BigWind ‘Carbon laundering’ and Green washing in Ohio

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We ran across an interesting concept this week concerning the term ”carbon neutral”.   It is used to justify Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and other schemes for the purpose of evading responsibility for carbon emissions.   It has been suggested that “carbon laundering” might be a more accurate term since it has distasteful associations with “money laundering”.   So when FB, Google or other tech companies say they are carbon neutral because they bought Renewable Energy Credits from a wind developer, they are really engaged in “carbon laundering” to make it look like they are powered by renewable energy.  Lock ‘em up!

There is some interesting legislative news to report this week.  Rep. Haraz Ghanbari of Perrysburg in Wood County has been selected to represent the 3rd Ohio House District.  Following this appointment,  Ghanbari was named to replace Rep. Kris Jordan on the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.   Rep. Jordan was also replaced on the Subcommittee on Energy Generation by Rep. Jon Cross of Kenton of Hardin County.  We would like to point out that Hardin is also a county that has rescinded its Alternative Energy Zone designation. We neglected to include Hardin last week.


The OPSB approved the Willowbrook Solar facility, a 150 MW project by Open Road Renewables covering 1,762 acres of land in Brown and Highland Counties.  The project was backed by AEP which filed a 20 year commitment to buy power from Willowbrook. A second 300 MW solar facility in Highland County is  being developed by Hecate Energy and AEP intends to purchase this as well. AEP is forecasting $200 million in consumer savings over the life of the 20 year renewable energy purchase agreement (REPA) but says residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity would see an immediate increase of 28 cents per month in their bill.


A new statewide group has announced its formation.  The Ohio Consumers Energy Alliance describes themselves as a statewide, non-partisan consumer advocate focused on keeping electricity rates low through diversifying Ohio’s energy portfolio.  In a press release, the Director of the Alliance said “”Consumers have opinions about our state’s energy but are seldom heard over the noise of utility lobbyists and industry leaders,”. “Our role is to be the megaphone for the voice of consumers.”  “The alliance is opposed to bailing out Ohio’s old, uneconomical nuclear plants by assessing a fee from every electric consumer in Ohio,” Belz said of the FirstEnergy proposal. “This does not move Ohio forward.”   The group said it will look to recruit members from around Ohio and engage decision-makers through grassroots activities including letters, phone calls and visits.  “We formed this group because for far too long the needs of the consumers have been largely ignored when it comes to energy matters,” said Belz. “Decisions about energy and electric costs have been made by legislators and the special interests who are supporting those legislators. It is now time for consumers to have a way to voice their opinions on these critical matters.”

Okay – this is an anti-nuclear group and we doubt they are seeking to diversify Ohio’s energy portfolio with more fracked oil and gas or coal but who knows?  Against this backdrop, we include in this issue a number of calls for greater adoption of nuclear energy to combat climate change.   These calls do not come from the Consumers Energy Alliance.   It is rumored that a “clean air”  bill will be introduced this week in the General Assembly.  We will have a report on this as we learn more but there is sure to be lots of discussion.  

An absolutely outstanding article co-authored by Michael Shellenberger in Forbes is a must read.  In Why Renewables Advocates Protect Fossil Fuel Interests, Not The Climate, he pulls back the covers on groups like Sierra, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

In other news:


  • The Toledo Blade gives extensive coverage to wind developments in Van Wert and Paulding Counties.  Wind warriors are kind of written off as NIMBYs although Jeremy Kitson gets some ink.  We see a lot of irony in the new Lincolnview Community Center with the latest bells and whistles that provides a place for the community to recreate.  It is too bad they need to be indoors.  Maybe if they had to be outside, they would care more about their natural environment.


  • A judge presiding over the litigation in Paulding County against the State of Ohio for changing the 2014 setback law by inserting language in a budget bill has ruled that Seneca County homeowners can intervene in the suit.  The homeowners are asking that the suit be dismissed and that the law measuring setbacks from the property line be upheld. 


  • On Thursday, Seneca Wind, LLC and the OPSB staff filed a joint motion to suspend the hearing schedule to allow additional time for Seneca Wind to provide information required for the staff to complete its report of investigation. The OPSB will establish a new hearing schedule at a later date.  It is unclear what the information requested is.  It could be military aviation interference as well as other aviation issues including aerial spraying for cover crops to comply with the state’s efforts to clean up Lake Erie, the number of karst areas and underground water flow concerns, and so forth. The list could be long.  We note that sPower is represented by a very high-powered PR firm in Columbus, Paul Werth & Associates.


  • The Editors of Seneca County’s Advertiser Tribune wrote an Editorial favoring taking a time out on granting PILOT for wind projects.  Seneca recently rescinded its Alternative Energy Zone designation but two previously approved projects  will receive the tax abatement if they go forward as planned. “As for other potential projects — and other parts of the county are ripe for wind development — county commissioners and residents should take a wait-and-see approach to allowing energy-zone benefits. Wait until current projects are built, and see whether we want more of them.”


  • In Lordstown, Ohio (home to the closing GM plant) two smaller turbines are coming down.  They are not operating but continue to spin in the wind. One local citizen said. “It sounds like a helicopter is landing.” When the turbines were installed in 2011, the village was told to expect them to generate enough electricity to reduce the electric bill for the village hall by $300 to $500 per month. Hill said the actual amount of savings was “about $550 per year.”  “They didn’t pan out,” Hill said. “We said just get rid of ‘em and get them out of there.”


  • President Trump took off after wind energy in several public forums recently, even going so far as to claim that the noise from turbines causes cancer.  U.S. Senator Grassley, who is wind’s chief proponent in the Senate, called Trump’s remarks “idiotic”  while the New York Times spun a bit of its own fake news and magical thinking  to rebut Trumps claims.


  • One reason for wind developers to avoid bat habitat is that mitigation of bat fatality requires curtailment of the wind turbines during certain periods.  This results in reduced production and less revenue.  Now a new bat avoidance technology is being developed and tested in Illinois.   “Results from trials at EDF Renewables’ 175MW Pilot Hill development in Illinois, where a spread of 15 ultrasonic acoustic systems were installed on turbines last year, showed an overall improvement in AEP of almost 2% and a reduction in bat fatalities of an average of 67%.  Testing of NRG’s system — which generates ultrasonic waves out to the blade-tips that “jams” the bats echolocation frequency and so prompts them to forage in airspace outside the wind farm site — was conducted at the 103-turbine development over three months, with a five-metre per second cut-in speed applied at the deterrent-equipped turbines.”


  • Democrats in the Congress are urging the House Ways and Means Committee to reinstate and extend the Production Tax Credit for wind and solar.  Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is among the signers of a letter of support.


  • In Illinois, the legislature has passed a bill that provides that only a county may enact zoning regulations for wind farms in the rural parts of a county, outside the zoning jurisdiction of incorporated cities, even in counties that don’t have countywide zoning regulations.  The bill is aimed at Douglas County, where a Houston-based company, EDP Renewables North America LLC, plans build a 200-megawatt wind farm, known as the Harvest Ridge Wind Farm.  Townships with their own stricter zoning could be overruled by the new law.  Local officials lobbied against the bill, arguing that it would strip them of local control, but that argument largely fell on deaf ears.   This is not a good sign!


  • Wall Street Journal  “Many environmentalists have changed their minds about nuclear energy over the past decade. While the share of energy produced by solar and wind has grown rapidly, nuclear remains America’s largest source of clean, zero-emissions electricity. Anyone seriously interested in preventing dangerous levels of global warming should be advocating nuclear power.”


  • Wisconsin Public Radio: Setting aside the ambitious Green New Deal and its goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, Congressional Democrats are sectioning off portions of that resolution to deliver more moderate measures that might find greater support.  But largely missing from these proposals and the Green New Deal itself is nuclear power.  Paul Wilson, a University of Wisconsin-Madison nuclear engineering professor, disagrees, saying nuclear can play a role in the reduction of carbon so long as the U.S.’s current fleet of about 100 nuclear power plants is maintained and innovation in the field — such as building smaller reactors that are less expensive — is supported.  Including nuclear power in a national energy policy also would help give the industry a sense of direction, Wilson said’’’


  • Energy Central:  A major step forward in congressional support for the next generation of nuclear reactor technology took place this past week with the introduction in the Senate of the bipartisan Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), It is seen by an across- the-board coalition of nine nuclear industry organizations as an important step in creating a comprehensive blueprint to bring these designs to fruition. A key voice is Bill Gates who tweeted “I can’t overstate how important this is.”


  • Pittsburgh Post Gazette:  Former PA Governor Tom Ridge writes “Nuclear is the nation’s and the commonwealth’s most abundant source of clean energy. Nuclear plants emit no greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. They provide “baseload” power, which means they reliably run 24/7 — and for 18 months to 24 months without refueling. Nuclear is a critical component of a resilient electricity grid, which is essential to national security. Our security depends on energy sources that are stable and diverse to consistently meet demands from critical customers such as military bases and government facilities.”  By taking the commonsense approach of amending the AEPS statute to include nuclear energy, we can blend Pennsylvania’s competitive market structure with environmental protection, provide thousands of family-sustaining jobs and contribute to our national security.”


  • Also under development in Washington by Sen. Mo Udall (D-New Mexico) is a bill to establish a federal renewable or clean energy mandate.  We do not know if it will include nuclear….

Renewable Advocates Protect Fossil Fuels

Cash cow

Statehouse News Monday, April 1, 2019 Paulding, Seneca residents At Odds in Wind Setback Lawsuit

Suspended hearing for Wind

Seneca delayed again

Time Out

Lordstown failed turbines

Trump steps up attack on ‘cancer-causing’ wind power-US president also asserts wind turbines destroy property values and are a ‘graveyard’ for birds By Richard Kessler in Fort Worth 03 April 2019Updated 04 April 2019

Sen. Grassley calls Trump comments idiotic

Trump fact checked

RECHARGE US bat deterrent trials show rise in energy output –Annual energy production from wind farms in bat-infested regions could be upped 2% and turbine-strikes reduced an average 67%. by Darius Snieckus 03 April 2019Updated 03 April 2019

Democrat renewable momentum

wind zoning to governor

We NEED nuclear

Nuclear at the table

Nuclear boost bill

Nuclear must be supported

Revive renewable mandate


Why do some in Ohio fight against BigWind?

Senate President Larry Obhof surprised the Ohio caucus by naming Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) as Chair of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Media reports noted “I look forward to Steve’s leadership of this committee,” said Obhof. “He has proven himself a hard-working, thoughtful, solution-oriented leader, and he understands the importance of developing a long-term energy policy that provides affordable options for Ohioans and protects our natural resources.”   Wilson was appointed to the Ohio Senate in 2017 and was elected to his first term in 2018. He currently serves on the Education; Finance; Insurance and Financial Institutions; Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs; and Ways and Means committees.  Sen. Wilson, a retired banker,  has not previously served as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee . He  is a co-sponsor of Sen. Dolan’s stand alone bill SB 238 to roll back property line setbacks.

With a new chairman installed, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources resumes its committee work this week.  It should be noted that HB 114 is not on the agenda.  Sen. Matt Huffman, attending a breakfast in Urbana on Saturday,  expressed his belief that there was just not enough time left in year to deal with HB 114.  Senator Huffman gave a brief speech while in town in which he said that there are significant manufacturing expansions occurring or planned throughout his District.  He is very concerned about these employers being able to attract employees. He said that if communities cannot supply a workforce, companies will begin to turn away from NW Ohio.  This begs the question, why would anyone want to live in the middle of an industrial power plant?  How inviting would it be to attract a workforce to an area that had become uninhabitable due to the proliferation of industrial wind turbines? 

As Lordstown, Ohio struggles to accept the loss of the GM plant there.  We should not forget it was only last May that the people of Paulding County destroyed a bit more of their environment and provided taxpayer subsidy (PILOT) to GM to “power” the Lordstown plant with wind. Guess wind and solar aren’t such great economic development/retention tools after all. Wonder how the folks in Paulding are feeling about now?

Out of curiosity, we visited the Ohio Secretary of State’s website to see if we could find more incorporations for Apex wind projects.  While it is not possible to determine where these projects might be, it was instructive to see how many limited liability companies have been created – some of them within the past couple of years. Here are eleven:

Apex                     Ashtabula Wind

Apex                     Buck Springs Wind LLC

Apex                     Emerson Creek Wind LLC

Apex                     Emerson Creek West

Apex                     Firelands Wind LLC

Apex                     Grant Ridge Wind LLC

Apex                     High Springs Wind LLC

Apex                     Honey Creek Wind LLC

Apex                     Long Prairie Wind I         

Apex                      Long Prairie Wind II

Apex                     Sugar Grove Wind LLC

The list, above, should remind all of us WHY it is important to persevere in this fight for property rights. This is a many year long battle, that must continue until our tax dollars no longer subsidize this inefficient energy……

There are many reasons why rural communities are fighting back against wind development. This isn’t some crusade against a cleaner source of energy, that would be silly to think that people against living in a wind turbine project want dirty air and water. What this boils down to is property rights guaranteed by the constitution, and the safety, health, and welfare of all citizens in the rural community.

First on the property rights issue. The rural communities are zoned agricultural/residential. Nothing about industrial wind turbines are either of those. The fact is, wind turbines are industrial electric generators. It is an oxymoron to call them wind “farms.” That is a fancy spin that pushes the idea of it being agricultural. And why do they push that? Because the wind industry expects a special land use exception to site wind turbines like they are agricultural.

I ask a simple question to the readers. Can anyone name one example of zoning regulation that measures someone’s industrial structure to the foundation of another person’s house? You can try to find it but it doesn’t exist. This is largely the language in wind ordinances that wind developers look for when attacking a rural community in the cloak of darkness. They want the public to think this is a farming operation so they can justify measuring these things to a house and not a property line. They want this to look like a confined feeding operation like that of a hog barn which can be measured to a house. Then you get into the argument that “I would rather have a wind turbine than a hog barn.”

Which leads to another question: When you build or choose to live in the rural community that is zoned for agriculture is it unreasonable to think you may experience agricultural nuisances? You know that comes with living rurally. A follow up to that, when you build or choose to live in the rural community that is zoned agricultural is it unreasonable to think you will be dealing with something industrial? Yes, that is unreasonable. It goes against the very essence of why people choose to live in the rural community.

Turbine manufacturers have recommended safety distances in their operations manual that is mainly established by Gcube insurance, the main insurer for liability of industrial wind turbines. The setbacks in these manuals are largely kept from the public for proprietary reasons. Shouldn’t the public have a right to know just how dangerous the wind industry’s own insurers define as what is safe? Setbacks all over the Midwest can easily be proven inadequate by many resources. If you want some specific information about proper setbacks please read some of the following links. Here is a study that proves that a 300′ turbine can sling debris over 1700′ from a physicist. Other recommendations based on safe setbacks can be found in many other places too (1, 2, and 3). As a final follow up to this section, ask any wind developer to produce a scientific, peer-reviewed, independent study that proves the setbacks they advocate for and claim are safe. They will duck and dodge. A developer recently turned that question around on me and I produced the study listed above along with two others studies. Then all I heard was silence.

This is about conflicting land uses and equitable zoning over all else. The language in leasing agreements plainly states there is a “no build” zone that extends out from a turbine. Measuring a turbine to someone’s house can deny them the right to develop their land as they see fit in the future. That is theft, it is referred to as trespass zoning. If developers want to site wind turbines, the zoning must be to a neighboring landowners property line unless they sign a “good neighbor agreement” also known as a setback waiver.

This is perfectly legal right now. But wind developers do not want to negotiate the property rights of all landowners in a footprint. They expect zoning law to allow them to steal uncompensated easements from all non-participating landowners as a part of their robbery scheme. That is unconstitutional. This is the source of the main opposition for people in the rural community.

Next, it is a quality of life issue. Wind developers constantly say there is no scientific evidence that wind turbines affect people’s health. Which poses another question. If that is true, then why does every leasing agreement offered admit all the health effects they so adamantly discredit actually do exist? I have copies of lease agreements and all the health effects are in every contract. And here is the bigger point, when you sign an agreement, you have been essentially “gagged” into speaking negatively about wind turbines to the public. There is a gag order in the agreement. Why are those terms necessary if the wind industry is so right about discrediting the health effects? Independent studies show wind turbines do affect people’s health and you can read that in many places (1, 2, and 3).

Thirdly, wind developers insist wind turbines do not have an adverse effect on home values. That can also be soundly refuted. They constantly cite a study done by the Lawrence Berkley Laboratory. That study is flawed. The Berkley study can be refuted in multiple sources (1 and 2). There is plenty of evidence that says wind turbines absolutely affect home values. Information about property value depreciation can be easily found (1, 2, 3, and 4.). If these reports are so wrong about property values and the wind industry is so right, then why do wind developers fight against offering the citizens a property value guarantee? Doesn’t that seem appropriate given the lengths they go to try to prove that wind turbines do not result in property depreciation?

Finally, some specific refutations of the pro-wind crowd from Van Wert County that was interviewed in your recent series. The Chamber of Commerce president said that the Blue Creek Project is the “number one tourist attraction” in Van Wert County. Where is the proof of that? I and many other residents have not once heard people visiting our community for the wind turbines. That is pure speculation and opinion. Secondly, she calls the turbine money a “game changer” for our schools. The two school districts that receive wind money have been on sound financial footing for multiple decades because their taxpayers have routinely supported ballot issues. It has nothing to do with wind payments. The annual payments are fractions of the annual operating expenses of these districts. School funding can easily be found online to prove it.

The only district in the county that doesn’t receive wind payments has far more academic opportunities than the other districts that do. The Van Wert City School district has fully implemented project-based learning through the New Tech Network, have two programs in the PTLW (project lead the way) methodology in Biomedical Science and Engineering, have a fully functional mass media television production studio on campus, a state respected robotics club, and a more diverse offering of courses. All of these without the addition of wind payments. So it’s a false narrative that wind payments are “game changers”; the truth is they help schools at a fraction of what is claimed.

It is also necessary to disclose some information regarding the pro-wind farmer interviewed in your piece. This farmer, admittedly, is compensated by hosting wind turbines. At a tune of $20,000 or so per year, this farmer has already received over $100,000 in payments and will garner over $400,000 by the end of the terms of the contract. Would that not be enough to say a wind turbine’s noise is “minimal?” Would that allow one to make no distinction between industrial wind turbines and a highway a mile away? If one believes so much in the cause, why would they not just donate their property for the cause? This comes down to money. Money for a minority of landowners at all of their neighbor’s expense.

In conclusion, folks fighting for their quality of life are not against better means to serve our complicated energy needs. We are fighting for our property rights, our health, our guaranteed safety, and energy policy that makes sense. I haven’t even touched on the false narrative perpetuated by the wind industry and how it’s saving the Earth. I have plenty of science that proves that is plainly false.

I also haven’t touched on the complicated economic picture that proves this technology firmly relies on tax and ratepayer support to produce a highly expensive, low-value product that negatively impacts all our bank accounts. Those are arguments that simply do not resonate with the average citizen. The complexities and dynamics are very difficult to comprehend. Lastly, the large amount of people who support wind technologies will never live near any wind installation, thus making it easy to push it on the rest of us.

— Jeremy Kitson, Citizens for Clear Skies, from Van Wert County, Ohio (Thank you to the News Sentinel of Ft. Wayne, for printing this letter!!!)

Jeremy’s printed letter

letter reprinted in entirety w permission from author