The Ohio Chamber recently provided testimony to the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee on HB-6 and their representative referred to the provision allowing a local referendum on wind projects as a “dangerous precedent”.Who else is drinking the BigWind KoolAid now???
Excerpt from their testimony: “Finally, there is one provision of HB 6 that must be removed, due to its likely detrimental impact on economic development. Currently, the bill permits a local referendum on wind energy projects after they’ve received Ohio Power Siting Board certification – and even after construction has begun. No other generation source is subject to a similar public referendum, and such a requirement would kill almost every wind project moving forward in the state. This represents a dangerous precedent and reverses the regulatory certainty developers and investors rely on to make business decisions and investments in Ohio.”
Since when is allowing people a voice in what drastically alters their communities a “dangerous precedent”? This is very unfortunate and NEEDS to be corrected immediately. We have quite group of people that are VERY UPSETwith the Chamber’s stance on this and expect a formal response from the Chamber to clarify why you are taking a stand with big business and trampling on the rural citizens of Ohio!- Mr. Andy Doehrel’s Email:firstname.lastname@example.org“
The answer may surprise you because it is definitely NOT what you hear about on the news. It is NOT what you hear protesters state. It is NOT what you hear our legislators talk about. It is NOT what you hear the climate change alarmists discuss…..BigWind is TRIPLE the cost of traditional electricity generators. Would your wallet appreciate a tripling of a monthly electric bill? Could your employer thrive, even survive in an economy where their electric rates triple? Do you think you should teach your legislator this information? We do….
Why is experience so valuable? One reason is that it should make us wise to avoid mistakes of the past. Unfortunately, our elected legislators choose to heed the advice of slick salespeople, rather than seek the experience and wisdom of the people who elected them into office. Readbelow, about the wise experiences of Iowa with BigWind. Learn from their mistakes and try to educate others…..
230 government entities in the US alone have banned or blocked industrial wind turbines at the urging of their constituents. Hundreds of homes are directly affected by every large industrial wind installation. These installations cast a long list of negative impacts for 2640 feet, at least that is the distance the wind companies will admit, yet they require county ordinances allow them setbacks from the foundation of homes to be merely 1200-1600 feet.
On average only 10% of the residents (page 32) who live in any large proposed wind installation will actively participate in the project even though all residents are offered money and hold-harmless contracts from the wind energy development company. The list of negative impacts in these contracts are blighted views, flashing FAA warning lights, turbines causing or emitting noise, vibration, air turbulence, wake, shadow strobing (flicker) and electronic signal interference. These contracts if accepted by residents also require the resident give an easement over their entire property and waive the right to a jury trial for future problems. This is hardly worth the couple of dollars a day offered to residents.
What do these contracts mean by “vibration, air turbulence and wake”? The turbines must be set far enough apart so they do not impact each other. The homes in between also receive those impacts- often causing residents to feel ill or uneasy. The contracts say both “to cause and emit noise”. The turbine generators noise emissions are rated at 110-115 dBA – same as the front seat of a rock concert. The companies ask to be allowed a dBA of 50-55 at neighboring homes. These limits are not monitored or enforced. The movement of the blades can cause noise much like a bullroarer does. Turbine noise has been recorded in homes 5.5 miles from turbines by Australian researchers. This noise as well as the unheard pressure can cause sleeplessness.
Industrial wind including their excess transmission lines complicate and hurt farming practices. The Rock Island Clean Line, a 500 mile proposed wind energy power line across Iowa and Illinois was only able to acquire 8% voluntary easements after 4 years of asking because farmers do not like power lines or turbines in their fields. Iowa and Illinois residents defeated the line. Construction ruins farmland for generations. Crops may grow but once the ground is compacted or soil layers are mixed they will yield far less. Farmers have reported continuing crop loss around wind turbines after 12 years. Aerial applications for spraying or seeding cover crops is impeded hurting both the economy of the farm and of the county.
Many people believe that we are developing wind energy to cut carbon emissions but in Iowa our emissions from power plants rose 3% during 2016-2017 with thousands of turbines already built. That same year our emissions from industrial processes, likely from building wind turbines, grew 31%! Even the roughly 2 million pounds of concrete in each turbine base emits CO2 at almost pound for pound. In 2020 our emissions will surely rise again as we close the carbon-emissions-free Duane Arnold nuclear plant fifteen years early and replace it with a mix of industrial wind and natural gas or coal. Natural gas has half the carbon emissions of coal. Iowa’s fall in carbon emissions has as more to do with switching some of our power plants from coal to natural gas than our move to wind energy.
Iowa’s rural electric co-ops still cannot afford to build new industrial wind turbines, being tax-exempt the tax credits do nothing for them. Iowa’s Alliant Energy has raised rates 24.9% to build wind turbine infrastructure and pay $110 million to be released from the power purchase agreement they had with the Duane Arnold nuclear plant. They raised rates even though they receive the same tax credits MidAmerican will. MidAmerican Energy has seemed to be able to afford to build industrial wind without raising rates but they did enjoy $10 billion in tax credits to do it. MidAmerican’s owner Warren Buffet has publicly admitted that the only reason to build wind turbines is for the tax credits. In 2015 the Iowa Utilities Board asked MidAmerican to return more of that money to the ratepayers of Iowa who will shoulder 100% of the risk for turbine projects. MidAmerican complained to then Governor Branstad. Branstad changed the composition of the Iowa Utilities Board to “appease MidAmerican thus sending a message to the Board and its staff to get in line and approve anything that the utilities, particularly MidAmerican, bring to it.” –Sheila Tipton, from her published open letter to Governor Branstad.
Counties often admit they are allowing wind turbines for the property tax revenue they bring. Iowa Code 427B.26 outlines the tax payment schedule. The first year a wind installation is running they pay no taxes. The second year they will pay 5%, the third 10%, increasing by increments of 5% until they are forever capped at 30% in year 8 while each and every turbine is raking in about $300,000 a year in tax credits. Communities will see about $10,000 per turbine in year 8. This is after the heavy equipment takes value out of our roads, compromises our tiling infrastructure, compacts our world class farm ground and the turbines lower home values of hundreds of residents.
Industrial wind turbines do kill our eagles, other birds and threatened/endangered bats. This past year MidAmerican Energy applied for a permit with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to kill these animals with 2020 of their wind turbines. They finally applied for this permit after 20 years of having wind turbines. No other turbine company in Iowa has yet decided it is even necessary to get a permit for killing animals with their turbines. With organizations like the Sierra Club firmly standing with companies like MidAmerican there is no one to make sure that wind installations are held accountable.
The reason Iowa has industrial wind installations is that rural communities don’t have the power of a recall election, do not have the power of referendum and don’t even have the protections of the Iowa Utilities Board. Iowa’s Supreme Court made a surprising ruling recently that only our County Supervisors, lacking any kind of expertise or qualifications will be allowed to regulate wind projects, not the Iowa Utilities Board which means that the wind companies just regulate themselves. During depositions for a lawsuit that was filed in this matter one Supervisor admitted that he felt threatened by MidAmerican and their partner Invenergy. Counties often vote out wind supporting Supervisors but it is too little, too late. The only county in Iowa that has a decent industrial wind ordinance is West Des Moines’ Dallas County. They do have setbacks of 2640 feet and noise limits of 30 dBA no industrial turbine could ever honor. This effectively blocks any project from being built.
Now our Federal government is proposing that we extend tax credits for wind turbines another year. Understand when the tax credits begin, they run for 10 years. Any turbine that is built this year will receive 100% of the tax credit because of mechanisms like Safe Harbor. The tax credits are not ending. It is only the start of the tax credits that is ending. Industrial wind turbines in the US have been 100% paid for with our taxes. There are 59,338 wind turbines in the US receiving an estimated average of $4,000,000 each. If these other projects are receiving the same money that MidAmerican has admitted to that is $237,352,000,000. Industrial wind now only intermittently supplies 2-3% of the power in the US.
Our investor owned utility companies are incredibly powerful and wealthy. They like to build as much infrastructure as we will let them because they will receive an 11% guaranteed rate of return. Please look past the politicians and the few people being offered money to host these installations on land where they neither live nor farm and hear us. Stop to consider the atrocity that this is for the quiet, often disconnected residents of rural America. We are US citizens, we are tax payers and we are ratepayers. Our businesses and homes mean as much to us as yours means to you. People may believe that where we live there is plenty of room for all these projects but it is simply not true. Iowa only has 1% of the US population yet we have already covered well over one million of our acres with industrial wind installations, the same area as 3½ counties and only reached 37% in wind energy for our electricity usage. Can you imagine what 100% would look like?
Janna Swanson Ayrshire, Iowa Coalition for Rural Property Rights president National Wind Watch board member Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance member
This week we achieved a significant victory in the Ohio House of Representatives with the passage of HB 6 which will save clean energy generation at the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants and will give township voters the right of referendum to accept or reject OPSB certificates of approval for industrial wind projects over 20MW. Projects under 20 MW would be subject to local zoning. We have never been closer to regaining a voice in the future of our communities than we are today….but, this battle is far from over and it is certainly no time to celebrate.
We owe much to the hard work of Rep. Nino Vitale, Chairman of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee as well as Rep. Dick Stein who co-chaired the Energy Generation Subcommittee. Thanks, too, go to the support of the Speaker of the House Larry Householder. Of course, Rep. Bill Reineke’s amendment to allow local voters a chance to accept or reject a wind development was key!
But we need to also recognize the enormous efforts of the citizens of Seneca, Huron, Erie, Van Wert, Logan, Champaign and Richland Counties. Wow. Warriors arrived early to rally outside the Statehouse House doors. Wearing that signature “No Wind Yellow,” our friends stood out like vibrant points of light in the House Chamber gallery. Make no mistake – this was a group effort and the geographic representation was critical. Thank you.
As joyous as the day was, there were a few dark spots. Rep. Craig Riedel of Defiance who was elected by the anti-wind community in a primary battle against pro-wind Tony Burkley turned his back on his constituents. Despite claiming that he had a need to adhere to his free-market principles, Riedel refused to eliminate artificial state mandates for renewables and energy efficiency. He was not persuaded by the fact that nuclear support would phase out after six years when no generation source would be subsidized by Ohio rate-payers. Not even the prospect of rescuing his constituents from the predations of industrial wind could sway Riedel. We do not know how he can look his people in eye without everlasting shame.
Other traitors to the cause of representing their constituents were Rep. Gayle Manning of North Ridgeville and Riordan McClain of Upper Sandusky. Mark Romanchuk of Mansfield was another Republican defector. The final vote was 53 to 43 with 10 of the AYE votes coming from Democrats who supported the labor unions working at the nuclear plants. The Roll Call of the Votes is attached.
It should be noted that one of the failed amendments to the bill on the floor was one that would reduce the setbacks and restore measurement to a habitable structure. Rep. Seitz gave an eloquent rebuttal and the amendment went down.
After the vote, various groups immediately issued statements claiming HB 6 is ‘gutting’ our green energy mandates. There will surely be more statements in the coming days. When is the last time you wrote a letter to the editor?
The bill now goes to the Senate where President Obhof says he is eager to get going and plans to launch hearings next week in the Senate Public Utilities Committee. Members of this committee are Republican: Chair Steve Wilson (Maineville), Vice Chair Rob McColley (Napolean), Andy Brenner (Powell), Dave Burke (Marysville), Matt Dolan (Chagrin Falls), John Eklund (Chardon), Frank Hoagland (Adena), Matt Huffman (Lima) , Bob Peterson (Sabina) and Michael Rulli (Salem). Democrat: Ranking Minority Member Sandra Williams (Cleveland), Hearcel Craig (Columbus) and Sean O’Brien (Bazetta).
“I think it’s important to note that, if the House passes it, that’s the midpoint of the legislative process,” Sen. Obhof said prior to the House vote. “We still have a whole second chamber that needs to do its work. The budget certainly is going to take up a lot of our man-hours over the next few weeks, but I am confident that we have the ability to give both pieces of legislation and any other of the many pieces of legislation are pending full and fair consideration over that span.”
Gov. DeWine, who made calls to members this week encouraging their support, applauded the chamber for the bill’s passage. He has voiced support for action to preserve the FES plants.
“I know this issue is difficult because there are so many Ohioans affected and so many parties interested in the outcome, and I support Speaker Householder and House leadership moving this discussion forward,” he said. “As I have previously stated, Ohio needs to maintain carbon-free nuclear energy generation as part of our energy portfolio. In addition, these energy jobs are vital to Ohio’s economy. I look forward to this legislative discussion continuing in the Ohio Senate.”
Sub HB 6 was introduced in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. After hours and hours and hours of opposing testimony in previous weeks from wind, solar and environmental activists, the Committee threw in the towel on trying to make the bill acceptable to renewable advocates because, no matter what was proposed, the renewable lobby refused to accept nuclear energy as “clean energy” – a carbon-free source that accounts for 90% of Ohio’s clean energy. They preferred to force the shut down of the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants, put over a thousand people out of work and then try to replace the lost generation with massive increases in wind and solar. AWEA and the environmentalists revealed their true colors – they are in it for the money not clean air, not carbon-free generation. The only green they see is cash…for them.
The Sub. HB 6 removed wind and solar as well as energy efficiency mandates and subsidies from the bill entirely. If the opponents wanted to call the bill a bailout for nuclear energy instead of a clean air bill – they got their wish. But an important addition was made to Sub HB 6 as well. A provision was included to give the voters in a township where a wind project was being planned, the right to vote to either accept or reject the certificate of approval issued by the Ohio Power Siting Board. This would be accomplished in the same way that a referendum on a zoning decision is made.
You are urged to watch testimony as well as that of Terrence O’Donnell and Dayna Baird on behalf of AWEA a the Ohio Channel:
Sub HB 6 passed out of the Committee on a party-line vote. It will go to the House for a full vote on Wednesday.
From a free-market perspective, this bill goes a long way. 1.) Ohio would be the first state in the nation to free itself of government mandates for renewables and energy efficiency. 2.) Government could no longer over-ride the will of the people in forcing industrial wind where it is not wanted and 3.) subsidies for all energy, including nuclear, would end in six years. There are 38 Democrats in the 99 member House. We understand there are several holdout Republicans who may jeopardize passage.
What is their reasoning? How many industrial facilities have been placed in areas zoned for residential use? The four proposed projects in Seneca County cover a combined 250 square miles. How will employers attract a workforce to live in such a place? Whose children would return home to farm? It is estimated that between 30 to 40% of leaseholders in most project areas could be absentee landowners. The tenants living and working on the land will never have any control over their living conditions without the vote.
The wind industry incessantly promotes polls that say Ohioans are solidly in favor of renewable energy. If that is true, what does the wind industry have to fear? According to them, the voting public would vote in favor of wind development. Why are these legislators opposed to giving citizens a say in guiding the growth and future of their own communities?
Why are the holdouts in favor of shutting down 90% of Ohio’s clean energy? This carbon-free resource will be replaced by gas not intermittent and inefficient wind and solar.