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

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

By Jerry Mazur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Source: Mayor responds to comments – Times Bulletin

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Apex wants to blanket Van Wert County, Ohio with turbines

We have been watching Apex, since they purchased the leases for southern Van Wert county. Their plans are now official and stated on the website. A new office has been opened in Ohio City. What will the Van Wert county commissioners say this time? Despite complaints from farmers and townships, the commissioners only see $$$. May we remind you where all of the $$$ comes from….our pockets! Hundreds of millions of taxpayer $ will be given for the building of this project and it will produce less than a dozen long-term jobs. But, Apex will throw $ back to the leasing farmers and the county….pocket change for them. Why should YOURS and MY tax$ fund their project? It will also produce far LESS energy than they tell us! How do we know this? Because it is public information how much electrical energy wind sites produce and Van Wert county has dismal, pathetic results. These sites will never replace the energy we can produce from a coal, nuclear or natural gas plant. NEVER.

Apex Clean Energy has acquired the development rights for and is exploring the feasibility of constructing Long Prairie Wind, a wind energy project in rural southern Van Wert County, Ohio….

Source: Long Prairie Wind

Ohio and federal Bigwind lobbyists belong in a circus

The three ring circus may need additional rings as the activity ramps up.  The wind lobby is frantic and stories from across the nation attest to it.   In Ohio, HB 190 to give the County Commissioners power to repeal the current property line setbacks has been referred to the House Public Utilities Committee.   No hearings have been scheduled yet and we will keep you advised of any activity.  Tom Stacy described the legislation as like giving the County Commissioners the power of eminent domain without the obligation to compensate the property owner.  Well said!    

At the federal level, a group of Democrats introduced a new bill to require electric utilities to deliver 30 percent of their supply from renewable sources by 2030. The renewable energy standard (RES) bill introduced yesterday updates a policy proposal that clean energy advocates have pushed for years. It would impose at the federal level the same type of mandate that currently exists in dozens of states.  (And remains frozen in Ohio for now.)   Perhaps the increasing number of states repealing their mandates has caused the wind lobby to move to the federal level to combat the states.

Here in Champaign County, after months of silence, the Editorial Board of the Urbana Daily Citizen wrote an opinion piece.  While not coming out in direct opposition to the EverPower Buckeye Wind project, we discern a bit more hesitancy on their part as they wonder what kind of corporate citizen a new owner would be?  They acknowledge that local officials have concerns about problems that could arise during and after construction.  While it is a mild Editorial, it is at least a recognition that there are two sides to the issue….

The latest buzzword to enter the wind turbine saga is “yieldco,” and this new wrinkle adds a dimension to the potential construction of Buckeye/Champaign wind farms.

Partially because of a more nimble type of investment model called a yieldco that is apparently well-suited to progressive energy development such as wind, EverPower (the parent company of two utility-scale wind farms proposed for Champaign County) may now be worth as much as $1.5 billion…

If EverPower is acquired by investors who are structurally better able to finance the farms, their construction is more viable financially. On the flip side, if it is so easy for the wind farms to change owners, how do their prospective neighbors know for certain the farms will be good citizens once constructed?

We don’t know if the potential sale of EverPower to an owner with more financial prowess will equate to the locally-sited farms being constructed. There are still too many other variables….

If a Republican wins the White House and Republicans maintain their majorities in Congress in 2016, we can’t help but think EverPower faces an uphill battle constructing the proposed wind farms here. In addition, Ohio lawmakers have required more distance between homes and the turbines (also known as setbacks) for future projects…

Complicating the process further, EverPower faces deadlines for starting construction on each project, according to state law. While such deadlines are sometimes flexible based on other factors, EverPower also continues to face persistent legal opposition from Union Neighbors United and a handful of well-heeled residents who live near the proposed projects. In addition, some county agencies and townships have begun to express concerns about problems the farms could cause during and after construction.

One of the biggest hurdles EverPower will face is its application for “payment in lieu of taxes” (PILOT) status from Champaign County Commissioners. This process involves so many monetary variables that the county auditor struggles to pin down the differences in how much local entities would draw in taxes versus the lesser but more predictable payments in lieu of taxes.

When and if EverPower does apply for PILOT, there will be a renewed push from proponents and opponents to win the hearts and minds of county commissioners and the citizens who elect them…

The proposed wind projects began rather stealthily with the company signing up private landowners to leases that will allow the turbines and their system’s infrastructure to be installed. This is not a public utility, but it is under the authority of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and it is heavily reliant on the public sector incentives supplied by our tax money for its birth and survival….

Where are the wind turbines? – Urbana Citizen – urbanacitizen.com.

Devaluation of BigWind to hurt county coffers -share in Ohio!!

Share this article with Ohioans! This story will repeat across the USA, as industrial wind sites age, particularly where there is ‘poor’ wind resources. What about Ohio? Well, go to our home page and click on the picture at the bottom and you will see that we are a ‘poor’ wind resource state. Could this story repeat in Ohio in Van Wert? YES! In Huron, Champaign, Hardin counties? YES! The historical data for wind site performance in Ohio is poor, with sites producing approximately only 30% of the energy that they are capable of producing. Once the (tax) incentives are removed, these sites are no longer profittable and these companies will disappear. What will county governments do then? What will the farmers do then? Thank you, Ohio legislature and governor for ‘freezing’ our renewable energy mandates while such issues are reviewed!!!…

A sudden and dramatic drop in the value of Kern Countys massive wind energy farms will strip millions of dollars out of government coffers this fiscal year.

The Kern County Assessor-Recorder’s office has warned county officials that they expect to drop wind energy property value by $777 million less than three months into the fiscal year.

County budget officials estimate that will strip $1.8 million from the county’s main operational fund and $900,000 from taxes used to run the Kern County Fire Department.

Other governments — cities and schools and special districts — could also lose revenue….

Ansolabehere said the drop in wind energy values came for a number of reasons.

In the first year that a new wind energy project is active, he said, the operator gets a check from the federal government that covers 30 percent of its value.

That check doesn’t come in the second year.

So, Ansolabehere said, the value of a wind project often drops dramatically in the second year.

The other major reason valuations have dropped, he said, is that some projects are not producing energy at the level they were expected to…

But, on the whole, production is less than predicted.

via Devaluation of wind farms to hit government coffers – BakersfieldCalifornian.com.

Logan-Hardin Neighbors United turn up the heat on BigWind

Ohio meeting puts the heat on BigWind. Note the highlighted points by Tom Stacy, below…

For the approximately 75 people that braved the stormy weather, Monday night at the Friendly Senior Center was an opportunity to hear the Logan-Hardin Neighbor’s United’s strong case against using wind turbines as a supplemental energy source.

The organization was started in September of 2013 by residents in the Belle Center and Indian Lake area….

Shepherd thinks wind turbines will increase energy rates and infringe on property owners’ ability to enjoy where they live. He thinks that many will be built too close to where people live. He doesn’t like how many will be built around Indian Lake. Finally, tax dollars will be misused.

Shepherd is especially concerned with how close to homes the wind turbines can be built. They cause “shadow flicker”, are noisy, and aren’t failsafe.

Tom Stacy, an advocate for affordable energy, explained that wind turbine usage will actually increase energy bills for taxpayers. If wind turbines create energy, other energy creators must cut back their production. In order to cover their costs, they must submit a rate case to PUCO. By law, taxpayers must assist energy companies if they can not meet expenses.

Wind turbine companies, according to Stacy, can’t make any money without government assistance. Typically, turbines barely make enough to cover their production costs.

The supposed income that schools receive from turbines is misleading. If a district, for example, receives $200,000, the state will decrease that amount in foundation money to the district.  Hence, there isn’t any advantage to district’s that have the turbines….

 

via Logan-Hardin Neighbors United presents strong case opposing wind turbines Audio included | Peak of Ohio.

Ohio Senator Cliff Hite is challenged for his unconditional support of BigWind

Thank you to all who called members of Congress this week to oppose extension of the Production Tax Credit.  The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) big lobbying push on Tuesday was timed to get out ahead of Rep. Dave Camp’s release on Wednesday of his proposal for comprehensive tax reform.  In a report from E&E News (Camp reform plan would ax incentives for oil and gas, renewable energy 2/26/14) “Renewable firms appear to be big losers under the proposal. Not only would Camp not reinstate expired clean energy incentives such as the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC), he also would dramatically reduce payments to companies still eligible for the credit.”    In the days to come, there will be much pulling and tugging in the Congress but it is unlikely that tax reform will move forward until after the election.  In the meantime, a tax extender for a one year PTC is unlikely given the generous extension last year.  

The prospect of the PTC finally going away makes the notion of protecting the Ohio mandate for wind through 2025 look almost silly.  If the PTC covers 1/3 of the capital cost of wind development and it is terminated, who picks up the shortfall in Ohio?  Ohio electricity consumers – families and employers.  This makes Senator Cliff Hite’s position on safeguarding the mandate even less credible. It appears the race is heating up between Sen. Hite and Van Wert County’s Hoaglin Twp. Trustee Milo Schaffner.  Milo is putting the pressure on and the more opportunities he has to get his message out to the press and to voters, the clearer the choice becomes for voters in the 1st Ohio Senate District.  The Gongwer Report took a look at the race and the article is below.  We note that Hite is still trying to protect a special niche in his district irrespective of its effects on others.  Why? Is there something he is hiding from us, the taxpayers? He continuously dodges legitimate questions about his position on wind development, especially the Constitutionality of the in-state mandate.  Challenger Milo Schaffner will keep asking those hard questions….

source: Gongwer 2-27-14

Sen. Cliff Hite, who has pushed back on his colleagues’ efforts to water down Ohio’s renewable energy requirements, now faces a primary challenger who is criticizing the incumbent’s stance on wind power.

Hoaglin Township Trustee Milo Schaffner, who recently urged the Senate Public Utilities Committee to repeal the state’s clean energy law (see Gongwer Ohio Report, January 29, 2014), said Sen. Hite’s (R-Findlay) support for wind energy drove him to challenge the incumbent in the May 6 primary.

In addition to Mr. Schaffner, Sen. Hite also faces opposition from Pastor Corey Shankleton, one of many primary challengers angry with Senate incumbents for not passing stricter abortion restrictions. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, February 6, 2014)

Numerous witnesses from Sen. Hite’s district, which includes several operating and proposed wind farms, have voiced opposition to the renewable energy requirements during a string of proponent-only committee hearings on Sen. Kris Jordan‘s (R-Powell) repeal legislation (SB 34).

Sen. Hite said he wasn’t discouraged by the torrent of negative attention to wind farms in his district, but he would like his colleagues on the committee to hear the other side of the story.

“Since my district is under the microscope, I would sure like people to see some of the good news stories – the philanthropy that’s been involved with some of these companies, donating monies to projects and historical societies,” he said in an interview. “I would love to have the opportunity to get more on that out.”

Sen. Hite, 59, pointed to what he views as a very tangible benefit of wind turbines in the district – the fact that Van Wert and Paulding counties and local schools recently got checks totaling $2.7 million in payments from the Blue Creek Wind Farm. The money flows from a payments in lieu of taxes agreement between Iberdrola Renewables and local governments.   [Ed. Note:  They should have rec’d 5 times that amount but they gave it away through the PILOT & Van Wert schools does NOT receive 1 cent]

“There are many pros and many cons of both sides of this issue and you have to look at the entire package of what it means for people in our district,” the senator said. “There are people who want wind projects and there are people who don’t. I’ve always said: if you put a project where people want them, that’s great. Don’t put them where people don’t want them.”   [Ed. Note: Can’t do that when you took away our zoning, Senator.]

Mr. Schaffner, 66, clearly didn’t want Blue Creek Wind Farm in his township and he believes he speaks for the majority of his constituents.

“Everyone in this county knows where I stand on the wind issue,” he said, noting that he won the most votes among three Hoaglin Township trustee candidates last November. “That tells me – I don’t care what some people say – the majority of the people living here in Hoaglin are on my side.”

The incumbent’s support for wind power is one of several issues that he said encouraged him to run. “But I guess that’s finally the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he added.

Mr. Schaffner filed his candidacy petitions a few days after testifying on the issue before the Senate Public Utilities Committee. During his trip to the Statehouse he met Chairman Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), who has been pushing for either Sen. Jordan’s plan to scrap the requirement for 25% of the state’s electricity to come from advanced sources by 2025, or his bill to make it easier for utilities to comply with the renewable mandate (SB 58).

Mr. Schaffner recounted his discussion with Sen. Seitz after testifying that the 12 township members represented on the Van Wert County Township Association’s Executive Committee had voted unanimously to support repealing Ohio’s renewable energy law.

“He said, ‘If I had a county where all the trustees’ executive committee voted unanimously…I’d listen to those guys,'” Mr. Schaffner said. “Well, Sen. Hite has not listened to us.”

The trustee said he believed a provision in the law requiring half of Ohio’s renewable energy come from in-state facilities is unconstitutional. He cited a federal court decision that opined a similar requirement in Michigan violates the Commerce Clause.

“As I sat and talked to Mr. Hite – he was here in my living room – I told him you and I both, the very first thing in our oath of office is to uphold the Constitution of the United States and this is unconstitutional,” he said. “I think once you’re told you’re unconstitutional, you should do something about it.”

Sen. Hite points out that the sprawling 1st Senate District encompasses all or part of 11 different counties and he says opinions about wind energy and other issues vary widely from place to place. While wind turbines are a big issue in Paulding, Van Wert, Auglaize, and Hardin counties, residents in the northern counties are more concerned about algae blooms in Lake Erie, he said.

However, the biggest issue for constituents all over the district is job creation, he added. “That’s what I hear the most about. It’s: what are you guys doing to create jobs?”  [Ed. Note: The correct answer to that question is to lower the cost of doing business in Ohio.  The renewable mandate increases costs – see Germany!  Senator Hite opens his mouth and sticks his foot right into it.]

The incumbent touted two recent job creation announcements in the district from International Paper in Kenton and Marathon Petroleum. “That’s great news. That’s what people are talking about most in my district,” he said.

Sen. Hite also sees wind energy as a key factor in the district’s continued economic development.

“We don’t have steel mills, we don’t have giant companies doing waste-heat energy. What we do have is wind and so we wanted to harness that, take advantage of that so we could add to the energy supply,” he said. “I tell people there’s a lot of wind in my district, even when I’m not there.”…

 

A 2-for-1 turbine in Indiana= wind energy plus “FIRE”works!

What a deal, fireworks plus a wind turbine! And, believe it or not, some schools have actually placed them on their school grounds! BP Wind is the group trying to build a farm in Southern Van Wert county, Mercer county, and along the RR that enters Allen county, Ohio through Spencerville….  

A wind turbine in Fowler catches fire in Benton County Friday morning. Witnesses report seeing the turbine shooting flames and sparks from its motor.

The turbine is just off U.S. 52 and County Road 100 South in Benton County. At 6:30 a.m., the Fowler Fire Department dispatched a crew to create a perimeter around the tower.

BP Wind Energy owns the turbine. Fowler Fire Chief Bill Burton said BP told him, whenever this happens, crews should secure the area and not attempt to put the fire out. He said this is something crews are prepared for, but never thought they would see.

“We’ve always been told to just stabilize the area and keep everybody away from it,” said Burton. “It was really close to town, about a mile out. You could see it. It just looked like the fourth of July. There were just sparks going everywhere and flames shooting out.”

Firefighters report it took about 30 minutes for the fire to burnout. No injures have been reported.

BP was unavailable for comment.

via Wind turbine catches fire in Benton County | WLFI.

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