Pay attn Ohio, BigWind is being sued in Illinois

APEX has purchased the wind energy leases from BP Wind in Southern Van Wert County/Mercer County/abutting Allen County. Why haven’t they built a massive wind farm, yet? Thankfully, our legislators have enacted safe setbacks and frozen our renewable energy mandate (temporarily). However, some in the legislature, want to change our setbacks and allow our county commissioners to ‘override’ the safe setbacks. As this lawsuit explains, that is not a wise idea. Let us hope Ohio legislators continue to educate themselves about the realities behind this industry!…

APEX is defending against a Class Action lawsuit seeking in excess of five million dollars. This is the same company that is building turbines as we speak in Vermilion County.  Lucky for Apex, most of the local Vermilion County residents have signed “good neighbor agreements”.  Too bad for those that signed.

This suit seeks more than $5 million for infringing on property rights and for adverse health effects.

Read the suit below:…

APEX and other Wind Energy Companies, defending Class Action Suit… | Illinois Leaks.

BigWind convinces 2 Ohio state representatives to take away YOUR property rights

We know we should never underestimate the drive of the wind industry to get every bit of special treatment they can, whether it be federal taxpayer subsidy, local property tax abatement, renewable energy mandates or free use of land. This time it is the free use of neighboring properties. Big wind asserts they are unable to build wind farms in Ohio due to existing setbacks that respect the property lines of landowners. As is well known, the wind developers can pay the neighbor to obtain a waiver of setback. But it seems that the wind industry would prefer to steal it and they have found two willing accomplices in their proposed heist. Rep. Tony Burkley of Paulding County and Rep. Tim Brown of Bowling Green. These State Representatives today introduced House Bill 190 (attached) to allow the County Commissioners to override state law.

Current siting regulations, established last year under HB 483, require a setback of 1,125 feet from the tip of a turbine’s blades to the nearest property line. In practice, that requires setbacks of about 1,300 feet from each turbine’s base. The current law makes an exception for existing facilities and ones that had already gotten permits.(Iberdrola, for instance, currently has 10 projects approved under the old setback.) For those projects, the Ohio Power Siting Board measured the 1,125-foot setback to the outer wall of the “nearest, habitable, residential structure” on neighboring property. Otherwise, property line setbacks had been roughly 550 feet. What HB 190 proposes to do is allow the County Commissioners to override current property protections and provide for a setback of 1.1 times the turbine height to the tip of the blade from the property line and 1,125 feet from a habitable structure. Essentially, HB 190 would enable the County Commissioners to expose their constituents to harms, devalue property and potentially jeopardize the landowner/homeowner’s access to insurance or mortgage financing.

We will bring you more information as we obtain it. In the meantime, everyone should make a point to ensure their representative does not sign on as a co-sponsor. Let you elected officials – including your county commissioners and township trustees know that you will vigorously work to end their public service career if they support this bill. Encourage your township trustees and county commissioners to voice their opposition to the Ohio Township Association and the County Commissioner’s Association. Why on earth would a local elected official want to take an action to cover for a wind developer that can’t or won’t pay for a waiver?

The current system is fair. Burkley and Brown should be called out in local letters to editor and demonstrations should take place when they appear publically….

HOUSE BILL 190

To permit counties to adopt resolutions establishing an alternative setback for wind farms and to extend by five years the deadlines for obtaining the qualified energy project tax exemption.

Sec. 4906.211 .

(A) Notwithstanding sections 4906.20 and 4906.201 of the Revised Code, the board of county commissioners of a county may adopt, for either one specific wind farm proposed to be located within the county or for any future wind farms proposed to be located within the county, a resolution establishing a minimum setback requirement described under division (B) of this section for the wind turbines of the wind farm or farms.

(B) The minimum setback shall be both of the following:
(1) Equal to a horizontal distance, from the turbine’s base to the property line of the wind farm property, equal to one and one-tenth times the total height of the turbine structure as measured from its base to the tip of its highest blade;

(2) At least one thousand one hundred twenty-five feet in horizontal distance from the tip of the turbine’s nearest blade at ninety degrees to the exterior of the nearest, habitable, residential structure, if any, located on adjacent property at the time that the certification application is filed under section 4906.06 or 4906.20 of the Revised Code.

Sec. 4906.212 . Before adopting a resolution under section 4906.211 of the Revised Code, the board of county commissioners may consult with the power siting board. Any costs related to the consultation shall be paid by the person seeking to construct the wind farm for which the consultation is being made.

Sec. 4906.213 .

(A) Subject to division (B) of this section, a board of county commissioners that adopts a resolution under section 4906.211 of the Revised Code may adopt a resolution revoking the prior resolution at any time .

(B) Before a resolution has been revoked, a person seeking to construct a wind farm to which the resolution applies may file notice of the intent to construct the wind farm with the board of county commissioners. If the board revokes the resolution after the notice is filed but before the wind farm has been constructed, the resolution that was revoked shall remain applicable to the wind farm for which the notice was filed, and the revocation, if the revoked resolution had applied generally to all future wind farms within the county, shall apply only prospectively from the time of the revocation.

Sec. 4906.214 . The power siting board may increase the setback for any specific wind turbine of a wind farm that is subject to the setback requirements adopted pursuant to a resolution adopted under section 4906.211 of the Revised Code, in order to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of neighboring property owners.

Sec. 4906.215 . Nothing in sections 4906.21 to 4906.214 of the Revised Code contravenes the power siting board’s ultimate authority to issue certificates under this chapter for the construction of wind farms.2

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/

BigWind “noise” now an EXclusion for farmers’ umbrella liability insurance

Country Insurance Mutual Insurance in Bloomington, Illinois has added “noise” to its list of exclusions for farm umbrella liability coverage.  Noise joins a list of named pollutants.  Champaign County residents will recall when EverPower and the Farm Bureau took a busload of people to Bloomington where a significant number of industrial wind turbines are located.  There have been reports of pushback in Illinois since that time.  Country Mutual’ s policy changes may cause farmers to think more carefully before signing a wind lease. This makes greater setbacks even more important!….

We value the trust you have in Country Financial for your insurance needs.  In a few weeks, we will send your revised policy, with changes effective with your policy renewal…

Illinois Amendatory – coverage restrictions

Defininitions…

– A definition of “noise” has been added. It means any wanted, or unwanted, distracting, annoying, disturbine or physically harmful sound…

via: http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/COUNTRY-Mutual-Insurance-Company.pdf

How far away does your home have to be from a turbine to keep its $ value?

THE leading wind turbine appraisal expert in the USA has spoken, and what he said is not good for BigWind. Here, in Ohio, we must be thankful for our legislature, last year.  They approved INcreased setbacks from property lines for industrial wind turbines – although still woefully Inadequate.  Additionally, it was refreshing to see our Governor approve a ‘freeze’ on our renewable energy standards. Both of these legislative victories have given us time to gather more information, like this, about the negative impacts that industrial wind turbines can have on our property, communities, citizens, businesses and economy…

Michael McCann, of McCann Appraisal, LLC, a Chicago-based company, testified about property values and how they are negatively affected when wind turbines are installed.

    He said he has 33 years experience in appraising many types of commercial real estate, land and special use properties. He also has extensive litigation experience, qualified as an expert witness in over 20 states, and has testified at federal and state trials, zoning hearings, utility siting boards and arbitration. He has also done work for other wind farm projects throughout the United States….

    He also illustrated reasons for people to sell property with a turbine on or near it include health impacts….

    He also listed issues he called “more physical in nature.” These included trespass or intrusion, excessive noise, vibrations, odor, contaminants and flicker….

    McCann said overall results showed a 25 percent lower value within three miles of the turbines as compared to control sales more than three miles away from turbines.

    Property impact studies have been done throughout the world and one he described showed assessed values indicated a 20 percent deviation from assessed sale value.

    McCann also said he came to some conclusions, including having a setback of less than three miles can cause a significant loss of value, as well as many of the health problems people have described to him in the past that qualified experts have agreed with.

    “They (doctors) do find it happens,” McCann said. “It doesn’t happen to everybody.”

    McCann also noted that people should hire appraisers that comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisers Practice, especially in cases like this.

Experts offers insight to wind farm questions – News – Pontiac Daily Leader – Pontiac, IL – Pontiac, IL.

Everpower’s ‘infrasound’ wreaks havoc on residents ONE MILE AWAY

With Everpower holding leases in Ohio (Hardin, Logan, Champaign county and beyond), you should share this with your family and friends.  An environmental health epidemiologist told these people that wind turbines should not have been permitted to be as CLOSE as 1 mile to their home! Encourage your fam/friends to get involved with a local educational group.  The groups are listed along the right-hand side of our blog. This Thanksgiving, give thanks to the Ohio House of Rep’s who passed HB 483 this year- it extended our setback to 1300 ft from the property line. Although it still appears to be woefully inadequate, it is a step in the right direction….

Low-frequency sounds can be detected in houses as far as a mile from wind turbines, an expert said.

Rick James, an acoustic engineer, said infrasounds are in homes located near the Twin Ridges Wind Farm.

Twin Ridges, located on the Big Savage Ridge area near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, went into operation in late 2012.

James tested the infrasounds in a house that belongs to Tammy McKenzie and her husband Joe – who say they live in the “dark, deep depths of hell” beneath the shadow flicker, high- and low-frequency sounds that emit from the wind farm’s turbines.

“The tests at the McKenzies showed the characteristics I have found in homes of people who not only had adverse (health) reactions, but whose reactions were strong enough to make them decide to move if they find a home buyer or in some cases just vacate the home and move elsewhere,” said James.

In other areas, such as the Shirley Wind utility in Brown County, Wis., where more extensive testing has been conducted, folks reported adverse health effects including the sensation of moving while being still and pressure in the head, James said.

“Other people in the house may not sense anything,” James said. “There is a broad range of sensitivity to this acoustic energy. That is really not unexpected.”

Joe McKenzie said the sound of the wind turbines causes ringing in his ears and pressure in his head, his wife said….

Before the project’s construction in 2011, EverPower — a Pittsburgh-based company that owns Twin Ridges —  worked with municipalities to develop agreements and ensure compliance with industry standards, said Michael Speerschneider, chief permitting and public policy officer.

The frequency range of the infrasounds differ from waves such as sound emitted from other types of rotating machines, James said.

“Instead, they have large spikes of (peaks or crests) that are as much as 100 to 1,000 times higher in pressure than the pressure in the valleys between the spikes,” said James. “While the average sound pressure level of the tones may not appear to be very significant, it is the peaks of the pressure waves that are significant.”

Despite the sounds, the McKenzies say they refuse to vacate their “dream” home.

Tammy McKenzie also said she talked to Farhad Ahmed, an environmental health epidemiologist from Harrisburg.

“He states that they should not have let the wind industry place a turbine close to our house in the first place due to health concerns of the noise that is emitted from the turbines,” Tammy McKenzie said….

Infrasound found in homes near wind farm – News – The Cumberland Times-News.

Ohio governor Kasich defends record on green issues

It was gratifying to read that while Governor Kasich is out and about during this campaign season, he is defending the new property line setbacks which will become effective September 14th.  The Columbus Dispatch reports the Governor “defended the increased setback restrictions on wind turbines by saying, “Private property rights are important. People choose to live somewhere. You just don’t go in there and disrupt their life.” The Dispatch goes on to note that “Energy has emerged as a key difference between Kasich and Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald.”  Remember, we have blogged, before, about this setback still being weaker than many other places, worldwide!

Defense of safe setbacks that respect property lines comes at a time when fire hazards are being studied.  The Financial Times reports that “Wind farms have long been blamed for blighting views and killing birds but now it is claimed they are also a bigger fire hazard than commonly thought. About one wind turbine fire a month is reported publicly around the world but that is “just the tip of the iceberg”, according to Guillermo Rein of London’s Imperial College, co-author of research estimating that the actual number of blazes could be 10 times higher.”…“The results surprised us a lot,” Mr. Rein said, explaining that he and colleagues found information about the extent of turbine fires was often incomplete or not publicly available.”   During the Buckeye Wind Phase II case, the Ohio Power Siting Board sided with Everpower’s attorneys when they  objected to UNU’s efforts to enter accident and fire information into the case record. We still call for this board to be renamed SYBW Say YES to BigWind! as they have never rejected a wind application…. 

BELLVILLE, Ohio — Despite the fire he took for at least temporarily halting Ohio’s standards on renewable energy and for adding restrictions to wind energy, Gov. John Kasich says he is as committed to “green” energy as ever.

He said yesterday that he had fended off even more draconian energy proposals from his fellow Republicans in the legislature, including a veto threat. That was before they passed Senate Bill 310, a two-year freeze on annual increases in standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and new setback restrictions on wind turbines contained in a separate budget bill….

via Kasich defends record on green issues | The Columbus Dispatch.