the public about the actions and positions those officials take on wind energy…

Source: Turbine industry aims to keep tailwind blowing

BigWind actively ‘pursuing prey’ in Ohio

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On Tuesday, Senator Kris Jordan introduced Senate Bill 325 to “To repeal the requirement that electric distribution utilities and electric services companies provide 12.5% of their retail power supplies from qualifying renewable energy resources by 2027, to repeal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction requirements for electric distribution utilities, and to modify the topics included in the Energy Mandates Study Committee report.” Many of you will remember that Senator Jordan was our earliest and only supporter years ago when he traveled to Champaign County during the screening of the movie “Windfall”. Jordan’s bill is separate from the bill introduced by Senator Seitz which would continue the renewable mandate freeze for several more years.

In Logan County, the Commissioners have announced a hearing on EverPower’s request for tax abatement through the PILOT program. The hearing will be held on May 17th at 4:00 in the Holland Theater. The Bellefontaine Examiner newspaper report below contains a link to EverPower’s application filed with the Ohio Development Services Agency. It is notable that much of the application is incomplete. It strikes us that an incomplete application makes comprehensive public comment impossible. We do not know when EverPower intends to submit the missing information but can’t imagine any public official approving tax abatement without full understanding of EverPower’s plan.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, Fight the Wind, the mighty Logan County wind warriors, have taken aggressive action. They have placed a full page ad in the paper in opposition; put up a billboard and sent out a communication to the community. The Scioto Ridge project is proposed for Hardin County as well as two townships in Logan County. The hearing will only address that part of the project which is planned for Logan County. Each County must separately grant tax abatement and the actions of one county do not affect the other county.

In nearby Allen County, there will be a hearing TOMORROW, May 5th at 4:00 PM at the Allen Economic Development Group office located at 144 S Main St, Suite 200, in Lima. This hearing will consider a request from the Apex Long Prairie project to the Allen County Port Authority to run transmission lines along rail lines to facilitate delivery of power into the grid through the village of Spencerville. Immediately following the petition is the Apex outreach to citizens soliciting support from Van Wert citizens. Apex is an aggressive and determined wind developer based in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will be seeing a lot of them in Ohio.

Meanwhile, chaos seems to be the best way to describe what is happening in Ohio’s regulated utility world. Following the PUCO’s approval of plans by AEP and First Energy to build renewable energy and to receive an income guarantee for coal-fired plants that are being phased, PUCO Chairman Porter handed in his resignation saying he has accepted a position with an unnamed out of state company. Simultaneously, the federal regulators at FERC said they would not support the plan and would take a closer look at it. At this point AEP withdrew its proposal fearing that delays in their commitment to build 500 MW of wind would be at risk of losing the federal tax credits. Apparently AEP still intends to build the wind projects but it is not a sure thing. The location of AEP’s wind facilities has not been disclosed – if they know….

Everpower ‘claims’ they will not build in Logan County if no tax abatement given

Really? Let’s call their bluff. The peoples’ response to this BigWind bully is below. It is written by a FORMER GREEN LOBBYIST. You may find the response enlightening….

The immediate fate of 18 wind turbines in Logan County soon will be in the

hands of the Logan County Commissioners, EverPower officials said at a Tuesday morning meeting to discuss the Scioto Ridge Wind development….

Mr. Shears, however, said after the meeting that if the Logan County Commissioners do not approve the request, the 18 towers in Logan County will not be built but the remain- ing towers in Hardin County will continue forward….

via: http://www.examiner.org/images/WebEdition/042016_EXAMINER.pdf

Fight the Wind
to Logan County, OH Commissioners 04.19.16

Thank you Commissioners for granting this time to speak with you. Today I will be representing Fight the Wind, a group comprised of numerous Logan and Hardin County residents who oppose industrial wind development in our counties, specifically, and in our nation, generally.

As we look out the windows of this building to the South, we see the restoration of the Logan County Courthouse. You didn’t ask for that June 29, 2012 storm. Daily since, you are faced with numerous decisions– many for which you’ve been both praised and criticized. As public servants, thank you for your due diligence in the restoration research, and for taking the heat of public opinion. As the restoration nears completion, I’m sure you are proud. You have jokingly referred to yourselves as the “Construction Commissioners.” A legacy of pride. I congratulate you.

My name is unimportant. I prefer to speak as just one resident of Logan County. Many in this county now have histories and relationships with foreign wind corporations, and before I speak for Fight the Wind, I preface with a brief recount of my history. Born and raised in Logan County, you may know. However, I ashamedly confess that at one time I believed my life’s calling was to save the planet. During that quest, I served as a lobbyist and speaker for the Central Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club, an Ohio Environmental Council employee, and an Ohio Farm Bureau intern–three organizations which today are at the forefront of propagating and promoting wind energy in OH. Back then, I intended to educate and persuade citizens and legislators to believe in the very romantic idea of green energy. And, if education failed, I believed it would be justifiable to legally pressure and coerce citizens to get the job done.

Later, having returned to Logan County, and to the beloved family farm, my uninvited storm arrived on March 27, 2007. I was among a dozen landowners in my area invited to an exclusive, lucrative business opportunity, the invitation extended by a neighbor. The seduction began with a PowerPoint presentation filled with photos of majestic white turbines dotting sprawling, beautiful green vistas. These photos were, as all wind PR photos are, devoid of residences, businesses, buildings, people, animals. At the meeting, landowners were handed term sheets and contracts. The terms sheet promised $5,000 upon signing, $15.00 per acre during the development period (predicted to be 1 – 3 years) and $5,000 per turbine upon moving to construction period, and then $4,500 – $16,500 per 1.5 MW turbine once in operation. Someone asked the presenters, who were donning starched, creased, previously unworn blue jeans and patent leather loafers or new, unsullied hunting boots, “What are the disadvantages of wind projects?” The response was, verbatim, “We won’t answer that question.”

I left the meeting feeling violated: I’d chosen to leave the city and return to Logan County. First offense was calling this kind of development a “FARM.” Second, was the industrial usurpation of property use, property value, safety, financial security, land integrity, and rural lifestyle–something I’d neither foreseen nor invited. In the weeks that ensued, we studied the contract. There, we found we were signing over rights–ours and neighbors’–and taking on ridiculous liabilities. We visited turbine projects. From those within the projects, the list of rights signed away and collateral damages was lengthy, far-reaching, and all- encompassing.

After doing our research, we quickly found out that this would be a bad deal for us, our neighbors, and the community. However, we could have signed to put turbines on a parcel unconnected to our home. We refused for a number of reasons, not the least of which was respecting my neighbors’ rights to property use and value.

Meanwhile, by the wind corporation we were baited, cajoled and later coerced and threatened. By neighbors we were badgered. These were neighbors who had NOT read contracts, but had signed them. I understood where they were coming from: It was March and April–they were busy planting spring crops. Who had time for an attorney? And, because farmers had conducted business for years solely on trust–and rarely were deceived, they were vulnerable to wind company formulaic PR and promises.

So why would I tell you my history? First, I was asked to. Secondly, I’ve seen this issue from someone who thought it was necessary, beneficial, and “right” to coerce people into living green. And, I’ve seen the issue from a landowner who could have benefitted financially. Thirdly, because it parallels others in this county, which has been occurring since 2005, and other communities around the state, the nation and the globe.

FTW citizens have observed that the legal process allows covert infiltration into a community by the wind company, who engage one or more locals as spoke persons or employees thereby more efficiently networking and persuading innocent, trusting landowners to believe a package of PR spin filled with promises.

Interestingly, these projects begin in stealth, and often–on the road to production of energy–must pass through the court systems. Perhaps it’s there that jobs are created.

And they create job losses. Case in point. A Brown County, Wisconsin Health Inspector who resigned 3/4/16, prior to the release of public documents which unearthed an 11/21/15 email in which she complained of migraines every time she went near turbines. She had released her conclusions, completely ignoring the sworn affidavits representing over 50 ill residents, recorded over a year, meticulously gathered and correlated to studies, and also referenced to significant peer reviews. Her conclusion was that she would monitor the turbine site “annually.” Shortly after the 3/18/16 release of the public documents, the county counselor also resigned. In addition, there is trickle-down job loss from loss of property value and abandonment of homes.

This formulaic seduction and deception by foreign investors is the same everywhere. Appeals include altruistic purpose of the projects coupled with various promises, including financial gain. Save the planet. Save the farm. Harvest the wind. Reduce CO2. Temp and full-time local jobs. Infrastructure. Better roads. Be progressive. No disadvantages. $ for landowners. $ for schools. $ for townships. $ for commissioners.

Although the spin, PR, and promises of wind are romantic and seductive, the reality is harsh, even devastating. And, not just to those within an industrial wind project. Anyone who buys electricity. Anyone who has political or legal responsibilities. Anyone who desires to have peaceful, transparent relationships within their community. Anyone who just wants to do anything on their property.

Wind energy is intermittent, unreliable. Americans want energy dispatched at the time and point of need. Americans wouldn’t rely on their tools, equipment, relationships, employees, etc. that only work 15-20% of the time. Yet, Americans are being asked to pay for intermittent wind energy many times over.

Federal grants and allocated tax credits. The subsidy tracker at goodjobsfirst.com, reports that EverPower is 39th on the list of the top 100 recipients of federal grants and allocated tax credits since 2000, receiving five subsidies totaling $317 million since 2009. In state and local subsidies, EP has received $7.5 million.

These subsidies, therefore, went to the UK-based private equity firm Terra Firma, who acquired EverPower in 2009, and who in 2015 sought to “flip” it for $1.5 billion. Hum, Saudi Arabia now owns OSU parking. What people group, of what idealogy, might have access to SR leaseholders’ land a year from now? November 3, 2015 in Power Source EP’s Mr. Speerschneider said “EP has 13 wind projects in the pipeline not under construction–none having secured long-term customers for their power . . . . ”

Secondly, state mandates. Wind is intermittent, although state laws support a large portion of wind generation by a certain date. Those mandates are currently on a temporary two-year freeze for reevaluation by economists and energy experts. Americans need on-demand, reliable, at time-and-place-of-need, readily dispatched energy. Therefore, wind must be backed by on-demand energy sources. These on- demand energy businesses are on “stand by” if/when wind energy is dispatched, all the while still having the cost of business without the sale of their product. The result is consumers pay more for all electricity, regardless of its source. Terra Firma’s own country, UK, is reportedly known for fuel poverty and it’s resultant deaths. Dr. Calvin Beisner of Cornwall Alliance says, “you control energy, you control people.”

Thirdly, local tax abatement. EP has hit the media hard lately–from Dayton to Lima–stating both that the Logan County Commissioners are–or will be– considering a PILOT–payment in lieu/instead of taxes and that there are millions for schools, government entities, and the community. Nice pie charts. Large monetary figures. PR purposes are obvious–get the citizens, schools, townships, community services–and you, commissioners–to BELIEVE the ship has come in. Get a BELIEVING public to PRESSURE YOU. Set the stage for when the PILOT request comes in. After consulting with numerous state experts, FTW knows the revenue to those entities is much greater over 20 years of the project with taxation- -yes, even WITH the depreciation schedule. And, since the depreciation schedule starts over if the company is sold, another potential benefit to all the above county entities is a possibility. PILOT is a deceptive, “I’ll give you some of your money Uncle Sam gave me at your front door, while my foreign cronies–take more out your back door, and you’ll have a cold house, and Uncle Bobby may freeze to death.”

Europe is now aware of the financial loss and devastation of wind energy. It is changing its mandates and ending its subsidies.

Logan County has been courted by the bad boyfriends of wind for about 10 years now. There are 10 years more of evidence from industrial wind projects around the state, nation, and globe to inform our citizens what industrial wind development’s reality is within a community. And many Logan (and Hardin) County residents have educated themselves.

It is with that knowledge, Mr. Wickersham, that Stokes Township residents spoke, and the Stokes Trustees filed an opposition resolution to the SR project.

Russells Point residents spoke, and the Village Council filed an OR to the SR project.

Belle Center villagers spoke, and the BC council filed an OR to the SR project.

Richland Township constituents spoke, and Richland Trustees filed an OR to the SR project.

Mr. Bayliss and Mr. Core, Rush Creek Township residents spoke, and the Rush Creek Trustees filed an OR to the SR project.

Indian Lake residents beat Everpower back from the Lake. Why? Because our community does not want industrial turbines here. The turbines are now not to be sited near the lake. The makings of that deal are not known to the general public.

However, it appears that your constituents in the remaining neighborhoods in Richland and Rush Creek Townships are persons whose lives, property, investment, lifestyle, and health are of lesser value than those nearer to IL. Will your potential approval of a PILOT endorse the differential value of your constituents?

And, the fractured community spills over into Hardin County when the realization hits that a Logan County School will be receiving some of HC PILOT all because Hardin County Commissioners automatically abated taxes for this project in choosing an Alternative Energy Zone, which it rescinded in January. Even if a LC PILOT is not granted, BL Schools will receive a percentage of HC PILOT payments.

Eighteen turbines have been approved for Logan County, sited within Richland and Rush Creek Townships. Of those 18, 7 are on property of non-Logan County residents: 6 of which are on parcels owned by out-of-state entities, and 1 on a parcel owned by an out-of-county Ohio resident. It’s easy being green, when you’re imposing on others’ lives with no disadvantages to oneself.

The current Ohio turbine setback standard was recently revised to 1,125′ from non- participating landowners’ property lines. SR was grandfathered in at 541′ to a property line. Regardless, either such distance is “trespass zoning”–the plundering of a neighbors’ use of their property, property value, safety, peace and quiet, etc. The SR certificate, which may be found on OPSB web site, reads “Assuming a maximum turbine height of 492 feet as proposed in the application, this minimum property line setback equates to a distance of 541 feet. The distance between the nearest non-participating property lines varies from 549 to 2,637 feet, averaging 1,198 feet.” On what planet is it rational to have a 36-ton blade assembly 400 feet in the air spinning upwards to 180 miles per hour 541 feet from anyone or anything? Blade shear and throw, ice throw, shadow flicker, noise, and infrasound.

Those who live next to an EP wind turbine will have that turbine in their bedroom, at breakfast, at supper, and even alongside them in their yard. Which is all fine and dandy if I invited them over, but I didn’t. And when someone comes over uninvited and won’t leave – that’s called trespassing. Please don’t be an accessory and accomplice to trespass zoning.

As LC Commissioners you do not have the power to stop SR from being built– even in Logan County. However, please don’t welcome EP with granting PILOT, thereby setting a precedent. The recorder’s web site confirms evidence of leases in Monroe and Zane Townships, which would provide a pathway to connect Paulding, Van Wert, Auglaize, Hardin, Logan, and Champaign Counties– blanketing them with turbines, which is a goal of, if not EP, then other federal subsidy recipients.

To quote Senator John Rodgers of Vermont, “I know of no place in the state where we can place industrial wind turbines without creating an unacceptable level of damage to our environment and our people. Destroying the natural environment in the name of climate change is moronic.”

So while Mr. Dagger just gave you his update on the project. I am here to give you FTW’s. They are awake, engaged, larger in numbers than ever before, angry and determined to defend their homes, property, county, townships, and schools, and will never go away until industrial wind goes away.

So with that being said, commissioners, citizens, and press, I am sure you are just like me – sick and tired of wind. Sick and tired of having to think about it. Sick and tired of dealing with it every single day. I just want to live my life. I have more important things to do than be here and I am certain that you have more important things to do with your time than deal with wind. All of us are absolutely tired of it. So why are we all here wasting our time? Because a foreign owned company wants to profit from our nation and our community. They are hoping that you will grant them even more profits.

Remember commissioners – this is our county, these are our townships, our homes, our schools. Your constituents have spoken, and the villages and townships near and in this project have written Opposition Resolutions against the SR project. If EP wants to develop our community, and harvest our resources to make a profit that they ship back overseas to their parent company they should do so on our terms. Not theirs. Our county deserves the full taxation due for this project.

Our county, our townships and our residents should have been a part of the process from the beginning, but we were not. Why? Because this business must be done in the dark.

If anyone thinks that this will all simmer down and we will slowly fall back to sleep, they are sadly mistaken. The outcry and the outrage will increase exponentially as this project starts construction. When our peaceful country roads and rural beauty become an industrial construction zone, the complaints will grow louder. When the turbines are turned on and lives are spun to oblivion, the complaints will be deafening. Our community will become an endless cycle of complaints, arguments, and discontent, pain, and heartache.

Many in this room have spent hours a week for years keeping up with economic, legal, health, environmental, agricultural, real estate, etc. aspects of industrial wind development. We, your constituents, are doing our due diligence. Please do yours. Although many participants in these projects have legally signed away their rights to speak out, many are going rogue, and some never signed.

Please make sure the RUMA protects all citizens during construction, operation, and decommissioning. Make sure a decommissioning plan-IRRESPECTIVE OF BANKRUPTCY–is in place. Find out what revenue taxation brings in compared to PILOT. This is not another Honda, Midwest Express, or Valeo. Look at fightthewind.com to follow links to global, national, and regional wind news. Read about the many complex aspects of wind energy.

Logan County has such a bright future. Please, please do not allow our community to become Collateral Damage to Industrial Wind. Your current legacy, of “construction commissioners” is one of honor. Please don’t let your legacy become “Wind Turbine Commissioners.” If turbines are built in this county, the chaos and complaints will continue for years, the hardship and devastation for generations. The seductive, bad boyfriend wins, and the beautiful, innocent Logan County is ravaged, unredeemable, unable to wake up from her nightmare.

I encourage each here today to visit fightthewind.com. There you will find links to web sites which inform you about wind locally, nationally, and internationally. Education is power.

Again thank you for your time and for allowing FTW to speak about this SR project.

Corruption and Politics at the Ohio Supreme Court

The Ohio Supreme Court opinion is still being digested – many people think it ranks among the worst decisions ever made and that it reeks of politics. The majority’s justifications for its decision would be laughable if they were not so injurious to not only Champaign County but to other communities who follow. UNU argued the project did not meet the public interest but the Court found that the generation of electricity meets the public interest even though there was no evidence of unmet demand for power. UNU argued the setbacks were inadequate and showed that the blade throw in Paulding County went further than the approved setbacks and that the legislature had even changed the setbacks to exceed what the OPSB had previously approved. The Court said that the Phase II setbacks were the same as the Phase I setbacks so they were okay despite the fact the setbacks from Phase I are now illegal for any new projects. We could go on but the analysis below gives a fairly detailed analysis….

The Ohio Supreme Court let stand a certificate to construct a 52-turbine wind farm granted to a company planning to build its second operation in Champaign County.

The Supreme Court voted 5-2 to reject a challenge to the Ohio Power Siting Board’s construction certificate issued to Champaign Wind LLC, which seeks to build the Buckeye Wind II wind farm. The Court rejected arguments by Champaign County governmental entities and a collection of citizen groups opposing the construction of the wind-powered electric-generation facility. Writing for the Court, Justice Judith L. French ruled the siting board’s order was neither unlawful nor unreasonable and that alleged errors by the board in the siting process did not affect the overall outcome.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy wrote the board improperly rejected evidence of a “blade throw” at another Ohio wind farm and expert testimony on how to accurately gauge the noise from the facility that would justify further restrictions on the location of the turbines….

 

In her opinion, Justice French divides the objections of the opponents into four categories:

Blade throw and setbacks
Wind-turbine noise
Requirements under the state’s public interest, convenience, and necessity law
Procedural and evidence-related arguments.
Paulding County Blade Throw Stirs Debate
Justice French explained that a “blade throw” is a potentially dangerous occurrence at wind farms and happens when a turbine blade or blade segment tears off and is thrown from the turbine. The opponents argue the siting board did not appropriately consider an April 2012 blade throw from a Paulding County wind farm where the largest piece of blade traveled 764 feet from the failed turbine….

 

The opponents also argued the incident demonstrated the minimum distance setbacks approved by the board were insufficient to protect neighboring properties. Justice French noted the General Assembly has since required greater setbacks than mandated at the time the board approved the Buckeye Wind II application, which required a minimum setback of 541 feet from a neighbor’s property line and 919 feet from a neighbor’s residence.

The citizen group argued the setback should be at a minimum of 1,640 feet from a property line based on the location of smaller pieces of blade found after the Paulding County incident, and other reports of blade throws from around the world. The county argued the manufacturer’s safety manuals justified a setback of at least 1,300 feet.

Justice French wrote the Court considers the siting board to be in the best position to consider the disputed claims, and noted it considered the evidence presented by the company, the opponents, and the siting board staff.(haha, is this a joke? the OPSB has NEVER said NO to BigWind) The staff disagreed with the county’s claims and suggested the proposed locations met the minimum required setbacks of most, if not all, of the wind-turbine manufacturers. Justice French indicated the setbacks were the same as those approved for the first Buckeye Wind operation and the Court “concluded that ample evidence supports the board’s approval of the setbacks.”…

 

“The county and neighbors were active participants at every stage of the board proceeding. Indeed, 36 witnesses testified at the three-week hearing, with the neighbors presenting six witnesses and the county presenting four,” Justice French wrote. “The parties introduced 122 exhibits, and the hearing resulted in a 3,010-page transcript. The board issued a comprehensive opinion reviewing and addressing all of the parties’ arguments.”

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Terrence O’Donnell(remember, he now has family connection who now works for a BigWind company), Judith Ann Lanzinger, and William M. O’Neill joined the opinion.

Dissent Argues Critical Evidence Ignored
Justice Kennedy noted that while the Court has affirmed prior siting board approvals of wind farms, this is the first time it considered the setbacks since an Ohio wind farm threw a blade, and the first case where opponents offered expert opinions challenging the correct way to calculate background noise in a rural area.

Justice Kennedy noted that while Champaign Wind agreed not to use the turbine that was involved in a blade throw in Paulding County, all of the turbine makers being considered by the company use virtually the same systems and have nearly the same risks. She explained the siting board found credible evidence that the six-and-a-half-pound piece of blade thrown 764 feet in that incident had the same force as a 40-pound block being dropped from an eight-story building.

She wrote that when the Court approved the 541-foot setback for the first wind farm in 2012, the only evidence presented showed a blade could be thrown 500 feet. Since the evidence shows a blade from a model similar to those under consideration in Champaign County can travel more than 700 feet, the minimum setbacks approved by the board are insufficient.

“In this case, the board’s continued use of the minimum property setback of 541 feet fails to minimize the adverse effect that a blade throw can have on the property of a nonparticipating owner,” she wrote. “Therefore, the setbacks approved in the certificate are unreasonable because they are against the manifest weight of the evidence.”

Regarding the turbine noise, Justice Kennedy points out there are two methods to measure background noise – Leq and L90, and the company’s expert used the Leq method even though in his opinion it was unsuitable for the project. All the acoustical experts who testified agreed the method used to calculate background noise in this case was an inappropriate method which was unsuitable for wind turbines in a rural area. The expert for Champaign Wind said he used the unsuitable method because it was the method previously used in Ohio. Because all the experts agreed an unsuitable method was used to calculate background noise, the board acted unreasonably in its continued use of an unsupported method in the face of contrary expert testimony, Justice Kennedy concluded.

“Granting a certificate, as the board did here, on the basis of an unsuitable method to calculate background noise in a rural area that permits the facility to emit a noise level that is known to exceed health limits, where the noise becomes ‘intrusive and annoying’ is not only unreasonable, it is unconscionable and unlawful,” she wrote.

Justice Paul E. Pfeifer joined her dissent.

Source: Certificate for Company’s Second Wind Farm in Champaign County Approved

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

BigWind “noise” now an EXclusion for farmers’ umbrella liability insurance

Country Insurance Mutual Insurance in Bloomington, Illinois has added “noise” to its list of exclusions for farm umbrella liability coverage.  Noise joins a list of named pollutants.  Champaign County residents will recall when EverPower and the Farm Bureau took a busload of people to Bloomington where a significant number of industrial wind turbines are located.  There have been reports of pushback in Illinois since that time.  Country Mutual’ s policy changes may cause farmers to think more carefully before signing a wind lease. This makes greater setbacks even more important!….

We value the trust you have in Country Financial for your insurance needs.  In a few weeks, we will send your revised policy, with changes effective with your policy renewal…

Illinois Amendatory – coverage restrictions

Defininitions…

– A definition of “noise” has been added. It means any wanted, or unwanted, distracting, annoying, disturbine or physically harmful sound…

via: http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/COUNTRY-Mutual-Insurance-Company.pdf