BigWind creates ‘Chaos’ at the Ohio Power Siting Board

This week several filings have been made with the Ohio Power Siting Board.  Union Neighbors United has requested a rehearing on the OPSB’s approval of Everpower’s motion to extend the certificate expiration date in Phase I of Buckeye Wind.  Ohio law requires that extensions be granted only after applications to amend a certificate are investigated, subjected to hearing and appeal and some due process accorded to the public.  UNU asserts Everpower is seeking to avoid due process because any delay in obtaining the extension would subject them to the new setback rules which require measurement from property lines.  The UNU application for rehearing makes the case that Everpower is simply attempting to avoid these new requirements. Moreover, UNU points to the Blackfork Wind and the Paulding County Timber Road III projects (also represented by the Vorys law firm) that filed similar extension requests in order to get around the new law that seeks to protect the property rights of landowners in and around the footprint of a wind project.

 It is important to note, again, that the OPSB has failed to properly adopt its revised rules because they were not submitted to the Ohio General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. This means that the whole issue of what rules even apply to any wind development are up in the air. The ones who lose in the chaos are citizens who are trying to protect themselves and their communities. The OPSB has heaped insult on top of injury by not only leaving in question what the rules are, but also unlawfully suspending the rules for project extensions in order to accommodate the wind developers who are trying to duck the laws.  What a mess.

The Greenwich Wind project in Huron County is yet another example of the regulatory chaos.   The Omega Corporation, one of the entities impacted by the Greenwich Wind project, filed to extend the time period for the community to intervene in this project. They were denied.  We have also attached their application for a rehearing of the Board’s denial.  This is another indictment the OPSB and its failure to faithfully and fairly implement the laws regarding wind development.   Further information on this and all other wind cases pending before the OPSB can be found on the OPSB website at http://www.opsb.ohio.gov/opsb/index.cfm/Cases/ .  If you think you live in a ‘SAFE’ place away from BigWind, you will rethink your theory….

We will keep you abreast of what happens next in this drama.  It is complicated but very much worth taking the time to understand because the future of a number of Ohio wind developments hangs in the balance….

It may not be too late to stop development of the Greenwich Windpark, attorney Sam Randazzo told about 75 township residents and visitors at a Greenwich Neighbors United informational meeting Tuesday…

via Greenwich residents request wind farm rehearing – Times-Gazette | Ashland & Ashland County, Ohio.

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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.

Is Everpower trying to ‘pull the wool’ over a county’s eyes?

Ohio does not require money in escrow to protect our citizens from a company going bankrupt. Our bonds aren’t even big enough to pay for the cranes which will dismantle the machines, but this county was SMART. Why is Everpower requesting this? Could it be that they plan to leave this area after a short time? Because these foreign companies are given accelerated depreciation and then tax subsidies for the 1st 10 years of production, some companies ‘leave Dodge’ at approximately year 7. Remember, the gearbox warranties typically expire at year 5 and some studies show an actual turbine life of only 10-15 years….Everpower appears to be making exit plans….

When the Big Sky wind farm started a few years ago in Bureau County, it set aside money in escrow, in case the company abandoned the project and the county needed to take down the turbines.

That money was required by the county. The account contains nearly $1.8 million.

Now, the wind farm’s prospective owner wants to do away with the escrow account and go, instead, with a letter of credit, which is a bank-guaranteed promise to pay….

Ever Power has 114 turbines, about evenly split between Bureau and Lee counties, many of which surround the Bureau County village of Ohio.

Deb Anderson, who lives in that area, has long called for more regulation of wind turbines, including tough decommissioning standards.

“A letter of credit is only as good as the paper it’s written on,” Anderson said. “The way the banking industry is right now, what’s to say the bank won’t go belly up?”

Besides, she said, the nearly $1.8 million is nowhere near the amount of money that would be needed to take down the turbines.

Former Franklin Grove Village President Bob Logan, who has researched wind energy issues, agreed.

“Cash escrow means you have the money on hand,” Logan said. “If the [wind] companies go bankrupt, as many of them do, the letters of credit are worthless. Cash escrow is definitely better than a line of credit.”…

via Firm wants requirement loosened in Princeton | SaukValley.com.

‘Other side’ of the Ohio wind turbine survey

Does anyone really believe this is an accurate depiction of the supposed view of (almost 500 ft) turbines that will be placed near Indian Lake? The Honda turbine is highly visible, but these are mere specks! Everpower, which has been given permission by the OPSB, to build an industrial wind site in Logan and Hardin counties, Ohio, touted the results of a residential survey favoring their development. After closer inspection, we observe some important information about their survey results:

1. 30.3% of respondents still did not know about this project! 

2. At the conclusion of the survey, “All of the messages tested worked well, especially the messages about the company fixing roads, that avian studies have been conducted, the project will generate substantial tax revenue, and that the company will invest $450 million in the project.”  Without much explanation, you can see that the ‘survey’ was just another way to promote a positive image/message about the project. Some might call this tactic ‘dirty propaganda’.

3. Of the 77,000 residents in the combined counties (remember only results from 304 in the study, though), approximately 39-40% was from Hardin county and 60-61% was from Logan county. No offense to Logan county, but why was the majority of the survey conducted in the county with the LEAST amount of turbines—-which also happens to be the county that must approve the PILOT? Please share this ‘other side of the story’ with any friends who have not been educated. Remember, one can design a survey to produce any results desired……

…According to the survey conducted by the Canal Winchester-based SBR Strategy Group Inc., of the 304 people who responded, 54 percent supported wind development while 17 percent opposed it and 29 percent said they did not have enough information to form a reasonable opinion.

The survey provided does not specify many details of the group’s demographics or how it was selected, but does note that 69 percent of the individuals participating have lived in the area for more than 20 years and 29 percent have lived in the area 20 years or less. Full results of the survey are available here….

via Wind developers address issues as local residents ask for new hearing.

EverPower isn’t EverLasting in NY; maybe they’ll leave Ohio, too!

Everpower wants to grab N Central Ohio and this article about their battle in NY should provide some encouragement. It appears as though the NY battle began in 2011 and it has hit a serious roadblock.  

On an additional note, it is rumored that Senator Cliff Hite is continuing to negotiate on Everpower’s behalf near Indian Lake, Ohio. He has floated the idea of moving setbacks to 3,000 from a home to area residents, but we understand there are no takers. What does that tell you about the turbine education level of these residents? It is rising! What does that tell you about the motives of Senator Hite? Why is he so staunchly in their corner of the ring? Also, a lake realtor community is concerned about their obligation to disclose the Scioto Ridge approval. This could be a long, hot summer in Ohio…

An EverPower Wind Holdings LLC officials said Tuesday that a state court’s dismissal of an appeal to extend the company’s original permit could bring the proposed wind farm project to a halt….

“We felt we had a strong case,” Mr. Shears said in a prepared statement. “We will consider our options in light of the ruling, but it is unlikely we will pursue this project in its current form” and may look to repackage the site for an application through the new Article X process….

EverPower’s $160 million wind farm had been approved in 2011 by the Allegany Town Board for the hilltops of Chipmonk and Knapp Creek. The project was initially delayed by Concerned Citizens’ lawsuit, which was dropped in July 2012.

In its ruling, the court said it dismissed EverPower’s appeal due to the company’s considered use of alternate wind turbines for the proposed 29-wind turbine farm. The court also rejected EverPower’s contention that a lawsuit filed by Concerned Citizens had made it impossible for the company to obtain financing for the project, thereby delaying it. …

 

via EverPower: Court ruling makes Allegany project in current form unlikely – Olean Times Herald: News – EverPower: Court ruling makes Allegany project in current form unlikely: Here And Now.