Will BigWind be TRUMPED?

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It will take days, weeks and months to sort out the election of Donald Trump. Today there was a whole lot of spinning going on in the wind industry. We bring you a sample of media highlights – enjoy!

· The Lima paper claims that West Central Ohio -aka Ground Zero for Wind Development – played a big part in delivering Ohio for Trump. Check out the overwhelming percentage of votes for Trump in our wind-ravaged region.

· Bloomberg reports “If corporate rates fall, as Trump has pledged if he is elected Tuesday, investors will have less need for write-offs through tax-equity investments. With wind and solar projects expected to need $56.2 billion in capital during the next president’s first term, a slump in the tax-equity market may leave developers short.” “Can you get to a 15 percent rate and still have a tax-equity market?” Martin said. “It just doesn’t seem realistic.”

· Giant turbine maker Vestas saw their stock tank following the election. About 40% of Vestas market is in the US. “Shares in Vestas Wind Systems A/S plunged after U.S. voters unexpectedly propelled Republican nominee Donald Trump to the presidency, sparking concern that the renewable- energy industry will face future political headwinds.”

· Vestas, which had been very optimistic prior to the election was singing a different tune this morning. In a statement after the election, Vestas said it would not speculate on different scenarios for the US renewables market – but noted that wind enjoys strong public support in the US, even with Trump supporters. “Polls show that almost 80% of Trump supporters want more wind farms built in the United States,” Vestas said. This is delusional.

· The Washington Post reviews the agony of the green community. “We’re feeling angry and sad and contemplative,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.” “ Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, acknowledged that Tuesday was “clearly a disappointing night” for environmental activists. “I’ve been doing this work for 40 years, and there are times we’re very aggressively on offense, and sometimes we need to play defense,” Karpinski said, vowing that the community would continue to organize, litigate and pressure both companies and the government. “Despite what Mr. Trump might think, the climate crisis is real and not a hoax.. We need to do what we can at all levels to double down and make progress, in this country and around the world.” Look for more aggressive action at the state level!

· A pro-renewable pundit writing for Recharge tries see the “bright side” by asserting “If there’s one thing that’s long been clear when it comes to Trump and renewables, it’s that he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. That’s bad news on many levels, of course, but in a sense it’s also cause for optimism. Trump and his advisers are about to get an education in many areas, including the realities of the energy industry. When that happens he will come to understand that not only is blind opposition to wind and solar power irrational – it’s also terrible politics, even in the most conservative corners of the US.” SAY WHAT????

· Eenews reports “The specifics of what Trump will do to gut climate change work are unclear. But he has promised to eviscerate as many Obama executive orders and regulations as he can as soon as possible. That includes the electricity-sector climate rules known as the Clean Power Plan.” “I think it’s safe to say carbon regulation of the power sector is about to face a sea change,” Segal said.

· E&E News also reported “Gregg Small, CEO of Climate Solutions, a nonprofit based in Washington state, said Trump will be “devastating” to efforts to limit temperature increases worldwide. “There is no way to overstate the disaster this is for the world,” Small said. “It’s honestly hard not to break down in tears at what this means for the planet.” 

· Dan Shreve of MAKE summed it up well in ReCharge News: “Nevertheless, the impact to the US renewables sector is undeniably negative, but not necessarily in the near term. Conversely, the surprise win by Trump is likely to prompt an even more substantial order surge in the US to capitalize on existing Production Tax Credit (PTC) incentives, resulting in a more pronounced peak in demand through 2020 for the US wind market. This, of course, assumes that existing support mechanisms are maintained, and MAKE does not expect existing PTC/ITC (Investment Tax Credit for the solar industry) legislation will be impacted by the Trump win, given that elimination of the incentives would require overcoming a Democratic filibuster. The long-term health of the renewables sector is a different story altogether. President-elect Trump has gone on record numerous times to decry the science behind climate change and is not expected to support any renewables initiatives.

“It has been reported that the first weeks of the Trump presidency will likely be focused on rescinding and implementing a wide variety of executive orders. Unfortunately, this is very likely to include the CPP, as it was included as an executive order under Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The ongoing litigation in the US Court of Appeals and expected appeal to the Supreme Court would therefore be moot, and upwards of 55% of wind energy demand from 2020-30 could be eliminated.”

One thing is clear. Now is not the time to quit praying for our country. There are many issues/problems that need to be addressed in this new administration….

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Iowa wind farm generates more tax credits than electricity-Ohio will too

The information below is not only true of Iowa, but also Ohio. Our BlueCreek industrial wind site does not have high production numbers (this is public info); in fact, there is no industrial wind site in Ohio that does! Our wind is not sufficient for producing large amounts of wind energy, but you would not know that if you listened to BigWind. BigWind is lobbying, hard, for reduced setbacks in Ohio, along with automatic tax breaks (PILOT), and promoting their ‘jobs’-ha, that’s a laugh. There is absolutely no comparison in the number of jobs that traditional fuels (natural gas and coal) create with their power plants. BigWind generates a handful of construction jobs and then, typically, less than a dozen once the site is up and running.  Wake up America. One Presidential candidate wants to ram these industrial monsters into our communities, while the other says NO.  This industry is raising, and will continue, to raise our electricity rates and that is terrible news for Ohioans, Americans, industry and our poor….

…the Warren Buffett-owned utility company MidAmerican Energy may soon build a massive new wind farm in Iowa. The thing is, electricity is far from the only thing it will generate. Known as “Wind XI,” the proposed 2,000 megawatt wind farm—Iowa’s largest ever—has the potential to produce a lot of electricity, but even more tax credits.

In total, Wind XI could generate up to $1.8 billion in tax credits for its backers over the next decade.

The winners? Warren Buffett; MidAmerican Energy’s other investors; and Facebook, Microsoft, and Google—MidAmerican’s biggest customers, who will receive tax benefits of their own for using wind energy. The losers? Taxpayers and other ratepayers footing the bill.
Unfortunately, this is part of an ongoing trend in wind energy across the country. It’s not the demand for more electricity that’s driving construction, but rather the government’s preferential tax treatment and counterintuitive energy mandates.

The demand for electricity in the U.S. has been nearly flat over past decade, due to slow economic growth and gains in energy efficiency. Despite the lack of new demand, new wind farms are popping up across the country because of the tremendous tax credits they generate for their owners….

And the tax credits Buffett mentions are substantial. Although MidAmerican Energy likes to note that Wind XI is not receiving any financial incentives from Iowa, that’s only half of the story. The federal government provides $23 in credits for every megawatt hour—the large-scale unit of production for energy– of electricity produced by wind and other alternative energy sources. Known as the production tax credit (PTC), this government giveaway means that MidAmerican’s new wind farm could generate $180 million in credits each year.

The federal government does even more than that to ensure green energy producers get ample benefits. MidAmerican Energy can use the PTC for up to 10 years, after recent regulatory changes expanding the life of the credit. In addition to the tax credits, government regulators set a fixed rate of return for MidAmerican Energy to charge its customers. MidAmerican will receive a guaranteed 11 percent return on equity for Wind XI, meaning it will rake in $395 million in profit over the roughly 30 year life of the project.

Another set of reasons why new wind farms are in high demand are energy mandates at both the state and federal level. Currently, 29 states have renewable portfolio standards mandating utilities to generate a certain percentage of their electricity from sources such as wind and solar. On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent carbon regulations—if eventually upheld by the Supreme Court—will shutter many traditional power plants, leaving wind farms to take their place.

In other words, government policy is doing everything in its power to set the stage for wind….

Source: Iowa wind farm generates more tax credits than electricity

BigWind’s hypocrisy= ‘like showing up at an AA meeting with booze on your breath”

Ouch! This is a zinger against the Windustry! Your decision to purchase an electric car doesn’t appear too wise, either. Thank you for these authors for taking their time to research and put together a tremendous amount of information about our various energy options and the costs to the future of our nation and our electric stability. The costs to implement the renewable aspirations of this administration are absolutely terrifying and not sustainable. China, the largest foreign holder of our debt, is aware of this and they are building Thorium reactors. Why shouldn’t we?…..

Four bottom lines up front:

  • It would cost over $29 Trillion to generate America’s baseload electric power with a 50 / 50 mix of wind and solar farms, on parcels of land totaling the area of Indiana. Or:
  • It would cost over $18 Trillion with Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) farms in the southwest deserts, on parcels of land totaling the area of West Virginia. Or:
  • We could do it for less than $3 Trillion with AP-1000 Light Water Reactors, on parcels totaling a few square miles. Or:
  • We could do it for $1 Trillion with liquid-fueled Molten Salt Reactors, on the same amount of land, but with no water cooling, no risk of meltdowns, and the ability to use our stockpiles of nuclear “waste” as a secondary fuel.

Whatever we decide, we need to make up our minds, and fast. Carbon fuels are killing us, and killing the planet as well. And good planets are hard to come by.

If you think you can run the country on wind and solar, more power to you.

It’s an attractive idea, but before you become married to it, you should cuddle up with a calculator and figure out exactly what the long-term relationship entails….

Wind and solar farms are gas plants.

Don’t take our word for it; listen to this guy instead, one of the most famous voices in the renewable energy movement:

“We need about 3,000 feet of altitude, we need flat land, we need 300 days of sunlight, and we need to be near a gas pipe. Because for all these big solar plants—whether it’s wind or solar—everybody is looking at gas as the supplementary fuel. The plants we’re building, the wind plants and the solar plants, are gas plants.” – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., board member of BrightSource, builders of the Ivanpah solar farm on the CA / NV border.

Large wind and solar farms are in the embarrassing position of having to use gas-fired generators to smooth out the erratic flow of their intermittent energy. It’s like showing up at an AA meeting with booze on your breath….

Let’s review.

We’ve been cuddled up with a calculator, thinking about whether to go with a 500 MW Light Water Reactor, or a 500 MW wind or solar farm.

So far, wind is weighing in at $26.7 Billion, CSP solar at $12.3 Billion, and a Gen-3+ Light Water Reactor at $4.03 Billion. The land, steel and concrete for the reactor is minuscule, the material for wind or solar is substantially more, and the land for the wind farm is enough to make you faint.

But wait, it gets worse…

A reactor has a 60-year service life. Renewables, not so much.

The industry thinks that wind turbines will last 20-25 years, and that CSP trough mirrors will last 30-40 years. But no one really knows for sure: the earliest large-scale PV arrays, for example, are only 15 years old, and CSP is younger than that. And there’s mounting evidence that wind turbines will only last 15 years….

A word or two about natural gas.

Gas-fired plants are far less expensive than nuclear plants, or even coal plants, which typically go for about $2 an installed watt. Nuclear plants, even in America, could be as cheap as coal plants if the regulatory and construction process were streamlined—assembly-line fabrication alone will be an enormous advance. Still, a gas plant is about a third the price of a coal plant, which sounds great. But the problem with a gas-fired plant is the gas.

CO2 emissions from burning “natural gas” (the polite term for “methane”) are 50% less than coal, which is a substantial improvement, but it’s still contributing to global warming. It’s been said that natural gas is just a slower, cheaper way to kill the planet, and it is. But it’s even worse than most folks realize, because when methane escapes before you can burn it (and any gas infrastructure will leak) it’s a greenhouse gas that’s 105 times more potent than CO2. (If it’s any consolation, that number drops to “only” about 20 times after a few decades.)

Another problem with natural gas is that it’s more expensive overseas. Which at first glance doesn’t seem like much of a problem, since we’ve always wanted a cheap, abundant source of domestic energy. But once we start exporting methane in volume (the specialized ports and tankers are on the drawing board), why would gas farmers sell it here for $3 when they can sell it over there for $12?

A final note on natural gas: Even if all of our shale gas was recoverable (which it’s not), it would only last 80-100 years. But we have enough thorium, an easily mined and cheaply refined nuclear fuel, to last for literally thousands of years.

Natural gas is a cotton candy high. The industry might have 10 years of good times on the horizon, but I wouldn’t convert my car if I were you. Go electric, but when you do, realize that your tailpipe is down at the power plant. So insist on plugging into a carbon-free grid. Otherwise you’ll just be driving a coal burner.

Which brings us back to nuclear vs. renewables, the only two large-scale carbon-free energy sources available to us in the short term. And since all we have is the short term to get this right, we’d better knuckle down and make some decisions.

America has 100 nuclear power plants. We need hundreds more.

Reactors produce nearly 20% of America’s electrical power, virtually all of it carbon-free….

 Let’s Run the Numbers – Nuclear Energy vs. Wind and Solar | The Energy Reality Project.

Ohio legislators answer BigWind questions with MidWest electric

Wind was on the front page news in the Springfield paper, yesterday, but they left out any mention of Everpower being for sale.  The piece looks like more of a PR attempt to perhaps convince someone that EverPower projects are edging closer to reality.  We are not so sure.    

The more interesting and substantive stories come from the Statehouse and from Sidney.    As the Mandates Study Committee continues to grapple with federal Clean Power Plan issues, some members are concerned about the impacts of a renewable standard.  “…some members, like Rep. Roegner, would like to see the two-year freeze extended beyond 2017, when its set to resume under last year’s energy bill (SB310, 130th General Assembly). “I would not object to that proposal – to extend it temporarily or even more permanently. But I’m not going to say at this point that that is indeed my commendation,” she said. “But I think that should be considered, especially considering the uncertainty around this 111(d) ruling,” she said about the U.S. EPA’s carbon pollution rules, which are expected to be finalized in late summer. Rep. Roegner recalled that Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler told the study committee that there were too many unanswered questions about the draft rules to determine whether or not the state’s alternative energy portfolio would help the state comply.”   

Meanwhile, the Sidney area electrical co-op, Midwest Electric held a breakfast meeting and invited Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, 12th District; Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, 1st District; Rep. Bob Cupp, Lima, 4th District; Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, 84th District; and Rep. Tony Burkley, R-Payne, 82nd District to discuss a number of issues including energy.  Sen. Faber expressed concern about the extra cost to consumers for alternative energy.  Rep. Burkely surprised us by saying that while farmers in Van Wert and Paulding County may benefit from wind, the rest of the state does not.   None of the legislators want to act until more is known about the federal Clean Power Plan and the litigation that will be filed by many states.

 

We can safely say there is much going on surrounding the energy debate in Ohio….

What about? — wind, water and education. Those were the questions asked to five of Ohio’s elected officials during the Midwest Electric’s annual ACRE (Action Committee for Rural Electrification) Day for cooperative members and employees Monday morning.

Present for the breakfast were Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, 12th District; Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, 1st District; Rep. Bob Cupp, Lima, 4th District; Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, 84th District; and Rep. Tony Burkley, R-Payne, 82nd District; along with Marc Armstrong, director of government affairs for Buckeye Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives Inc.

When an audience member asked if wind and solar power in Ohio had failed to live up to its mandates of providing alternate energy sources, Faber said that answer remains to be seen.

“They created a goal for public utilities and trusted it would happen,” said Faber. “During the next couple of weeks, we will be receiving a report that tells how science and technology will create diversity in energy sources.”

Faber said no one knew what the costs would be for wind energy.

“Cooperatives (such as Midwest) uses alternatives which make sense,” said Faber. “Their customers spend $5 to $10 each month to be in compliance with the mandates.”

Faber said he doesn’t want to see customers paying excess amounts each month to meet the mandates.

“We’re trying to get a handle on it,” said Faber….

“Van Wert County is the ‘Wind Capital of Ohio.’” said Burkley whose district includes Van Wert and parts of Auglaize counties. “The people have benefited from Paulding and Van Wert wind power, but at what expense? The farmers have benefited from their property being used.”

He said the companies installing the windmills have taken advantage of the subsidies offered for the program. But, he added, it hasn’t benefited the entire state of Ohio….

Legislators answer wind, water, education questions Midwest Electric holds annual ACRE Day – Sidney Daily News – sidneydailynews.com.

and Statehouse News:

Decision Whether To Extend Clean Energy Freeze Hinges On Federal Carbon Rules

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.

Will the EPA force BigWind upon us and divide our states?

We would like to think Indiana is a good neighbor, but the EPA may change that relationship. Let us recap…Ohio legislators have ‘frozen’ our renewable energy mandate, for now, while the long-term effects are studied. In the meantime, companies are free to purchase wind energy and Amazon is a perfect example. They have chosen to build offices in Ohio and purchase renewable energy from an industrial wind site in Indiana. However, now the EPA wants to deny utility company credits, under the ‘clean power plan’, if renewable energy is purchased from outside its home state.  How is this a positive mandate for any state?  The USA land with tremendous diversity.   Some states are rich in coal, some in natural gas, others offer more sunshine and wind. If the EPA wants to control ‘where’ wind energy can be sold, it will become a self-limiting/destroying mandate. Our grid simply cannot accommodate the variation in power production (and LACK of it when the wind doesn’t blow), particularly, in states without multiple large cities- states with sparse, rural populations.  The energy needs across our county are simply too diverse.  This mandate will kill the wind industry in some areas and burden it upon others. The states will begin to fight within their own borders, as you can read in other Indiana headlines right now. Some areas are willing to take on more wind industry penetration, while others are saying NO and want greater setbacks etc.    Let us remind you of a famous American quote, “A house divided amongst itself cannot stand…”

…New EPA rules coming down the pike will cut carbon emissions from coal and gas power plants for the first time and boost demand for clean power such as wind. One result: Indiana could see two or three times as many wind farms as it has now.

In its latest projection of U.S. wind energy needs, the federal Department of Energy says only five other states are in line to boost their wind power sectors as much as or more than Indiana.

Indiana has a good shot at tripling its wind power capacity in the next decade or so, from the current 1,744 megawatts to 5,000 or more, says Sean Brady, Midwest policy manager for the wind power advocacy group Wind on the Wires….

Whether wind power actually has that kind of upside, however, depends on a few cards being played just so.

For one thing, not everyone in the public policy arena thinks that wind is the way to go. It is, after all, a variable power source that you can’t rely on to generate the juice when needed. (Indiana’s four-season winds are especially fickle, with a fivefold difference in breeziness between the least windy month, August, and the windiest, November. Regional power grid operator MISO tracks wind power use by the hour and posts it online.)…

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. (Some states also are fighting the CO2 rules in court.)…

Indiana wind power could get boost from new EPA rules.

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/