Why can’t batteries save BigWind in Ohio?

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In the past, we have blogged about the poor performance of industrial wind energy turbines in Ohio (just ask USV/ONU schools about this!). It is public record that they actually produce less than 40% of what they touted to the public. Remember how many homes were to be powered by an industrial site? Hogwash! Anyway, due to the intermittent nature of industrial wind energy turbines, they must ALWAYS have natural gas or coal running in the background….in other words, they NEVER stand alone and replace ZERO fossil fuel plants. What is the obvious solution to this problem? Batteries. Except that all of us know that batteries are anything BUT environmentally friendly and do NOT last nearly long enough before they are tossed (but not in the trash!) Knowing this, What is your prediction about the proposed batteries (5x semitruck sized) for Ohio?….

We’re now told the solution to the chaos delivered by wind and solar is giant lithium-ion batteries, of the kind peddled by Elon Musk. The reefer-smoking, Californian carpetbagger managed to offload one unit in wind power obsessed, South Australia, collected $150 million, and was never seen again….

This conjob was first sold in South Australia, as with their experiment of a 50% Renewable Energy Target descending into a costly farce, and to cover-up the fact they needed spend several hundred million on emergency diesel generators to keep the lights on just before the state election, with Hollywood fanfare SA announced they were installing ‘’the world’s largest battery’’ to save the day.

And unsurprisingly, the green useless idiots of the left have swallowed this hook, line and sinker – as rent seekers continued to go laughing to the bank to cash their millions from subsidies.

Well the performance of the ‘’world’s largest battery’’ last Thursday exposed what a complete con job it’s been – and delusion that we can power our economy on solar panels, wind turbines and big batteries is as dangerous to the economy as rabies is in a dog.

Let’s look at the evidence from 1/24/2019…

As wind power collapsed into the afternoon, prices in South Australia surged to $14,500 Mwh (they averaged around $40 Mwh before all these ‘cheap’ renewables flooded into the grid) at around 4.30pm ‘’the world’s biggest battery’’ started to dribble in 30MW to the grid.

The 30MW was less than 1% of South Australia’s total demand, and less than 0.1% of the National grid’s demand.

The world’s biggest battery continued to dribble out around 30MW until 7.30pm, then it ran flat, rendering it completely useless as peak demand hit at 7.30pm.

Meanwhile the emergency diesel generators (chewing through a reported 80,000 litres of diesel an hour) were doing the real work in SA, pumping out over 400MW at a time on demand – and they continued to so as demand peaked at 7.30pm, when the world’s largest battery had given up the ghost.

So at peak demand, in the renewables paradise of South Australia, 97% of their electricity was coming from fossil fuels.

Over the afternoon, I estimate the ‘’world’s biggest battery’’ delivered only around 100 Mwh of electricity – compared to 2000Mwh by the diesel generators.

The facts should be clear from the evidence that it’s a dangerous delusion that Australia can run the economy with solar/wind backed up by big batteries…

Article link

Has BigWind become a BULLY in Ohio?

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This week the Senate announced the members who will be serving on the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee. Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) has been appointed Chairman.  Wilson is a former bank CEO and member of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.  Vice Chair will be Sen. Rob McColley of Napoleon in Henry County who is an attorney. Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland)  is the ranking member.  Filling out the Committee are Republicans Brenner (R-Powell); Burke (R-Marysville); Dolan (R- Chagrin Falls); Eklund (R-Chardon); Hoaglund (R-Adena); M. Huffman (R-Lima); Peterson (R-Sabina); Rulli (R-Salem); Craig (D-Columbus) and O’Brien (D-Bazetta).

Several interesting issues have arisen in various forums this week.   A spokesperson for Innogy announced that they would be backing up wind developments onsite with batteries the size of semi-truck containers.  They propose to stack five of them one on top of the other to provide 5MW of back-up power to smooth out variable winds.  But their spokesperson claimed there would be no need to involve the OPSB because they would not meet the over 5MW for state regulation.  We fail to see how batteries installed at a wind facility would not be considered a part of the total project and therefore included in the total MW for the facility. And, how ‘green’ are batteries? We are told NOT to dispose of them in regular trash because of the risk of the acids.  What will they do with batteries the size of semis??

A question has arisen as to whether a tenant will be afforded adequate protection if a non-resident landowner/landlord signs a wind lease waiving setback restrictions.  Will the landlord be obligated to inform the tenant?  Does the landlord have a duty to ascertain whether the tenant family has any medical conditions? Does the tenant have any right to claims against the landowner if adverse impacts are experienced?  Setback waivers generally include agreements not to publicly complain about noise, shadow flicker and other nuisance effects.  Would the tenant be bound by such terms if they are not party to the agreement?

The Findlay Zoning Board of Appeals rejected an application for approval of two on-site wind turbines for an industrial facility.  The 400 foot turbines exceed Findlay’s height limits of 100’ for wind turbines. The existing turbines in the Findlay area at Ball and Whirlpool are in Allen Township which has no zoning.  The company seeking to erect the turbines was originally rejected by the Marion Township Zoning Board of Appeals. This led them to annex their 37-acre property into Findlay where they were met with another rejection.  The company may seek to overturn the decision in court.  Press reports indicate the turbines would be as close as 1000’ from neighboring residences.  In the Findlay, Ohio article, Jereme Kent of One Energy is quoted as saying, “We will have to evaluate our other legal recourses to resolve this”…I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a threat to those who were opposed to the turbines! City administrators assert there would be negative impacts on these properties. We hope the folks in Findlay are aware of what happened in Falmouth, MA.

The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum has gone into an over-spin condition with a new poll claiming widespread support for clean energy in Ohio.  (You might even call it a “mandate”. ☹)  The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in the D.C. area.  P.O.S. states on their website: “Public Opinion Strategies is one of the nation’s leading public opinion research firms specializing in political, public affairs, public policy, and corporate positioning research. Our roots are in political campaign management. As such, our research is focused on producing data that compels decisions – to get results.”  Gee – seems like they admit their polls are designed to get whatever result the client wants. In this case, the objective is reduced setbacks measured from homes.  How noble.  

There have been several media reports covering the poll but it is unclear whether any reporter has actually seen the questions that were asked.  It appears that the attached memo was carefully crafted to “appear” as though it is presenting the questions but it is not.   Our question is when did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez join the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum?  Representatives of OCEF spent the week meeting with legislators to convince them they need to vote for renewables if they want to keep their elected office.  Meanwhile, newly elected Rep. Cross from Hardin County spoke to the Annual Indian Lake Chamber meeting and said that “quality of life is now Number 1 in attracting growth.”  Wonder if they took the survey?

A short video of an energy conversation with Bill Gates is worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1EB1zsxW0k

PILOT payments for the solar field in Hardin County were the recent subject of discussion with the County Commissioners.  No resolution was reached and there continues to be much uncertainty surrounding the PILOT program.  “County Auditor Mike Bacon had questioned if taking the productive farmland off the property tax charts would result in an increase to other taxpayers to balance the loss.  Klooster said the issue has been a major concern of Invenergy, who doesn’t want the solar field development to not result in “a penny of increase to anyone’s taxes.”  A public hearing on Phase II of the solar farm will be held on March 14 in Hardin County.

In other news:

 

  • Hardin County’s Upper Scioto Valley schools want to get rid of two turbines on their property.  One of the turbines does not work and the cost of a needed part is $100,000, which NexGen is not willing to pay unless USV extends its contract for services.   “But the board and administration questioned why it would be interested in doing that since the amount they pay per kilowatt to NexGen is double the cost paid by the district on the commercial electric grid.  “It is cheaper for me to have them not working,” said Treasurer Stacy Gratz.”….How many schools across the state know this reality?

 

  • “American Electric Power (AEP) is paying $551m in cash to acquire full or partial interests in 724MW of US wind projects from Sempra Energy, continuing an aggressive drive to add capacity since the spectacular collapse last year of its 2GW Wind Catcher project. The deal, expected to close next quarter, includes Sempra’s 100% stake in the 100MW Apple Blossom wind project in Michigan and 78MW Black Oak Getty facility in Minnesota.  The remaining 546MW comprises projects that Sempra jointly owns with BP Wind Energy: Auwahi Wind in Hawaii, Ridge 2 Wind in Kansas, Mehoopany Wind in Pennsylvania, Cedar Creek 2 Wind in Colorado and Fowler Ridge 2 Wind in Indiana.”

 

  • Supporters and opponents of the Lake Erie Icebreaker project are sounding off about whether the benefits outweigh the risks of putting wind turbines in the lake. “Final approval could come soon for Icebreaker, a six-turbine wind installation in Lake Erie, eight miles off Cleveland’s shoreline. Lake Erie Foundation board member John Lipaj noted it’s actually a pilot project for a massive, 1,500 wind turbine installation throughout the lake. The developer has said each turbine holds about 400 gallons of industrial lubricants, and Lipaj said that’s just not worth the risk. “Lake Erie, which is the source of drinking water for 11 million people, isn’t the place to be building an industrial wind facility,” Lipaj said. “Build the wind turbines onshore; build them where farmers need that extra income. It just makes so much more sense and it’s better for the lake.”   The Ohio Power Siting Board could decide on the project at a hearing February 21.

 

  • The United States Senate has voted to approve a large measure protecting public lands.  One provision of the bill is a bird measure sponsored by Ohio Senator Rob Portman that will provide $6.5 million each year through 2024 on conservation. Portman said hundreds of bird species migrate through Ohio each year, making Lake Erie a popular bird watching destination. The Senate approved the bill in a 92 to 8 vote. The House of Representatives has not yet taken it up. “Protecting and conserving these bird populations is critically important and I am pleased the Senate approved this bipartisan legislation,” said a statement from Portman. “I’m looking forward to this legislation being signed very soon.”    It remains to be seen whether the OPSB will consider this federal legislation when deciding the Icebreaker project.

 

  • In Tippecanoe County, Indiana has decided that industrial wind development will no longer be allowed. “Wind turbines are not appropriate for our county,” said Julie Peretin. Speaking on behalf of several Tippecanoe County residents who share the same concern Peretin said,  “We are too densely populated and we have some of the best farm ground in the state.”   “Wind farms are a great economic opportunity for rural areas and areas with declining populations,” said Murtaugh.  “Our population is constantly growing, our economic development activities are escalating, to tie up that type of ground for up to 50 years is way premature,” said Murtaugh.  “A commercial developer who just kind of sweeps in, the potential to cause harm to a community cannot be understated,” she said.

 

  • The aggressive left-wing group “Checks & Balances” had a complete meltdown over the citizens in NW Ohio (aka “fossil fuel operatives”) who are effectively using social media to speak out against industrial wind.  You can read C&B’s incomprehensible screed at https://checksandbalancesproject.org/van-wert-wind-development/.  We find it interesting that they blame citizen groups, such as our own, for Apex pulling out of NW Ohio, yet Apex said NOTHING like this when they left.  Read the Apex article here
  • Why did Apex leave VW Ohio?

 

  • Google re-confirms its data center investment in New Albany as well as an opioid addiction program in Dayton.

 

  • An Illinois School Superintendent challenges Apex on a misleading marketing campaign concerning a wind development’s  “windfall” for local schools. “I feel the school district should only be taking a stance on any issue that has a direct impact on the schools. The other political issues people are having when it comes to the environmental impact, etc., I as Superintendent of the school district should not be making any statements on those issues. So we are absolutely neutral on this issues and we will just see how it plays out, but I just felt that I needed to clarify any perception people in the community might have that this would be viewed as a windfall for the school district,” says Ptacek.

 

  • The authors of a 2016 study found steeply diminishing returns when a lot of battery storage is added to the grid. They concluded that coupling battery storage with renewable plants is a “weak substitute” for large, flexible coal or natural-gas combined-cycle plants, the type that can be tapped at any time, run continuously, and vary output levels to meet shifting demand throughout the day.   Building the level of renewable generation and storage necessary to reach California’s goals would drive up costs exponentially, from $49 per megawatt-hour of generation at 50 percent to $1,612 at 100 percent. And that’s assuming lithium-ion batteries will cost roughly a third what they do now.  These forces would dramatically increase electricity costs for consumers.  “You have to pause and ask yourself: ‘Is there any way the public would stand for that?’”   The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum would say “YES!” 

 

Findlay vs OneEnergy

Polls

Yet another poll

Cleveland poll

Kenton questions $ behind renewable

AEP

Lake Erie questions arise

Indiana BAN on BigWind

Battery problems w renewables

USV school

 

 

Ohio Power Siting Board says YES to BigWind (again)

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Once again, the Ohio Power Siting Board rubber stamps a BigWind application.  We have noted in the past, this board has NEVER rejected an application from BigWind, in favor of Ohio citizens- NEVER. Read the link, below, and you will see where Hardin Wind, LLC, has amended their application FIVE…that’s no typo…FIVE times!! The turbines just continue to get larger and larger. Why is this? Could it be that the original turbines are already outdated? YES  Note that their ‘approved’ setbacks barely exceed the height of the turbines! 

We have reported, many times in the past, that the OPSP is nothing but a Say Yes to BigWind board.  An Ohio body of appointees who live nowhere near any of the proposed site and are thrilled to allow BigWind to flourish across our state.  Despite multiple citizen attempts to slow BigWind down, this board seems awfully ‘cozy’ with BigWind….makes us wonder…

https://dis.puc.state.oh.us/TiffToPDf/A1001001A18B26B42733J05063.pdf

The BigWind ‘Everpower’ful bully in Ohio

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How many of you use Amazon to purchase your Christmas items? Amazon has put up a smokescreen by agreeing to purchase the power from this new industrial wind site. They can not operate their data centers on wind energy, alone, and they refuse to build an industrial wind energy site on their own property.  Instead, like cowards, they connect electrical lines to an upgraded station, near their new data site, and then agree to purchase intermittent power that is produced hundreds of miles away….

On Facebook, Fight the Wind
Yesterday at 2:32pm ·
A trusted source had a meeting with Jason Dagger recently and reported the following:
EverPower still may build between 1-9 turbines in Logan County, WITHOUT a PILOT. If you recall, EverPower said they would not build in Logan County without a PILOT because it didn’t make financial sense. Jason is now stating that the state has given them better clarification on the taxing structure and it looks like they will be OK to build in LC. (EverPower is still permitted to build up to 19 turbines in Logan County.)
• If you also recall, EverPower has stated all along they want to be a ‘good neighbor’. Logan County and its residents clearly did not and do not want turbines in Logan County as evidenced by the denial of the PILOT. How can EverPower be a good neighbor and still build? Jason’s response was: ‘It’s about the money; all the power in Hardin County has been sold, the turbines in Logan County would be for profit.’
• When asked if EverPower would be alerting non-participating neighboring residents whether they would be notified of the possibility of turbine construction, Jason’s response was: ‘Why would we do that?’
Jason is also stating they no longer need a Road Use Maintenance Agreement in Logan County since they are now only coming off of state routes.
And the kicker….after years of EverPower touting the local jobs this project would create, Jason said they had narrowed down two general contractors for the job. Who are they? White Construction from Indiana and Mortenson Construction out of Denver, Colorado. How is that for local?…

 

The ‘Spin Doctors’ of BigWind are in Ohio….

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The Doctor is “In” – that is, the Spin Doctors of industrial wind. This past week the Spin Doctors were busy in their emergency rooms using the tools of their profession: truthiness (half truths) , proofiness, cherry-picking, fear mongering, false choices, weasel words and euphemism to save their hides.

“Spin (which is actually propaganda from a military perspective) is making us blind to what is happening. Being blind, we let our governments and big corporations get away with doing things that are unjust and to the detriment of the economy of the ordinary people and detrimental to democracy. Spin has been and continues to be used to pull the wool over the eyes of the general public.” http://www.truthliesdeceptioncoverups.info/2013/05/spotting-spin-some-tricks-of-trade.html

Reply comments on wind siting rules were submitted to the Ohio Power Siting Board on November 8th. The Mid-American Renewable Energy Coalition and the Ohio Environmental Council took shots at GNU and UNU and vice versa. We were dumbfounded by the spinning served up by the windies and enviros. Dizzy! Take some Dramamine and visit the link, below, to read all of the reply comments. We will share some spin highlights….

Ø Cherry-Picking & Truthiness: “MAREC believes the Board should apply wind energy standards that are consistent with neighboring United States jurisdictions, rather than adopting rules from foreign nations whose rural landscapes and population densities are vastly different than in those areas where wind farms are proposed in Ohio. A cursory review of Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan wind energy ordinances establishes that Ohio’s guidelines are already more restrictive than counties where wind farms both have and have not been built.”

MAREC lists four “cherry-picked” Indiana setback examples and suggests Ohio should emulate them. Yet, a more comprehensive list of 12 other Indiana counties reflects that 5 ban industrial wind facilities outright and five establish setbacks from property lines. The Indiana property line setbacks range from 1,300’ to 3,960’ (¾ mile). The two counties that measure from the residence have setbacks of 2640’ and 1,500’ from a non-participant residence. Our Indiana list also shows MAREC’s information about Tipton County is factually incorrect. Tipton revised their setbacks in July to 2640’ from residence, 1500’ from the property line within the Prairie Breeze development area and 1460’ from property line in the rest of the county.

If MAREC wants OPSB to apply wind energy standards “consistent with neighboring United States jurisdictions,” they would have to agree to enabling Ohio counties to ban industrial wind facilities outright as five Indiana Counties have done; establish setbacks from property lines as five counties have done; or lengthen setbacks from the residence as two have done. We recommend that readers use the MAREC chart and the Indiana list which reveals the dishonesty of MAREC when visiting with your local elected officials both at the state and county levels.

Ø Proofiness: Outight lying with numbers to mislead; quoting statistics out of context so that they mislead; distorting statistics; or using incorrect logic in order to mislead the audience.

“ It is MAREC’s view that the Board should acknowledge the original setback regulations “worked” considering there are nearly zero sound or shadow flicker complaints against the two existing wind farms in Ohio with over 5 years in operation. The Board should not adopt sound and shadow flicker impact setbacks from property lines.” (MAREC reply Page 3) In this instance, MAREC is deceptive because the wind leases and “good neighbor agreements” contain gag clauses that forbid landowners from complaining. This was recently reconfirmed in Hardin County when an EverPower representative peddling a good neighbor agreement advised that they would be free to complain but only to EverPower. Wind developers contractually suppress complaints and then defend their practices based on the assertion that there are “no complaints.” SPIN!

Similarly, MAREC asserts at page 15 of their reply that “Trade secrets: UNU argues an applicant should be required to submit to staff any post-certificate evaluation of shadow flicker impacts, including all supporting documentation; however, this information should not be protected by trade secret. MAREC disagrees – trade secret information should be protected in accordance with the statute.” Whether it is bird kills or shadow flicker intrusion, the wind industry works to manipulate or hide information that may be damaging to them and then relies on “proofiness” to spin their argument.

More general “proofiness” was revealed this week in the industry publication, Wind Watch, when the statistics used to assert public support for wind were exposed as misleading. “Seventy-seven percent of Trump supporters want more wind farms, but 69% want more coal mines, 66% want more offshore drilling, 58% want more fracking, and 55% want more nuclear. Trump supporters want wind farms, but that is only because they want more electricity whatever source it comes from. Whether it is ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ doesn’t seem to matter. The research also does not specify how much new wind capacity they would want, so they may only want a tiny amount.”

Ø Euphemisms –“ When part of a spin performance, euphemisms are usually used with other spin methods. With spin, euphemisms tend to be used when the intent is to manage the impressions of the audience so that they will not react to bad news in a way the spinner does not want.” http://www.truthliesdeceptioncoverups.info/2013/05/spotting-spin-some-tricks-of-trade.html

UNU’s Reply at page 14 states “Initially, MAREC objects to the Board’s use of the term “noise” and asks the Board to use only the term “sound,” contending that “noise” has “a negative connotation that indicates loud, harsh, or disturbing sound.” But make no mistake about it, the sounds imposed on the public by wind turbines are loud, harsh, and disturbing. The semantic niceties offered by the wind industry cannot disguise that fact. Acoustic engineers define “noise” as “unwanted sound.” Since no one desires the sounds from a wind turbine, not even the turbine’s host landowner, “noise” is the most appropriate term for turbine emissions in this rule.

We direct the reader’s attention to the timely article from Columbus Business First reporting that Ohio State University has been engaged in a research project called “Sounds of New York.” In this instance, the sound is not just “noise” but “noise pollution”. Whether one is in a quiet rural area or in a bustling urban environment, there is a point at which the increase in “sound” is unwanted and harmful. Important to note, also, is that human complaint data is considered to be important in understanding and responding to the problem. OSU acknowledges complaint data can “provide reliable information to support decision making”. But OOPS! Here we go back to “Proofiness”! In New York, complaint information is essential to addressing a problem while the wind industry hides complaint information and dares the public to disprove their “proof” that there are no complaints about noise or shadow flicker.

We could go on and on. Our message to all is EYES WIDE OPEN. Understand the tricks of spin and help your community to SEE how wind propaganda is being deployed to BLIND them to the truth….

In the Matter of the Ohio Power Siting Board’s Review of Rule 4906-4-08 of the Ohio Administrative Code.

Status: OPEN-OPEN
Industry Code: GE-GAS & ELECTRIC
Purpose Code: BRO-Rule promulgation
Date Opened: 5/18/2016

View All
1 – 15 of 30 documents 1 / 2 First Previous Next Last
Date Filed Summary Pages
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. electronically filed by Terrence O’Donnell on behalf of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. 14
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition electronically filed by Terrence O’Donnell on behalf of Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition. 34
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation electronically filed by Amy M Milam on behalf of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation 7
11/08/2016 Reply Comments electronically filed by Mr. Christopher A. Walker on behalf of Union Neighbors United and Johnson, Julia F. Ms. and McConnell, Robert Mr. and McConnell, Diane Mrs. 44
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of the Ohio Environmental Council on Review of Rule 4906-04-08 and Proposed OAC 4906-4-09, Case No. 16-1109-GE-BRO electronically filed by Ms. Miranda R. Leppla on behalf of Ohio Environmental Council. 10
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of 6011 Greenwich Windpark, LLC electronically filed by Teresa Orahood on behalf of Sally W. Bloomfield. 33
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of Greenwich Neighbors United electronically filed by Mr. Samuel C. Randazzo on behalf of Greenwich Neighbors United. 17
11/07/2016 Reply Comment electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of Ms. Katie Elsasser. 4
11/07/2016 Comments electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of Mr. Gary Biglin. 2
11/04/2016 Reply to Initial Comments electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of State Sen. Bill Seitz. 3
11/01/2016 Comments electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of State Sen. Bill Seitz 33
10/28/2016 Comments electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of Ohio State Historic Preservation Office, Ohio History Connection (SHPO) 3
10/24/2016 Initial Comments electronically filed by Terrence O’Donnell on behalf of Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition. 30
10/24/2016 Comments filed on behalf of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. electronically filed by Terrence O’Donnell on behalf of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. 8
10/24/2016 Comments of 6011 Greenwich Windpark, LLC electronically filed by Teresa Orahood on behalf of Sally W. Bloomfield. 9…..

http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=16-1109

Van Wert county commissioner opinion of BigWind

A Van Wert county commissioner opinion about the new potential for a 35,000 Apex project. He compares this to living next to a hog farm…which no one wants to do. If you have heard that communities are torn apart by the wind industry, he hints at that reality in Van Wert. What will happen if the Apex Long Prairie Project moves forward? It looks like the one commissioner wants to leave this decision up to the people who will reside amongst it. Read a lot of common sense in this article…

Wanna start an argument? Go to almost any random group of people in Van Wert County and state your opinion about windmills. Chances are, you will quickly find someone with whom to disagree…

But, if you are going to build something on your property, you are subject to a tax assessment. Real property taxes are assessed on all land, buildings and structures. If a property owner would choose to build a windmill, they would be taxed on its full value.

The question then is should a wind farm receive a tax break? The pro crowd argues that, yes, most definitely, this is economic development and a tax break should be automatic. The current wind farm is taxed pursuant to a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) wherein the schools, county, townships, and other agencies receive a fixed payment instead of the windmills being normally assessed. This results in about a 70-80 percent reduction in tax payments.

A few years ago, before the state changed the setbacks and after several conferences with our township trustees, the Ohio Power Siting Board and Iberdrola, we determined that the PILOT eliminated our ability to negotiate with wind companies and was not in our county’s best interest. We revoked the Alternative Energy Zone designation for our county that had allowed the Blue Creek Wind Farm to be taxed under the PILOT.

Should the setbacks be returned to a manageable distance for Apex or Iberdrola to build a farm, this is the issue we would present to voters. We would ask the affected townships and the wind company to negotiate a tax scheme that has a chance to be approved and then submit it for an up or down vote.

A concern becomes who gets to vote on this issue? It does not seem appropriate that areas that stand only to benefit from a taxing scheme be allowed to vote to burden another area. For example, if a mega hog farm would want to locate on the outskirts of Convoy and the tax benefits would accrue to every other part of the county, what might be the result in Middle Point of that vote? Or if the roles were reversed, what might be the result in Convoy?

Van Wert City Schools would receive a significant monetary benefit if turbines were located in Liberty Township. But it is the residents of Liberty Township who would be burdened by the presence of the windmills and it would be that township’s tax revenues that are affected by a reduction in the amounts paid by windmill owners. I don’t know a definition of fair that would allow Van Wert City voters, an overwhelming majority of the school district, to determine this issue for Liberty Township….

Personally, I think I’ve been clear on my position in the past. I think windmills are horrible federal policy but as long as the federal government is intent on bankrupting our next generation, I wouldn’t object to see some of that money get wasted locally.

If you are in the pro crowd, I would advise against trying to pressure us to force windmills on a population that, as of now, does not want them. That has been the tactic of the wind companies for the last few years and it continues to have a zero chance of success. Replace lecturing with negotiation – the antis are well aware of the reasons to build these things and are not convinced. Perhaps you can pay their electric bills to win some support….

 

BigWind actively ‘pursuing prey’ in Ohio

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On Tuesday, Senator Kris Jordan introduced Senate Bill 325 to “To repeal the requirement that electric distribution utilities and electric services companies provide 12.5% of their retail power supplies from qualifying renewable energy resources by 2027, to repeal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction requirements for electric distribution utilities, and to modify the topics included in the Energy Mandates Study Committee report.” Many of you will remember that Senator Jordan was our earliest and only supporter years ago when he traveled to Champaign County during the screening of the movie “Windfall”. Jordan’s bill is separate from the bill introduced by Senator Seitz which would continue the renewable mandate freeze for several more years.

In Logan County, the Commissioners have announced a hearing on EverPower’s request for tax abatement through the PILOT program. The hearing will be held on May 17th at 4:00 in the Holland Theater. The Bellefontaine Examiner newspaper report below contains a link to EverPower’s application filed with the Ohio Development Services Agency. It is notable that much of the application is incomplete. It strikes us that an incomplete application makes comprehensive public comment impossible. We do not know when EverPower intends to submit the missing information but can’t imagine any public official approving tax abatement without full understanding of EverPower’s plan.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, Fight the Wind, the mighty Logan County wind warriors, have taken aggressive action. They have placed a full page ad in the paper in opposition; put up a billboard and sent out a communication to the community. The Scioto Ridge project is proposed for Hardin County as well as two townships in Logan County. The hearing will only address that part of the project which is planned for Logan County. Each County must separately grant tax abatement and the actions of one county do not affect the other county.

In nearby Allen County, there will be a hearing TOMORROW, May 5th at 4:00 PM at the Allen Economic Development Group office located at 144 S Main St, Suite 200, in Lima. This hearing will consider a request from the Apex Long Prairie project to the Allen County Port Authority to run transmission lines along rail lines to facilitate delivery of power into the grid through the village of Spencerville. Immediately following the petition is the Apex outreach to citizens soliciting support from Van Wert citizens. Apex is an aggressive and determined wind developer based in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will be seeing a lot of them in Ohio.

Meanwhile, chaos seems to be the best way to describe what is happening in Ohio’s regulated utility world. Following the PUCO’s approval of plans by AEP and First Energy to build renewable energy and to receive an income guarantee for coal-fired plants that are being phased, PUCO Chairman Porter handed in his resignation saying he has accepted a position with an unnamed out of state company. Simultaneously, the federal regulators at FERC said they would not support the plan and would take a closer look at it. At this point AEP withdrew its proposal fearing that delays in their commitment to build 500 MW of wind would be at risk of losing the federal tax credits. Apparently AEP still intends to build the wind projects but it is not a sure thing. The location of AEP’s wind facilities has not been disclosed – if they know….