Which candidate will force you to LOVE BigWind?

Could you still be undecided in this election? You are not alone.  If, however, like us, you are opposed to the renewable energy mandates, for whatever reason, Trump is your candidate.  Clinton will bring more BigWind industrial machines to our landscape, with no accountability for energy production.  Electricity rates will continue to skyrocket under her, as they have with Obama…

WASHINGTON (AP) — THE ISSUE: Energy independence has been a goal of every president since Richard Nixon. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have very different ways to achieve it.…

Clinton pledges that under her leadership, the U.S. will be able to generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America within 10 years…

Trump vows to “unleash American energy,” allowing unfettered production of oil, coal, natural gas and other sources to push the U.S. toward energy independence and create jobs. Trump would sharply increase oil and gas drilling on federal lands and vows to revive the struggling U.S coal industry. He also would open up offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and other areas where it is blocked.

Trump calls for rescinding the Clean Power Plan, a key element of President Barack Obama’s strategy to fight climate change, as well as a rule to protect small streams and wetlands from development. He also would cancel the 2015 Paris climate agreement and stop U.S. money going to U.N. global warming programs…

Wind and solar power have grown in recent years, thanks in part to support from Obama, but renewable energy sources accounted for just 10 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2015. Renewable energy is generally more expensive to produce and use than fossil fuels. Clouds impair solar energy and calm skies slow wind farms.

Source: WHY IT MATTERS: Energy

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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

 

 

Are Ohio’s farmers beginning to say NO to BigWind, but YES to solar?

The Huron County Greenwich Windpark project is in the spotlight this week as citizens continue to battle what they believe has been an unfair and legally questionable process before the Ohio Power Siting Board.  We imagine many Ohio communities feel empathy for the Greenwich residents.   One issue that is in dispute concerns the OPSB’s interpretation of the law concerning when consent must be given by neighboring landowners when a setback waiver is requested.   It appears that OPSB does not quite know, or perhaps is not willing to say at this juncture, how it applies the law.   We are not aware of the OPSB having ruled in this area previously and so we were puzzled by the comment of the wind developer’s attorney, Sally Bloomfield.    “Bloomfield said that if GNU’s interpretation were adopted, it would be a marked departure from prior law and practice. In the past, the Siting Board has consistently interpreted the law to say that any waiver “has to be granted by the people who were affected” by it, she explained.” 

We know of no previous rulings on the issue of waiver consent and no prior interpretations of the law.  Notwithstanding,  the law appears to provide the prerequisite for all abutting property owners to give consent when waivers are granted.   Bloomfield seems to be adding her own interpretation and introducing language that is neither in the law or the rule.   The OPSB is continuing to mull over this conundrum and we have no idea when they might issue any clarifications.  We do know that every wind-affected community will be watching closely.    And from the story below, it looks as though Senator Seitz will be watching too.

Meanwhile, next door in Indiana,  wind developers are happily working away expanding existing sites and looking for new ones on which to erect up to 2,000 new wind turbines.   This would triple the number they have now.   Indiana is touted as having suitable lands and strong winds along wiith a good geographic position to serve demand centers like Chicago and Indianapolis.  One cloud on Indiana’s turbine filled horizon is the ultimate rules for the government’s Clean Power Plan.   

“One particularly sticky issue: EPA’s proposed “clean power plan” rules don’t give a utility any credit, under the CO2-lowering mandates, for using green energy in its generation portfolio if it buys wind power from outside its home state. If that proviso stands, Indiana’s wind industry could be hurt because it currently sells the bulk of its power to non-Indiana utilities. They would be newly motivated to drop their Indiana contracts and buy their green energy from wind farms in their own states. Utilities and other interests are lobbying the EPA to drop the rule giving credit only to home-state-bought green energy. The final EPA rules are expected out this summer. States also will have a say in the matter, so they’ll have to be lobbied, too.”

We are keeping our fingers crossed that the proposed rule on home-state-bought green energy is removed.   This is a very important issue especially for states that may lack reliable and affordable resources within their own borders.

While Ohio’s wind woes continue unabated, we were somewhat amused by the new embrace of solar energy by farmers in Ohio’s NW counties.  The Mansfield News Journal reports: “It’s solar energy, however, that’s making real inroads into the farming communities of the region today, and as far as Rick Niese is concerned, the reason is simple. “Actually, we forget that we have them. I thought we would see a glare from the road. There is no glare. They’re not reflecting, they’re absorbing. No muss, no fuss,” he said. “My dad and I were talking about this the other day. We wish you could go around and do this and actually forget about the windmills, because you don’t even know it. The windmills, you’ve got them out there in everybody’s face, everybody sees them. We really like the idea of solar versus wind.”   

So do we, Mr. Niese. So do we…..

An effort by opponents to stop a proposed Ohio wind farm, which includes a legally questionable maneuver to prevent property owners from granting variances, has the support of the state legislature’s most outspoken critic of renewable energy.

Greenwich Windpark, one of the few wind energy projects moving forward in Ohio, was approved by the state Power Siting Board in August. However, opponents, along with state Sen. William Seitz, have requested a rehearing and want to apply stricter rules than those that were in effect when the Siting Board ruled last summer.

Earlier this month, Seitz provided Midwest Energy News with materials from Greenwich Neighbors United (GNU) in Huron County as an example of “the efforts of local folks…to fight ‘Big Green Wind.’”…

Meanwhile, in a pending rulemaking proceeding, GNU is urging the Siting Board to change its rules so that any adjacent property owner could prevent a waiver by another property owner, even if the waiver would not affect the person objecting to it.

“I believe it says all adjacent property owners to that wind farm have to sign waivers” for a setback or any other variance, maintained Ledet. “I think that’s something that’s going to have to be battled out in court.”

“We want to make sure the Ohio Power Siting Board is doing what the Ohio Power Siting Board should be doing for the citizens of Ohio,” Ledet also said. “Are they concerned about our safety and our welfare and our property rights?”…

Ledet said GNU is also trying to reach out to other communities “to help other people that are going to be facing the same onslaught” from wind farms.

For the time being, though, SB 310 and HB 483 have apparently put the brakes on most in-state wind development….

State lawmaker part of effort to stop Ohio wind project | Midwest Energy News.

BigWind Wars across Ohio and around the world

Another flurry of activity at home and around the globe.   New turbine models were introduced by Senvion at 3 and 3.2 MW, to be built in the U.S. and designed to penetrate low wind communities.   Meanwhile, in Germany 71% of Danish wind imports are being rejected because the accompanying transmission lines are thought to degrade the landscape.   In the U.K., EverPower’s owner and Terra Firma Chairman, Guy Hands, was dumping money into the upcoming elections in order to defeat the Tories who adopted a “Manifesto”  that “states that the Conservatives will “halt the spread of onshore wind farms”, arguing that while onshore wind now makes a “meaningful contribution to our energy mix to our energy mix”, wind farms “often fail to win public support” and are “unable by themselves to provide the firm capacity that a stable energy system requires”.

 

Closer to home, the late Sam Walton’s brother-in-law, Frank Robson, has taken on the wind industry in Oklahoma after learning of plans for a development near his property.   “His efforts to push back against wind energy developments in Oklahoma led him to hire lobbyists. One firm hired, FKG Consulting, is the largest lobbying firm in the state. FKG Consulting supplied Robson with a small army of consultants including a pollster, and devised a strategy that has transformed Robson’s image from angry wealthy landowner to tax consumer advocate. Robson’s consultants transformed his message by halting the NIMBY talk, and devised a plan to go after tax incentives that support wind; a cause polling showed would be more compelling to the public. Robson has also hired a local marketing expert, who then started a group called “Wind Waste,” to pull the incentives that wind energy receives in the state out of context.”

On the Indiana/Ohio border, EDP Renewables is exploring a wind initiative in one, two or three counties: Wayne, Randolph and Henry. “It could be that we would build one in each county or one that straddles all three counties,” said EDP project manager Jeffrey Nemeth. “We just don’t know at this point. We are in the very, very early stages of development, and there’s a lot of studying to do.”  “Nemeth said initial plans in this area are to build a wind farm that includes 100 turbines and produces 200 megawatts, which is the same size as the current farm in Randolph County.”   The likely purchaser of the wind energy would be AEP.

In Ohio,  new PUCO Chairman Andre Porter  took office yesterday pledging “”I cannot stress that enough – how important it is that we do things in a way that everyone feels as if they’re being treated fairly. That means that no one gets special treatment. There is going to be a level playing field here at this commission,” he said.”    Ohio’s rural community hopes they will at last see fair treatment.  Porter could start by adhering to the laws and regulations governing the siting of wind turbines.

 

Speaking of those laws and regulations, the environmental left continued its Clean Energy Tour through Dayton trying to rally the troops to support reinstatement of the renewable mandates and repeal of the new property line setbacks.    In a  recent news story, Iberdrola’s Eric Thumma made some amazing statements.  Thumma said he would urge lawmakers to rescind or reconsider Ohio House Bill 483, which tripled property line setbacks for turbines on commercial wind farms. As a practical matter, the law rules out any new commercial wind farms that don’t already have permits, he said. No public hearings were held on that last-minute change before the bill passed last year. In the less than ten minutes of debate on it, Seitz railed against noise and other aspects of wind energy. “We’d like to see legislation that is obviously protective of the areas in which we’re developing, but also allows us to economically develop wind farms,” Thumma said. “What I always ask people to do is come have a conversation with me,” Thumma added. “We’ll stand under an operating wind turbine, and we can talk at the same level that we’re talking right now.”   WOW!  Thumma is trying to conflate inaudible emissions with audible emissions while ignoring all laws of physics surrounding noise propagation.  Standing under a turbine to have a conversation is not something anyone would say in 2015 unless they think the audience is incredibly stupid.

 

We enjoyed Senator’s Seitz reply to subject of the mandates that now must be considered in the context of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.  ““The issue is not whether you’re for or against having the wind blow or the sun shine or the possibilities of using that as a power source,” Seitz said. “The issue rather is should utilities be mandated to buy that fuel, and should ratepayers be mandated to pay for it? Or should ratepayers have some choice in the matter? That’s really the issue. It’s been the issue all along.” “That’s the issue to me and to many others on this committee,” Seitz said. “And that issue has been compounded by the looming omnipresence of this ridiculous U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan.” The Clean Power Plan “threatens to impose new mandates on top of whatever state mandates there are,” Seitz said. “Why should we continue marching up State Mandate Mountain when there are new federal mandates on the horizon?”  

  

Last but not least, the bat issues are still mired in debate while UNU and the Indiana University Conservation Law Center decide whether or not to file an appeal to the EverPower bat mitigation plan. There is a great deal going on in this world and we appreciate everyone who has stuck with us and continued to educate themselves and their community. Thank you….   

While an Ohio energy study committee is tasked by law to look broadly at both the costs and benefits of the state’s clean energy standards, advocates say most of the group’s focus so far has been on factors against them.

“The committee has stated that they are coming at this with an open mind, and I continue to give them the benefit of the doubt,” said Rob Kelter of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

However, Kelter added, last month’s meeting of Ohio’s Energy Mandates Study Committee was “disconcerting.”

Lawmakers at that meeting focused primarily on perceived weaknesses of wind and solar energy, without considering the benefits of either renewable energy or energy efficiency….

Most of the time lawmakers spent asking questions focused on those discounts and ignored the primary value of renewable energy, say advocates.

“Wind is not necessarily a capacity resource,” said Dan Sawmiller of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal program. “It’s an energy resource.”

The capacity auction aims “to make sure that when there’s a peak period of demand, there is either enough generation or enough demand response or other energy efficiency resources to be able to make sure that the grid is in balance,” said Eric Thumma at Iberdrola Renewables, whose projects include the 304 MW Blue Creek Wind Farm in northwest Ohio.

“That’s a different product from energy, which is just the megawatt hours that are delivered to the grid from resources,” Thumma continued. “That’s really the product that wind and solar provide. They’re energy resources.”

“Capacity factors by themselves are not that critical,” Sawmiller said. “Consumers are more concerned with the total cost of producing the reliable electricity that they demand, not the capacity factor of a particular resource.”…

“The issue is not whether you’re for or against having the wind blow or the sun shine or the possibilities of using that as a power source,” Seitz said. “The issue rather is should utilities be mandated to buy that fuel, and should ratepayers be mandated to pay for it? Or should ratepayers have some choice in the matter? That’s really the issue. It’s been the issue all along.”

“That’s the issue to me and to many others on this committee,” Seitz said. “And that issue has been compounded by the looming omnipresence of this ridiculous U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan.”

The Clean Power Plan “threatens to impose new mandates on top of whatever state mandates there are,” Seitz said. “Why should we continue marching up State Mandate Mountain when there are new federal mandates on the horizon?”

Energy efficiency standards in Ohio and elsewhere “are totally cost-effective and save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” stressed Kushler.

“Even if EPA disappeared tomorrow, it would still be in the best interests of Ohio to do energy efficiency programs,” Kushler continued. “Energy efficiency is still cheaper than supplying and operating those generating plants and paying for their replacements” when they eventually get too old.

Thumma said he would urge lawmakers to rescind or reconsider Ohio House Bill 483, which tripled property line setbacks for turbines on commercial wind farms. As a practical matter, the law rules out any new commercial wind farms that don’t already have permits, he said.

No public hearings were held on that last-minute change before the bill passed last year. In the less than ten minutes of debate on it, Seitz railed against noise and other aspects of wind energy.

“We’d like to see legislation that is obviously protective of the areas in which we’re developing, but also allows us to economically develop wind farms,” Thumma said.

“What I always ask people to do is come have a conversation with me,” Thumma added. “We’ll stand under an operating wind turbine, and we can talk at the same level that we’re talking right now.”…

Advocates hope Ohio energy committee will broaden focus | Midwest Energy News.

additional references from above, please copy/paste:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/04/15/porter-sworn-in-as-puco-chairman.html

http://www.ohioenergyfuturetour.com

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2403945/tory-manifesto-vows-to-halt-the-spread-of-onshore-windfarms/page/2

http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2015/04/08/bat-listings-impact-on-wind-industry-yet-to-be-determined/