How Big will the turbines be, planted next to you, in Ohio? Bigger than you think…

 

No sooner had we written about the prospects for the Clean Power Plan, Justice Scalia died and now there is much speculation about his successor and whether the U.S. Senate will hold hearings on any nomination that might be made by President Obama. We cannot speculate on what will happen but thought you should know the constitutionality of the Clean Power Plan hangs in the balance. In some states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, the Governor has ordered that no further work on the CPP be undertaken while in Kansas and Missouri, the legislatures are working to halt activity. Ohio waits to hear what happens next.

In advance of a major Wind Operations and Maintenance conference coming up in Texas, a report has been issued reviewing issues that are arising as the fleet of wind turbines deployed across America age. The numbers are sobering and should give any community thinking about approving a wind facility second thought. Principal findings include:

• Bearing failure/ repair & maintenance focus set to double by 2017

• Original Equipment Manufacturers could lose 15% share of the O&M market by 2020

• Condition Monitoring Systems & Analytics investment to increase 1/3 by 2017

• Optimization of power generation, not cost cutting the real driver of investment (63/37%)

This means among other things, the noise from turbines is going to get a lot louder as the turbines age and are in need of gearbox repair. Also, repowering existing turbines with longer blades will increase. Moreover, those turbines that cannot be viably repowered will be decommissioned (or left to rust in the fields). Finding Q13 “What is the single biggest focus for you over the next 12 months?” was decommissioning.

What does “optimization of power generation” mean? It means taller turbines and longer blades and it should mean longer setbacks. We think the giants are coming to Ohio. The FAA reviews all potential structures that exceed 200 feet in height for possible air traffic obstruction. Recently, they have reviewed a wind development planned for Bellevue for turbines listed at 660 feet! Bellevue straddles Erie, Huron and Sandusky Counties. We include an article about this sort of monster below with a link to the monster movie showing its construction.

Going back to the Operations and Maintenance issues, our colleague, Tom Stacy, advises us to think about them in the context of annually increasing renewable energy mandates. Tom says, “Consider the implications of annually ratcheting energy market share mandates with a total schedule term longer than the lifespans of wind turbines. The deployment rate must increase markedly in later years of the program when new turbines are required to meet both replacement of old machines as well to meet annual benchmarks. And all this to produce randomly timed energy without firm capacity – dictating redundant infrastructure that includes necessarily underutilized conventional power plant assets. “

With respect to the setbacks defined in law, the notion of having the minimum be defined as a formula like 3xtower height plus blade length would be more desirable than a fixed number like 1,250 feet from a property line. In the case of the 660’ turbines, the minimum would then be 1,980’. That is a significant difference.

If you haven’t read the blog from, yesterday, please see that Kevon Martis, Director of Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, has teamed up with Senator Seitz to challenge those who would seek to override the property line setback law through HB 190. They coined the phrase “trespass zoning” and have written a terrific opinion piece for the Ohio media. They conclude by saying: “Good neighbors don’t trespass. If Big Wind wants to be a good neighbor in rural Ohio, it needs to abandon its demand for trespass zoning.” The Lima News has printed the article and we hope the papers in Van Wert, Bellefontaine, Urbana and Springfield follow suit. We believe it was distributed to all of them.

Notwithstanding all of the above, on February 18th, Trishe Wind filed an Amendment to the next phase of the Blue Creek project in Paulding County proposing larger turbines and seeking to be considered under old rules that measure setbacks from homes even though Amendments to previously approved projects are supposed to be subject to the revised setbacks.  Looks like that ole “optimization of power generation”! Attention! Trespass Zoning coming to Paulding County…again!

  Enercon E126 – The Most Powerful Wind Turbine in the World

 

 

Advertisements

Will BigWind move closer to its Ohio neighbors?

Yesterday, the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee met to hear proponent testimony on a new version of a bill that would give County Commissioners the authority to reduce statutory setbacks for a “wind farm”. The minimum setback “shall be both” 1.1 times the total height of the turbine (including to tip of blade) to the property line of the “wind farm property” and at least 1,125 feet to the exterior of the nearest habitable residential structure located on adjacent property at the time the application is filed. Before adopting a resolution, the Board of County Commissioners may “consult with the Ohio Power Siting Board.” If a resolution passed in a county is revoked after a wind developer files a notice of intent to build a “wind farm,” the developer will be able to build according to the revoked standards but future projects will be subject current OPSB setbacks of 1,125 feet from the property line. The OPSB may increase the setback for any specific turbine in order to preserve the health, safety and welfare of the neighboring property owner. 

The same old people from Van Wert and Paulding Counties were trotted out to say wind was an economic miracle for their communities, the leaseholders, the schools and so on. Due to other hearings that morning, the hearing was poorly attended. The revised proposal was offered by Alliance Republican Kristina Hagan. Highlights of the day included the question asked to Susan Munroe of the Van Wert Chamber on why County Commissioners were in a better position to make decisions on setbacks than the property owners. She replied that County Commissioners needed to defend the property rights of the leaseholders. Munroe also alleged that P&G and Owens Corning wanted to buy their wind from Ohio and were forced to buy out of state because of the setbacks. We might remind Ms. Munroe that there are at least 7 previously certified projects such as EverPower which have not been built because there is no buyer for their output.

Munroe also said modification to the setbacks would enable the Dog Creek project as well as an Apex project to go forward. She asserted that Ohio was trailing other states but when asked if we were trailing from the perspective of setbacks, she said she did not know.She claimed that only when Dog Creek and the Apex projects were built would Van Wert be able to attract a high-tech company to their area. REALLY? Our observation is that a lot of the techies like urban areas – San Francisco comes to mind. Who would want to live in Van Wert among HUNDREDS of turbines?

Three area school officials testified they also felt the property rights of leaseholders should be protected. One school official from Lincolnview said enrollment in his school had increased. He later noted that the increases came from outside the district. We wonder if ‘in district’ numbers were shrinking if people were moving away from turbines? He also expressed hope that someday their tax levies would be less. Apparently, for now, the PILOT payments have not reduced local taxes…Hmm

Perhaps one of the worst witnesses was former Hardin County Commissioner Ron Wyss who said there was a connection between the need for reduced setbacks and the terror attacks in Paris. REALLY? Wyss went on to say that he had been a member of the Ohio Wind Working Group but later corrected himself and said he was an observer that attended all meetings. He testified that the siting regulations were painstakingly developed over a period or two years and were based on a scientific analysis. He said they should not have been discarded by the legislature. Rep. Cupp asked if Wyss had copies of the OWWG documents. Wyss said it was a public forum and all documentation would be a public record. We would remind Wyss that at the time of the OWWG, turbines were 1MW and much, much smaller. We might also remind him that when the industry saw that setbacks might be longer than they wanted, the OWWG was disbanded and the facilitator’s consulting contract was terminated. The Development Department staffer to the OWWG went on to be the Department’s “expert” on siting for the OPSB until he resigned in the face of ethics charges for running around with wind lobbyists on the taxpayer’s dime. UNU has all of the documents related to the OWWG. We wonder who recruited Wyss to testify about OWWG.

Iberdrola’s Dan Litchfield testified that the last change resulted in a tripling of setbacks. He said that some people did not want to sign because they did not want to tie up land for such a long time and others had multiple owners who could not agree. He asserted County Commissioners are in the best position because they decide the PILOT. He said Illinois counties administer wind zoning while Michigan and Indiana have given the authority to Township Trustees. Because the turbines are getting bigger, the payments to landowners which were typically $7,000 to $8,000 will now be getting bigger. Vice Chairman Roegner asked Litchfield to confirm Iberdrola was a Spanish Company. She said she had done her research and wondered why Ohioans were being asked to endure shorter setbacks than the countries where their companies were located. She went on to list a variety of longer setbacks in Germany, Scotland and Wales. Litchfield said the longer European setbacks were probably from houses and not property lines. He also said they do not have current complaints. We wonder if leaseholders and Good Neighbor Agreement holders waived project effects and so have no right to complain? Rep. Rogers asked how the current setbacks were developed. Litchfield said he did not know because there was no public process. He noted also that OPSB had very strict rules on noise and shadow flicker and those were the basis for original setbacks from homes. REALLY?

Litchfield also said the wind industry — at this point — cannot afford to pay the signing bonuses that other energy companies can pay. Maybe that is the crux of the problem. Economically troubled communities and wind developers who may lose their subsidies. The communities are desperate for anything they can get while the wind companies can’t build without the PTC, local tax abatement or paying landowners. A toxic combination.

Written testimony was also submitted by John Love, Putnam County Commissioners; Tony Zartman, Paulding County Commissioner; Curt Cory, Director of Putnam County Community Improvement Corporation; David Miller, Treasurer of Leipsic Local School District; Jerry Zielke Director Paulding County Economic Development, and Peggy Emerson, Executive Director Paulding Chamber of Commerce. All testimony can be found on the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee website at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/public-utilities by clicking on November 18, 2015.

Ironically, just as setbacks are being debated again, the wind industry’s leading insurance underwriter, GCube, released a report on the incidence of fire at wind facilities. The report is entitled “Towering Inferno” and urges that more should be done to mitigate and prevent fires. That is a tall order given that lightning strikes are the second highest cause of fire. Many property owners, including and especially farmers, are concerned about fires at harvest time when land is usually pretty dry. Property line setbacks of 1,125 feet as opposed to 1.1 times turbine height can offer a bit of protection against the spread of fire…

Northwestern Ohio officials are lining up behind a legislative proposal to allow more local control of where wind farms can be built, a plan that would help to get around restrictions passed last year.

“For us, it’s all about the pursuit of economic development and economic prosperity,” said Susan Munroe, president and CEO of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce.

She is one of 14 local elected officials and business leaders who signed a letter in support of House Bill 190, which allows for more local control. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, and Tony Burkley, R-Payne, was the subject of a hearing on Wednesday.

If it passes, the measure would represent a small shift in a system that gives state agencies most of the control over wind-farm decisions.

The bill is a response to legislation passed last year by majority Republicans that increased the required distance between wind turbines and nearby property lines. That change has been criticized by the wind-power industry because it reduces the number of turbines that can be built in a project area…

 

Source: Northwestern Ohio officials back plan for local control over wind-farm sites

BigWind finally admits ‘Wind resource is limited in Ohio’

Finally, a large industrial wind turbine company, NextEra, admits that Ohio is a terrible place for wind turbines. Tell your friends this truth!! Go to the HOME page of our website and you will see just how bad. BigWind has only been here for the free ride on our tax dollars, and now that SB310 is indefinitely ‘frozen’, times are tougher for parasites. On the positive side, read our blog from yesterday, highlighting the announcement of 2 new natural gas plants in Ohio, that will produce hundreds of good jobs and clean, reliable power!! This is encouraging news for other counties struggling with similar plights…

One of two large wind energy projects proposed for the northern reaches of Crawford County is no longer going forward.

The Honey Creek Wind Farm, which had been in the preliminary stages of development since 2011, would have consisted of about 115 wind turbines spread across 14,000 acres of leased land in Crawford County’s Lykens and Chatfield townships, as well as Bloomville, Bloom and Venice townships in Seneca County.

However, the developer behind the project, NextEra Energy Honey Creek Wind LLC, is pulling out….

“Wind resource is extremely limited in Ohio; there are not many project sites with the wind resource necessary to support a utility-scale project. The convergence of sufficient wind resources, sufficient transmission capacity and interested landowners willing to lease their land — all are needed for a viable wind energy project,” NextEra said in a motion before the Ohio Power Siting Board in 2011….

 

Source: Proposed wind farm in county halted

Ohio legislators answer BigWind questions with MidWest electric

Wind was on the front page news in the Springfield paper, yesterday, but they left out any mention of Everpower being for sale.  The piece looks like more of a PR attempt to perhaps convince someone that EverPower projects are edging closer to reality.  We are not so sure.    

The more interesting and substantive stories come from the Statehouse and from Sidney.    As the Mandates Study Committee continues to grapple with federal Clean Power Plan issues, some members are concerned about the impacts of a renewable standard.  “…some members, like Rep. Roegner, would like to see the two-year freeze extended beyond 2017, when its set to resume under last year’s energy bill (SB310, 130th General Assembly). “I would not object to that proposal – to extend it temporarily or even more permanently. But I’m not going to say at this point that that is indeed my commendation,” she said. “But I think that should be considered, especially considering the uncertainty around this 111(d) ruling,” she said about the U.S. EPA’s carbon pollution rules, which are expected to be finalized in late summer. Rep. Roegner recalled that Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler told the study committee that there were too many unanswered questions about the draft rules to determine whether or not the state’s alternative energy portfolio would help the state comply.”   

Meanwhile, the Sidney area electrical co-op, Midwest Electric held a breakfast meeting and invited Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, 12th District; Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, 1st District; Rep. Bob Cupp, Lima, 4th District; Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, 84th District; and Rep. Tony Burkley, R-Payne, 82nd District to discuss a number of issues including energy.  Sen. Faber expressed concern about the extra cost to consumers for alternative energy.  Rep. Burkely surprised us by saying that while farmers in Van Wert and Paulding County may benefit from wind, the rest of the state does not.   None of the legislators want to act until more is known about the federal Clean Power Plan and the litigation that will be filed by many states.

 

We can safely say there is much going on surrounding the energy debate in Ohio….

What about? — wind, water and education. Those were the questions asked to five of Ohio’s elected officials during the Midwest Electric’s annual ACRE (Action Committee for Rural Electrification) Day for cooperative members and employees Monday morning.

Present for the breakfast were Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, 12th District; Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, 1st District; Rep. Bob Cupp, Lima, 4th District; Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, 84th District; and Rep. Tony Burkley, R-Payne, 82nd District; along with Marc Armstrong, director of government affairs for Buckeye Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives Inc.

When an audience member asked if wind and solar power in Ohio had failed to live up to its mandates of providing alternate energy sources, Faber said that answer remains to be seen.

“They created a goal for public utilities and trusted it would happen,” said Faber. “During the next couple of weeks, we will be receiving a report that tells how science and technology will create diversity in energy sources.”

Faber said no one knew what the costs would be for wind energy.

“Cooperatives (such as Midwest) uses alternatives which make sense,” said Faber. “Their customers spend $5 to $10 each month to be in compliance with the mandates.”

Faber said he doesn’t want to see customers paying excess amounts each month to meet the mandates.

“We’re trying to get a handle on it,” said Faber….

“Van Wert County is the ‘Wind Capital of Ohio.’” said Burkley whose district includes Van Wert and parts of Auglaize counties. “The people have benefited from Paulding and Van Wert wind power, but at what expense? The farmers have benefited from their property being used.”

He said the companies installing the windmills have taken advantage of the subsidies offered for the program. But, he added, it hasn’t benefited the entire state of Ohio….

Legislators answer wind, water, education questions Midwest Electric holds annual ACRE Day – Sidney Daily News – sidneydailynews.com.

and Statehouse News:

Decision Whether To Extend Clean Energy Freeze Hinges On Federal Carbon Rules

BigWind tax loss hits county, SCHOOL districts

Ohio should learn a lesson from the mistakes in California. Our schools cannot afford to make these mistakes! What will happen in Paulding county when these realities hit? Van Wert schools must be thankful that they don’t receive a dime from the turbines just North of the city.  The facts, below, expose 2 dirty truths about these wind sites. OUR tax dollars PAY them, in year 1, for producing nothing- we pay them for merely existing!  Secondly, they rarely produce what they ‘claim’ they will produce. In fact, in Ohio, they produce less than 30% of what they ‘claimed’ before they ever started spinning. Why should our tax dollars be wasted on an industry that fails to deliver results? Why should our tax dollars be wasted on foreign-owned companies? These facts should outrage anyone with a brain who works for a living….Thank heavens our Ohio legislators enacted Senate Bill 310 this year which ‘freezes’ our renewable energy mandates for evaluation…..

A sudden and dramatic drop in the value of Kern County’s massive wind energy farms will strip millions of dollars out of government coffers this fiscal year.

The Kern County Assessor-Recorder’s office has warned county officials that they expect to drop wind energy property value by $777 million less than three months into the fiscal year.

County budget officials estimate that will strip $1.8 million from the county’s main operational fund and $900,000 from taxes used to run the Kern County Fire Department.

Other governments — cities and schools and special districts — could also lose revenue.

The impact on local districts whose territory includes wind farms — including Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District and Tehachapi Unified School District — was not immediately available before deadline….

Assistant Kern County Administrative Officer Nancy Lawson said the county budget is expected to lose around $2.7 million….

The county builds a cushion into its spending plan for changes in tax values, she said, and that cushion is big enough to handle the shortfall.

But that money is usually used to pay off property owners who win a legal appeal with the county over the size of the property tax bill.

This, however, is a permanent change to the value of wind energy developments.

Lawson said the county will have to absorb that reduced revenue into all future budgets….

Ansolabehere said the drop in wind energy values came for a number of reasons.

In the first year that a new wind energy project is active, he said, the operator gets a check from the federal government that covers 30 percent of its value.

That check doesn’t come in the second year.

So, Ansolabehere said, the value of a wind project often drops dramatically in the second year.

The other major reason valuations have dropped, he said, is that some projects are not producing energy at the level they were expected to…

“After they are operating for a few years you can see whether they are producing better or worse than expected,” he said.

But, on the whole, production is less than predicted.

 

Wind tax loss hits county, districts – TehachapiNews.com.

Republican Ohio Senators ‘stay the night’ to pass SB 310 !

NW Ohio wind turbines

Hallelujiah! At about 1:00 this morning the Senate voted to adopt SB 310 to freeze the renewable energy mandate.  NextEra, a wind developer, says we have won “for now”.  But it is a big win and we believe a strong case can be made for why the mandate harms ratepayers while enriching the investment banking community.  At the end of the day we think this is more about money than it is about energy.  Next week the House will begin hearings on the bill and it is expected to pass.  A study committee will be formed and the work will begin again.  

Elsewhere, UNU (Ohio) filed its reply brief with the Ohio Supreme Court. The brief addresses the Constitutionality of the in-state mandate.  This will be the last document filed before the oral arguments in the court which will likely take place in the fall.    

 We also understand from a recent conversation with a Congressman, that the Production Tax Credit may not be extended this time.   Iberdrola announced today the abandonment (for now) of a project in New York  with local reports saying: ““It lines right up with what the town has been sharing with anyone who’s been asking us,” he said Wednesday. “Iberdrola withdrew their local application quite a while ago, and we have had no communications with them. If the tax credits both at the state and federal level aren’t there, these projects are not economically viable.” (town supervisor, article from Times 5/8/14 Developer withdraws aplication for Horse Creek Wind farm in Clayton)…

Do you like the photo of NW Ohio above? It has a profoundly true caption on the website states that ‘wind turbines generate electricity on a farm straddling Paulding and Van Wert counties in NW Ohio’. They can’t say A LOT or MUCH, as we know the truth is very LITTLE (probably 25% of what they advertised to us before building). Remember, Ohio is not even ranked in the top 20 states for wind power potential and our capacity factors are pathetic, at below 30%- and that is for the new turbines. Capacity factors drop as turbines age….

The Ohio Senate early today passed a two-year pause in annual increases in the state’s “green” energy standards, following days of negotiations with Gov. John Kasich’s office and in spite of adamant opposition.Senate Bill 310 passed 21-11. Senators did not finish debating the bill until after 1 a.m….

“One of the essential tenets of this debate has been how to best protect ratepayers,” said Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati.

Senate Republicans had hoped to include a provision that would allow households to opt out of paying for some of the standards on their electricity bills. Lawmakers said they removed that part of the bill at the insistence of Kasich’s office.

That was one of many last-minute changes that rankled some senators.

Supporters say the continued escalation of the standards will lead to costs that exceed the benefits, which will lead to increases in electricity bills.

 

via Bill to pause green-energy standards passes Ohio Senate | The Columbus Dispatch.

12,750 acres GONE to another windfarm in Ohio

Almost 13,000 acres gone in Ohio that will become uninhabitable and uninteresting for future economic development. Since Ohio turbines in 2011-2012 only generated energy at 27% of their “capacity”, the nameplate capacities listed below are a smokescreen covering the truth. How much land would a coal or natural gas or nuclear plant require to produce this much energy? A mere fraction…

The proposed project area covers 12,750 acres of leased land in Blue Creek and Latty townships in Paulding county, near the villages of Haviland and Grover Hill. the project itself involves the construction of up to 59 turbines with a nameplate capacity of 1.7-2.0 MW, not to exceed a total of net generating capacity of 100MW. construction of the Facility will begin December 2013.

http://www.dis.puc.state.oh.us/TiffToPDf/A1001001A13J28B60809J73203.pdf