Ohio citizens prevail AGAINST BigWind

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Seneca County Commissioners voted 2-1, this week, to “withdraw all previous support of the Seneca Wind and Republic Wind or any proposed wind turbine projects to the maximum extent allowed by law.”

It is a great day to celebrate our fellow warriors in Seneca County.   sPower, the Seneca Wind developer, had filed a motion for an extension of the OPSB proceedings after an error in the FAA No Hazard Determination was discovered.   Opponents of the project objected and the developer threatened to withdraw if their motion for extension was not approved.  Notwithstanding, the OPSB denied the motion and very shortly thereafter, the Seneca Wind submitted its Motion to Withdrawreserving the right to re-apply. The Adjudicatory Hearing was scheduled for August 26 and will now be cancelled.   The developer vows to refile the application after FAA concerns are resolved.  But for now, it is a happy day for many people.

 

Does lightning strike twice?  Maybe so with the FAA No Hazard Determination in Seneca County.  The issue there was the developer’s misidentification of the community where the turbines would be built.  By not naming the correct community, the locals did not understand or catch the filing.  Just a few short weeks ago, a similar issue arose in Indiana where a developer sought FAA approval for 178 turbines (499’) in Warren County but indicated they were in “Boswell” .   Boswell is in Benton Countybut the project was actually planned for Warren County.  Warren County Commissions were told that the FAA establishes the name of the turbine location community rather than the wind developer but the FAA has strenuously denied this.  Some think it is just the latest tactic of the wind developers to “fly under the radar” so to speak and sew confusion. Good grief.

 

The incident reporting rule-making process is underway at the OPSB (http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=19-0778)  where vigorous objections have been raised by the wind industry with respect to Incident Reporting for blade shear, turbine collapse and the like.  The developers act like reporting failures is a novel and extreme idea.   Not so in Minnesota where a reporting regime has been in place for some time.    Lisa Linowes reports that Minnesota already requires incident reporting and other details for all wind projects approved by the state.  It is believed the reporting is annually but could be more frequent.  The MN Department of Commerce confirms the information gathered on the report is used during evaluation of projects that come back before the state for a new permit or expansion of a project.

 

Readers interested in learning more about MN reporting obligations can go to  this link: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling/edockets/searchDocuments.do?method=showeDocketsSearch&showEdocket=true&userType=public  .  Look for reports described as “compliance filing” or do a keyword search for ‘LWECS ENERGY PRODUCTION ANNUAL REPORT’.  Reports are not all located in one place but are listed by docket #.

 

Many of you will recall that three Paulding County residents were joined by the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC) in challenging the property line setback rule which was adopted by the Ohio General Assembly in 2014 in the Mid-Biennial Budget Review.  The Plaintiffs alleged the setback was adopted unconstitutionally because budget bills should not include non-budget items.  The case has been winding its way through court and on August 7th, the Paulding County Court of Common Pleas dismissed the case as having no merit.  We always thought the lawsuit was a ‘Hail Mary’ pass with little chance of succeeding. Notwithstanding, we should now always be on the lookout for the wind lobby to shove their own setback proposals into a budget bill.

 

In Michigan, the Traverse City Film Festival debuted Michael Moore’s latest documentary, “Planet of the Humans”.  “Director Jeff Gibbs takes on electric cars, solar panels, windmills, biomass, biofuel, leading environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club, and even figures from Al Gore and Van Jones, who served as Barack Obama’s special adviser for green jobs, to 350.org leader Bill McKibben, a leading environmentalist and advocate for grassroots climate change movements.”    In Planet of the Humans, Gibbs aims harsh criticism at supposed environmental stewards, including the Sierra Club. He says they’ve been bought off by corporate interests that have realized there’s lots of money to be made in green energy.   “Environmental groups have been collaborating on the lie of growth by helping us pretend that there will be ‘green growth.’ As if you can have wealth or stuff that doesn’t destroy the planet. News flash: that’s an impossibility of physics and biology,” the director tells me. “There is nothing you will ever have in your life that’s not an extraction from the planet earth. And so we’ve all lost touch with that.”     Well, well, well……who’d a thought? MMoore link

 

Let us repeat this line “There is nothing you will ever have in your life that’s not an extraction from the planet earth.”   The Wall Street Journal ran a column this week to help us understand a little about that “extraction”  when it comes to wind turbines.   Entitled “If You Want ‘Renewable Energy,’ Get Ready to Dig”.   The facts laid out in the article are astonishing.  An example: “A single electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Fabricating one requires digging up, moving and processing more than 500,000 pounds of raw materials somewhere on the planet. The alternative? Use gasoline and extract one-tenth as much total tonnage to deliver the same number of vehicle-miles over the battery’s seven-year life. When electricity comes from wind or solar machines, every unit of energy produced, or mile traveled, requires far more materials and land than fossil fuels. That physical reality is literally visible: A wind or solar farm stretching to the horizon can be replaced by a handful of gas-fired turbines, each no bigger than a tractor-trailer.”   Michael Moore meets the Wall Street Journal! The BigWind DIG

 

Warriors working to save Lake Erie from industrial wind development should keep an eye on activities surrounding the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  This provision, in law since 1918, prohibits the taking of migratory birds whether it be intentional or unintentional.   In 2013, a  $1 million fine was levied against Duke Energy, after Duke was held responsible for raptor deaths at a Wyoming wind farm.  Many people believe the Icebreaker Project in Lake Erie will destroy migrating birds in contravention of the law.  But in 2017 the Trump Administration decided to “re-interpret” the MBTA and allow unintended kills.   Such an interpretation would green light Icebreaker unless the Ohio Department of Natural Resources withholds approval of the project.    “On June 13th of this year, the US House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held a hearing to consider several new pieces of legislation. Included was a discussion of the Migratory Bird Protection Act of 2019, a draft bill that explicitly includes a prohibition against unintentional take; defined as “the killing or taking of migratory birds that directly and foreseeably results from, but is not the intended purpose of, covered commercial activity.” Enactment would supersede the Administration’s 2017 re-interpretation.”  This is an important step toward the protection of birds travelling across Lake Erie. Bird Blenders in the Sky

 

Topping off the week’s news, a major power failure on Friday in the U.K. left rush hour commuters stranded and plunged London into darkness and chaos.  It is believed that two generators failed at the same time.  One was gas and the other a large offshore wind facility.   We will follow up and report as more is learned….

 

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Ohio Lake Erie fish NOT excited about potential BigWind addition

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Fish and Oil don’t mix. We find it incredibly sad that people are so incredibly misinformed about industrial wind energy. It is a large part of the ‘New Green Deal’. But, read below, and you learn that an industrial wind turbine is anything BUT clean.  400 gallons of industrial lubricants and 55 gallons of oil in EACH turbine. Think about that folks, the ‘New Green Deal’ can’t eliminate fossil fuels because BigWind NEEDS fossil fuels, inside their bellies, to function!!!!! Will the Ohio Power Siting Board see this? Probably not, their nickname, remember is the Say Yes to BigWind Board……

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The first freshwater wind-energy installation in North America could be coming to Ohio. While agreeing that a move to cleaner sources of energy is important, opponents say there’s not enough evidence that the benefits of the project outweigh the risks.

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 Great Lakes. The developer has said each turbine holds about 400 gallons of industrial lubricants and 55 gallons of oil, 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,” …

Cleveland article

It’s a ‘mad world’ (for BigWind right now)

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Mad dashes, mad men, mad money—its a mad world!! Loads and loads of news this week.  Important Ohio news is presented but the big picture news is a focus this week as well.  It is important to understand the big picture and context in which each local battle is being waged.  The upcoming elections at national, state and local levels will shape the future direction of energy development.  Left-wing environmentalists (mad men) have billions of dollars (mad money)  invested in the fight and many angry Ohioans are seeing the effects in their own backyards.   Developers are madly dashing to secure 100% funding from the Production Tax Credit (more mad money!) but as a back-up, they hope to retake the US House of Representatives and EXTEND the PTC for wind.  Stay informed!

Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee

Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof has appointed Senator Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and State Senator Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) to the Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee.   The committee is charged with studying the features, benefits and challenges of establishing regional economic development alliances and partnerships between Ohio communities.   Senator McColley has worked hard to address the concerns of NW Ohio residents who face the threat of industrial wind development.    Senator Hottinger represents an area where one of Amazon’s data centers is located.  Amazon is seeking to power their data centers with renewable energy.

The study committee is composed of 17 members: three members of the Ohio Senate; three members of the Ohio House; the Governor or their designee; two representatives of academia; two economic development professionals; the chairperson of the Regional Prosperity Initiative or their designee; the president of the Ohio Association of Regional Councils or their designee; and three persons appointed by the Governor based on recommendations from an Ohio-based advocacy group, an Ohio-based foundation and a metropolitan planning organization.  The study committee is to complete a report for the Governor by August 1, 2019.

Update on Van Wert county blade failure

After several weeks have passed since the failure, Rep. Bill Seitz inquired about the status of the investigation and findings of the Ohio Power Siting Board relative to the incident.   It appears they knew nothing about it and the developer may not have reported it.   The OPSB is now alerted and promises to make a report to Rep. Seitz as soon as possible.

Seneca County Poll Confirms Public Rejection of Industrial Wind

A new poll of more than 1,000 Tiffin area residents found that 75.84% of Seneca County residents oppose the area’s proposed wind projects, while 21.67% support and approximately 2.5% said they’re unsure/don’t know how they feel on the issue.   The poll breaks down respondents by varies classifications and it is clearly not a partisan issue.   In the meantime, residents with Good Neighbor Agreements up for renewal claim the developer will not release them if they do not want to renew.  The developer claims the projects are “under construction”.    Seneca County folks who signed setback waivers (aka Good Neighbor Agreements) should remember that the OPSB was charged with establishing a rule for waivers but they never did.  Are the waivers enforceable?    Against this backdrop, the State of Ohio has announced Seneca Wind qualified to receive PILOT under the terms of the local AEZ….see article link below

“Fake” Conservatives for a Clean Energy Future honors Champions of Clean Energy

CCE  has applauded three Ohio lawmakers as “champions” of clean energy.  Sen. Matt Dolan, (R-Chagrin Falls), Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Westerville), and Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) are among elected officials receiving the group’s praise. Jon Cross, Republican candidate for the 83rd House District, was also honored.  Mark Pischea, the group’s president, called each “vocal supporter(s) of conservative energy policy solutions that emphasize clean, renewable energy and energy waste reduction. It’s polices like these that spark true innovation, create jobs, protect ratepayers and grow the economy in states like Ohio.”    Given the Seneca County Poll maybe these elected officials should decline to accept the awards. Do YOU reside in any of their districts? Have you shared YOUR opinion with them??

Lake Erie Icebreaker Project Blasted by Boaters

Boating Associations of Ohio and the Michigan Boating Industry Association, along with environmental and fishing groups, are blitzing members of the Ohio Power Siting Board with petitions from hundreds of boaters in both states ahead of a closed meeting Monday, Sept. 24 in Columbus, Ohio.  The article below notes “More specifically to boating and fishing interests, the turbine installations are expected to trigger large security zones similar to those around Great Lakes power plants. This will prohibit thousands of boating and fishing families from accessing large areas of the very waters held in the public trust. That alone should be unacceptable to the Ohio Power Siting Board, not to mention protecting the health and aesthetics of the state’s most important natural resource.”  This is a must read. See the link to article below

 

The Sierra Club and Columbus are getting Ready for 100% renewable energy

The Sierra Club is working with Columbus on a campaign establish a path to 100 percent renewable energy in the city and how to attain that goal in the next 30+ years. While they ramp up to launching their campaign, the Ready for 100 team will be adding updates to their Facebook page.   What’s not to “like”?    NW Ohio should be forewarned  that Columbus is on the march!

BIG GREEN powered by billions of left wingers and maybe a few Russians

Recharge reports “Ten liberal foundations gave $3.7 billion to environmental groups and causes over eight years….”Foundations have promised $3 billion more to “reduce the rate of global warming.”  Major foundations handed nearly $4 billion to global warming activists, anti-fossil fuel campaigners and other environmentalists over the past eight years, according to a database debuted Monday by the Institute for Energy Research. IER president Tom Pyle said the vast web of funding detailed by Big Green, Inc. shatters the notion environmentalists are locked in a David versus Goliath-like struggle against energy companies.  “The truth is the environmental left is a deep-pocketed and powerful force in American politics that is working to stop all natural gas, oil, and coal production in the United States.”  Meanwhile, Congressman Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee might have found Russian collusion.

New Gas Plant in Ohio will produces 1,182 MW of reliable power

South Field Energy LLC  will build a $1.3 billion combined-cycle energy plant in Columbiana County, Ohio. The 1,182-megawatt facility WILL (unlike BigWind) be able to power a million homes. This story notes “Owners and developers of power plants and other energy-generating facilities are increasingly trying to find ways to provide enough power to their customers… The 53 natural gas projects, however, created more installed capacity in megawatts than all the others combined.”

Everyone should read this article from American Thinker: Wind and Solar Good For Nothing

Wind or solar is an appendage to the electrical grid rather than an essential part of the system. If all the wind or solar vanished, the grid would continue operation without the slightest problem, because the grid has to be able handle the load without wind or solar. Thus, wind or solar does not reduce capital investment for traditional generating plants. You may read in the press that coal plants have been replaced by wind or solar. That is never true.”

 Federal Clean Power Plan Scrapped and Affordable Clean Energy Plan (“ACE”) Developed

Renewable advocates are furious that states will be given more authority to establish their own air quality program fearing that older coal plants would be able to continue to operate if they still have a useful life. Ohio Energy Policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council Dan Sawmiller adds that clean and renewable energy sources will be the losers should ACE be approved, as the proposed rule pits certain power plants against others.   Boo hoo.

Production Tax Credit Race Nearing the Finish

Recharge Reports “After stockpiling gigawatts of wind turbines in 2016 to qualify projects for 100% production tax credit (PTC) value, US developers may have begun to lose a race against the clock if they want to have all of them in commercial operation as federal law requires by the end of 2020.   Without full-value PTC – an inflation-adjusted $24/MWh for electric power sent to the grid for the initial 10 years – many projects would not make economic sense and by extension, not obtain financing. “  

Corporate demand for wind power keeping wind developers in business.

Recharge reports “As US wind developers look to make maximum use of the fading production tax credit (PTC), one of the biggest questions has been whether there would be enough off-takers for all their proposed projects.   Any such concerns seem increasingly quaint. This year is proving to be a blowout for US wind power-purchase agreements (PPAs), with more than 5GW signed in the first half — a 44% increase compared to the same period in 2017 — the highest level since the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) began tracking PPA activity.” 

Operating Expense is starting to surpass the Capital Expense of Wind portending a possible slowdown in new developments. (Recharge-Wind OpEx will soon eclipse CapEx in North America: IHS Markit)

“By 2021 more money will be spent maintaining existing North American wind farms than building new ones, according to market researcher IHS Markit. Each year the existing base of wind farms expands, regardless of how many new projects get built, fueling the ever-expanding global wind operations and maintenance (O&M) market.   ….“The transition from CapEx to OpEx is significant, and the wind industry will need to shift its focus away from infrastructure build and toward providing services and minimizing costs at existing projects,” says Maxwell Cohen, associate director at IHS Markit. The shift has big implications not only for owners of wind farms, but also for turbine manufacturers – most of whom have put a far greater emphasis on O&M revenue in recent years.”

 Tiffin residents OPPOSE BigWind

Boaters say NO to BigWind

Ohio BigWind News and cries to allow them closer to our homes

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Oh my, where to start? Comments on the Ohio Power Siting Board’s proposed rules have been submitted and are posted on the OPSB website at http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=16-1109.

Terrence O’Donnell, son of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell, filed two comment letters. One is filed as counsel for the LeedCo Icebreaker project in Lake Erie and the other is on behalf of MAREC (Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition). Not surprisingly the comments are full of threats that the proposed rules are so restrictive as to prohibit the development of wind in Ohio. Repeatedly, this cry rises no matter whether the topic is ice throw, shadow flicker, noise, decommissioning, whatever. At one low point, MAREC insists that the word “noise” be eliminated due to its negative connotations and replaced by a more neutral term like…”sound”. Gee, we wonder what the folks at INCE (Institute for NOISE Control Engineering) , the professional association for “noise” would think of that? Sort of like calling 600’ foot tall wind power plant arrays “farms”.

Consider: MAREC requests that throughout the rules the term “noise” be eliminated and replaced with the term “sound.” “Noise” has a negative connotation that indicates loud, harsh, or disturbing sound. It would be more appropriate to use a descriptive term that is not pejorative. The term “sound” more correctly denotes what is being measured in accordance with the wind farm requirements in new Rule 09. As explained in greater detail below, it is crucial for the wind industry in Ohio that the sound level be measured at an appropriate and reasonable location. MAREC’s concern is that, if the sound level is measured at the property lines (as proposed throughout the rules) wind project development in Ohio will be devastated. Therefore, sound measurements should focus on the applicable residences that could potentially be affected by the sound level, i.e., structures that are inhabited.

It may interest readers to know that noise regulation was originally the province of the US EPA which carried out investigations and studies on noise and its effect on the public health and welfare through the

Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC). In 1981 the federal government decided that noise issues were best handled at the State and local level. As a result, ONAC was closed and primary responsibility of addressing noise issues was transferred to State and local governments. However, EPA retains authority to investigate and study noise and its effect, disseminate information to the public regarding noise pollution and its adverse health effects, respond to inquiries on matters related to noise, and evaluate the effectiveness of existing regulations for protecting the public health and welfare, pursuant to the Noise Control Act of 1972 and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978. (Source US EPA). Given that the EPA turned over noise regulation but local zoning authority for industrial wind was pre-empted by the State of Ohio, it is especially important that the OPSB adopt rules protective of the health and welfare of the community. And calling it noise is an accurate, descriptive term.

THE WORST comment is the letter from the Ohio Environmental Council. Consider: When the statute was passed, there was no public discussion and no analysis on whether or not the increased setback distance was necessary, as it was enacted hastily in Ohio House Bill 483 (Amstutz – 130th GA). As a result, the revised setback has effectively zoned new wind projects out of the state, decimating the prospect of new wind projects, and injuring clean energy progress. Until 2014, Ohio was attracting millions of dollars in investment in new wind energy projects. As a result, Ohio’s air quality improved, new jobs were created, and local governments began seeing new revenue coming in to support their operations. Sadly, this progress was all but halted by the abrupt enactment of these overly burdensome wind turbine regulations that created unnecessary red tape for investors and project developers, specifically the implementation of the unnecessary and overly burdensome setback requirements promulgated by this proposed rule. It has effectively placed a moratorium on new wind development, and there has been no new wind applications approved since the new setback requirements were enacted.

We don’t believe the OEC claims that industrial wind has already “improved Ohio’s air quality”. A recent study by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity estimates the federal Clean Power Plan will have a small effect on temperature and is the equivalent of reducing rising sea levels by “the thickness of one to two human hairs.” If that is the assessment for the entire impact of the CPP, a couple of wind factories in Ohio could not possibly have had a detectable impact on air quality.

The industry comments on the OPSB rules are an all-out assault on property rights of rural landowners. In the face of all of this, we were very happy to read Senate President Keith Faber’s sentiments in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Faber expressed no sympathy for wind developers who claim legislation he supported has made it impossible to develop future wind-farm sites. He said his concern is for the property rights of neighboring landowners who are not being compensated for the impact of the turbines on their land. He said he has had discussions on the issue in his office and in the Indian Lake area of Ohio. Indian Lake is in Logan County, northwest of Columbus. “

While the rule-making process is underway, the Icebreaker project proposed for Lake Erie is in the pre-application stage at the OPSB. Reports are coming in of criticism from organizations representing the Great Lakes in the US and Canada. Our friends at NAPAW have renamed it “Wing Breaker”! The wildlife compliance comments from the wind industry indicate that bird and bat issues may be more of a problem for them than we knew. They appear to want to water them down and remove references to federal programs designed to protect avian species. This comes at a time when researchers are documenting that “there is evidence that wind facilities may be having continental-scale impacts on some bird populations.”

While they did not choose to file comments on the OPSB Rules, The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund released a study this week intended to provide the Governor with justification for reinstating the renewable mandates. And for good measure, they threw in a plea for rollback of property line setbacks. Elsewhere, a study from the Independent Institute was interesting in that they assert the exaggerated claims of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan as an “historic and important step” that “takes real action on climate change” and is “fair” and “flexible” is an attempt to distract people from asking questions like, “Who will pay for this?” and “By how much will the CPP reduce climate change?” Maybe the screams and yells about property-line versus residence setbacks is an attempt to distract people from those same substantive questions.