BigWind actively ‘pursuing prey’ in Ohio

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On Tuesday, Senator Kris Jordan introduced Senate Bill 325 to “To repeal the requirement that electric distribution utilities and electric services companies provide 12.5% of their retail power supplies from qualifying renewable energy resources by 2027, to repeal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction requirements for electric distribution utilities, and to modify the topics included in the Energy Mandates Study Committee report.” Many of you will remember that Senator Jordan was our earliest and only supporter years ago when he traveled to Champaign County during the screening of the movie “Windfall”. Jordan’s bill is separate from the bill introduced by Senator Seitz which would continue the renewable mandate freeze for several more years.

In Logan County, the Commissioners have announced a hearing on EverPower’s request for tax abatement through the PILOT program. The hearing will be held on May 17th at 4:00 in the Holland Theater. The Bellefontaine Examiner newspaper report below contains a link to EverPower’s application filed with the Ohio Development Services Agency. It is notable that much of the application is incomplete. It strikes us that an incomplete application makes comprehensive public comment impossible. We do not know when EverPower intends to submit the missing information but can’t imagine any public official approving tax abatement without full understanding of EverPower’s plan.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, Fight the Wind, the mighty Logan County wind warriors, have taken aggressive action. They have placed a full page ad in the paper in opposition; put up a billboard and sent out a communication to the community. The Scioto Ridge project is proposed for Hardin County as well as two townships in Logan County. The hearing will only address that part of the project which is planned for Logan County. Each County must separately grant tax abatement and the actions of one county do not affect the other county.

In nearby Allen County, there will be a hearing TOMORROW, May 5th at 4:00 PM at the Allen Economic Development Group office located at 144 S Main St, Suite 200, in Lima. This hearing will consider a request from the Apex Long Prairie project to the Allen County Port Authority to run transmission lines along rail lines to facilitate delivery of power into the grid through the village of Spencerville. Immediately following the petition is the Apex outreach to citizens soliciting support from Van Wert citizens. Apex is an aggressive and determined wind developer based in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will be seeing a lot of them in Ohio.

Meanwhile, chaos seems to be the best way to describe what is happening in Ohio’s regulated utility world. Following the PUCO’s approval of plans by AEP and First Energy to build renewable energy and to receive an income guarantee for coal-fired plants that are being phased, PUCO Chairman Porter handed in his resignation saying he has accepted a position with an unnamed out of state company. Simultaneously, the federal regulators at FERC said they would not support the plan and would take a closer look at it. At this point AEP withdrew its proposal fearing that delays in their commitment to build 500 MW of wind would be at risk of losing the federal tax credits. Apparently AEP still intends to build the wind projects but it is not a sure thing. The location of AEP’s wind facilities has not been disclosed – if they know….

Pay attention Ohio- Board member who regrets deal with BigWind

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Will Ohioans share the same sentiment, as BigWind spreads across our state? If you think this won’t affect YOU, then think again. BigWind plans to blanket our state. Just read about it on our home page. Every wind site has multiple ‘phases’ in the works, that usually, quietly begin before the 1st site is even completed….

I am writing to you all as a former commissioner colleague who aided in the negotiations and agreements with E.ON Climate Renewables with Tipton County (Indiana)in 2011. From the onset, I was open to windfarm development in a small section of Tipton County because the commissioners had received no opposition and I felt that the landowners wanted it. … As you know, public notices are small and often overlooked in the newspaper, so not much resistance was present……………until the towers went up, and people saw how enormous and intrusive they were. The red blinking lights even disturb my own summer evenings and my home is 6 miles from the closest tower….. !!!! You don’t have the time to read what all I could tell you, so in a nutshell I just want to say that I wish I had the knowledge then that I have now….

In Tipton County……….my 83 year old mother is mad at me (since I signed the agreements) because she no longer has colorful birds coming to her feeders……..my brother’s view from his family dining room table used to be a vast expanse of crops and natural habitat…….now that pristine ‘vista’ is forever marred by giant metal structures………….neighbors hate each other…………back and forth letters to the editor have been selling papers for over a year now………….families are torn apart,,,,, and because the physical presence of the towers will be there for 30 years, these relationships will never be repaired. In short. . . . this has become an issue that has divided our community like no other.

It has torn our county apart….

If I had this to do over, I would NEVER enter into an agreement with any wind company now that I know what it has done to my home community. I am not proud that my name is on those documents. The wind company has breached many parts of the agreement, but insist that their failures are “minor”. Their field representative is arrogant and cavalier in his attitude toward the people who are suffering with the effects of the noise and flicker.

You can’t lose something you never had…………so you are not “losing” the supposed ‘windfall’ of money that the project purportedly brings in. What you WILL lose however, cannot be measured in dollars. You will lose the rural landscape as you know it and you will lose the closeness of “community spirit” because people will hate each other over this and the presence of the towers will always be a constant reminder of the rift…………thus the wounds will never heal.

Please consider this: What do you think of a company that KNOWS it has fierce opposition from a segment of the Howard County citizenry, but would STILL want to build in your county? It is akin to forcing themselves onto you when they KNOW they are not wanted by those in the project area who would be affected by their presence and are receiving no compensation for the change in their environment. How much of a “community partner” would they be when they really don’t care about the wishes of the people?…

Any issue that has become so contentious that it has caused large groups of people to assemble and vehemently oppose it. . . . and which has caused so much heartache and angst among the citizenry . . . . just cannot be good for the whole. I do not feel that Tipton County will ever wholly heal from the deep personal wounds incurred by many from the placement of wind turbines in our county….

 

Jane Harper
Tipton County Commissioner 2009-2012

Source: Meet Jane Harper – Board member who regrets voting pro-wind –

Everpower proposes (sneaky) amendment in Ohio

Yesterday, September 12th, Everpower filed an extensive amendment to its Scioto Ridge project in Logan and Hardin Counties.   The filing includes approximately 70 different documents.    The important thing to note here is that Everpower probably filed the amendment on September 12 because the new property line setbacks go into effect on September 15th.  By filing yesterday, Everpower seeks to avoid the new setback requirements that would have required them to relocate any turbines that are too close to non-participating property owners. 

Everpower also proposes to consider two additional turbine models and to move certain turbines and transmission lines.  These changes affect setback measurements, noise modeling and shadow flicker among other things.   As a result of the changes, Everpower estimates on Page 23 that:

Of the 52 non-participating residences predicted to receive more than 30 hours of shadow flicker per year, 15 are pending (i.e., landowner is anticipated to become a participant) and 37 are non-participants. However, to assure a worst-case analysis, pending participants have been included with the nonparticipating receptors in the summary above. Table 08-02 summarizes the expected shadow flicker for non-participating receptors exceeding 30 hours/year predicted, comparing the results presented in the original Application with those anticipated under the currently proposed layout.

 

With respect to the setbacks, Everpower notes at page 32:

(c) Locations of Turbines in Relation to Property Lines and Habitable Residential Structures

 

The minor shifts in the five turbines do not violate any of the property line setbacks and residential setbacks under the Board’s rules at the time the original Application was filed. As noted below, the average property line setback has increased to 1,201 feet from 1,198 feet and the average residential structure setback has increased to 1,996 feet from 1,989 feet. The project’s setbacks are described below.

 

(i)                 Setback to Property Lines

 

Section 4906-17-08(C)(1)(c)(i) requires that “the distance from a wind turbine base to the property line of the wind farm property shall be at least one and one-tenth times the total height of the turbine structure as measured from its tower’s base (excluding the subsurface foundation) to the tip of its highest blade.” The maximum height of turbines under consideration for the Facility at the time the original Application was filed was 492 feet (150 meters), which yields a property line setback of 541 feet (165 meters). All turbine locations, including the turbine relocations proposed in this Amendment, will comply with these setbacks, and the two new turbine models proposed in this Amendment are less than 492 in total height. As currently sited, the distance between proposed turbines and the nearest non-participating property line ranges from 549 to 2,669 feet, and averages 1,201 feet. The original Application presented a range of 549 to 2,637 feet with an average of 1,198 feet.  (Ed’s note: Do not be confused by use of averages!)

 

(ii)               Setback to Habitable Residential Structures

 

Section 4906-17-08(C)(1)(c)(ii) requires that “the wind turbine shall be at least seven hundred fifty 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 of certification application.” The maximum rotor diameter of the turbines under consideration for the Facility at the time the original Application was filed was 400 feet (122 meters). If the turbine blade were at ninety degrees, the tip would extend from the base of the tower one-half the length of the rotor diameter, or 200 feet (61 meters), which added to 750 feet, yields a total setback of 950 feet. All turbines and locations, including the turbine relocations proposed in this Amendment, will comply with these setbacks, and the two turbine models proposed in this Amendment both have blades less than 200 feet in length. As proposed, the distance between the proposed turbines and the nearest non-participating residential structure ranges from 1,292 to 4,047 feet, and averages 1,996 feet. The original Application presented a range of 1,335 feet to 4,047 feet with an average of 1,989 feet. (Ed’s note: Do not be confused by use of averages!)

 

With respect to Indian Lake, the amendment states:

(5) Impact on Recreational Areas within One Mile

 

The impact on recreational areas remains as described in the original Application. Of the turbines that have been shifted, only turbine 25 is within 1 mile of Indian Lake State Park, and it was re-located to the east,

away from the park. Noise and shadow flicker were re-modeled (see Exhibits B and C of this Amendment, respectively), but results for Indian Lake State Park are the same as in the original Application. There are no other recreation areas within one mile of the Facility.

 

(6) Visual Impact and Mitigation Measures

 

Visual impact mitigation measures remain as described in the original Application.

 

There is a great deal of specific information in this 44 page Amendment.  The document and all related exhibits with maps and charts for specific areas can be found at  the PUCO website by clicking on this link, below…

In the Matter of the Application of Hardin Wind LLC to Amend its Certificate Issued in Case No. 13-1177-EL-BGN

via DIS – Case Record for 14-1557-EL-BGA.

Everpower’s admission = BigWind’s failed mousetrap

The Ohio House of representatives gears up this week to hear testimony on Senate Bill 310. On Tuesday, Senator Balderson will provide sponsor testimony followed by other witnesses in support of the bill. On Wednesday opponents, interested parties and the rest of the world will testify. Speaker of the House, Rep. Bill Batchelder, wants to wrap up passage before Memorial Day. We expect to see every conceivable opponent argument come out in a last ditch effort to derail the bill. We have been on this roller coaster for so long we know anything could happen.

 We share a story from the Bellefontaine Examiner where Everpower’s Michael Speerschneider grumbles about the mandate freeze but says, nevertheless, “This doesn’t make it impossible to build if we can find appropriate buyers, but it certainly doesn’t make it any easier,” he said.

 As we have reported, a significant point in support of repeal of the mandate is the un-Constitutional nature of the in-state mandate. This requires a percentage of wind to be generated inside the state of Ohio even if out of state wind is available and cheaper. This issue has been the subject of litigation in Colorado and in Minnesota. This week in Colorado, a major victory was achieved when a federal court determined that the challengers to the Colorado mandate had “standing” to bring a lawsuit. Often, those who seek to protect mandates will argue that opponents do not have a right – or the legal standing – to sue. In this case, reported May 5th by E&E Legal, “The Court has recognized that the Colorado RES harms interstate Commerce,” said David W. Schnare, E&E Legal’s General Counsel and lead attorney in the case. “Next he will decide whether that damages not only citizens’ pocket books, but the Constitutional rights of our citizens, our businesses and the States that surround Colorado. A decision in favor of E&E Legal’s constitutional argument would follow other recent, similar Federal Court decisions and would lay the cornerstone to building a national effort to challenge the constitutionality of renewable standards in the other twenty-nine states with similar statutes.”…

Legislation that moved in the Ohio Senate this week could have a potential impact on EverPower Wind Holdings’ plans to develop local projects….

EverPower has wind developments pending construction in Hardin, Logan and Champaign counties and the company official said a large part of their development hinges on finding buyers. “This doesn’t make it impossible to build if we can find appropriate buyers, but it certainly doesn’t make it any easier,” he said.

While it displeases alternative energy producers, environmentalists, manufacturers and citizen groups like the local Fight the Wind organization approve of the Senate’s decision. “We are pleased with Senate Bill 310 and its progress through the gauntlet of political barriers to its passage,” Tom Stacy of Fight the Wind wrote in an email. “But this bill is not the end-all for wind or any other renewables. It doesn’t prohibit anything. It just relaxes the rate at which the government is forcing the contrived market for intermittent, undependable, low value sources like wind to grow.

The decision, he said, shows wind developers’ over-reliance on government regulations in their business plans. “EverPower’s admission that SB310 progress puts their Ohio projects at a standstill is case in point to the reality that wind electricity is not sustainable, not affordable and not a good enough mousetrap to capture market share without mandates — even with all the subsidies they receive otherwise,” Mr. Stacy wrote….

via: http://www.examiner.org/images/WebEdition/051014_.pdfonline.pdf

Ohio Legislator follows the $ and calls out Honda for bullying competition

Senator Seitz

Whether or not you approve of Senator Seitz’ politics, you must give him credit for the unabashed COURAGE he displays when he is passionate about something. He is a bulldog in a fight!

The day after the Senate’s momentous vote to freeze the renewable mandate, the political machinations are gearing up.   Democratic candidate for Governor, Ed Fitzgerald issued a statement saying he would make renewable energy the central issue of his campaign.   Speaker of the House Bill Batchelder issued a statement saying he would seek to pass the mandate freeze before summer recess.  The Governor issued a joint statement with Senate President Faber saying that renewable energy would remain important and the standards would not be repealed but merely fixed.   In the meantime, the Chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee where the bill will be heard starting next week was not re-elected.    Chaos!

 The Columbus Dispatch continued its lopsided coverage and attacked Senator Seitz for criticizing Honda during the deliberations for the bill.  Honda was a strong opponent of the freeze and Senator Seitz pointed out that Honda is not subject to the mandates because they are served by the rural electric system.  Further, Honda uses taxpayer subsidy.  Both of these things put Honda at a competitive advantage over other automobile manufacturers.  Winners and losers.  Even Honda wants to preserve an unfair system.  Tom Stacy comments on today’s Dispatch article are printed below.  They are excellent and point out that by keeping the MW size of their project below the threshold of regulation by the OPSB, Honda was able to site the project in a way that may be dangerous to the community….

In debate that stretched into early yesterday, Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, called out Honda for its opposition to Senate Bill 310, a two-year freeze on annual increases in state standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Honda buys most of their electric from a rural electric cooperative,” he said during a lively floor speech. “Guess what? Rural electric cooperatives are not subject to the mandates. So they get to buy their electric without having to pay for the mandates. And by keeping the mandates, they are able to disadvantage their competitors, GM, Ford and Chrysler, who buy from investor-owned utilities that are subject to the mandates.

“Follow the money,” he concluded….

Comments following article:

While East Liberty is indeed on the border of Logan County Rural Electric and DP&L territory, the longest standing and main Honda Campus in Marysville (where the Accord is built) is served by Union County Rural Electric Cooperative.

The energy-intensive Honda Transmission facility at Russells Point, OH is situated in Logan County Rural Electric Cooperative’s territory. Even though that facility isn’t subject to the mandate, Honda partnered with a wind developer and built the two longest-bladed wind turbines in the state on its Transmission plant campus.

The project nameplate capacity conveniently falls just below the threshold above which the PUCO’s Ohio Power Siting Board would have had jurisdiction over its placement. Delivery and construction were RUSHED late last year in order to beat the expiration of the Federal Production Tax Credit for wind which expired at the end of last year – another tax break for them that the rest of us pay for.

OPSB would have never allowed those 420 ft. tall machines with their 160 ft long blades to be constructed within 200 ft. of a public road and within 300 ft. of a non-participating property the way the local township trustees and zoning board did through a zoning variance. But what could the local zoning folks say to the employer of far more people than live in its township when they wanted to go against turbine manufacturer and state minimum guidelines for safety? Not much.

While only MOST of Honda’s facilities are served by cooperatives, Dan, Honda also BENEFITS from the mandates by adding these enormous wind conversion machines on a poorly selected site. People living and boating on Indian Lake now must gaze at these monstrosities from everywhere on the lake, while 176 of them are proposed for Logan and Hardin Counties just east of the lake by Everpower renewables – an aggressive UK owned investment house interested in greening their portfolio far more than the environment.

As for Honda, even their corporate public image statement shows they are more interested in a green image than green results. Before they pulled the trigger on the project company executives asked to meet with me to find out what kind of public opposition might arise. I told them I hoped the public would object to the fact that Honda had chosen a very expensive means of reducing their carbon footprint and at taxpayer and lakefront property owners’ expense. The community did not rise to object to Honda so I didn’t either, even though I live at the opposite end of the same county.

I am really growing weary of the Dispatch continually slanting their news on this topic to criticize the brave legislators who are looking out for Ohio ratepayer and job holders’ best interests. There is really good news here for Ohio’s future and I’d like to see the Dispatch recognize that in some of their articles rather than distracting the public off topic by highlighting trivial matters such as how much of Honda’s electricity is subject to mandates.

2014-05-09 07:28:14.0

 

via Legislator takes swipe at Honda in green-energy debate | The Columbus Dispatch.