BigWind’s Big$ FAILS in Ohio

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Ohio voters have spoken and LOUDLY against BigWind…and their OUT of STATE $. In ALL cases above, BigWind FELL. Thank you to all who cared to vote for individual property rights. Continue to share your opinions, educate your neighbors and call the Statehouse. BigWind WILL return with more $ in the future. Perseverance can win this race to kick them to the curb…

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BigWind shadows present in Ohio elections

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More often than not, Democrats support BigWind. All politics is local but we are interested in the NE Ohio race for the Ohio House 37th District where Democrat Casey Weinstein told the Akron Beacon Journal that “: My top priority in the legislature would be to pass new legislation curtailing the existing wind setback laws here in Ohio, which are among the most stringent in the nation. The reason for this is threefold. First: we need to restore local control. Communities want to invest in this technology but are currently unable to do so because of burdensome government overreach in Columbus. Second: wind energy means jobs. The fastest growing job in the nation is wind turbine technician, and the average pay is higher than the median household income in Ohio. We have some of the highest wind energy potential in the nation due to Lake Erie, but our wind setback laws mean we have been unable to embrace that potential. Third: the positive impact on our environment. The Cleveland-Akron area has the 10th worst air in the nation, and it’s making us sick. Children like my daughter Nora are being diagnosed with childhood asthma — a pre-existing condition — because our air is so dirty. Investing in green energy like wind will help us clear up the environment creating a happier and healthier Ohio for all.”

You can’t make this stuff up.  Think about it for a moment.  This guy wants to relax setbacks in order to take advantage of the wind in Lake Erie.  Everyone should say a prayer for Weinstein’s opponent to win on Tuesday.

The Governor’s race will impact the direction of energy policy in Ohio as Richard Cordray is eager to restore renewable energy mandates.  Vote for DeWine.

Robert Bryce has unleashed a new screed against wind in his column “Why Wind Isn’t the Answer”.     Bryce reports that “two Harvard researchers published a paper showing that trying to fuel our energy-intensive society solely with renewables would require cartoonish amounts of land.”  Lead author of the Harvard study, Lee Miller, says “We found that the average power density—meaning the rate of energy generation divided by the encompassing area of the wind plant—was up to 100 times lower than estimates by some leading energy experts.”    The problem is that most estimates of wind energy’s potential ignore “wind shadow,” an effect that occurs when turbines are placed too closely together: the upwind turbines rob wind speed from others placed downwind.”   This is a critical point for all to understand in the context of Ohio’s setback battle.

 Bryce goes on to say “Further: “While improved wind turbine design and siting have increased capacity factors (and greatly reduced costs), they have not altered power densities.” In other words, though Big Wind has increased the size and efficiency of turbines—the latest models stand more than 700 feet tall—it hasn’t been able to wring more energy out of the wind. Due to the wind-shadow effect, those taller turbines must be placed farther and farther apart, which means that the giant turbines cover more land. As turbines get taller and sprawl across the landscape, more people see them.”

But we think there is more.

A friend has reminded us that ‘wind shadow’ is a phenomenon which is not unique to turbines.  In sail boat racing, the shadow of a boat’s sail can be used strategically to rob a competitor boat’s sails of wind.  Wind shadow is the result of any obstacle that impedes or diminishes the flow of wind.   The Harvard researchers quantified that affect and concluded the rate of energy generation touted by the wind industry is actually 100 time lower than many estimates.    How does that affect you?  It means the taller turbines require greater distance from one another to operate efficiently and take full advantage of their longer blades. In all likelihood, developers need to trespass over the neighboring property line to meet their separation requirements and take advantage of the efficiencies of taller turbines.

“The general rule-of-thumb for wind farm spacing is that turbines should be about 7 rotor diameters away from each other. So an 80-meter (262-foot) rotor would need to be 560 meters — more than a third of a mile — from adjacent turbines. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have proposed that twice as much spacing would increase overall efficiency.” https://sciencing.com/much-land-needed-wind-turbines-12304634.html

The Ohio Power Siting Board records indicate the rotor diameters for turbines proposed in Ohio include: Nordex N117 383 feet; Gamesa G114 373 feet; GE 2.5-120 394 feet and GE 2.3-116 380 feet.  If wind turbines must be spaced at least 7 rotor diameters from other turbines, the Nordex N117 turbines must be spaced at least 2,681 feet apart.

If a non-participating property owner has property adjoining the wind farm property and the wind developer is allowed to erect a Nordex N117 wind turbine 1,125 feet from his property line (the current statutory minimum), the Nordex N117 will generate a wind shadow that covers/invades at least 1,364 feet of the non-participating property owner’s land.  That is more than ¼ mile and makes a significant portion of the neighbor’s property unusable or uneconomic if he would also like a Nordex N117 to be erected on his property.  In effect, the wind resources available to the neighbor’s property are devalued by the wind shadow created by the adjacent wind farm.  And if there is non-adjoining property in the wind shadow of the wind farm, then the wind resources available to the non-adjoining property are similarly devalued (confiscated).

If wind farms represent the highest and best use of property in rural Ohio, why should non-adjoining property owners be required (through inadequate minimum setbacks) or forced to “donate” their wind resources to a wind farm located on adjoining property?  This is another important aspect of siting wind turbines and trampling property rights.

On another setback front, word came from William Palmer announcing the publication of his peer reviewed paper on setbacks intended to protect the public from falling ice or fragments. “Wind Turbine Public Safety Risk, Direct and Indirect Health Effects” is available for viewing and downloading.  He has sent the link to the paper in case it might be of some use to warriors Ohio:  https://openaccesspub.org/jec/article/888 .  The paper can be downloaded as a pdf from the site, or can be forwarded via Facebook or Twitter from there.  The article notes, “This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.” The citation they show is “William K.G. Palmer (2018) Wind Turbine Public Safety Risk, Direct and Indirect Health Impacts. Journal of Energy Conservation – 1(1):41-78.”

The Abstract of the paper is as follows:

Wind turbines are often perceived as benign. This can be attributed to the population majority dwelling in urban locations distant from most wind turbines. Society may understate the risk to individuals living near turbines due to an overstatement of the perceived benefits of turbines, and an understatement of the risk of injury from falling turbine parts, or shed ice. Flaws in risk calculation may be attributed to a less than fully developed safety culture. Indications of this are the lack of a comprehensive industry failure database, and safety limits enabling the industry growth, but not protective of the public. A comprehensive study of wind turbine failures and risks in the Canadian province of Ontario gives data to enable validation of existing failure models. Failure probabilities are calculated, to show risk on personal property, or in public spaces. Repeated failures, and inadequate safety separation show public safety is not currently assured. A method of calculating setbacks from wind turbines to mitigate public risk is shown. Wind turbines with inadequate setbacks can adversely impact public health both directly from physical risk and indirectly by irritation from loss of safe use of property. Physical public safety setbacks are separate from larger setbacks required to prevent irritation from noise and other stressors, particularly when applied to areas of learning, rest and recuperation. The insights provided by this paper can assist the industry to enhance its image and improve its operation, as well as helping regulators set safety guidelines assuring protection of the public.”

Palmer’s conclusion is that a maximum distance of 560 meters (1,837 feet) is required for a public safety setback.  The paper notes, “Physical public safety setbacks are separate from larger setbacks required to prevent irritation from noise and other stressors, particularly when applied to areas of learning, rest and recuperation.”  Palmer is not suggesting that a 560 metre setback from homes, and other places of rest and recuperation is acceptable, but he is “trying to address (reject) head on, the position that an acceptable safety setback from roads and lot lines need only be blade length plus 10 metres.”  

Similarly, this week a report was made about the lack of adequate mitigation and reporting measures in offshore wind.   Dropsafe has pinpointed risks such as nuts and bolts falling from turbine hubs during servicing, and debris from tower sections during installation.  A report prepared by the supplier claims that,  despite recent efforts by the wind industry to improve reporting procedures and best practice, it still needs to take further steps before a significant incident dents the reputation of a major player….

 

 

Ohio Governor Race includes NY liberal $

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As the Ohio candidates for governor wind up their debates, the picture of where they stand on energy policy is clear: “Cordray says Ohio has sacrificed a once-admirable clean-energy policy, giving other states and countries a head start in embracing renewable energy and its associated jobs. He pledges to strengthen renewable energy goals for sources such as wind and solar to create good-paying jobs and attract companies committed to clean energy to support their enterprises. DeWine supports the full range of energy options, including nuclear and natural gas, and wants Ohio to move to develop an energy grid that can provide renewable power for companies that value going green.” 

We also learn that a New York University School of Law program funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg is placing lawyers in the offices of Democratic state attorneys general and paying them to prosecute energy companies and challenge Trump administration policies on energy and the environment.  “Nine states and Washington, D.C., including New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania, are participating in the multimillion-dollar program funded by the media magnate and ex-New York City mayor, who re-registered as a Democrat this week amid expectations of a run for president in 2020. The 14 current fellows in the program report to the attorneys general, but they are paid by NYU’s Bloomberg-funded State Energy & Environmental Impact Center. State AG offices hire these trained lawyers – not students but seasoned professionals with years of experience – as special assistant attorneys general. Under terms of the arrangement, the fellows work solely to advance progressive environmental policy at a time when Democratic state attorneys general have investigated and sued ExxonMobil and other energy companies over alleged damages due to climate change.” 

If Ohio elects Cordray as Governor and Democrat Steve Dettelbach as Attorney General, will it be long before Bloomberg’s money finds its way into Ohio?  Media reports say Ohio is targeted for this program if Dettelbach defeats Yost for Ohio Attorney General.

In the energy world, it is always wise to follow the money.  The Daily Caller now reports nonprofit foundations gave conservative groups $10 million to promote liberal energy policies.  That effort includes targeting young conservatives and social conservatives for climate “education.”   The Christian Coalition received more than $4 million to spread the climate gospel among its membership.   The Christian Coalition describes itself as “one of the largest conservative grassroots political organizations in America.” However, the group received funding from charitable foundations since 2008 to “identify and educate supporters of renewable energy within the conservative community,” “advance policy solutions for a stable climate” and other related efforts, according to two grant descriptions.   “Environmental foundations have funded faux-conservative groups for many years to make it seem like their radical climate ideology has a broader consensus than it really does,” Institute for Energy Research (IER) President Tom Pyle told The DCNF.”…

This midterm election, when you go to the polls, it is more important than ever, to know WHAT you our voting for….

 

Bloomberg $

Ohio BigWind news is spinning fast

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Events are spinning fast in the world of wind.  In just one short week, much occurred in Ohio…

Seneca/Sandusky County

Apex requested the OPSB hearings on Seneca and Sandusky County’s Republic Wind be postponed while they “amend” their project.   Speculation as to the reason behind the delay and the amendment include uncertainty over the outcome of hearings on HB 114 and whether property line setbacks will be reduced.  Apex had anticipated the bill would be passed last spring, but setback changes remain unresolved.  That being the case, it is believed Apex does not have the necessary Good Neighbor Agreements to move forward with their original plan.  There is also talk of Apex moving the location of some turbines out of hostile townships to more welcoming townships. In the event the legislature gives township voters the right of referendum, would taking turbines out of the hostile townships ease Apex’s entry into Seneca County? 

We understand further that two of the Seneca County Commissioners sought legal representation concerning the Republic Wind Project including the existing Alternative Energy Zone designation.  Township trustees also sought legal counsel for the purpose of intervening in the case before the Ohio Power Siting Board.   The County Prosecutor’s Office believed they would be unable to simultaneously represent the opposing interests of the County and the Townships and so the County hired its own lawyer.  They hired Michael Settineri of the Vorys law firm who represents almost all of the wind developers in the state. WOW! 

Apparently, Commissioner Mike Kerschner, who has been sympathetic to people of Seneca County never had a chance to object or participate in discussion about this move.  Something is definitely rotten Seneca County.  Radio ads are also being broadcast in NW Ohio against Kerschner by the ‘Economic Prosperity Project’.  Readers may recall last March when this group sent out a mailer urging that “Republican legislators need to STAND UP to Bill Seitz” because “He is using his influence to prevent $4.2 billion from being invested in Ohio wind energy.”   The address associated with the Economic Prosperity Project was registered to Innovation Ohio, a liberal think tank run by former Speaker Budish’s Democrat chief of staff, Keary McCarthy, and former top Strickland administration policy chief Jeannetta King. The “Economic Prosperity Project” is a new corporation registered to a former Strickland administration operative, too.

While these political shenanigans are playing out in Seneca County, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rich Cordray is making the rounds in support of wind.   Cordray visited One Energy in Findlay where he expressed his support for wind. Next week he will be joined on the campaign trail by former President Obama.   It is noted also that Cordray appears to be currying favor with farmers who oppose stricter controls on manure disposal in order to clean up Lake Erie.

Huron County

In Huron County, the Greenwich Windpark project has been sold to a company called Swift Current Energy.  A group of mostly Ivy League investment bankers looking to make a bunch of money.  A series of articles below tracks a bit of history surrounding Swift Current.  Readers may recall last year General Motors announced that it would purchase wind from two projects. One project was Northwest Ohio Wind in Paulding County and the other was HillTopper in Logan County, Illinois.   The HillTopper project was a controversial project in Illinois where the original developer agreed to make payments to nonparticipating landowners on an annual basis and to establish a property value insurance program that would be managed through the Logan County tax assessor’s office to compensate homeowners should they experience a loss in the value of their property after the wind farm becomes operational.  

The project never moved forward until recently when Swift Current purchased it and since late 2016 worked to redevelop the HillTopper project, including adding new project participants; redesigning and re-permitting the project; contracting the energy on a long-term basis; and raising financing for the construction and operations of the project. Enel Green Power is managing construction for the project and will be the long-term owner and operator of the wind farm.  The HillTopper project has not been without some local controversy.  We wonder if Swift Current will also seek to sell Greenwich energy output to GM.   It is interesting to see that they were not deterred in buying a troubled Illinois project and getting it up and running by re-engineering the whole project.

In Ohio’s 13th Senate District, Rep. Manning is seeking to swap his seat in the House with his mother who is term limited in the Senate.  This appears distasteful on its face.  Neither Rep. Manning nor his mother, Senator Manning, have seemed interested in or sympathetic to the wind setback concerns of their constituents in Huron and Lorain Counties.   We were interested to read about Rep. Manning’s opponent in the Senate race, Sharon Sweda.   Ms. Sweda has served as president of the Lorain County Association of Realtors, chairman of the board for the Cleveland Area Board of Realtors and district vice president for the Ohio Association of Realtors.  How would she respond to a question about the property value of a home where a neighboring 600’ wind turbine’s nuisance effects trespassed onto the homeowner’s property while also sitting within the strike zone for flying blade fragments?  Someone should ask her on the record! She has nothing to lose by siding with the folks in the Greenwich Windpark footprint.

Lake Erie – Icebreaker

LeedCo and their Enviro buddies are making waves in Lake Erie over the Icebreaker project.  Over the objections of many wildlife advocates who protested the placement of wind turbines in the middle of one of the world’s most important migratory flyways, the OPSB staff recommended approval of the project with conditions.  In response, the backers of the Lake Erie wind farm and environmental and trade groups have agreed to proposed stipulations for the project in an Agreement.  In addition to Icebreaker, parties signing onto the prospective plan include the Ohio Environmental Council, the Sierra Club, the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters and the Business Network for Offshore Wind.  Now, in an effort to get the OPSB to back off the recommended stipulations, LEEDCo. Vice President of Operations David Karpinski says the stipulations  “make the project un-financeable and therefore are fatal conditions.” 

Migratory Bird Treaty Act Litigation

We hope the OPSB stands its ground and we also hope that they are aware of what is happening in other states with respect to the protection of migratory birds.   The battle over the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has expanded again, with eight states including New York and California filing a new lawsuit challenging the Interior Department’s scaled-back interpretation of the law’s reach.  In the suit filed this week, the states’ attorneys general assert Interior’s action endangers birds and “harms the states’ sovereign, ecological, and economic interests in robust federal protections of migratory birds from industrial and other human activities,” among other problems. Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, Maryland and Oregon also joined in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  The lawsuit, as part of an effort to demonstrate that the states have the requisite legal standing, further asserts that “scientific, recreational, and birdwatching opportunities and aesthetic benefits … directly or indirectly generate economic activity and tax revenue for the states.”  

 Maybe Ohio’s Attorney General, Mike DeWine, who is seeking to become our next Governor ought to join the other 8 states in protecting Ohio’s greatest natural resource.  How about it?  No doubt the AG’s staff are currently advising OPSB on how to address the pushback on the recommended stipulations which Icebreaker finds objectionable.  We think this is a BIG DEAL….

**and finally, if you are new to our site and haven’t heard, please read through our past few blogs. On August 26th, a Van Wert, Ohio turbine blade exploded. A 10 foot piece was launched at least 800 feet away….legislative decisions could impact YOU someday!**

 

Ohio politics and BigWind appears to be in Cordray’s pocket

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Election season is underway and they don’t call it the “silly season” for no reason.  A friend shared with is the 2018 Election Guide from the Farm Bureau.  The Guide included some questions and answers posed to the candidates for Governor.  One question was:  “What eminent domain reforms would you be willing to work on to protect property owners?”   Richard Cordray’s response was:

I will fight for farmers to have their day in court, working to bring Ohio back in line with its neighbors and federal law. The setback requirements for wind turbines that were recently imposed under Ohio law are an example  of restrictions on the rights of property owners that restrict the full economic potential of our rural areas, such as in northwest Ohio.”

So, if we read this right, Cordray believes a landowner has some kind of right to endanger a neighbor and trespass with nuisance effects.  Moreover, it appears he thinks there is some kind of eminent domain right for a wind developer to put turbines wherever they feel like it.  Yikes!

 

Following this “theme” the left wing group, Conservation Ohio, announced a $50,000 digital ad buy to boost Mr. Cordray’s gubernatorial campaign. The ads, which will run on Facebook, are designed to highlight Mr. Cordray’s position on energy issues. “Rich Cordray will be a governor who will fight for our environment, and defend us against the Trump Administration’s toxic environmental agenda,” Director Aryeh Alex said in a statement.

 

In Seneca County where Rep. Reineke listened to his constituents and supported their pleas for protective setbacks measured from property lines, a clean energy-supported group called Checks and Balances has filed Freedom of Information requests at Reineke’s office to learn about who is influencing him.  At the same time, Seneca County Commissioner, Mike Kerschner, who supports rescinding the county’s Alternative Energy Zone designation, is also the subject of a FOIA request.

 

As the General Assembly heads back to work after the Labor Day holiday, there is speculation on how the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairmanship will be filled after Troy Balderson won election to the U.S. Congress.   Interestingly, Senate President Obhof indicated he might merge the Committee into either the Senate Public Utilities Committee or the Senate Agriculture Committee.  Obhof was quoted saying a decision was likely this week.  House Bill 114 that proposes to reduce wind turbine setbacks is currently pending in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

 

Obhof remarked in a Statehouse news report that “I think it’ll be a relatively seamless transition regardless of who the chairman is or whether we decide to combine committees,” Sen. Obhof said. “If we do combine committees we’ll…divide (bills) up among committees that would have jurisdiction. Most of the members in the Senate serve on four or five or six committees so people are familiar with the issues that are pending.”

The Senate Public Utilities Committee is chaired by Sen. Beagle and the VC is Senator McColley.  Others on the Committee are Republican Sens. Burke, Eklund, Matt Huffman. Kris Jordan, La Rose, Tehar and Uecker.  Democrat Senators are  Williams, O’Brien and Sykes.   The Senate Ag Committee is chaired by Senator Hackett, and VC Hoagland, with Republican Sens. Beagle, Kunze, LaRose, McColley, Peterson and Uecker.   Democrat Senators are O’Brien, Skindell and Tavares….

Have you contacted your legislator to share your views about the setback debate??????