Is BigWind the ‘greatest’ thing to ever come to Ohio? Sorry, many think NOT

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This past week, Sen. Obhof reiterated his feeling that HB 114 to lower the renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and reduce the wind turbine setbacks was not likely to advance given the year-end time crunch and because the changes proposed need “more caucus support”.  “”We have very little time left and, as I’ve mentioned before, I think it’s more important we get policy right than that we set some kind of arbitrary deadline and say, hey, they need to be done by this date,” he said. “If we get to a place we’re comfortable, we’ll pass 114 and if we don’t, we won’t.”   In addition, the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Steve Wilson, publicly expressed that he “views his role as that of a caretaker and that he won’t advance any controversial legislation without the direction of Senate leadership.” Wilson also stated that he does not expect his committee to meet for the rest of the year.

Interestingly, Senator Wilson says he has consulted with former Chairman Troy Balderson to learn more about his role.  He would like to become the new permanent chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year if it meant he would be able to play a part in establishing a “wide-ranging” energy policy to guide the state. “I think these various bills we’re dealing with…they’re all things we should be measuring against a policy, a 30,000-foot policy that says do we or do we not think diversity in power is important?” he said.

The question of whether or not Ohio should have an energy policy that places importance on diversity in power is a good one.  Ohio has many power diversity issues. Whether to prop up nuclear plants, pull support from coal facilities that have years more life, or manipulate the market through subsidies and so forth are legitimate questions.  We think it is also legitimate to ask whether the population density of Ohio excludes sprawling wind developments that destroy the quality of life for rural residents.   If there are few areas where wind is commercially viable and there is also lack of rural community support, should wind be pursued for the sake of “diversity”? What would be the justification?   The riots in France are in opposition to an energy policy that was adverse to rural residents.

Senator Macron Dolan, who is advocating for his setback reduction bill, SB 238, wrote an opinion column in the Cleveland paper.  He claims the market is demanding advanced sources of energy (whatever that means). He seems to equate advanced energy with “renewable” energy despite the fact that Ohio has lots of clean energy from clean coal to nuclear to natural gas.   Like, Senator Wilson, Dolan thinks Ohio needs to take a “macro” look at energy policy.  Dolan also likes to focus on the notion of job creation even though most people in NW Ohio know that jobs would not likely be created in their local communities. Moreover, rural communities are working overtime to retain local employers who increasingly find it difficult to attract employees locally.  (BTW we learn in today’s news that one industry needing as much electricity as data centers is pot farms.)

Dolan’s position seems to be supported by a news article from People’s World.  Who?   People’s World.   Not being familiar with this media outlet, we looked them up on their website  which says:

“Editorial Reviews: The People’s World / Mundo Popular (www.peoplesworld.org) is a national, grassroots newspaper and the direct descendant of the Daily Worker. Published by Long View Publishing Co., the PW reports on and analyzes the pressing issues and struggles of the day: for workers’ rights, peace, equality, social and economic justice, democracy, civil liberties, women’s rights, protection of the environment, and more.

The PW is known for its partisan coverage. We take sides – for truth and justice. We are partisan to the working class, racially and nationally oppressed peoples, women, youth, seniors, international solidarity, Marxism and socialism. We enjoy a special relationship with the Communist Party USA, founded in 1919, and publish its news and views.”

 YOU CAN”T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!

Going back to the discussion on the need for renewable energy and related jobs, a hearing was held in SE Ohio’s Appalachian region where AEP plans to build two solar facilities that will be among the nation’s largest. Testimony in support of the project came from environmental advocates and some local people (maybe some Marxists and Communists). “Not all parties are sold on the project, however, with the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the Ohio Consumers Counsel arguing in filings that AEP’s plan violates the law because the company has not demonstrated adequate need. If the company can’t demonstrate the generation is needed, they argue, consumers shouldn’t be placed on the hook for those added costs. “This should be quite a challenge because Ohio’s electric capacity is not set by utilities, but instead is determined by the market and the regional transmission organization, PJM Interconnect,” OMA Vice President Ryan Augsburger said. It’s a well-known fact that Ohio presently enjoys a significant surplus of electric capacity.”

We now wonder if there is a different standard for utilities like AEP versus private for-profit wind developers who don’t seem to have difficulty getting approval for building unneeded generation facilities. Facilities for which they receive taxpayer support through PILOT on top of uncompensated nuisance  easements across neighboring properties through inadequate setbacks.

If Senator Dolan does not push SB 238 across the finish line in 2018, he promises to reintroduce his bill in January.   

In other news:

  • The Spectator also takes a swipe at wind’s “growth spin.”  The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’. You may have got the impression from announcements like that, and from the obligatory pictures of wind turbines in any BBC story or airport advert about energy, that wind power is making a big contribution to world energy today. You would be wrong. Its contribution is still, after decades — nay centuries — of development, trivial to the point of irrelevance.”   This article is a must read. It furthers the belief that there is nothing that can be believed if it is asserted by the wind industry. Preview: A two-megawatt wind turbine weighs about 250 tonnes, including the tower, nacelle, rotor and blades. Globally, it takes about half a tonne of coal to make a tonne of steel. Add another 25 tonnes of coal for making the cement and you’re talking 150 tonnes of coal per turbine. Now if we are to build 350,000 wind turbines a year (or a smaller number of bigger ones), just to keep up with increasing energy demand, that will require 50 million tonnes of coal a year. That’s about half the EU’s hard coal–mining output.

 

  • A group of Apex leaseholders and wind advocates held a community meeting in Huron County to discuss the Apex Emerson Creek project.  Calling themselves NOW (Northern Ohioans for Wind), the group heard from Miranda Leppla an attorney with Clean Energy Ohio and the Ohio Environmental Council.  Prior to that, Leppla worked on behalf of wind developer clients at the Vorys law firm.  The information she was reported to have shared with the community was literally unbelievable.  She actually said cats are the number one killer of birds and BATS and number two killer is climate change.  Excuse us?  Anyone out there find a bunch of eagles and hawks passed out from the heat?  Leppla went on to claim there is no scientific evidence of any health issue.  Hey Miranda, ever hear of the World Health Organization or their cautions on wind noise? This presentation was nothing short of shameful.

 

  • On the opposing side of Emerson Creek, representatives of the Seneca Anti-Wind Union held their own community information meeting to a packed house.  Concerns were raised about the ability of a landowners to build on their own land at a future point in time if the property was within the setback distance.  “But Natasha Montague, a spokeswoman for Apex Clean Energy, the company developing Emerson Creek, said turbines stopping a home from being built on a nonparticipating property is a myth.  “Any setback (required distance between a turbine and a home) is on the developer, a non-participating landowner is free to do whatever they want with their land,” Montague said. “Ohio has one of the largest setbacks in the country for nonparticipating houses. A turbine’s tip has to be at about a quarter mile from the property line.” The question is why anyone would build within striking distance of a failed blade, a chunk of thrown ice or moving shadows?  Would such a property hold it’s value if subject to nuisance effects?  Could it be financed or insured?

 

  • Apex submitted its own “article” to the Sandusky Register which printed it as news and not opinion.   Apex is beginning its efforts to convince County Commissioners to grant tax abatement for Emerson Creek.  Without really using any figures, Apex dangles the lure of thousands of dollars of revenue within Huron County’s reach.  What they don’t say is that while they may pay about $9,000 per MW, they would be paying about four times that amount if tax abatement is not granted.   Apex also refers to the largely discredited Hoen property value study that averages home prices with a five or ten mile radius of turbines rather than discretely evaluating homes within a ½ mile of a turbine.  Many times, nearby properties cannot sell at any price and foreclosures are omitted from the statistics.

 

  • As a part of their thuggery, the wind advocates falsely claim that local residents opposed to wind development are funded by fossil fuel interests.  Nothing could be further from the truth – and most fossil fuel companies are significantly invested in wind anyway.  Notwithstanding, Ohio wind developers and left-wing environmental activists are sending out mailers, erecting pro-wind billboards and making political donations to curry favor for their interests.  It is a David and Goliath battle and it is getting worse.  Chris Aichholz from Seneca County writes a good rebuttal to wind’s false claims.

 

  • In Henry County, Indiana, an ordinance was adopted by the town of Shirley.   Indiana law allows communities to establish a “four-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction outside its corporate boundaries.” The ordinance cites a state statute under home rule that allows towns to do this.  There are now 11 towns in the county that have created the four-mile zone around their city limits.  These towns acted to protect themselves when the County Commissioners adopted setbacks considered by the residents to be inadequate.  The wind warriors hope that if all the towns in the county adopt the four mile rule, it will be difficult for any wind developer to build despite what the Commissioners legislated.

 

  • In Jasper County, Indiana the local wind ordinance is under review as Renewable Energy Systems (RES) is planning to construct a wind farm. The ordinance amendment affecting turbine use in the county was brought about by changes proposed by a group of local individuals including Jasper County Plan Commissioners. The group’s goal was to provide what it has referred to as “adequate protection to those who choose not to participate in the White Post Wind Project.”

 

  • Huron and Erie County wind warriors will be interested to read about southern Illinois where opponents of a proposed wind development argue that the 600-foot-tall, 2,400-ton turbines would diminish the area’s natural beauty and harm sensitive geologic features that provide habitat to 16 endangered species, including bats and crustaceans that live in caves and underground streams. “Don’t get me wrong, we are all for alternative energy,” said Joann Fricke, 64, a retired U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who lives next to the proposed project along Illinois 156 with her husband, Mike. “But this is just not the right place for a wind farm.” Similar views have been expressed by local environmental organizations, such as Heartlands Conservancy and CLIFFTOP (Conserving, Lands in Farm, Forest, Talus or Prairie).   Opponents got a boost in October, when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources published a report, known as an Ecological Compliance Assessment Tool (EcoCAT), examining how natural areas and endangered species could be affected by the proposed wind farm.  The agency made 19 recommendations. The first was for the developer to consider an alternate location. The tree- and prairie-lined bluffs in Monroe County are largely made of karst, which is eroded limestone that includes caves, underground streams, fissures and sinkholes, according to Keith Shank, an IDNR manager in realty and capital planning, who led the EcoCAT study.  “Wind turbines weigh thousands of pounds, and they need huge concrete foundations that go down 12 to 20 feet,” he said. “That’s a lot of weight that’s not on the ground now, and the thing with karst, you never know whether there’s a void under your feet. So it’s a challenge to build anything in this part of the county.”

 

  • Extensive coverage of setback deliberations are continuing in Ford County, Illinois where Cindy and Ann Ihrke where recently elected to the town Board despite Apex’s aggressive efforts to defeat them.  In a straw poll, all 12 county board members supported restricting wind turbines from being any closer than 1,640 feet from the property lines of any land not being leased to a wind-farm operator. “There are times it is loud,” said board member Tom McQuinn, whose rural Paxton home is about 2,500 feet from a turbine. “It is extremely loud and obnoxious, and I personally could never vote to make someone live closer than 2,250 feet from one. … We should be able to protect those who don’t want anything right on top of them.”  This is an extensive article but worth reading.

 

  • A number of articles in Ohio and elsewhere reflect that labor unions are aggressively supporting proposals to develop wind facilities in order to secure work for local members.  But in Minnesota, the State utility regulators postponed a vote to approve a western Minnesota wind farm after construction unions criticized the project’s nonunion builder for primarily hiring out-of-state workers.  RES, a major renewable energy developer, last year proposed the Bitter Root wind farm near Canby with 44 wind turbines that could generate up to 152 megawatts of power, a decent-sized project. RES would both develop and build the wind farm. The Laborers’ union, representing several construction unions, asserted that the socio-economic benefits of Bitter Root would be “substantially diminished” by a lack of Minnesota workers. RES has used nonunion trades workers on other wind farms in Minnesota, and the Laborers’ union says those workers were mostly from out of state.  RES is currently constructing another wind farm near Woodstock in Minnesota’s southwest corner.   About 85 percent of the license plates on workers’ cars at the Woodstock job are from out of state.

 

  • There is hope that one day the wind turbine will be a thing of the past.  Google is working on a new kite technology to capture steadier winds at higher altitudes. The rotors can generate up to 600 kilowatts of energy, or enough to power 300 homes, Makani executive Fort Felker said in a 2017 blog post. That’s a fraction of the power output of a conventional land-based wind turbine, but the company’s goal is to “build a new wind power technology capable of reaching altitudes not currently accessible to conventional wind turbines,” Felker said in the post.  The kite would fly at an altitude of about 1,000 feet, which is much higher than typical land-based turbines, according to Felker. At that altitude, Hall said, Makani’s kite may be able to tap into winds that are stronger and more constant than the ones terrestrial wind turbines rely on.

(now, back to the picture at the top)…All of these questions and more were answered at the Northern Ohioans for Wind (NOW) alternative energy forum, “Wind and Our Community,” which took place Thursday at Ernsthausen Recreation Center. NOW is a grassroots organization that “gives a voice to local community members who support renewable wind energy development.”

NOW representative and local landowner Kevin Erf, who helped emcee the event, said Apex Clean Energy “has made significant investments in our community” by its wind turbine projects and in looking to bring turbines to Huron County and surrounding areas. He said the projects will benefit the schools, local economy and job rates and the area residents “for generations to come.” …

One Bellevue property owner said he has worked with Apex and the other companies and said from his experience, he believes “everyone of us in Huron County are going to benefit, whether we’re in the footprint or not.

“This is the most beneficial project in our community — ever. It looks like a win-win for everybody. There may be some inconveniences, but it looks like despite that, it’s going to be a win-win for everybody. I don’t know what could be better than this.”

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Boom! Ohio commissioner slammed w BigWind facts

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…Commissioner Stacy, in your letter, you referred to “facts have been misconstrued” and “not sharing real facts” or “not stopping misinformation.” I take personal offense to your comments since I have been the primary presenter at the Seneca Anti-Wind Union informational meetings (which you have yet to attend) and I feel I do my best to be truthful and to only present the facts.

Let’s review the facts:

FACT 1: The turbines being proposed are 652 feet tall, only 18 inches shorter than the tallest turbines in the United States that are located in Randall County, Texas, where you can’t see a home anywhere close to the turbines. Now, Emerson Creek plans to use even taller turbines.

FACT 2: The turbines will generate shadow flicker.

FACT 3: The turbines will generate noise.

FACT 4: The turbines will kill bats, eagles and other migratory birds.

FACT 5: The turbines will ruin our rural landscapes.

FACT 6: The turbines will reduce our property values.

FACT 7: At night the turbines will be lit with red flashing lights.

FACT 8: 26 of the proposed Seneca Wind turbine sites are not legal per the current setback laws, including one that is 740 feet from my property line.

FACT 9: 16 turbines are proposed to be located within a 2-mile radius of Seneca East School.

FACT 10: The Seneca East School Board voted unanimously to intervene in the Seneca Wind project.

FACT 11: There will be unintended consequences where the people bearing the brunt of the wind turbines won’t support future tax levies.

FACT 12: Commissioner (Shayne) Thomas testified to a Senate committee to reduce the setbacks which would move the turbines closer to homes.

FACT 13: A pro-wind lobbying group wrote and submitted a testimonial letter in your name without your approval to the Energy & Natural Resources Senate Committee.

FACT 14: Seneca County has a population density of 100 people per square mile, while sPower’s other two wind projects in Utah and Wyoming have less than 3 people per square mile.

FACT 15: The commissioners had the opportunity to stop the approval of the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) for both the Republic Wind and Seneca Wind projects, but yet chose to do nothing.

FACT 16: The PILOT funding is based on 2011 dollars and does not adjust for inflation over the life of the project.

FACT 17: Eight out of 10 townships in the two project footprints have voted to intervene against the project with the Ohio Power Siting Board.

FACT 18: Per the Ohio EPA, the specific area where the Republic Wind and Seneca Wind projects are both located is designated as a “Drinking Water Source Protection Area with a High Susceptibility to Contamination and Water Quality Impacts.” So the quality of our well water is at risk per the EPA’s own document.

FACT 19: Windpower is highly subsidized with taxpayer money and inefficient in production of energy.

FACT 20: There are an average of 3,800 blade failures every year. We will have blade failures in Seneca County.

FACT 21: For turbine projects greater than 5MW, state law overrides any local zoning protections.

FACT 22: You have not rescinded the AEZ (alternative energy zone) which allows additional projects to come into the county without any local control.

Commissioner Stacy, you have chosen to ignore these facts as well as many others since you’ve been blinded by the wind company’s money. You are turning your back on the majority of the citizens who have the least to gain and the most to lose. You should be ashamed of this and this will be your legacy in the history of Seneca County.

Tribune letter link

Love of $ is the root of all evil (BigWind)

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It seems more and more that the pursuit of money is the only justification left for building wind facilities.  In today’s issue, the article “Love of Money is the Root of All Evil” is included.  Maybe it will resonate with your experience or maybe you might like it share it with your elected officials.

A quote from the article states:  “This general affluence, however, brings neither an increase in human decency nor real happiness.  Instead, the more gadgetry we have, the more choices we have in the marketplace, the more economic security we have – if we have defined those as the center of our lives – the more desperately wretched we become inside.  Moreover, no one who makes money the center of his life is ever satisfied with what he has.  The lust for wealth is a narcotic just as insidious as heroin or pornography.  It consumes us.  We barter away everything that ought to matter in our lives and silently mock those things that truly matter, and we encourage the rest of us to mock those things as well.

 A letter to the Editor from a resident of Tipton County, Indiana amplifies the above quote.  Jane Harper writes, “Wind companies prey on counties with weak ordinances. Think about why they chose you. It’s nothing more than a business deal to them in order to make money and they care not about the chronic wounds of strife left behind. To most, the price of happiness and serenity and community cohesiveness is price-less, and no amount of money flashed in front of county leaders from a wind company “for the good of the county” will make a measurable positive difference in one’s daily lives.  So the “numbers” of what “wind” brings to the community are immaterial if you all believe that happiness does not have a price tag.”

 Do county commissioners, township trustees and school board officials understand that to most of their constituents, the justification of money coming into the community will not really make a “measurable positive difference in one’s daily life”  because the happiness of their constituents does not have a price tag?

Elsewhere in the news:

 

  • The Van Wert School Board writes an open letter to the community to justify why they are willing to barter away serenity and community cohesiveness in exchange for money saying, “Wind revenue is important to VWCS because it would allow the district to continue to meet prudent student and facility needs for a longer period, without going to the voters.”   How arrogant. What a lousy bargain.

 

  • The Sandusky Register reports on the annual bird migration across Lake Erie. “ In recent news, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology introduced a real-time animated bird migration map called BirdCast which shows actual nocturnal bird migration patterns based upon 23 years of U.S. NEXRAD weather radar surveillance observations. Only recently has the magnitude of nocturnal migration been realized, with many species flying great distances at night at altitudes dictated by species and weather conditions. As wind farms continue to be built and expanded without proper oversight concerning their locations, millions of birds and bats, including endangered species will suffer accelerated, unsustainable additive mortality rates, which continue to be hidden from the scientific community and by extension, the general public.”  On a small positive note, Lucas County Commissioners have agreed to support turning off all non-essential lighting during the migration.

 

  • In Hardin County, the Ada Exempted Village School District Board of Education has authorized legal action against two companies over their failure to remove an inoperable wind turbine on school district property.  The turbine was struck by lightning in 2016 and the developer has refused to repair it.  The turbine is inoperable and needs to be removed.  The taxpayers may get saddled with the expense if legal action fails. What about the ONU turbines? 2 out of 3 were not working in the past few years…
  • General Motors will buy 200 megawatts of wind energy from Ohio and Illinois wind farms in a move the company said will power 20% of its global energy use. The electricity will be generated by wind farms under construction in Ohio – including the 60 turbine 100-megawatt Northwest Ohio Wind Farm in Haviland – and Indiana. “They will enable GM to power all its Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities with 100% renewable sources once the turbines come online by year’s end, according to the company”.    Haviland is a village of about 200 people located in Paulding County.  One commenter on this story noted “Nice project but misleading. Those GM plants will need on line generators to run 24/7 because the wind does not blow all the time…and the sun does not shine much of the time around here. Since corporations are willing to buy into this type of energy, the need for tax breaks has long since passed. All the tax breaks do is give these turbines unfair competition to the nuke and coal plants that provide the back up to run 24/7, not to mention tax revenue losses to local and state governments. These nuke and coal plants won’t run forever, but they still have useful life in them and employ a lot more people that wind turbines.”    The project is under construction in Blue Creek and Latty townships.
  • Icebreaker Windpower proposes to construct six wind turbines located approximately 8-10 miles offshore Cleveland. Each turbine would have a nameplate capacity rating of 3.45 MW, resulting in a combined generating capacity of 20.7 MW. The project would include an approximately 12-mile-long submerged electric transmission line to transmit the electricity generated by the turbines to Cleveland Public Power’s onshore Lake Road substation.  A public hearing on the project is scheduled for July 19 at 6 p.m. at Cleveland City Council Chambers in Cleveland City Hall.  An adjudicatory hearing in this proceeding will begin at 10 a.m. on Aug. 6 at the offices of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in Columbus, Ohio. Icebreaker is being aggressively promoted by a group called Windustrious Cleveland under the direction of Sarah Taylor who thinks filling up the Great Lakes with wind turbines will reverse climate change.

 

  • A mystery man from North Olmsted in Cuyahoga County by the name of Tom Schock writes a letter of support for the Dolan setback bill.  We don’t know who Schock is but he has been popping up in papers in different cities for a number of years advocating for reduced setbacks.  Schock was writing back when Cliff Hite was making efforts to reduce setbacks.  Readers should be aware that this fellow is kind of a career letter to the Editor writer and he is writing from a community that will never see a wind turbine.

 

  • A Seneca County couple writes a letter to the editor after being offered a good neighbor agreement.  The proposed contract would pay them $500 a year to waive adverse effects and comply with a confidentiality clause. They have filed a complaint with the PUCO.

 

  • The Ohio Country Journal distributed across Ohio to farmers and rural landowners waded into the setback controversy.  The reporter is a graduate of OSU and Benjamin Logan High School in Bellefontaine. Joel Penhorwood writes for the Ag community and lives on a farm in the Bellefontaine area.  In his article, Penhorwood coveys the money justification for reducing setbacks and granting PILOT echoed by Sen. Dolan and State Rep. Reineke of Tiffin. With respect to projects planned for Seneca County, Commissioner Holly Stacy is quoted saying “In order for our community to have the opportunities that others have had, what you’re hearing today is what we must do. We must have some change in the Ohio regulations for the wind industry. Otherwise that economic development can’t happen in the other sections of the state. Our county has had the local control, and we made that evident by previous commissioners putting the PILOT in place in Seneca County.” The article reinforces Dolan’s misguided belief that the ability to grant PILOT constitutes local control of wind development.

 

  • In Seneca County, the County Commissioners continue to hear from residents opposed to industrial wind development that would destroy their community and create safety issues. They were joined in their opposition by firefighters concerned about the ability of medical helicopters to reach people living near the turbines in the event of emergency. Again, instead of addressing the concerns of the people, Apex manager Dalton Carr defaulted to the money that could be generated saying “the area would realize at least $90 million in revenues, even if the devices don’t operate.” 

 

  • American Electric Power (AEP) expects to learn the fate of its 2GW Wind Catcher project by the end of June, later than it had hoped, although chief executive Nicholas Akins insists the wind farm could still be built in time to meet the production tax credit’s (PTC) deadline. Wind Catcher faces lengthening odds, not least because any further delays could make it difficult to build the 800-turbine wind farm by the end of 2020, in time to lock in the full PTC. Wind Catcher, among the largest advanced-stage wind projects in the world, would be built in the Oklahoma panhandle, and deliver power to AEP customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. GE Renewable Energy is the turbine supplier.

 

  • The Natural Resources Defense Council makes clear that the only acceptable energy policy for Ohio is full wind and solar.  They want clean nuclear energy phased out and they want gas shut down while bombarding the state with renewables.  NRDC even takes a shot at property line setbacks knowing that their plan is a non-starter with safe setbacks.

 

  • In sharp contrast to the left-wing Natural Resources Defense Council’s blather stands the reality of energy development on the eastern side of the state. It’s a signature of where growth in new energy will develop in America and what it will look like. This section of northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania – with its abundance of natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales – has emerged as the fulcrum for the industry’s future.” “What attracts power generation projects to Ohio is the abundance of low-cost natural gas derived from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays. Across Ohio, 11 new combined-cycle electrical generation plants worth an estimated $10.5 billion are either recently completed, under construction or in the planning or permit stages. These plants will provide meaningful, reliable power in an area of the state familiar with power production.  These plants will not be spread across thousands and thousands of acres of rural Ohio benefiting a few and destroying the landscape for precious little more than public $ubsidie$.

 

  • In Indiana, the Farm Bureau recently sent out membership information identifying counties with the highest membership numbers. Four out of five of counties with the highest % of members either fought or are fighting wind projects. Indiana wind warriors think It is time to send the Farm Bureau a message. In Fulton County, many members of the Fulton County Property Rights group did not renew their membership or insurance with Farm Bureau following their fight, and they let IFB know it is because Farm Bureau supports wind energy in Indiana.

 

  • In Hopkinton, NY the county commissioner equivalent body voted 4-0 to adopt a new law calling for a setback requirement of five times the total height of a turbine from non-participating property lines, public roads, wind overlay boundary, non-WECS building, farm or commercial structures or any above-ground utilities, registered historical sites and the APA boundary.  The local law requires adherence to a maximum 40 dBA at the nearest non-participating property line, school, hospital, place of worship or building existing at the time of the application.

 

  • In Oswego County, New York, local officials will provide no property tax abatement for developer Avangrid Renewables’s proposed Mad River Wind Farm“Just out of the concern for fairness for the rest of the county taxpayers,” said County Administrator Philip R. Church. “We understand that there are a variety of concerns to the impacts of the region up there.”  “Why not get full taxation if they are going to go through with it?”
  • Reflecting the urgency of reducing costs as $ubsidie$ are phased out, Buffalo NY manufacturer, Moog Inc announced it will exit the turbine pitch control system business. “Moog executives had hoped to jumpstart the wind energy business by developing a new line of more reliable pitch control systems for wind turbines. By tapping into Moog’s motion control expertise and designing new systems that used fewer components, the company believed its products would save wind farm operators money in the long run by lasting longer and reducing operating and maintenance expenses. But Moog’s new products cost more upfront, and wind turbine manufacturers, mainly based in China, were reluctant to adopt new systems that would push up the price of their turbine systems at a time when the wind energy market is highly competitive, Scannell said.”

 

  • A study by the Energy Information Administration concluded total federal $ubsidie$ for renewable energy dropped to $6.7 billion by the 2016 fiscal year, a 56 percent decline from 2013. “Though even with the decline, renewable energy consisted of 46 percent of total federal energy subsidies. U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry requested updated energy subsidy information as part of the office’s study on grid resiliency. Biofuels accounted for the largest share of 2016 energy subsidies in 2016, down from 77 percent in 2010 but up from 31 percent in 2013, largely due to the expiration of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit in 2011.” 
  • “TerraForm Power’s electric generation fell by 7.5% in the first quarter, after the US yieldco switched off 70 turbines at its Raleigh and Bishop Hill farms to investigate the collapse of a Invenergy-built GE turbine earlier this year.  In January, a blade at a GE 1.5MW turbine spinning at the 78MW Raleigh wind farm in the Canadian province of Ontario cracked and sheared the tower, causing the tower to fold in half. No one was injured.  TerraForm’s Stinebaugh says. “What we are seeing, though, is that within the renewable power sector, development is becoming more capital intensive – and there’s a number of developers looking to align themselves with people who’ve got greater access to capital.”

 

  • In an effort to appear fresh and informative, long time wind-industry consultant Ben Hoen and wind friends have dusted off their old “study” about public acceptance of wind facilities.  They posit “In general, we have observed that the media coverage of attitudes toward wind energy tends to be very anecdotal. Vivid stories of suffering dominate the discussion, which is often devoid of fundamental or methodical analysis of public opinion, the severity of the associated annoyances or even the extent of discontent among people living next to or near wind farms.”   Hoen’s work has been challenged for years because he threw people living within a 1,000 feet of turbines into a pool of people living as far as five miles away.  His work was diluted then and is more suspect now that turbines have dramatically increased in size.  We see this effort to drag out an old “hedonic model” to cover over the real stories of real people as shameless. But we are not surprised.  Do these folks think we lack any common sense?  Hoen also claims there is no property devaluation.

 

If Hoen and his gang would like to dredge up old reports, we can do that too.  A study from the London School of Economics places a value on the extent of devaluation experienced by property located near wind turbines due to the VISUAL IMPACT of the turbines.  Touché….

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NY Big setbacks

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China makes most BigWind machines

Fed subsidies

Canada blade/tower collapse

Wind turbine objections

 

4 windy states pull the rug out from under BigWind

It is time for BigWind to stand on its own 2 feet! Last week was a sad week for renewables. The four leading US wind states, Oklahoma, California, Texas and Iowa are all cutting back on subsidies for wind.  “The wind industry feels betrayed.” The Oklahoma Gov. wants to go a step further an impose a tax on wind while in Texas there is movement to get rid of 10 year PILOT payment/tax abatement programs. California’s issues concern land use because no one wants the turbines near them.  In Iowa, transmission needed to carry the power out of the state is facing regulatory hurdles.   The wind industry is doing their expected “woe is me” theatrics while “Industry opponents call such talk largely hot air, arguing that the federal $24/MWh production tax credit will enable developers to continue generating healthy profits for years to come as all projects under construction and many of those in their pipelines will have qualified for it. They contend that Oklahoma will continue to lure investment because of its world-class wind resource and lower corporate tax burden compared with many states.  The windies are blaming the oil and gas industry lobbyists for their “problems’. Will Ohio politicians pay attention to these realities and PROTECT our citizens from these problems? Don’t expect Ohio Senator Hite to care about these truths.  He supports BigWind, irregardless of the facts. Wave some cash in his district and he goes blind to the truth.  If you reside near him, would you please educate?…

A stinging political setback in Oklahoma and problems brewing elsewhere could short-circuit future wind industry growth, writes Richard A Kessler in Fort Worth…

10 May 2017

Back in November, the US wind sector could never have imagined that four of its leading wind states would be a greater source of industry uncertainty than President Donald Trump.

Events in Oklahoma have raised concerns over states’ readiness to continue subsidy support in an era of budget cutbacks and fiscal constraints, while potential trouble is also brewing in California, Iowa and Texas, suggesting that the industry’s ability to lobby effectively on crucial issues will soon be put to the test.

In March and April, by an overwhelming margin, Oklahoma’s Republican-dominated Senate and House voted to roll back the remaining state tax incentive for wind energy to 1 July, breaking an earlier pledge to preserve it until the end of 2020. It was signed into law by Republican Governor Mary Fallin on 17 April.

The wind industry feels betrayed. “Changing the investment rules in the middle of the game sends a message to every investor in America that Oklahoma can’t be expected to honor its economic development commitments,” says Jeff Clark, executive director of regional advocacy group The Wind Coalition.

Facing large budget shortfalls, Republican Governor Mary Fallin is in no mood to debate the issue, saying the sector was “incentivized sufficiently to now be a major player in the Oklahoma energy industry”. She also wants to also slap a $5/MWh tax on wind energy production — five times what Wyoming collects, the only other state to do so….

In neighbouring Texas, the leading wind state, the industry is under attack from lawmakers who want to limit or prohibit counties and school districts from using a popular ten-year property tax abatement scheme known as Chapter 313 to attract new wind projects…

Meanwhile, in California, zoning boards and other regulatory bodies are, for various reasons, restricting land use so much that wind activity has slowed to a crawl.  The number-four wind state did not install a single megawatt in 2016 and had only 131MW under construction this year.

Analysts warn that if this trend continues, California could have to import 80% of the estimated 10GW of new wind capacity it may need to meet a 50% renewables mandate by 2030.

And in Iowa, the second-ranking wind state, merchant transmission developer Clean Line Energy Partners is struggling to obtain necessary regulatory approvals for its $2bn Rock Island project that it says would lead to $7bn in new wind farm investments…

Without it, the industry will not be able to continue all its planned massive wind expansion there, as future supply will exceed domestic needs. Iowa already generates more of its electricity from wind power — 36.6% in 2016 — than any state.

Lessons from Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s early sunset of the $5/MWh Zero-Emissions Facilities Tax Credit is particularly troubling for the wind industry, as it represented a high-profile political setback in one of its fastest-growing markets. The move will also be financially painful for developers.

“This is the type of thing the industry doesn’t want to have happen. It sets a precedent and empowers other states to pursue similar legislation,” says Luke Lewandowski, research manager at MAKE Consulting…

The independent, non-partisan think tank estimates this would be an increase from an estimated $460.5m year earlier — a huge chunk of lost revenue considering the entire state budget is less than $7bn. By comparison, latest official data shows wind energy producers claimed $59.7m in zero-emission credits and $29.6m in for an exemption on local property taxes in the 2016-17 financial year. Wind investment in Oklahoma over the last decade exceeds $12bn…

Oklahoma wind developers currently use the zero-emission incentive to reduce their tax liability during the initial decade a wind farm generates power. Unused credits are also refundable in cash for 85% of face value. So developers stand to lose millions of dollars if they cannot bring under-construction projects into operation by 1 July…

Industry opponents call such talk largely hot air, arguing that the federal $24/MWh production tax credit will enable developers to continue generating healthy profits for years to come as all projects under construction and many of those in their pipelines will have qualified for it. They contend that Oklahoma will continue to lure investment because of its world-class wind resource and lower corporate tax burden compared with many states.

Byron Schlomach, director of the 1889 Institute, a public policy group in the state capital that favours limited government, disputes the notion that Oklahoma is turning against the wind industry or engaging in discrimination. He says the industry no longer needs incentives as the state did what it could to help it grow. Oklahoma also met its voluntary 15% renewables mandate by 2015.

“I think everybody feels like we’ve done our part,” he says. “We’ve done enough for them at this point and they need to stand on their own two feet.”…

 

 

Source: The coming threat from US wind states | Recharge

The BigWind ‘Everpower’ful bully in Ohio

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How many of you use Amazon to purchase your Christmas items? Amazon has put up a smokescreen by agreeing to purchase the power from this new industrial wind site. They can not operate their data centers on wind energy, alone, and they refuse to build an industrial wind energy site on their own property.  Instead, like cowards, they connect electrical lines to an upgraded station, near their new data site, and then agree to purchase intermittent power that is produced hundreds of miles away….

On Facebook, Fight the Wind
Yesterday at 2:32pm ·
A trusted source had a meeting with Jason Dagger recently and reported the following:
EverPower still may build between 1-9 turbines in Logan County, WITHOUT a PILOT. If you recall, EverPower said they would not build in Logan County without a PILOT because it didn’t make financial sense. Jason is now stating that the state has given them better clarification on the taxing structure and it looks like they will be OK to build in LC. (EverPower is still permitted to build up to 19 turbines in Logan County.)
• If you also recall, EverPower has stated all along they want to be a ‘good neighbor’. Logan County and its residents clearly did not and do not want turbines in Logan County as evidenced by the denial of the PILOT. How can EverPower be a good neighbor and still build? Jason’s response was: ‘It’s about the money; all the power in Hardin County has been sold, the turbines in Logan County would be for profit.’
• When asked if EverPower would be alerting non-participating neighboring residents whether they would be notified of the possibility of turbine construction, Jason’s response was: ‘Why would we do that?’
Jason is also stating they no longer need a Road Use Maintenance Agreement in Logan County since they are now only coming off of state routes.
And the kicker….after years of EverPower touting the local jobs this project would create, Jason said they had narrowed down two general contractors for the job. Who are they? White Construction from Indiana and Mortenson Construction out of Denver, Colorado. How is that for local?…

 

Has Logan county, Ohio started a BigWind ‘say no’ trend?

Within the past month, Logan county, Ohio said NO to the enormous tax break, aka PILOT, to Everpower. Here is a county in New York, following in their footsteps.  And, the developer is well known to Van Wert county, Ohio, as it is Apex. Mr. Gray has it right…BigWind does NOT create more than a handful of jobs and revenue is exported (tax$ to investors). BigWind destroys scenery, wildlife, property values and the health of neighbors…the least we can demand of them is to pay their fair share of taxes!!!

Jefferson County lawmakers have voted not to grant tax breaks for big solar and wind projects. County leaders say large-scale alternative energy farms do not provide the county with enough incentives to justify a tax deal.

Legislature Chairman Scott Gray said wind developers are approaching towns in Jefferson County not expecting to pay their full share of taxes.
“You’re asking the property tax payers of this community to subsidize a project. So we want to make sure there is something in return for those taxpayers’ investments.”
Gray said big wind and solar projects only create a handful of jobs. They don’t circulate enough money throughout the local economy. and what money is made, he said, goes to the company’s investors.

“It’s certainly not adding anything to our community so whatever revenue is being generated is being exported,” said Gray….

He said the developer, Apex Energy, is expecting to get a tax break, anyway.
“They are proposing a 80 percent tax abatement, 20 percent of the full value that they should be paying every year….”

Source: Jefferson County lawmakers deny tax breaks to green energy projects

Van Wert county commissioner opinion of BigWind

A Van Wert county commissioner opinion about the new potential for a 35,000 Apex project. He compares this to living next to a hog farm…which no one wants to do. If you have heard that communities are torn apart by the wind industry, he hints at that reality in Van Wert. What will happen if the Apex Long Prairie Project moves forward? It looks like the one commissioner wants to leave this decision up to the people who will reside amongst it. Read a lot of common sense in this article…

Wanna start an argument? Go to almost any random group of people in Van Wert County and state your opinion about windmills. Chances are, you will quickly find someone with whom to disagree…

But, if you are going to build something on your property, you are subject to a tax assessment. Real property taxes are assessed on all land, buildings and structures. If a property owner would choose to build a windmill, they would be taxed on its full value.

The question then is should a wind farm receive a tax break? The pro crowd argues that, yes, most definitely, this is economic development and a tax break should be automatic. The current wind farm is taxed pursuant to a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) wherein the schools, county, townships, and other agencies receive a fixed payment instead of the windmills being normally assessed. This results in about a 70-80 percent reduction in tax payments.

A few years ago, before the state changed the setbacks and after several conferences with our township trustees, the Ohio Power Siting Board and Iberdrola, we determined that the PILOT eliminated our ability to negotiate with wind companies and was not in our county’s best interest. We revoked the Alternative Energy Zone designation for our county that had allowed the Blue Creek Wind Farm to be taxed under the PILOT.

Should the setbacks be returned to a manageable distance for Apex or Iberdrola to build a farm, this is the issue we would present to voters. We would ask the affected townships and the wind company to negotiate a tax scheme that has a chance to be approved and then submit it for an up or down vote.

A concern becomes who gets to vote on this issue? It does not seem appropriate that areas that stand only to benefit from a taxing scheme be allowed to vote to burden another area. For example, if a mega hog farm would want to locate on the outskirts of Convoy and the tax benefits would accrue to every other part of the county, what might be the result in Middle Point of that vote? Or if the roles were reversed, what might be the result in Convoy?

Van Wert City Schools would receive a significant monetary benefit if turbines were located in Liberty Township. But it is the residents of Liberty Township who would be burdened by the presence of the windmills and it would be that township’s tax revenues that are affected by a reduction in the amounts paid by windmill owners. I don’t know a definition of fair that would allow Van Wert City voters, an overwhelming majority of the school district, to determine this issue for Liberty Township….

Personally, I think I’ve been clear on my position in the past. I think windmills are horrible federal policy but as long as the federal government is intent on bankrupting our next generation, I wouldn’t object to see some of that money get wasted locally.

If you are in the pro crowd, I would advise against trying to pressure us to force windmills on a population that, as of now, does not want them. That has been the tactic of the wind companies for the last few years and it continues to have a zero chance of success. Replace lecturing with negotiation – the antis are well aware of the reasons to build these things and are not convinced. Perhaps you can pay their electric bills to win some support….