Hooray! Seneca county rescinds AEZ and HB6 passes

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A big hooray for Sandusky County where the County Commissioners have rescinded their designation as an Alternative Energy Zone (AEZ).  The vote cancelled the action taken 7 years ago.  Readers will recall that the Seneca County Commissioners rescinded their AEZ earlier this summer and it took effect June 30th.

 

The OPSB Public Hearing for Seneca Wind, a project of  sPower, was held on Tuesday in Tiffin.  It was refreshing to hear that both PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo and Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman, Nino Vitale, attended in person.  That is a first as far as we know.   They were treated to many thoughtful arguments and concerns expressed by local citizens.  We have attached the testimony of Walt Poffenbaugh (last link) who spoke to the issue of cumulative impacts of projects planned for the area.  Walt demonstrated that the combined projects proposed for the area cover a territory nearly as large as metropolitan Columbus.   We encourage all to read Walt’s substantive remarks.  Given that the OPSB does not have rules that address cumulative impact, it will be interesting to see how this concern is dealt with in subsequent proposals.

 

Moments after the bill was passed, Gov. DeWine signed it into law and took off for the Ohio State Fair where he told reporters,  “I think it accomplishes what we wanted to accomplish,” Gov. DeWine said. “It saves the jobs of the folks who devoted – many of them – many, many years to providing power for us.”  “No. 2, it should bring about a small reduction in the cost to residential consumers as well as to commercial consumers,” he added.  Gov. DeWine said he also was “happy to sign” the measure because he believes it will lead to long-term environmental benefits. He put his pen to the measure less than three hours after legislative leaders sent him the bill. “If we had lost our two nuclear plants, we would have lost 90% of our carbon-free production in the state of Ohio,” he said. “It just makes sense from a public policy point of view. It makes sense from a jobs point of view. It makes sense from the environment point of view.”  “We would anticipate that our solar as well as our wind (industries) will continue to increase in the state of Ohio,” he said. “We have to recognize it is not the most optimal state for wind nor solar, but there is an industry in the state, and we want to encourage that to grow.”

Still reeling from the passage of HB 6, pro-wind and gas folks were quick to react to the new state of affairs.  Statehouse news reports included:

 

Andrew Gohn, American Wind Energy Association

“Ohio consumers and manufacturers want greater commitment to renewable energy, not less. Yet, while many states are expanding access to cleaner sources of energy, Ohio’s legislature has chosen to take a costly step backward by weakening the state’s renewable portfolio standard,” said Andrew Gohn, Director, Eastern State Policy, AWEA. “House Bill 6 won’t make Ohio’s air cleaner, but it will hike consumer electric bills and send both jobs and clean energy investment to Ohio’s neighbors.”

 

Marnie Urso, Audubon Great Lakes    (AUDUBON?  REALLY?)

“Energy efficiency and renewable energy are vital components in protecting Ohio’s birds and wildlife from the threat of climate change and ensuring all Ohioans have access to safe and affordable energy. HB6 is a missed opportunity to enact comprehensive energy policy that would keep pace with the rest of the region and country which is embracing the future of abundant, affordable, renewable energy. This clean energy killing policy is not the investment in healthy air and economic growth that our state deserves.”

 

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)

“This was not an easy vote for some of our Democratic members, including myself. Democrats will always stand with hard-working Ohioans over corporations. HB6 was never a Democratic bill; it was never even a bipartisan, compromise bill. It was yet another example of the Majority Party playing games, forcing impossible choices between protecting the environment and keeping food on the table for 1,400 workers and their families. I hope that the companies who receive the taxpayer dollars from HB6 will honor their promise to protect the jobs at both nuclear plants and support these workers’ continued employment.”

 

Daniel Sawmiller, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

“While the rest of the nation is adding jobs left and right from one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, Ohio is sending a clear signal to the clean energy sector that they are not welcome in the state. HB6 is irresponsible economic policy. And if this mess of a bill passes, the rest of the nation will be looking closely at Ohio’s statehouse trying to understand the motivations for a bill that is so far out of line with what is happening everywhere else.”

 

Neil Waggoner, Sierra Club

“HB6 is bad government and politics in its most pure form. When the process starts with legislators’ demeaning low-income Ohioans and apologizing to utility lobbyists it’s no surprise the final legislative product increases customer bills every month for years to come.  “With HB6, Ohioans get dirtier air, higher electric bills, and the understanding that the majority of their elected officials at the Statehouse are more concerned with making a bankrupt company happy, and helping out other utility companies for their foolish investments in failing coal plants, than taking care of their own constituents.  “FirstEnergy and Ohio’s other electric utilities must be very satisfied with the legislators they financed today. Can those legislators’ constituents say the same?”

 

Ohio Conservative Energy Forum

“The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum (OHCEF) remains opposed to the passage of HB6. The bill takes our state backward and threatens tens of thousands of jobs throughout Ohio in the growing clean energy industry. “As supporters of an all-of-the-above energy policy, the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum has never been averse to nuclear energy, but we remain profoundly disappointed that the General Assembly did not use the opportunity presented in HB6 to further grow Ohio’s emerging clean energy economy. As OHCEF has maintained throughout the legislative process, the State of Ohio cannot afford to be left behind as a growing number of conservative states embrace renewable energy.  “OHCEF will continue to support a free-market approach to a diversified energy portfolio that embraces all forms of energy generation – including nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable energy. OHCEF will fight to reduce government regulation by fixing the current wind setback mandate and will seek distributed generation reforms that will give Ohioans the freedom to produce their own energy.”

 

Not to be outdone, the opponents of HB 6, fueled by natural gas hedge funds, filed a petition with the Ohio Secretary of State to overturn the law through a public referendum.   (Guess somebody is going to get a referendum – what irony!)   Calling themselves “Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts” the group is headed up by a veteran campaign strategist whose claim to fame was the 2009 casino gambling law.  They will hit the streets soon to gather about a quarter of a million signatures to put the issue on the ballot.  We hope Ohioans won’t vote “YES” to increase their electric bills!

Our friend and Time Magazine’s Hero of the Environment, Michael Shellenberger lauded the passage of HB 6 in a Forbes article.  “Ohio nuclear plants provide eight times more electricity than all of the state’s solar and wind combined.  Lawmakers around the world are increasingly taking note of the severe impact that industrial wind turbines have on wildlife. Industrial wind turbines today threaten several bird and bat species with extinction.

Conservationists and birders in Ohio have hotly opposed a proposal to build dozens of turbines on Lake Erie, which is home to dozens of threatened, endangered, and high-conservation value bird species

Then there is the economics. It would have cost $25 billion to replace Ohio’s nuclear plants with solar and $22 to replace them with wind — and taken 300 to 2,600 times more land.”   With your continued support, we can make Ohio a leader in clean energy through support of nuclear while safeguarding wildlife and being efficient in our land use practices!

 

On the flip side, so-called environmentalist like Sierra and the renewable lobby, are having fits saying  “the biggest effect of H.B. 6 may be the muting of Ohio’s renewable and efficiency standards. By weakening Ohio’s 12.5% renewable energy standard to 8.5% and further shrinking the standard by subtracting green energy purchases by large energy users, the bill blocks wind and solar development in a state that’s already a clean energy laggard, said Leah Stokes, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who’s writing a book on state renewable standards.  Some of the nation’s largest wind energy developers have said Ohio’s existing restrictions on turbine placement, enacted in 2014 when the Legislature temporarily froze the renewable standards, have already steered investments to neighboring states. H.B. 6, they warned, would only continue to lessen their interest in the Buckeye State.” 

 

In other news:

 

An assortment of articles reacting to the passage of HB 6 are included.  In one, US Rep. Marcy Kaptur says “Ohio is now saddled with an energy policy that amounts to a “death wish” for growth. “The problem is that as you look at a region to invest in, we look less innovative. We look less inclusive. We look less creative,” Kaptur said. “And companies are looking to invest in places that have their act together and are looking at energy and the full portfolio of choices therein as we build a new energy future for our country.”  We continue to point out that these so-called green companies like Amazon and Google are choosing to locate in metropolitan Columbus not Tiffin or Van Wert.

Republicans at the national level are addressing how to deal with emissions reduction by promoting greater investment in technology whether it be carbon capture or advanced nuclear energy.   “Climate change is real, and we need to address it. The question is, how do we do that?” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said. “I think we should support all ways of decreasing emissions, from traditional renewables to cleaned-up fossil fuels to nuclear to innovative new tech like carbon capture. The other side often would make us think that there’s only one way to address it — solar, wind, the Green New Deal.”

In New York, the Chautauqua County Legislature approved two motions unanimously that go against policies being passed by state officials. “On Wednesday, one of the motions was in opposition to construct wind turbine farms on Lake Erie. During last month’s legislature meeting, Robert Bankoski, D-Dunkirk, and Kevin Muldowney, R-Dunkirk, spoke about their opposition to the possibility of wind turbine farms on Lake Erie. Following the meeting, Bankoski said several other legislators who represent communities along Lake Erie followed up their comments by creating a motion to oppose wind turbines on Lake Erie.”    We wish Ohio Counties would do the same and pass Resolutions in opposition to turbines in Lake Erie.

  

A group of U.S. wind tower manufacturers are pushing for tariffs on imported wind components, a move that some researchers say could raise costs for new projects by as much as 10% at a time the industry is already under pressure.  The Wind Tower Trade Coalition asked the Commerce Department and U.S. International Trade Commission to impose tariffs against wind tower imports from Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam in a petition this month. The manufacturers argued that components from the four countries are sold below the prices set in the 1930 Tariff Act.

 

Even though HB 6 will reduce electricity bills in the short term, there are continuing pressures on costs.  The transition to a 100% renewable US power grid will need investment of up to US$4.5 trillion over the next 10 to 20 years, new analysis from Wood Mackenzie found.  Wood Mackenzie estimates that about 1,600 gigawatts (GW) of new wind and solar capacity would be needed to produce enough energy to replace all fossil fuel generation in the US. Dan Shreve, Head of Global Wind Energy Research, said: “The mass deployment of wind and solar generation will require substantial investments in utility-scale storage to ensure grid resilience is maintained.”

About 900 GW of new storage will also be needed to ensure wind- and solar-generated power is available exactly when consumers need it. The scale of the challenge is unprecedented, requiring a complete redesign of the power sector.

 

New on our radar screen is the issue of transmission expansion and potential costs to ratepayers.  “Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chair Sam Randazzo began Monday’s daylong discussion of transmission investments with an appeal to stakeholders: “We need your help.”  His request came as regulators sought in a daylong conference to grapple with rising spending on transmission projects, which in turn translates into higher consumer bills.  “We need the help of stakeholders to proactively move forward,” Mr. Randazzo said. “We are seeing this large investment at a time where there is not much increase in total sales or demand.”  The cost of that “massive amount of investment” spread over a customer base that’s not growing at an equal rate leaves just one outcome, the chairman continued. “There’s not much else that can happen when you do that other than very significant increases in prices – all of which may be necessary,” Mr. Randazzo said.”

Nuclear link

Ohio rolls back RPS

Antinuclear on the move in Ohio

Blah,blah,blah, even Washington hates the Oh bill

Free (foreign) Bigwind may get expensive tariffs

Will green plan be expensive? HA! Ya think?

Seneca Wind Public Hearing Testimony 07232019

BigWind tries to ‘huff and puff’ Ohio House down

As the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee gears up for its first hearing on HB 6, the opposition is flooding the print media with articles and opinion pieces that argue against the provisions of the bill, advocate for closing the nuclear plants and reducing wind turbine setbacks.   An assortment of articles is provided below. 

In a disgusting turn of events, the Icebreaker Wind developer, LEEDCo, is asking senators for a portion of the funding that would be made available through HB 6.  Democrats have proposed numerous changes to HB 6 including an Icebreaker subsidy.  Recall that Icebreaker is a pilot project designed as a test to see if putting 1,500 wind turbines in Lake Erie is feasible.   They don’t seem to care that it would be in the middle of the world’s third most important migratory flyway.  Senator Sandra Williams was quoted as saying LEEDCo  wants an earmark of 10₵ for every dollar raised in the Clean Air Program.  They are shameless enough to not even pretend that their subsidy would be based on the amount of power they produce.

“LEEDCo leadership is meeting with senators to discuss the importance of Ohio being the first location in North America to build a freshwater offshore wind facility,” spokeswoman Nancy Lesic said. “Our goal is for leadership in Columbus to recognize the economic significance of this project and provide the necessary support to allow us to access federal and international investments.”

One definition of being “green” is to pursue policies and actions that claim reduced, minimal, or no harm upon ecosystems or the environment.  Being green means having the smallest ecological footprint.  This is achieved in energy generation by utilizing resources that have energy density.  Generation sources that are not dense are called “dilute” .  Wind and solar are dilute.   Jim Feasel does a density calculation and determines that 33.65 of Ohio’s 88 counties would be covered with 600 foot tall turbines (9.99 million acres) if you replaced current generation with wind.  That is not GREEN.

Elsewhere, 

  • We also encourage you to read Michael Shellenberger’s article on solar energy called, If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?   It is reported, “The fact that cadmium can be washed out of solar modules by rainwater is increasingly a concern for local environmentalists like the Concerned Citizens of Fawn Lake in Virginia, where a 6,350 acre solar farm to partly power Microsoft data centers is being proposed.
  • “We estimate there are 100,000 pounds of cadmium contained in the 1.8 million panels,” Sean Fogarty of the group told me. “Leaching from broken panels damaged during natural events — hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. — and at decommissioning is a big concern.”  There is real-world precedent for this concern. A tornado in 2015 broke 200,000 solar modules at southern California solar farm Desert Sunlight.
  • How ironic that just as the dirty truth about solar panels is being exposed, the Governor Michigan in a moment of true lunacy, removed conservation protections on more than 3 million acres of Michigan farmland, opening up previously protected land to commercial solar development. The Governor says the land must be returned to a state allowing for agriculture production after solar panels are removed.  “This administrative decision will not result in a loss of usable farmland,” McDowell said. “The change ensures that Michigan’s farmland is preserved so we can continue to feed our communities while also balancing the need to develop renewable energy sources.”   Would you like a little cadmium with your corn?  Reminds us of the lead in the drinking water.
  • A lady from suburban Cincinnati writes an Opinion piece about wanting to come home to Ohio to build wind turbines.  Kim Smith is vice president of Engineering & Construction for ACCIONA.  “As the Ohio Senate considers this energy policy proposal, my hope is that they’ll to listen to local county officials who are hoping for the added revenue that utility scale renewable energy projects can deliver, and that they hear the landowners who have already reached agreements with developers to bring projects to their land.”  This opinion piece definitely deserves some comments!  Ask her what Acciona’s position is on local zoning or a township referendum.
  • Governor Strickland wins the Pelosi-Schumer Award for excessive whining about HB 6.  It was Strickland who took our right to zoning away and gave uncompensated easements over our land to wind developers.  Hey, Governor Strickland remember the one about pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered?
  • The US Department of Energy officials attended a conference this week in Salt Lake City where they said they are committed to making fossil fuels cleaner rather than imposing “draconian” regulations on coal and oil.  Secretary Rick Perry previously said the administration wants to spend $500 million next year on fossil fuel research and development as demand plummets for coal and surges for natural gas.  “Instead of punishing fuels that produce emissions through regulation, we’re seeking to reduce those emissions by innovation,” Perry said at the conference.   DOE believes the US economy will continue to run on baseload power provided by coal, gas and nuclear energy.
  • Consulting firm Wood Mackenzie reported that “well over half of the $15bn the onshore wind industry will spend on operations and maintenance (O&M) this year will go to unforeseen repairs and correctives caused by component failures. Unplanned failures are currently costing as much as $30,000 per turbine each year for repairs and spare parts, as well as leading to an average seven hours of lost production per machine – not including downtime for pre-emptive shutdowns or long delivery-times for materials, equipment and technician call-outs, all totting up to a total $8.5bn a year.”
  • G.E. is having a hard time with tower collapse.  Two went down in separate incidents which were said to be isolated events.  BUT! Any third turbine collapse involving a GE machine in quick succession should set alarm bells ringing at the manufacturer, given the rarity of such incidents globally, said a leading insurer of renewable energy projects.  Fraser McLachlan, CEO of specialist insurer GCube, said the two collapses so far this year of GE turbines at US wind farms is already enough to give pause for thought.

https://deref-mail.com/mail/client/Keku1CJEOlk/dereferrer/?redirectUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dispatch.com%2Fopinion%2F20190609%2Fletter-city-dwellers-wouldnt-tolerate-wind-turbines

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/story/201906060037

https://www.ohio.com/opinion/20190608/beacon-journalohiocom-editorial-board-state-sen-wilsons-nuclear-option

https://deref-mail.com/mail/client/Kl4joOY_Zgo/dereferrer/?redirectUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vindy.com%2Fnews%2F2019%2Fjun%2F10%2Fohio-energy-bill-becomes-prize-for-speci%2F

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/2019/06/10/opinion-closing-door-renewable-energy-bad-news-rural-ohio/1327550001/

https://deref-mail.com/mail/client/S5AoDIB6OBk/dereferrer/?redirectUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.toledoblade.com%2Flocal%2Fenvironment%2F2019%2F06%2F09%2Fformer-governor-ted-strickland-frustrated-to-see-ohio-dumping-renewable-energy-goals%2Fstories%2F20190606150

https://deref-mail.com/mail/client/evhllDisNVw/dereferrer/?redirectUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eenews.net%2Fenergywire%2F2019%2F06%2F04%2Fstories%2F1060472835

https://deref-mail.com/mail/client/nntzNvnJvoE/dereferrer/?redirectUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fmichaelshellenberger%2F2018%2F05%2F23%2Fif-solar-panels-are-so-clean-why-do-they-produce-so-much-toxic-waste%2F%23d490f8d121cc

https://deref-mail.com/mail/client/mfOgYgXCAcQ/dereferrer/?redirectUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.power-eng.com%2Farticles%2F2019%2F05%2Fdoe-making-fossil-fuels-cleaner-better-than-penalizing-coal-oil.html%3Fcmpid%3D%26utm_source%3Denl%26utm_medium%3Demail%26utm_campaign%3Dpower_engineering_e-newsletter%26utm_content%3D2019-06-04%26eid%3D326852857%26bid%3D2458527

Third GE wind turbine collapse would be sign something’s wrong’: insurer

CEO of insurance specialist points to relative rarity of collapses as US wind group continues probe

By Andrew Lee  03 June 2019 Recharge

RECHARGE

US wind turbine collapses ‘not linked’, says GE

Incidents ‘separate and isolated’ says OEM as latest academic research flags complex factors at play

by Andrew Lee 31 May 2019Updated 03 June 2019

BigWind brings Circus to Ohio

BigWind brought the circus to Ohio and barked about setbacks!! This week the Ohio House Subcommittee on Energy Generation is heard interested party and opponent testimony on HB 6 – the Ohio Clean Air Program.  As expected, a conga line of anti-nuclear/pro-renewable witnesses took the stand.   The Tuesday proceedings can be viewed at http://ohiochannel.org/collections/ohio-house-energy-and-natural-resources-subcommittee-on-energy-generation.  What should be lost on no one is that many witnesses used the opportunity to testify to call for a change in wind turbine setbacks. We suspect that the wind lobby wants to include a revision to setbacks in HB 6 as a bargaining chip to gain votes.  To date, Speaker Householder has not seemed receptive to addressing setbacks  in HB 6.  Time will tell, if he caves to pressure…..

Today’s report excerpts statements about Ohio setbacks from the April 23 testimony.  In addition we provide various articles from around the state reporting on the hearings.  We believe the media are uninformed and/or – to use a popular term – colluding with the green crowd to report much fake news critical of HB 6.   

Michael Shellenberger of Environmental Progress testified before the Subcommittee.  We urge you to read his article, link below, from Forbes  concerning nuclear energy and Ohio energy policy.

Ohio House Subcommittee on Energy Generation Testimony April 23,  2019:

We should instead be investing in Ohio’s growing renewable and energy efficiency sectors by fixing the laws that are holding back renewable energy development in our state, such as our restrictive wind setback law, and continuing to push for stronger renewable and energy efficiency standards. But instead, we’re discussing a bill that would strip money from those programs. 

Anastazia Vanisko Recent college grad looking for a job in a state with energy policies that comport to her values

Finally, it is important to note that any serious review of Ohio’s renewable energy policies must include reconsideration of the draconian setback rules imposed as an amendment to budget legislation in 2014. These rules have significantly impeded the development of new wind resources in the state of Ohio and sent developers looking elsewhere to create jobs and economic development. Ohio can benefit enormously from reforming these problematic setback rules to allow Ohio to be a leader in deployment of new wind projects again.

Andrew Gohn, and I am Eastern Region Director for the American Wind Energy Association.

Rather than propping up nuclear power, I ask you to continue Ohio’s progress towards renewable energy by sustaining the renewable energy standards passed by the Legislature a decade ago and removing unnecessary barriers to expansion of wind farms. I visited a wind farm in Van Wert County last spring and was delighted to hear from a local farmer that the revenue from the turbines was a great source of stability to her family’s business, and that property taxes on the turbines were generating over $800,000 a year in new revenue for her children’s elementary school, which is now excellent.

Ariel Miller, volunteer, Ohio Interfaith Power and Light

I can testify to the fact that Ohio’s leaders commitment to cautiously diversify Ohio’s electricity supply was a success, but it could have been a much bigger one. The legislature started backing away from this commitment in 2014 with the freeze to Ohio’s Alternative Energy Standard and a dramatic increase in the distance that a wind turbine has to be setback from an adjacent property line. …Now we encourage you to consider building an even bigger future for Ohio by backing the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard and reducing the setbacks for wind turbines to a reasonable and safe standard.

Testimony of Erin Bowser EDP Renewables North America

Remarkably, while House Bill 6 concentrates benefits, it increases economic damage across the state by pulling the legs out from under Ohio’s existing renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, as well as by failing to correct the job-killing wind energy setback mandate.

Testimony of Frank Szollosi  Great Lakes Climate Policy Director, National Wildlife Federation

We urge the General Assembly to postpone action on HB 6 to carefully address related issues such as the currently prohibitive wind energy setback rules, grid modernization, utility business models, electric vehicle infrastructure, and on-bill financing as part of a comprehensive energy bill.

Leo Almeida, The Nature Conservancy in Ohio

SB 310, enacted in 2014, froze the renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for two years while gutting many of their key provisions, including the requirement that a portion of the renewable energy purchased by utilities come from sources inside Ohio. In separate legislation that year, the General Assembly also enacted punitive wind turbine setback standards that brought most new wind development to a standstill in Ohio, leaving over $4 billion in capital investment and thousands of jobs on the sideline. In the years since 2014, some in the General Assembly have repeatedly sought to undermine and effectively repeal the RPS, creating uncertainty that has, in turn, suppressed private sector investment in renewables in Ohio.

Testimony of Ted Ford President, Ohio Advanced energy Economy

HB 6 stops short of taking advantage of an opportunity to remove government regulations that are blocking the development of new sources of generation and the opportunities to create jobs, spur economic development, and increase revenue for local schools and communities. Ohio’s energy portfolio should not be focused on creating new, government-run, tax and spend programs, but rather on trimming back existing government regulation – such as the current wind setback.

Tyler Duvelius Executive Director, Ohio Conservative Energy Forum

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/04/18/republicans-can-own-the-libs-on-climate-change-by-defending-nuclear-plants-on-the-brink/?fbclid=IwAR2UsQBga8KlqgOy_dDTWTS2rWJsyOMmLf_z2rSd4Sv2ifpJdfCFJ2FAFtc#44c2be512bd1

BigWind ‘spins’ the TRUTH at Ohio House

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Last week the Ohio House Energy Generation Subcommittee heard a presentation from Dayna Baird Payne on behalf of AWEA and Terrence O’Donnell on behalf of several wind developers and the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC).  They asserted that there was an effective moratorium on new wind development in Ohio due to what they believe are restrictive setbacks measured from property lines.  As a result, they complained that this situation could force Ohio to become a net importer of renewable energy.   Given that Ohio prides itself on being a “choice” state where energy users can choose any kind of power they prefer from throughout the PJM system, being a “net importer” of renewable energy is only an issue to developers who want to force projects in Ohio’s rural communities. If their assertions are true, then why are there so many BigWind projects in planning stages???

When asked by Committee Co-Chairman Michael O’Brien how Ohio’s setbacks compare with other states, Payne acknowledged that some states do regulate at the county level but the “industry norm” is 1.1 times the turbine height from the property line – which was the law prior to 2014.   It strains credulity to think that standards adopted a decade ago when turbines were half the size they are today would still be considered the “industry norm.”  And while the wind industry may hold that 1.1x turbine height is their standard, no community would adopt it as their standard. 

 

It was reported that Co-Chair Dick Stein (R-Norwalk) challenged Payne’s claim that the wind industry generated 96,000 megawatts (MW) last year.  She then had to admit her figure did not reflect actual output, and that wind farms generally operate at a third of their “nameplate” capacity. O’Donnell went even further saying it might be as high as 40%.   Payne added that she did not know whether wind generation contributes to the capacity market operated by PJM.  Yeah, sure.  Generally we understand that PJM assigns a value of 13% to wind.  PJM will be the next Committee presenter and that question will be cleared up.

 

O’Brien asked about the offshore Windbreaker facility underway in Lake Erie, and O’Donnell said competition is “fierce” for offshore wind developments, especially on the eastern seaboard.  To compare, or better, to “confuse” enthusiasm for offshore wind in the ocean with the Windbreaker project in Lake Erie is misleading.

 

While wind was making its case to the legislature, the Ohio Democratic Party was unveiling their “Ohio Promise” agenda designed to address numerous education, human services, environmental and social justice concerns.  A list of priorities is reported below and, of course, along with gender equity, increased minimum wages and mandatory overtime pay is “ loosen wind farm restrictions.”

 

Distributed to all members of the House and Senate Energy Committees was the Michael Shellenberger article on the destruction of the landscape by wind and solar as well as an article from the National Review.  Rep. Seitz points out to his colleagues that while much of the NR article “is a well-deserved deconstruction of the “Green New Deal”, the portions that I have circled also indicate that renewables are not the answer. As that article notes, only 13 states allow all customers a choice of electricity supplier– and we are one of them. The author makes the point that in customer choice states, customers have an option to select clean energy and that is why I have long maintained that renewable portfolio mandates are unnecessary as those who wish to make these choices are perfectly free to do so now, absent the heavy hand of government. “

 

Counties considering granting PILOT should give serious consideration to the experience of Oklahoma communities where a five year tax abatement program for industrial wind has wreaked havoc.  An important report included below recounts that lobbyists for the wind industry have been handing out brochures touting the millions of dollars in property tax revenues that Oklahoma schools and counties have received as a result of wind farms being built in their jurisdictions.  “But there’s something those brochures don’t say: Most of those property tax payments to date have not been paid by wind company owners. Instead, they’ve been paid by Oklahomans whose income tax and other tax payments have been used to reimburse school districts and counties for revenue lost due to a five-year property tax exemption granted to wind farm owners by the Oklahoma Legislature. New wind farms no longer qualify for that exemption, which is being phased out. There’s something else those brochures don’t say: Once the five years of exemptions are over, wind companies have been sending lawyers to county courthouses to file tax protests and lawsuits contending the value of their equipment is worth hundreds of millions of dollars less than the values assigned to them by county assessors.” 

 

Some of those lawsuits have dragged on for years, leaving millions of dollars in disputed tax payments sitting in escrow while some school districts have struggled to make bond payments and pay operating expenses.

A good example is Comanche County, where the owners of Blue Canyon Wind Farms have tax protests pending covering five consecutive years.  EDP is the developer of Blue Canyon Wind as well as the Timber Road projects in Paulding County. The Paulding County Commissioners designated the county as an AEZ eligible for PILOT.  It will be interesting to see what EDP does when the Timber Road PILOT expires.    

 

Elsewhere:

 

OPSB reschedules the adjudicatory hearing for Republic Wind Farm for June 3rd.  A local hearing to receive comments is scheduled for May 14, 2019, from 5:00 to 9:30 p.m. at Bellevue High School, 200 Oakland Avenue in Bellevue, Ohio. Republic Wind is an Apexproject.

 

In the Seneca Wind project, a judge denied sPower’s request for a temporary injunction that would have allowed it to have access to properties where owners believe the leases have expired.  “In his eight-page ruling, the judge said the Ohio Constitution “places great importance on the rights of property owners” and had little sympathy for sPower’s argument that it was running out of time to keep the project on schedule because of annual restrictions on clear-cutting that take effect March 31 to protect endangered bats. Although sPower only came into possession of signed leases a few years ago, the judge noted that it and its predecessor had more than a decade in most cases. The company asserts there was a clause that automatically renewed the leases after the initial 10-year contracts had expired.”  The issue concerning the validity of the leases will be heard in court at a later date.

 

MaterResource featured an article on a letter that audiologist Dr. Jerry Punch sent to the OPSB in January concerning the potential impact of Seneca Wind on a client with severe vertigo.  Punch’s assessment of the situation for  his client is grim.   Punch points out that “In the 2009 guidelines, the World Health Organization (WHO)  recommended that average, A-weighted noise levels outside a residence, designated as LAeq, outside, not exceed 40 dB to avoid substantial annoyance, sleep disturbance, and other adverse health effects. It established limits specifically for wind turbine noise for the first time in its most recent guidelines, [3] recommending that noise emissions from turbines not exceed 45 dB Lden.  The Lden metric penalizes evening and nighttime noise levels by 5 and 10 dB, respectively, relative to daytime levels, and a level of 45 dB Lden is equivalent to an Leq of 38.3 dB. Levels between 38-40 dB Leq are in agreement with those recommended by Dr. Paul Schomer, a prominent acoustician who is the former Director of the Standards Division of the Acoustical Society of America.”

 

In Findlay, Ohio (home of former Senator Cliff Hite) plans to build one or two 400-foot wind turbines southeast of the intersection of Crystal and Bigelow avenues were rejected by the Findlay City Planning Commission.

“The action was a foregone conclusion after the city zoning appeals board last month denied One Energy’s request for a variance from city laws setting a 40- to 100-foot limit on wind turbines. Crystal Avenue residents have denounced the proposed wind turbines as an eyesore which would sink their property values and flicker shadows into their homes. They also have expressed concerns that the wind turbines would harm their health. One Energy may next challenge the city in Hancock County Common Pleas Court.”

 

An April 3rd date has been sent for the new public information meeting on the Apex  Emerson Creek Wind Project.  The meeting will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the Bellevue VFW, 6104 U.S. 20.  This meeting was ordered after the first meeting was held in a private venue and a wind opponent was forced by the Sheriff to leave at Apex’s request.   Following lawmaker complaints, the OPSB ordered a second public meeting.  Apex continues to assert it followed all regulations governing a “public” meeting.

 

Kaleab Mammo-Jegol, the state director of the US Youth Climate Strike, is working to make Ohio commit to 100% renewables as part of a social justice platform.  Conveniently, this radical group is supported by the fake Conservative Energy Forum whose director, Tyler Duvelius remarked,  “The Constitution guarantees property rights” for people to use and lease their property as they see fit, Duvelius said. “The Constitution does not guarantee a right to a view,” he added when asked about opponents’ nuisance claims.”  Kaleab Mammo-Jegol and Tyler Duvelius have now found common cause.

 

While the Youth Climate circus was playing out in Ohio, the county presidents of the Ohio Farm Bureau were in Washington visiting US Senator Portman who explained that the Green New Deal would be disastrous to farmers : “We can do better in terms of energy efficiency and that is a great way to reduce emissions but also to add more jobs. We should be able to use technology and innovation better and we are starting to do that. I support legislation to give our power companies incentives to be able to capture carbon and sequester it and start a carbon market. Finally I will say that people who are really serious about climate change ought to look at nuclear power. There are advanced nuclear power technologies out there. It is emissions free,” Portman said. “There are ways we can make sure we have the base power we need. We have solar and wind. We have it in Ohio and we like it, but sometimes the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. You need to have that base power also. We have two nuclear plants in Ohio and they are both aging. We need newer, safer, more innovative plants that are much more efficient. There are lots of things that can and should be done and we are doing some of them, but to take up the Green New Deal and put that on the American people and the American farmer would be disastrous. It would increase everyone’s costs of electricity dramatically.”

 

In Ireland, Seven Cork families could be on course to receive damages after a wind farm operator admitted liability in a High Court action over noise pollution.  The case is next listed for hearing on April 25, and will be closely observed by many of the families living in close proximity to wind farms and who claim that there should be a greater distance between homes and turbines.  “Planning regulation around wind turbines remain governed by 2006 guidelines which allow companies to build turbines within 500m of private dwellings. Updated guidelines stipulating how far wind turbines should be set back from residential homes are three years overdue. These guidelines will also deal with noise and ‘shadow flicker’ from the turning blades. Up to 7,000 submissions were made in the public consultation process that followed the issuing of draft guidelines by the then minister for housing Jan O’Sullivan, which set down a mandatory minimum setback of 500m “for amenity considerations”.  [1,640’] The draft guidelines also set a maximum day and night noise limit of 40 decibels for future wind energy development, measured outdoors at the home nearest to the wind turbine. The guidelines also stipulated that there should be no shadow flicker at home within 10 ‘rotor diameters’ of a turbine.”

 

The left-wing NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has proposed a grand bargain for saving Ohio’s nuclear plants.  The want to trade short term support for a long term commitment to transition Ohio to 100% renewables.  They claim “Ohio will be left behind our neighboring states throughout the Midwest if we do not have strong policies for a transition to the clean energy economy. We should be leading, not swimming against the economic wave that is lifting up other states; and not protecting Wall Street speculators but investing in local renewable energy generation and all the benefits for Ohio that would come with it.”  Many people consider the NRDC and Sierra to be domestic terror organizations.  Why on earth would policy-makers let them determine Ohio’s energy policy?

 

Some Ohio renewable energy advocates and lawmakers who are being asked to support saving the nuclear plants have some significant items on their wish list for any compromise agreement.  “At the top is a repeal of 2014 restrictions on wind farms. The law has the effect of limiting how many turbines can be placed in a project area, which has slowed development. “We don’t like bailing out nuclear plants, but we don’t rule out supporting a package if the package on balance is a good one for consumers and the environment,” said Rob Kelter, a senior attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Center.”

 

Developer EDP surfaces again in Illinois where they are suing a township that adopted strict siting provisions.  In addition, they are promoting legislation to restrict wind farm regulations outside of a municipality to the county alone, excluding townships.   Ohioans should be on guard for any pre-emptive moves advanced by the wind industry in the context of a setback compromise.  We know where EDP stands.

 

Minnesota farmers are fighting against industrial wind and express remorse for prior support.  “Given the choice, no sentient being would ever tolerate an industrial wind turbine anywhere near their home or property. Merrily wrecking rural communities wherever it goes, the wind industry is facing real, red-blooded American resistance across the Midwest. In this piece from Minnesota’s The Globe, locals lament the day the wind industry rolled into town.”

 

The last article addresses the ever growing community of opponents to renewable projects.  The author feels opponents should be recognized and basically run over.   This is an inside the beltway perspective that is unable to appreciate why anyone would turn down the money to host wind or solar.  They really do not get it.  sPower commissioned a poll to measure support for a solar project in Virginia. They got the results they wanted but the reality was quite different and locals sought to block the project.  The article tries to understand if climate denial is the reason for opposition – they might as well blame the Easter bunny.  This is proof of a profound inability of urban elites to appreciate the value of rural living.  It is an article worth reading if for nothing more than the enjoyment of learning that when the San Bernardino chapter of the Sierra Club decided to support a ban on all renewables, the nationals ordered them to stand down.  Instead, they changed their name and kept on fighting.

House Democrats roll out new ‘Ohio promise’ agendaBy Jim Siegel
The Columbus Dispatch Posted Mar 14, 2019

OPSB reschedules adjudicatory hearing for Republic Wind FarmCOLUMBUS, OHIO (March 14, 2019)

Judge: Landowners don’t have to let Seneca wind farm company on propertyTom HenryBlade Staff Writer MAR 13, 2019

Judge denies wind farm company injunction in Seneca County By Jonathan Monk | March 12, 2019 at 5:29 PM EST – Updated March 12 at 9:34 PM

Wind Turbine Syndrome

Findlay

Bellevue, Ohio

Wacky Ohio youth

Ohio senators and climate change

school finance problems

Wind farm admits liability

Ohio’s grand bargain

nuclear bailout?

Illinois legislation

Minnesota meltdownRural landowners air opposition to industrial wind farms
The Globe
Julie Buntjer
27 February 2019

nontraditional alliances

 

Why BigWind CAN’T save the Planet

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From the Time Magazine ‘Hero of the Environment’ and President of Environmental Progress, Michael Shellenberger shares the TRUTH about BigWind in a simple, sensible format.  You don’t need a PhD to understand the logic of his arguments. He was recently featured by Tucker Carlson for his insights. We hope you will pick up on some of these truths and share them with your friends, family and, of course, your legislators….

…After college, I moved to California to work on environmental campaigns. I helped save the state’s last ancient redwood forest and blocked a proposed radioactive waste repository set for the desert.

In 2002, shortly after I turned 30, I decided I wanted to dedicate myself to addressing climate change. I was worried that global warming would end up destroying many of the natural environments that people had worked so hard to protect.

I thought the solutions were pretty straightforward…

Our efforts paid off in 2007 when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama embraced our vision. Between 2009–15, the U.S. invested $150 billion dollars in renewables and other forms of clean tech. But right away we ran into trouble.

The first was around land use. Electricity from solar roofs costs about twice as much as electricity from solar farms, but solar and wind farms require huge amounts of land. That, along with the fact that solar and wind farms require long new transmissions lines, and are opposed by local communities and conservationists trying to preserve wildlife, particularly birds.

Another challenge was the intermittent nature of solar and wind energies. When the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing, you have to quickly be able to ramp up another source of energy.

Happily, there were a lot of people working on solutions…

Other problems didn’t seem like such a big deal, on closer examination. For example, after I learned that house cats kill billions of birds every year it put into perspective the nearly one million birds killed by wind turbines.

It seemed to me that most, if not all, of the problems from scaling up solar and wind energies could be solved through more technological innovation.

But, as the years went by, the problems persisted and in some cases grew worse….

Despite what you’ve heard, there is no “battery revolution” on the way, for well-understood technical and economic reasons.

As for house cats, they don’t kill big, rare, threatened birds. What house cats kill are small, common birds, like sparrows, robins and jays. What killsbig, threatened, and endangered birds—birds that could go extinct—like hawks, eagles, owls, and condors, are wind turbines.

In fact, wind turbines are the most serious new threat to important bird species to emerge in decades. The rapidly spinning turbines act like an apex predator which big birds never evolved to deal with…

As we were learning of these impacts, it gradually dawned on me that there was no amount of technological innovation that could solve the fundamental problem with renewables.

You can make solar panels cheaper and wind turbines bigger, but you can’t make the sun shine more regularly or the wind blow more reliably. I came to understand the environmental implications of the physics of energy. In order to produce significant amounts of electricity from weak energy flows, you just have to spread them over enormous areas. In other words, the trouble with renewables isn’t fundamentally technical—it’s natural…

Dealing with energy sources that are inherently unreliable, and require large amounts of land, comes at a high economic cost.

There’s been a lot of publicity about how solar panels and wind turbines have come down in cost. But those one-time cost savings from making them in big Chinese factories have been outweighed by the high cost of dealing with their unreliability.

Consider California. Between 2011–17 the cost of solar panels declined about 75 percent, and yet our electricity prices rose five times more than they did in the rest of the U.S. It’s the same story in Germany, the world leader in solar and wind energy. Its electricity prices increased 50 percent between 2006–17, as it scaled up renewables.

I used to think that dealing with climate change was going to be expensive. But I could no longer believe this after looking at Germany and France.

Germany’s carbon emissions have been flat since 2009, despite an investment of $580 billion by 2025 in a renewables-heavy electrical grid, a 50 percent rise in electricity cost.

Meanwhile, France produces one-tenth the carbon emissions per unit of electricity as Germany and pays little more than half for its electricity. How? Through nuclear power.

Then, under pressure from Germany, France spent $33 billion on renewables, over the last decade. What was the result? A rise in the carbon intensity of its electricity supply, and higher electricity prices, too…

Energy-dense nuclear requires far less in the way of materials, and produces far less in the way of waste compared to energy-dilute solar and wind.

A single Coke can’s worth of uranium provides all of the energy that the most gluttonous American or Australian lifestyle requires. At the end of the process, the high-level radioactive waste that nuclear plants produce is the very same Coke can of (used) uranium fuel. The reason nuclear is the best energy from an environmental perspective is because it produces so little waste and none enters the environment as pollution.

All of the waste fuel from 45 years of the Swiss nuclear program can fit, in canisters, on a basketball court-like warehouse, where like all spent nuclear fuel, it has never hurt a fly…

But aren’t renewables safer? The answer is no. Wind turbines, surprisingly,kill more people than nuclear plants.

In other words, the energy density of the fuel determines its environmental and health impacts. Spreading more mines and more equipment over larger areas of land is going to have larger environmental and human safety impacts.

It’s true that you can stand next to a solar panel without much harm while if you stand next to a nuclear reactor at full power you’ll die.

But when it comes to generating power for billions of people, it turns out that producing solar and wind collectors, and spreading them over large areas, has vastly worse impacts on humans and wildlife alike…

Bat scientists recently warned that wind turbines are on the verge of making one species, the Hoary bat, a migratory bat species, go extinct

I think it’s natural that those of us who became active on climate change gravitated toward renewables. They seemed like a way to harmonize human society with the natural world. Collectively, we have been suffering from an appeal-to-nature fallacy no different from the one that leads us to buy products at the supermarket labeled “all natural.” But it’s high time that those of us who appointed ourselves Earth’s guardians should take a second look at the science, and start questioning the impacts of our actions.

Now that we know that renewables can’t save the planet, are we really going to stand by and let them destroy it?