It has been another busy week with BigWind in Ohio. On the “good news” front, the Ohio Mandate Study Committee convened on Wednesday to hear testimony from the grid operator, PJM. Our friend Senator Seitz was brilliant in his questioning and extracted admissions that the transmission requirements and back-up needed to support wind made them very expensive. Without significant, ongoing subsidy, wind cannot compete in the market. The downstream consequences to the current reliable and affordable generation fleet were dire as well. It was made very clear to all legislators that the PJM grid operator only counts 13% of wind’s nameplate capacity as viable while next door in Indiana, the MISO grid operator credits wind with only 2.7% of nameplate. Senator Seitz suggested that MISO’s number may be more credible than PJM’s. Meanwhile, we understand more clearly why President Obama has proposed that the Production Tax Credit for Wind be made permanent.
Speaking of subsidies, an organization called “Good Jobs First” released a report this week on Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations. GJF is dedicated to educating the public on how much taxpayer money the federal government is handing out and to whom. Their report totals up subsidies covering 137 programs in 11 federal Cabinet agencies from 2000 to the most recent records. This is across all industries in the country. Greg LeRoy, the organization’s executive director, said in a news release that the data aimed to give transparency to which companies specifically are receiving federal assistance. “For more than 20 years, so-called corporate welfare has been debated widely with little awareness of which companies were receiving most of the federal assistance,” LeRoy said. And who ame in first? Spanish wind developer, Iberdrola has raked in over $2.2 billion in taxpayer funding! Iberdrola was followed by five other wind companies that received more than $1 billion each.
From Indiana comes an open letter from a Tipton County Commissioner to Howard County Commissioners who are considering proposals for wind development. This letter is a must read. It is an ‘oh so familiar’ lament and we are seeing more of them all across America. Former Commissioner Harper closes her letter with this message: “As an elected official/public servant. . . . . if you must go forward with approvals that allow wind farm development . . . and thus you become the reason a wind farm was built in Howard County. . . it will be a decision you will regret the rest of your life. “ Please click the link and read this letter in its entirety…
I am writing to you all as a former commissioner colleague who aided in the negotiations and agreements with E.ON Climate Renewables with Tipton County in 2011. From the onset, I was open to windfarm development in a small section of Tipton County because the commissioners had received no opposition and I felt that the landowners wanted it. My own family was offered an opportunity to lease land to E.ON and we declined because my husband did not care to farm around the towers, and I just didn’t want to look at them. I set my own personal views aside and made decisions based on what I felt the majority of the public wanted. I was outspoken enough, however, to say that I would never support a plan to cover a large portion of the county with wind turbines. As it turned out, the problem was that when the decisions were being made to build “Wildcat I”, the commissioners were not hearing from the “majority”. People really did not know this was happening, or if they did, they did not perceive it to be as “invasive” as it was. As you know, public notices are small and often overlooked in the newspaper, so not much resistance was present……………until the towers went up, and people saw how enormous and intrusive they were. The red blinking lights even disturb my own summer evenings and my home is 6 miles from the closest tower….. !!!!…
In Tipton County……….my 83 year old mother is mad at me (since I signed the agreements) because she no longer has colorful birds coming to her feeders……..my brother’s view from his family dining room table used to be a vast expanse of crops and natural habitat…….now that pristine ‘vista’ is forever marred by giant metal structures………….neighbors hate each other…………back and forth letters to the editor have been selling papers for over a year now………….families are torn apart,,,,, and because the physical presence of the towers will be there for 30 years, these relationships will never be repaired. In short. . . . this has become an issue that has divided our community like no other.
It has torn our county apart. The May, 2014 primary election is evidence that the majority of the voters supported candidates openly opposed to wind farm development and an incumbent commissioner was voted out of office due to his unwillingness to listen to the majority on any issue, including wind….
You can’t lose something you never had…………so you are not “losing” the supposed ‘windfall’ of money that the project purportedly brings in. What you WILL lose however, cannot be measured in dollars. You will lose the rural landscape as you know it and you will lose the closeness of “community spirit” because people will hate each other over this and the presence of the towers will always be a constant reminder of the rift…………thus the wounds will never heal….