A great victory was achieved this week for the warriors of Seneca County when two of the three County Commissioners voted to repeal the county’s designation as an Alternative Energy Zone. Seneca County now joins Van Wert as a county which has repealed their designation. Remaining AEZ counties include Sandusky, Delaware, Franklin, Putnam, Paulding, Hardin, Clinton, Noble and Summit. Recently, requests to approve individual PILOT requests were turned down in Logan, Huron and Erie Counties. Had these counties been designated AEZ, tax abatement and PILOT payments would have been automatically granted.
Dale Arnold and the traveling Farm Bureau circus made an appearance in Urbana this week to tout the latest “ag commodity” – solar energy. Harvest away. We are still waiting to farm coal and gas, maybe raise a little nuclear. Among the points reported to us by attendees were that many of Ohio’s 33 solar companies have left the state because permitting is difficult; solar projects under 50 MW are subject to local zoning; 10 solar projects are in the OPSB pipeline; and permitting can take between 36 and 48 months.
PILOT is apparently important to solar developers. According to a summary report written in 2010 by the law firm of Bricker & Eckler, PILOT “significantly reduced the state tax burden on renewable and advanced sources of energy generation, such as solar, wind, co-generation, and clean coal. Under the old laws, taxes on solar and wind were estimated to be approximately $115,000 and $40,000 per megawatt (MW), respectively – rendering Ohio a less competitive marketplace for deployment of these technologies.” Current PILOT law reduces the tax burden on qualifying projects to $6,000 to $9,000 for wind and $7,000 per MW for solar.
At the very bottom of this issue of Wind News is a very readable publication by Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute. We think it will make you laugh out loud as Mills explains the physics of energy and shows why there is no possibility that the world is undergoing— or can undergo—a near-term transition to a “new energy economy.” Mills takes on wind, solar and battery storage. One example: “The annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand.” The US routinely maintains two months of stored energy to meet demand in the event of emergency. You do the math.
An interesting bill was introduced recently. HB 126 would bar an action challenging an act for violation of the one-subject rule if it is commenced later than 275 days after the act’s effective date. This has applicability to the lawsuit filed in Paulding County by wind leaseholders and AWEA against the state which alleges current setbacks violate the Ohio Constitution because they were included in a budget bill in 2014. HB 126 would forbid a lawsuit like the one filed in Paulding County unless it was filed 275 after it was enacted. Rep. Seitz is a co-sponsor of this bill.
In this week’s news:
- The Icebreaker Wind project in Lake Erie received important approvals from the Ohio EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit to commence construction. We wonder if these turbines will be granted PILOT and, if so, what entity would have the authority to grant it?
- The General Assembly is getting closer to the introduction of legislation to promote low and no carbon energy generation. Rep. Jamie Callender, who chairs the House Public Utilities Committee, is leading the effort and says, “We’re looking at promoting lower emissions not just with nuclear but also solar and wind and also with other types of generation here in Ohio,” he continued. “How can they take what they’re doing and move it to be clean? We’re being very cautious to the extent we cannot play favorites but come up with a global solution that helps everyone move toward lower carbon emissions.” Callender is a self-proclaimed fan of renewables. He expects legislation to be introduced in early April, possibly as early as this week.
- Kevon Martis swats back at Rep. Casey Weinstein’s comments reported last week about wind turbine setbacks not being a matter of safety concern in that all generation carries risk. “Any risk of wind turbine failure must be added to the risks of gas extraction, transportation and power generation because wind generation is wholly dependent upon the gas resource. It is not a replacement for those resources. Thus your colleague’s comparison collapses.”
- North Carolina could permanently ban big wind-power projects from the most energy-intensive parts of the state’s Atlantic coast, but a state senator said Wednesday the move is necessary to prevent hindering military training flights. Legislation introduced by Republican Sen. Harry Brown would prohibit building, expanding or operating sky-scraping wind turbines within about 100 miles from the coast. The bill would apply to the area that stretches from the Virginia border to south of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base.
- In Ohio, the General Assembly has ignored and avoided the issue of wind turbine interference with military training routes but perhaps that could come to an end. An assessment of the Seneca Wind project states “Considering the low altitudes associated with these routes, it is possible that wind development could have an impact on military operations. It is possible that these routes are used frequently by aircraft from Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base and other nearby units. If this is the case, the originating activity of these routes may object to proposed wind development within the route boundaries. The units may also object to any wind development over 499 feet AGL due to the likely increase to the minimum cloud ceilings required to fly the routes.” This study and its concerns should be of importance to any community near a military airfield including Wright-Patt. The study is attached.
- Another great article on the renewables scam focuses on Georgetown, Texas – part of the 100% renewable gang. “Like other places said to be 100-percent reliant on “renewable energy,” Georgetown doesn’t actually have its own wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass resources powering it. It simply pays an upcharge for electricity that is said to come from renewable sources. If the green communities and businesses actually did use all renewables, it would likely be very easy to tell: On calm nights the lights would go out. A very few locales in the nation might have the geological features necessary to keep the lights on when renewables fade — such as hills and water that allow a sizeable hydroelectric dam — but most don’t.” Of course, the 100-percenters have figured out a slick way to get around these physics truths: They pretend. The 100-percent renewables scam is being sold to us by the government, the utility companies, and the towns and businesses that participate. The “scam” buys goodwill with the duped public and is not only good public relations, it’s also an easy route for them. But as with most governmental interference in the free market, the public ends up taking it in the pocketbook.
- The scammers and pretenders are forming a trade association. Imagine that. Companies from a variety of industries — including Walmart, General Motors, Google and Johnson & Johnson — are forming a trade association to represent firms that purchase renewable energy and remove barriers that make it complicated to shift away from carbon. The new organization, the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, is building on years of work between corporations and climate advocacy nonprofits. Currently, about 200 companies, cities and universities are involved. Miranda Ballentine, the CEO of the new trade group, says the organization will help push energy markets and public policies to make it easier to actually choose to buy green energy. This story from National Public Radio actually states: Many companies have set green energy targets as part of overall sustainability efforts — whether out of a sense of corporate responsibility or in the pursuit of positive PR. And don’t forget the blackmail/extortion from those “climate advocacy nonprofits”!
- The US DOE is about to waste some more taxpayer dollars to advance offshore, distributed and ‘tall’ wind across the lower-50 states. DOE is looking at supporting 140 meter towers. That is a 459’ tower before measuring the blade.
- The Grain Belt Express appears to be moving forward again under the management of its new owner, Invenergy.
It continues to be an active climate, in Ohio, filled with ‘constant change’…..
Seneca County commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday to “sunset” the alternative energy zone put in place in 2011 by a previous board. The AEZ will end June 30….
Phasing out the AEZ in about three months does not affect the Seneca Wind or Republic Wind proposed projects, but would mean the AEZ is not automatically in place for companies that might propose new wind projects after June 30…
Commissioner Mike Kerschner changed his vote since the November vote was taken.
“The fact is that if we rescind it we then have the power within this group of negotiation,” Kerschner said. “It puts a lot more power on this group.”
He said Erie and Huron counties also have rescinded their AEZ programs…
Chris Aichholz, spokesman for the local anti-wind organization, said “We consider today’s decision by the commissioners to rescind the alternative energy zone another achievement. These types of successes only come as a result of our tireless efforts to educate the community on the industrial wind turbine projects being proposed for our county.”
He said the group has been asking for the AEZ to be rescinded for almost a year.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
First Energy Solutions to Lawmakers: Time Running Out to Save Nuclear Plants
US opens wallet to offshore, rural and ‘tall’ wind
Department of Energy earmarks $28m with eye on ‘significant opportunities’ for cost reductions
By Darius Snieckus
28 March 2019
No timeline for $2.3bn US Midwest wind link despite state OK
Invenergy says still ‘premature’ to look at construction schedule for 4GW Grain Belt Express after regulatory boost
By Richard Kessler in Fort Worth
26 March 2019
Mark Mills of Manhattan Institute **********