Could a BigWind lease put your family at risk for a lawsuit?

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Since BigWind slithers into an area, before it is announced to the public, you should educate your neighbors, now, about the risks of signing BigWind leases. Could you/they be at risk for future lawsuits? Maybe. We have blogged about this scenario in Indiana, once before. Will it become more common? Would it cause stress to the property owners? Absolutely! Leases should be scrutinized by a professional with experience…..

Receipt of a mechanic’s lien against their property in the amount of $68,995.75 has caused some property owners in Arkwright a fair amount of confusion and, at least initially, a significant amount of stress.

On March 15, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, the law firm representing Specialties Company, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana, filed mechanic’s liens against real properties in Arkwright under lease agreements with wind company EDP Renewables. According to lien documents, Akrwight Summit Wind Farm, with consent from the property owners, engaged the services of subcontractor White Construction, Inc., also of Indiana.

White Construction “was engaged to furnish labor and materials for earthwork, excavation and backfill of soil, and soil stabilization and modification, for the improvement of the Premises.”

Although the work has been completed, the mechanic’s lien says that White Construction has not been paid in full. “The total agreed price and value of labor and materials furnished under contract with White Construction, Inc., 3900 East White Avenue, Clinton, IN 47842 was $6,109,037.28 of which $3,548,568.30 remains unpaid and the total amount allocable to the Premises and which this lien filed is $68,995.75.”...

After speaking with the wind company, Norton contacted the OBSERVER by phone later on Wednesday. “I spoke to one of the vice presidents of EDPR. It’s a dispute between contractors, but beyond that they couldn’t talk about it. They are aware of the situation. It’s a legal matter,” Norton said.

In recent years, mechanic’s liens have been filed against other property owners with wind company lease agreements. In a similar 2016 case, AUI Construction Group v. Louis J. Vaessen, a subcontractor on the wind project, AUI, was responsible for the construction of the foundation and the tower on Vaessen’s property. In AUI’s subcontractor’s agreement, wind company GSG 7 was listed as the owner for the wind turbine. At the end of the project, AUI claimed it was owed $5.9 million from another subcontractor involved. AUI received partial payment, but was owed a remaining balance of $3.18 million. Although AUI received a partial award to settle the dispute, the subcontractor soon filed bankruptcy, leaving approximately $1 million unpaid. AUI attempted to collect the unpaid amount from the Vaessens in the form of a mechanic’s lien.

In a landmark decision, the Illinois appellate court ruled in favor of the property owners, whose lease agreement allowed an easement for a structure on their property. Further, the court determined that the property owners did not receive a direct benefit from the turbine — only from the lease money ($7,500 annually) from the wind company. Because the wind turbine was the property of the wind company, who directly benefitted from the energy generated by the turbine, they were held responsible for the amount of money owed to AUI.

Although the court ruled in favor of the landowners, the case raises serious questions regarding the lien rights of subcontractors and property owners’ liability. Many contractors, subcontractors and suppliers are engaged in order to create just one wind farm, which can leave several opportunities for payment problems or disputes. What protections do subcontractors have when the property owner is not the one benefitting from the project? Who becomes responsible for monies owed if a party involved in a wind project files for bankruptcy? While answers to these questions may differ based on the specific terms of property owners’ lease agreements, the case is a reminder for all parties involved to read — and understand — the fine print….

 

Arkwright article

BigWind RELEASES landowners from leases in Ohio!!

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Since our excitement (in red) makes this a little difficult to read, here is the letter in its entirety…Citizens for Clear Skies in Van Wert county have been persistent, devoted to truth, and unstoppable. Congratulations!! There is hope for others!!

“Commissioners,

We have made the difficult decision to conclude our pursuit of the Long Prairie Wind project in Van Wert and Mercer Counties. The current policy environment in Ohio, which creates unnecessary market barriers for wind energy, has made our investment in the state a highly risky proposition. Apex is blessed to work with communities across the state to create economic development opportunities through renewable energy. Our high-quality Ohio portfolio promises to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in local revenue and school funding to the state, along with a critical, low-cost source of power. Unfortunately, the state’s current anti-business policies are making it necessary for us to reduce our investment exposure in the state and to choose which of our projects we continue to advance in Ohio. Due to some challenges presented by the transmission system around Van Wert and Mercer Counties, Long Prairie Wind has been selected for divestment. We will be releasing project landowners from their leases over the next several weeks. We are continuing to advance our other Ohio projects, and this decision will allow us to direct even greater attention and resources to them. Van Wert and Mercer Counties remain excellent locations for a wind facility, and we anticipate that if and when the state becomes more welcoming to these investments, the area will once again have a bright future in wind energy.

Sincerely,

John Arehart
John P. Arehart III, PE
Apex Clean Energy, Inc.
310 4th St. NE, Suite 200, Charlottesville, VA 22902
office: 434-220-6122 | mobile: 540-241-5285 | fax: 434-220-3712”

 

(Big)Wind NOT a boon for ALL Van Wert county, Ohio, residents

Wind not a boon for all Van Wert County residents

This letter is in response to Jason Dagger’s guest perspective concerning a PILOT for Logan County. Van Wert County went through this just a few years ago and we know the local Van Wert Chamber of Commerce director, Susan Munroe(currently employed by ALLEN COUNTY), is active in promoting wind energy for both Iberdrola and Apex. We are unsure how promoting wind energy around the country is a part of her job in supporting the local prosperity of our community. Yes, the construction of an industrial wind site brought temporary jobs for the months it was under construction, When construction was finished only a few positions were established for the maintenance of these turbines. The Blue Creek project manager has not even bought a home in our community nor has he moved his family here although there are plenty of residences for sale under the windmills. We were also told when we built the new schools that the industries would be impressed and decide to locate here. It hasn’t happened. We even have a mega-site that is ready for occupancy and no one seems to be interested in that either.

What we have had instead are landowners who were leased from at different rates. Decommissioning bonds set at, I believe, $5,000 per turbine in Van Wert County vs. $75,000 in Paulding County. Farmers whose crop yields will never be the same again because of the destruction of massive cranes traveling across farm drainage. Roads will never be close to original condi- tion. Many homeowners suffer from headaches, nausea, sleep deprivation etc. The Blue Creek wind project refused to hand over post-construction reports on bird and bat kill even though an area exterminator has to clean under the windmills before the coyotes do. Expect massive bird kill as Ohio is on many migratory routes. The bald eagle is starting to be re-established in this area and what a shame it will be if this protected bird is destroyed by wind energy.

Two of the county schools have reaped benefits and are almost giddy at what wind energy has provided them. They seem to forget where the money originated. You and me. Now some of the poorer districts around the state want their share. What is to stop Columbus from taking from the rich districts to give to the poor? Sounds like Robin Hood.

Now there is “buyer remorse” by those who leased their valuable farms. They are promised where the meteorological towers and turbines will be placed, but it is never where they say because the landowner has given his property right over to the wind developer. He can’t even park his wagons on the drive back to the tur- bine to fill them during harvest even though he owns the land. There is something about a no interference clause. You can’t even build on your own property without permission nor plant trees.

Wind energy is like a very attractive woman, but anybody who has a relationship with her ends up with extremely serious social issues.

http://www.examiner.org/images/WebEdition/041916_BEweb.pdf

 

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

Watch out for the newest BigWind visitor in Ohio, APEX

There has been a somewhat quiet consolidation of wind developments in Ohio and Indiana this year and we are just now beginning to see the bigger picture.  Wind projects in various stages of development across Ohio have been sold to Apex. Below we list what we know thus far.  We will be seeing and hearing more about Apex in the days to come.  Could they have been surprised by the change in property line setbacks and the renewable mandate freeze?    If not, they may become buyers for other projects in Ohio as other developers threaten to leave the state.   Who is Apex?  Our research indicates they are a subsidiary of Greenlight Energy Resources which, in turn, appears to be connected to BP Alternative Energy.  (BP owns leases in Southern VW county and wants to utilize the Spencerville-Elgin railroad to build a transmission line)

It is often difficult to sort through ownership of wind facilities/leases.   In the case of Apex, there seems to have been little publicity.  The “press releases” quoted below are the complete texts we could find.  It seems the announcements may not have even been sent to the media in the areas where the acquired projects are located.  Lack of transparency is nothing new in the world of industrial wind but a new law in Kentucky may begin to change that.  Earlier this year the Kentucky legislature passed a law that requires a wind developer to announce when they intend to work in an area and, in some cases, send letters to property owners advising them of their interest in the area.   We understand that that the public notice must be given before wind leases are signed.  In addition, prior to submitting an application to the state, the local community can request a public meeting to review the proposed application. Remember this company name, as you may hear more about it in Ohio, soon…..

APEX PROJECTS IN OHIO

Erie & Huron (Firelands Wind)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, March 25, 2014 – Apex Clean Energy has acquired the wind energy assets of Firelands Wind Farm, a subsidiary of juwi Wind. These assets have the potential to support approximately 100 MW of wind energy capacity in Ohio.

Seneca & Huron (Emerson Creek I and Emerson Creek II)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, April 18, 2013 – Apex Wind Energy has acquired certain wind development assets from Citizens Wind, L.L.C. These assets have the potential to support approximately 100 MW of capacity in Ohio.    [Ed. Note: We believe this was Exelon’s Seneca Wind]

Van Wert & Mercer (Long Prairie)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – May 29, 2014 – Apex Clean Energy has acquired six wind energy development projects from BP Wind Energy, North America, Inc. These projects have the potential to support approximately 710 MW of wind energy capacity in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and Tennessee.

Seneca & Sandusky  (Republic Wind)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, March 27, 2014 – Apex Clean Energy has acquired certain wind energy assets from Nordex USA, Inc. These assets have the potential to support approximately 450 MW of wind energy capacity in Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas.

By going to http://www.apexcleanenergy.com/project-map  you can see more information about the Apex projects.

Apex Wind Energy Inc. engages in the development of wind energy facilities that deliver renewable energy. It provides facility layout, turbulence, wake, development cycle, pre-development, construction contracting, interconnection design, transmission system design, site civil design, systems engineering, geotechnical, turbine selection and procurement, project financing, interconnection agreement, and power purchase agreement services. The company provides its services in Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, New York, and Texas, as well as in the Netherlands. Apex Wind Energy Inc. was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia.Apex Wind Energy Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Greenlight Energy Resources, Inc.

Greenlight Energy Resources, Inc., through its subsidiaries, produces clean energy and fuels from renewable sources. It develops, builds, owns, and operates biofuel facilities, solar energy facilities, wind energy facilities, and utility-scale wind energy development projects. Greenlight Energy Resources, Inc. was formerly known as Greenlight Energy, Inc. and changed its name to Greenlight Energy Resources, Inc. in 2006. The company was founded in 2000 and is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. It has offices/locations/projects in Charlottesville, Virginia; Columbia and Anne, Maryland; Laurens County, South Carolina; Beaumont, Kansas; Grover, Colorado; San Juan Capistrano, California; Kingston, Canada; and Corvallis, Oregon. As of August 15, 2006, Greenlight Energy, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of BP Alternative Energy.

visit  Our Projects | Apex Clean Energy.