Seneca County Commissioners voted 2-1, this week, to “withdraw all previous support of the Seneca Wind and Republic Wind or any proposed wind turbine projects to the maximum extent allowed by law.”
It is a great day to celebrate our fellow warriors in Seneca County. sPower, the Seneca Wind developer, had filed a motion for an extension of the OPSB proceedings after an error in the FAA No Hazard Determination was discovered. Opponents of the project objected and the developer threatened to withdraw if their motion for extension was not approved. Notwithstanding, the OPSB denied the motion and very shortly thereafter, the Seneca Wind submitted its Motion to Withdrawreserving the right to re-apply. The Adjudicatory Hearing was scheduled for August 26 and will now be cancelled. The developer vows to refile the application after FAA concerns are resolved. But for now, it is a happy day for many people.
Does lightning strike twice? Maybe so with the FAA No Hazard Determination in Seneca County. The issue there was the developer’s misidentification of the community where the turbines would be built. By not naming the correct community, the locals did not understand or catch the filing. Just a few short weeks ago, a similar issue arose in Indiana where a developer sought FAA approval for 178 turbines (499’) in Warren County but indicated they were in “Boswell” . Boswell is in Benton Countybut the project was actually planned for Warren County. Warren County Commissions were told that the FAA establishes the name of the turbine location community rather than the wind developer but the FAA has strenuously denied this. Some think it is just the latest tactic of the wind developers to “fly under the radar” so to speak and sew confusion. Good grief.
The incident reporting rule-making process is underway at the OPSB (http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=19-0778) where vigorous objections have been raised by the wind industry with respect to Incident Reporting for blade shear, turbine collapse and the like. The developers act like reporting failures is a novel and extreme idea. Not so in Minnesota where a reporting regime has been in place for some time. Lisa Linowes reports that Minnesota already requires incident reporting and other details for all wind projects approved by the state. It is believed the reporting is annually but could be more frequent. The MN Department of Commerce confirms the information gathered on the report is used during evaluation of projects that come back before the state for a new permit or expansion of a project.
Readers interested in learning more about MN reporting obligations can go to this link: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling/edockets/searchDocuments.do?method=showeDocketsSearch&showEdocket=true&userType=public . Look for reports described as “compliance filing” or do a keyword search for ‘LWECS ENERGY PRODUCTION ANNUAL REPORT’. Reports are not all located in one place but are listed by docket #.
Many of you will recall that three Paulding County residents were joined by the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC) in challenging the property line setback rule which was adopted by the Ohio General Assembly in 2014 in the Mid-Biennial Budget Review. The Plaintiffs alleged the setback was adopted unconstitutionally because budget bills should not include non-budget items. The case has been winding its way through court and on August 7th, the Paulding County Court of Common Pleas dismissed the case as having no merit. We always thought the lawsuit was a ‘Hail Mary’ pass with little chance of succeeding. Notwithstanding, we should now always be on the lookout for the wind lobby to shove their own setback proposals into a budget bill.
In Michigan, the Traverse City Film Festival debuted Michael Moore’s latest documentary, “Planet of the Humans”. “Director Jeff Gibbs takes on electric cars, solar panels, windmills, biomass, biofuel, leading environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club, and even figures from Al Gore and Van Jones, who served as Barack Obama’s special adviser for green jobs, to 350.org leader Bill McKibben, a leading environmentalist and advocate for grassroots climate change movements.” In Planet of the Humans, Gibbs aims harsh criticism at supposed environmental stewards, including the Sierra Club. He says they’ve been bought off by corporate interests that have realized there’s lots of money to be made in green energy. “Environmental groups have been collaborating on the lie of growth by helping us pretend that there will be ‘green growth.’ As if you can have wealth or stuff that doesn’t destroy the planet. News flash: that’s an impossibility of physics and biology,” the director tells me. “There is nothing you will ever have in your life that’s not an extraction from the planet earth. And so we’ve all lost touch with that.” Well, well, well……who’d a thought? MMoore link
Let us repeat this line “There is nothing you will ever have in your life that’s not an extraction from the planet earth.” The Wall Street Journal ran a column this week to help us understand a little about that “extraction” when it comes to wind turbines. Entitled “If You Want ‘Renewable Energy,’ Get Ready to Dig”. The facts laid out in the article are astonishing. An example: “A single electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Fabricating one requires digging up, moving and processing more than 500,000 pounds of raw materials somewhere on the planet. The alternative? Use gasoline and extract one-tenth as much total tonnage to deliver the same number of vehicle-miles over the battery’s seven-year life. When electricity comes from wind or solar machines, every unit of energy produced, or mile traveled, requires far more materials and land than fossil fuels. That physical reality is literally visible: A wind or solar farm stretching to the horizon can be replaced by a handful of gas-fired turbines, each no bigger than a tractor-trailer.” Michael Moore meets the Wall Street Journal! The BigWind DIG
Warriors working to save Lake Erie from industrial wind development should keep an eye on activities surrounding the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This provision, in law since 1918, prohibits the taking of migratory birds whether it be intentional or unintentional. In 2013, a $1 million fine was levied against Duke Energy, after Duke was held responsible for raptor deaths at a Wyoming wind farm. Many people believe the Icebreaker Project in Lake Erie will destroy migrating birds in contravention of the law. But in 2017 the Trump Administration decided to “re-interpret” the MBTA and allow unintended kills. Such an interpretation would green light Icebreaker unless the Ohio Department of Natural Resources withholds approval of the project. “On June 13th of this year, the US House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held a hearing to consider several new pieces of legislation. Included was a discussion of the Migratory Bird Protection Act of 2019, a draft bill that explicitly includes a prohibition against unintentional take; defined as “the killing or taking of migratory birds that directly and foreseeably results from, but is not the intended purpose of, covered commercial activity.” Enactment would supersede the Administration’s 2017 re-interpretation.” This is an important step toward the protection of birds travelling across Lake Erie. Bird Blenders in the Sky
Topping off the week’s news, a major power failure on Friday in the U.K. left rush hour commuters stranded and plunged London into darkness and chaos. It is believed that two generators failed at the same time. One was gas and the other a large offshore wind facility. We will follow up and report as more is learned….