BigWind experience reveals this wisdom

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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. Read below, 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

https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2019/06/25/the-boondoggle-of-iowas-industrial-wind-turbines/

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4 windy states pull the rug out from under BigWind

It is time for BigWind to stand on its own 2 feet! Last week was a sad week for renewables. The four leading US wind states, Oklahoma, California, Texas and Iowa are all cutting back on subsidies for wind.  “The wind industry feels betrayed.” The Oklahoma Gov. wants to go a step further an impose a tax on wind while in Texas there is movement to get rid of 10 year PILOT payment/tax abatement programs. California’s issues concern land use because no one wants the turbines near them.  In Iowa, transmission needed to carry the power out of the state is facing regulatory hurdles.   The wind industry is doing their expected “woe is me” theatrics while “Industry opponents call such talk largely hot air, arguing that the federal $24/MWh production tax credit will enable developers to continue generating healthy profits for years to come as all projects under construction and many of those in their pipelines will have qualified for it. They contend that Oklahoma will continue to lure investment because of its world-class wind resource and lower corporate tax burden compared with many states.  The windies are blaming the oil and gas industry lobbyists for their “problems’. Will Ohio politicians pay attention to these realities and PROTECT our citizens from these problems? Don’t expect Ohio Senator Hite to care about these truths.  He supports BigWind, irregardless of the facts. Wave some cash in his district and he goes blind to the truth.  If you reside near him, would you please educate?…

A stinging political setback in Oklahoma and problems brewing elsewhere could short-circuit future wind industry growth, writes Richard A Kessler in Fort Worth…

10 May 2017

Back in November, the US wind sector could never have imagined that four of its leading wind states would be a greater source of industry uncertainty than President Donald Trump.

Events in Oklahoma have raised concerns over states’ readiness to continue subsidy support in an era of budget cutbacks and fiscal constraints, while potential trouble is also brewing in California, Iowa and Texas, suggesting that the industry’s ability to lobby effectively on crucial issues will soon be put to the test.

In March and April, by an overwhelming margin, Oklahoma’s Republican-dominated Senate and House voted to roll back the remaining state tax incentive for wind energy to 1 July, breaking an earlier pledge to preserve it until the end of 2020. It was signed into law by Republican Governor Mary Fallin on 17 April.

The wind industry feels betrayed. “Changing the investment rules in the middle of the game sends a message to every investor in America that Oklahoma can’t be expected to honor its economic development commitments,” says Jeff Clark, executive director of regional advocacy group The Wind Coalition.

Facing large budget shortfalls, Republican Governor Mary Fallin is in no mood to debate the issue, saying the sector was “incentivized sufficiently to now be a major player in the Oklahoma energy industry”. She also wants to also slap a $5/MWh tax on wind energy production — five times what Wyoming collects, the only other state to do so….

In neighbouring Texas, the leading wind state, the industry is under attack from lawmakers who want to limit or prohibit counties and school districts from using a popular ten-year property tax abatement scheme known as Chapter 313 to attract new wind projects…

Meanwhile, in California, zoning boards and other regulatory bodies are, for various reasons, restricting land use so much that wind activity has slowed to a crawl.  The number-four wind state did not install a single megawatt in 2016 and had only 131MW under construction this year.

Analysts warn that if this trend continues, California could have to import 80% of the estimated 10GW of new wind capacity it may need to meet a 50% renewables mandate by 2030.

And in Iowa, the second-ranking wind state, merchant transmission developer Clean Line Energy Partners is struggling to obtain necessary regulatory approvals for its $2bn Rock Island project that it says would lead to $7bn in new wind farm investments…

Without it, the industry will not be able to continue all its planned massive wind expansion there, as future supply will exceed domestic needs. Iowa already generates more of its electricity from wind power — 36.6% in 2016 — than any state.

Lessons from Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s early sunset of the $5/MWh Zero-Emissions Facilities Tax Credit is particularly troubling for the wind industry, as it represented a high-profile political setback in one of its fastest-growing markets. The move will also be financially painful for developers.

“This is the type of thing the industry doesn’t want to have happen. It sets a precedent and empowers other states to pursue similar legislation,” says Luke Lewandowski, research manager at MAKE Consulting…

The independent, non-partisan think tank estimates this would be an increase from an estimated $460.5m year earlier — a huge chunk of lost revenue considering the entire state budget is less than $7bn. By comparison, latest official data shows wind energy producers claimed $59.7m in zero-emission credits and $29.6m in for an exemption on local property taxes in the 2016-17 financial year. Wind investment in Oklahoma over the last decade exceeds $12bn…

Oklahoma wind developers currently use the zero-emission incentive to reduce their tax liability during the initial decade a wind farm generates power. Unused credits are also refundable in cash for 85% of face value. So developers stand to lose millions of dollars if they cannot bring under-construction projects into operation by 1 July…

Industry opponents call such talk largely hot air, arguing that the federal $24/MWh production tax credit will enable developers to continue generating healthy profits for years to come as all projects under construction and many of those in their pipelines will have qualified for it. They contend that Oklahoma will continue to lure investment because of its world-class wind resource and lower corporate tax burden compared with many states.

Byron Schlomach, director of the 1889 Institute, a public policy group in the state capital that favours limited government, disputes the notion that Oklahoma is turning against the wind industry or engaging in discrimination. He says the industry no longer needs incentives as the state did what it could to help it grow. Oklahoma also met its voluntary 15% renewables mandate by 2015.

“I think everybody feels like we’ve done our part,” he says. “We’ve done enough for them at this point and they need to stand on their own two feet.”…

 

 

Source: The coming threat from US wind states | Recharge

BigWind in Iowa raising electricity prices and scamming taxpayers. Will Ohio investigate?

Iowa brings BigWind ‘negative pricing’ to the mainstream discussion and it is about time! The American people need to understand the TRUTH about what BigWind does to our electricity prices and reliability. Ohioans need to say NO to Cliff Hite and his efforts to increase the number of turbines in our state! What is negative pricing? Here is an excerpt from The NorthBridge Group, “Why wind producers can pay us to take their power – and why that is a bad thing”. If you do not read this entire blog, please review the BOLD typing…

“The federal wind Production Tax Credit (“PTC”) was originally enacted in 1992 to jumpstart the wind energy industry.1 The PTC has since been extended…This paper focuses on one harmful, but often overlooked, aspect of the PTC – specifically how the PTC interacts with wholesale electricity markets to create the phenomenon of distortionary “negative prices.” While the concept of negative prices might at first glance seem to be a money-saver for electricity users, or at best a harmless phenomenon, in fact these negative prices are: (a) funded by taxpayers; (b) distorting wholesale electricity markets; and (c) harming conventional generation and imperiling reliability….

We find that:

The PTC undermines and distorts price signals in wholesale electricity markets by incenting PTC-subsidized wind producers to sell electricity at a loss to earn enormous tax subsidies.

This taxpayer-funded subsidy artificially depresses wholesale power prices, and in hours of the year when demand for electricity is low it can result in negative pricing…

Wind producers can readily turn wind turbines on and off, but have no incentive to do so because they still receive positive margins during negative price hours due to the PTC subsidy they earn when they generate. They have no incentive to curtail their output – which, absent the PTC, would be in their economic interest. The failure of wind generators to curtail output when wholesale prices approach zero has both short term and long term negative consequences. In the short term, the failure of wind producers to curtail output makes it more difficult for system operators to maintain reliability, and also makes it more costly for them to operate the regional electric grid.

In the long run, the PTC destabilizes the market for conventional electricity as generators that are not eligible for the PTC are significantly harmed by negative prices, both in terms of near-term daily operational decisions, as well as long-term decisions to build or retire generation.

America’s continued reliance on the PTC subsidy therefore will invariably deter investments in the conventional power generation needed to maintain a reliable electric system. Conventional generation is critical to reliability because wind generation often does not produce energy during times of peak electricity demand, while producing at high levels (and driving negative prices) when demand is low. In recent years, about 85% of total wind capacity has not operated during the peak hours on the highest demand days of the year, on average. Controllable conventional generation is thus needed to backstop wind and ensure the lights stay on….”

When Iowa utility regulators approved MidAmerican Energy Co.’s Wind VIII project in 2013, Gov. Terry Branstad (R) called the $1.9 billion, 1,050-megawatt build-out a “win-win” for the state.

But two years after turbines began spinning, victory is looking a little bit sweeter on the utility’s side of the ledger, according to the state’s consumer advocate.
The Office of Consumer Advocate, part of the Iowa attorney general’s office, said MidAmerican is unfairly benefiting by seeking to pass through to ratepayers $3.7 million in costs for producing wind energy when wholesale energy prices are negative while keeping the associated federal production tax credits.
“It is not equitable that MidAmerican receive the benefits while its customers’ [sic] bear the costs,” Consumer Advocate Mark Schuling said in a prehearing brief filed earlier this week….

Source: WIND: Consumers contend Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy reaping PTCs at their expense — Friday, March 17, 2017 — www.eenews.net E&E News — Start a free trial

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/news/business/exelon.pdf

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

Big Wind, I call your bluff – go ahead and stand w/o the PTC!

Comparing Wind-to-Coal is like comparing an Energy Bar-to-Candy Bar for exercising…one gives you an extended supply of energy, where the other allows you to crash and burn in a short time.  Coal provides us with a consistent, stable energy source, but wind is on/off and as our EPA policies decimate the coal industry, blackouts/grid problems will follow. Just notice how this article makes reference to the “new wind capacity in x GW”, but there is no reference to how much power will ACTUALLY be produced. I would LOVE to see Kiernan’s quote (below) come true! Funny how he makes reference to “all the subsidies from EVERY energy source” though, since wind receive substantially more subsidies (than EVERY other producer) per unit of energy produced! And don’t forget the local tax abatements, aka PILOTS and other goodies that we throw their way. Buffett’s decision doesn’t show that wind power rivals coal, it only shows that he knows that this administration has “dug in its heels” to make sure that coal, oil and and natural gas are being demonized. He will make a few bucks here and then dump them fast if/when some common sense prevails again someday…

Wind is the cheapest source of power in Iowa, and the deal indicates that turbines are becoming profitable without subsidies, according to Tom Kiernan, chief executive officer of the American WindEnergy Association trade group. That’s a boost for suppliers including Siemens, General Electric Co. and Vestas Wind Systems A/S, and a threat to coal miners such as Peabody Energy Corp.“If Congress were to remove all the subsidies from every energy source, the wind industry can compete on its own,” Kiernan said at a press conference at a Siemens factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, yesterday, when the order was announced.

via Buffett’s $1 Billion Order Shows Wind Power Rivals Coal.