Thumbs Down to Ohio BigWind Alternative Energy Zone

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A great victory was achieved this week for the warriors of Seneca County when two of the three County Commissioners voted to repeal the county’s designation as an Alternative Energy Zone.  Seneca County now joins Van Wert as a county which has repealed their designation.  Remaining AEZ counties include Sandusky, Delaware, Franklin, Putnam, Paulding, Hardin, Clinton, Noble and Summit.  Recently, requests to approve individual PILOT requests were turned down in Logan, Huron and Erie Counties.  Had these counties been designated AEZ, tax abatement and PILOT payments would have been automatically granted. 

Dale Arnold and the traveling Farm Bureau circus made an appearance in Urbana this week to tout the latest “ag commodity” – solar energy.  Harvest away.  We are still waiting to farm coal and gas, maybe raise a little nuclear. Among the points reported to us by attendees were that many of Ohio’s 33 solar companies have left the state because permitting is difficult; solar projects under 50 MW are subject to local zoning;  10 solar projects are in the OPSB pipeline; and permitting can take between 36 and 48 months.

PILOT is apparently important to solar developers.  According to a summary report written in 2010 by the law firm of Bricker & Eckler, PILOT “significantly reduced the state tax burden on renewable and advanced sources of energy generation, such as solar, wind, co-generation, and clean coal. Under the old laws, taxes on solar and wind were estimated to be approximately $115,000 and $40,000 per megawatt (MW), respectively – rendering Ohio a less competitive marketplace for deployment of these technologies.” Current PILOT law reduces the tax burden on qualifying projects to $6,000 to $9,000 for wind and $7,000 per MW for solar.

At the very bottom of this issue of Wind News is a very readable publication by Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute.  We think it will make you laugh out loud as Mills explains the physics of energy and shows why there is no possibility that the world is undergoing— or can undergo—a near-term transition to a “new energy economy.” Mills takes on wind, solar and battery storage.   One example: “The annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand.”  The US routinely maintains two months of stored energy to meet demand in the event of emergency.  You do the math.

An interesting bill was introduced recently.  HB 126 would bar an action challenging an act for violation of the one-subject rule if it is commenced later than 275 days after the act’s effective date.  This has applicability to the lawsuit filed in Paulding County by wind leaseholders and AWEA against the state which alleges current setbacks violate the Ohio Constitution because they were included in a budget bill in 2014.  HB 126 would forbid a lawsuit like the one filed in Paulding County unless it was filed 275 after it was enacted.   Rep. Seitz is a co-sponsor of this bill.

 

In this week’s news:

 

  • The Icebreaker Wind project in Lake Erie received important approvals from the Ohio EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit to commence construction.  We wonder if these turbines will be granted PILOT and, if so, what entity would have the authority to grant it?

 

  • The General Assembly is getting closer to the introduction of legislation to promote low and no carbon energy generation.  Rep. Jamie Callender, who chairs the House Public Utilities Committee, is leading the effort and says, “We’re looking at promoting lower emissions not just with nuclear but also solar and wind and also with other types of generation here in Ohio,” he continued. “How can they take what they’re doing and move it to be clean? We’re being very cautious to the extent we cannot play favorites but come up with a global solution that helps everyone move toward lower carbon emissions.”  Callender is a self-proclaimed fan of renewables. He expects legislation to be introduced in early April, possibly as early as this week.

 

  • Kevon Martis swats back at Rep. Casey Weinstein’s comments reported last week about wind turbine setbacks not being a matter of safety concern in that all generation carries risk.  “Any risk of wind turbine failure must be added to the risks of gas extraction, transportation and power generation because wind generation is wholly dependent upon the gas resource. It is not a replacement for those resources. Thus your colleague’s comparison collapses.”

 

  • North Carolina could permanently ban big wind-power projects from the most energy-intensive parts of the state’s Atlantic coast, but a state senator said Wednesday the move is necessary to prevent hindering military training flights.  Legislation introduced by Republican Sen. Harry Brown would prohibit building, expanding or operating sky-scraping wind turbines within about 100 miles from the coast. The bill would apply to the area that stretches from the Virginia border to south of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base.

 

  • In Ohio, the General Assembly has ignored and avoided the issue of wind turbine interference with military training routes but perhaps that could come to an end.  An assessment of the Seneca Wind project states “Considering the low altitudes associated with these routes, it is possible that wind development could have an impact on military operations. It is possible that these routes are used frequently by aircraft from Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base and other nearby units. If this is the case, the originating activity of these routes may object to proposed wind development within the route boundaries. The units may also object to any wind development over 499 feet AGL due to the likely increase to the minimum cloud ceilings required to fly the routes.”  This study and its concerns should be of importance to any community near a military airfield including Wright-Patt.  The study is attached.

 

  • Another great article on the renewables scam focuses on Georgetown, Texas – part of the 100% renewable gang.  “Like other places said to be 100-percent reliant on “renewable energy,” Georgetown doesn’t actually have its own wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass resources powering it. It simply pays an upcharge for electricity that is said to come from renewable sources. If the green communities and businesses actually did use all renewables, it would likely be very easy to tell: On calm nights the lights would go out. A very few locales in the nation might have the geological features necessary to keep the lights on when renewables fade — such as hills and water that allow a sizeable hydroelectric dam — but most don’t.”   Of course, the 100-percenters have figured out a slick way to get around these physics truths: They pretend.   The 100-percent renewables scam is being sold to us by the government, the utility companies, and the towns and businesses that participate. The “scam” buys goodwill with the duped public and is not only good public relations, it’s also an easy route for them. But as with most governmental interference in the free market, the public ends up taking it in the pocketbook.

 

  • The scammers and pretenders are forming a trade association.  Imagine that.  Companies from a variety of industries — including Walmart, General Motors, Google and Johnson & Johnson — are forming a trade association to represent firms that purchase renewable energy and remove barriers that make it complicated to shift away from carbon.  The new organization, the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, is building on years of work between corporations and climate advocacy nonprofits. Currently, about 200 companies, cities and universities are involved. Miranda Ballentine, the CEO of the new trade group, says the organization will help push energy markets and public policies to make it easier to actually choose to buy green energy.   This story from National Public Radio actually states: Many companies have set green energy targets as part of overall sustainability efforts — whether out of a sense of corporate responsibility or in the pursuit of positive PR.    And don’t forget the blackmail/extortion from those “climate advocacy nonprofits”!

 

  • The US DOE is about to waste some more taxpayer dollars to advance offshore, distributed and ‘tall’ wind across the lower-50 states. DOE is looking at supporting 140 meter towers.  That is a 459’ tower before measuring the blade.

 

  • The Grain Belt Express appears to be moving forward again under the management of its new owner, Invenergy.

It continues to be an active climate, in Ohio, filled with ‘constant change’…..

Seneca County commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday to “sunset” the alternative energy zone put in place in 2011 by a previous board. The AEZ will end June 30….

Phasing out the AEZ in about three months does not affect the Seneca Wind or Republic Wind proposed projects, but would mean the AEZ is not automatically in place for companies that might propose new wind projects after June 30…

Commissioner Mike Kerschner changed his vote since the November vote was taken.

“The fact is that if we rescind it we then have the power within this group of negotiation,” Kerschner said. “It puts a lot more power on this group.”

He said Erie and Huron counties also have rescinded their AEZ programs…

Chris Aichholz, spokesman for the local anti-wind organization, said “We consider today’s decision by the commissioners to rescind the alternative energy zone another achievement. These types of successes only come as a result of our tireless efforts to educate the community on the industrial wind turbine projects being proposed for our county.”

He said the group has been asking for the AEZ to be rescinded for almost a year.

Original article

About Ohio nuclear

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

First Energy Solutions to Lawmakers: Time Running Out to Save Nuclear Plants

Kevon Martis

North Carolina

The Renewable Energy Scam

Walmart,GM,Google want more renewables.

Recharge

US opens wallet to offshore, rural and ‘tall’ wind

Department of Energy earmarks $28m with eye on ‘significant opportunities’ for cost reductions

By Darius Snieckus

28 March 2019

Corporations promise more renewables

No timeline for $2.3bn US Midwest wind link despite state OK

Invenergy says still ‘premature’ to look at construction schedule for 4GW Grain Belt Express after regulatory boost

By Richard Kessler in Fort Worth

26 March 2019

Mark Mills of Manhattan Institute **********

 

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The Big Data (Amazon) Center ‘Deception’

As the year ended, Senator Matt Dolan’s New Year’s Resolution appears to be his commitment to re-introduce his wind turbine setback legislation as fast as he can in 2019.  Speaking to the statehouse news service, “Sen. Dolan said he plans to continue working to better inform his colleagues about the issue, describing it as an “education process.”   That would otherwise be known as a “disinformation” campaign and will require State Senators and Representatives in the NW quadrant of Ohio to be effective spokespersons skilled at countering the fake news.  By way of example, Sen. Bob Hackett of Madison County is adamant that there are no setbacks in any state bordering Ohio that are longer than Ohio’s.  Because he has been misled, Hackett intends to help Sen. Dolan in the 133rd General Assembly as a co-sponsor of a setback bill.  

The Senate will return to session to start the 133rd General Assembly on Monday, Jan. 7. The Senate’s calendar calls for members to be back in Columbus for a full session after that on January 30. The committee hearing process is set to begin on Tuesday, Feb. 5.  The House has yet to release its session schedule for the new year.

In addition to setback legislation, the Senate is likely to consider a ZEN bill which provides a Zero Emissions Nuclear energy program to bail out First Energy.  Not surprisingly, this idea is vigorously opposed by left-wing groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists who think support for nuclear energy is a way to block clean/renewable energy.   Whatever the outcome, there is no way some wind farms in NW Ohio can replace the jobs lost or devastating economic dislocation brought about by the closing of nuclear facilities. Nuclear facilities employee MANY people and provide HIGH paying jobs….UNLIKE BigWind.

One of principal arguments for wind and solar development put forward by politicians is the need to have renewable energy available for the new tech economy and, in particular, fast growing data centers. We decided to look into this a little deeper and were surprised to find that Amazon Web Services does not support that view. In fact, their much touted contract to buy the power generated by EverPower’s Scioto Ridge (aka Hardin Wind) in Hardin and parts of Logan County was quietly ripped up in 2017.

In a December 14, 2018 press report from The Information, a “senior AWS executive told colleagues inside the company that renewable energy projects are too costly and don’t help it win business.”  The article goes on to say that data center operators purchase wind for “the public relations benefits that come from being good corporate citizens and also to lock in long-term power supply contracts.  In a moment of candor, Amazon admits renewables are too costly and they have not made any wind purchases in over two years since they walked away from EverPower’s Scioto Ridge.  CONFIRMATION OF OUR MESSAGE FOR YEARS!!

Greenpeace, Sierra and other environmental activists are going after Amazon to force them into achieving 100% renewable power by 2020.  That is a tall order.  Amazon currently stands at 50%+ renewable.  It is sickening that the charade of renewable energy being able to affordably and reliably power intensive energy users is allowed to warp reasoned energy policy.  It is worse that politicians like Senator Dolan play a part in this charade.

In the meantime, earlier this month Ohio Montauk Innovations LLC, a Google data center affiliate, received a set of incentives from the State of Ohio for a $600 million data center in New Albany, a high income suburb of Columbus. The project is intended to create $2.5 million in payroll.  The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 100 percent, 15-year data center sales tax exemption, though it has the option to be renewed for up to 40 years through October 30, 2058.  That agreement would be worth $43.5 million over the life of the tax credit, which it can claim on sales and use taxes associated with data center equipment purchases at the site. 

Approximately one mile from the new Google data center, Facebook is building a $750 million data center.  A recent look at national data center development by Data Center Dynamics explains that “the American Midwest has become a region of choice for colocation and data center investments, offering a cost-effective and reliable alternative to many densely populated coastal regions. Also, being centrally located between both coasts affords an abundance of network connectivity and affordable power, it’s pretty easy to understand why this region continues to develop. “   

Given the above, we can say once again that the “emperor has no clothes”.   Data Centers aren’t waiting on reduced wind turbine setbacks or renewable energy mandates in Ohio to build.   But data centers  do need affordable energy.   If they are forced to buy Ohio renewables by environmental activists and politicians who want to look ‘green,’  that high-cost energy would need to be made cheaper by federal PTC subsidies, county Payments-in-Lieu-of Tax (PILOT), and stolen easements across non-participating properties through setbacks measured from homes.   Otherwise, data centers can buy cheaper renewables from windier states.  They could also buy nuclear energy which eco-activists oppose despite it being clean energy.   And then there is always natural gas! Or clean coal!

An important article in this issue speaks to “energy realism” as demonstrated by the United States at the recent climate conference in Poland.  “There are reasonable nations who are willing to confront the fundamental financial and technological realities of today’s energy landscape. By hosting a side panel at the climate talks focusing on how nuclear energy and technology to burn fossil fuels cleanly can contribute to achieving emissions goals, the U.S. has positioned itself firmly as the leader of the latter.”

 “The Trump administration’s willingness to shake off pressure from other developed countries to focus exclusively on renewable energy fits into the policy of energy realism which has characterized Rick Perry’s tenure at the U.S. Energy Department. Secretary Perry laid out his vision for American energy policy in March at the CERA Week energy conference in Houston, emphasizing that “we don’t have to choose between growing our economy and caring for our environment. By embracing innovation over regulation, we can benefit both.” 

 Elsewhere:

 

sPower has opened an office in downtown Tiffin to promote its Seneca Wind project.    A Seneca County resident pens an excellent Letter to the Editor on why wind developments do not belong in Seneca County.

In Lancaster County, Nebraska, local zoning for noise was changed at the request of NextEra.  The newly approved rules set a 50-decibel upper limit around the clock for participating property owners. There is no change in the county noise rules for nonparticipating landowners.  It was noted that most of the participating landowners do not live in the project area and will be unaffected by the change.  

In Pennsylvania, a township zoning board denied an application by Atlantic Wind to build a wind facility. “The decision was met with applause and cheers from township residents, whom religiously attended zoning hearings to make their opposition to the project clear. Among their primary concerns were water quality, noise and sight disturbances form the turbines, its close proximity to the proposed PennEast Pipeline and the potential harm the turbines could inflict on birds and bats.”

 Apex sold its second project in Illinois to Liberty Power, a unit of Canadian Algonquin Power.  Upon completion, the Sugar Creek project will then be sold to Atlantica Yield.  It’s all about the money!  It appears that the Apex model is to sell projects, raise money and develop more.  They may not be a long term partner in any community.   In South Dakota, Apex sold the 151MW Dakota Range III wind project to French independent power producer Engie. 

BP has also sold three wind developments.  “The deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, underscores the churn taking place in the US wind market as the reduction of the federal wind tax credit and growing cost-competitiveness of wind energy brings in new types of investors, including many deep-pocketed asset managers and pension funds.  It also highlights the move to repower or upgrade projects across the 90GW US wind fleet, as projects built in the market’s early years begin to show their age.”  Vestas will fulfill the orders for the upgrade.  A Vestas executive remarked that “With the exponential advancements in wind technology over the last decade, the turbines of today barely resemble the turbines of yesterday,” says Chris Brown, president of Vestas’ sales and service division in the US and Canada.”   This makes the case for full OPSB review of any amendments to projects that were previously approved.

CleanTechnica, a left-wing renewable advocate raves about the momentum in wind development as though it will replace coal. They also tout its (albeit subsidized) price competitiveness.

Finally, Ohio has moved into the top five for recoverable shale natural gas reserves in the United States.  Data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the state saw a 24.5 percent increase in proved shale gas reserves from 2016 to 2017, bringing it to 25.6 trillion cubic feet. That moves Ohio past Oklahoma and behind only Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia and Louisiana.  We say – if you’ve got it, flaunt it!…

Monday, December 24, 2018

Senate Sponsor Vows to Continue Efforts to Revise Wind Setbacks in Next General Assembly

 

Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said he hasn’t given up on revising Ohio’s wind turbine setback laws despite legislative inaction this session.

 

Although the House and Senate are expected to return to wrap up final business this week, Sen. Dolan’s attempts to gain caucus support for his proposal to loosen setbacks (SB 239) seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

 

Sen. Dolan says he doesn’t expect any last-minute amendment to accomplish his goal during lame duck. The setbacks were controversially increased in 2014 when the House amended a separate bill (HB483, 130th General Assembly) hours before its passage, increasing restrictions in a way wind supporters say stifled the industry.

 

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t even get hearings on the bill in practically the last year,” Sen. Dolan said in an interview. “I’ll bring it right back up.”

 

His proposal would have increased the setback to 1.2 times the blade’s length – up from the current 1.1 times – while at the same time requiring the minimum distance from the nearest blade to be measured from the nearest residential structure rather than the nearest property line. The net impact of those changes would shorten the required setback.

 

Sen. Dolan said the crux of the proposal will likely remain the same when he reintroduces it next year.

 

“I drove up to northwest Ohio and met with a lot of folks up there so there are some minor changes I could make as to the process and we could monkey a little with the distance too but it’s the same concept,” he said.

Democrats too are likely to renew their own efforts on setbacks. Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) and Sen. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) also authored measures to revise setbacks this year, although with a Republican supermajority in both chambers it was Sen. Dolan’s bill – and its predecessor from former Sen. Cliff Hite – that received the most consideration.

 

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) continues to say that a “significant portion” of his caucus believes the current setbacks are too restrictive.

 

But the House, which inserted the original amendment, has been more reluctant and fought hard against Senate-proposed revisions during the last budget. They’ve argued lowering the threshold would place homeowners at risk of being hit by ice or blades in the case of a failure.

 

Sen. Dolan said he plans to continue working to better inform his colleagues about the issue, describing it as an “education process.”

 

“On a macro level we need to make sure when we say we’re an all the above energy state we truly are so that on a micro level those that wish to invest in alternative energy know Ohio’s a safe place to invest, that those who want to purchase their power from alternative energy know Ohio will produce it for them,” Sen. Dolan said.

 

“So, it’s a bill that looks toward tomorrow more than anything,” he continued. “What worries me is if we dig our heels in in allowing new development – not only energy – it sends a message to other industries too that anything new, anything cutting edge, anything a little bit controversial Ohio’s going to shrink from? No. Ohio’s got to work to make sure we’re welcoming that type of innovation. That’s why it’s so important to me.”

 

Business leaders have also increasingly pressed lawmakers to act on the issue. Most recently, a coalition of Ohio corporations urged policymakers to adopt a more consistent approach to energy policy, including revising the setbacks.

 

Meanwhile, a group of Paulding County farmers last month filed a lawsuit in common pleas court against the state alleging the 2014 amendment violated the single-subject provisions of the Ohio Constitution.

 

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