Ohio grid admits BigWind is expensive; Indiana commiss regrets saying YES to BigWind

It has been another busy week with BigWind in Ohio. On the “good news” front, the Ohio Mandate Study Committee convened on Wednesday to hear testimony from the grid operator, PJM.  Our friend Senator Seitz was brilliant in his questioning and extracted admissions that the transmission requirements and back-up needed to support wind made them very expensiveWithout significant, ongoing subsidy, wind cannot compete in the market.   The downstream consequences to the current reliable and affordable generation fleet were dire as well.  It was made very clear to all legislators that the PJM grid operator only counts 13% of wind’s nameplate capacity as viable while next door in Indiana, the MISO grid operator credits wind with only 2.7% of nameplate.  Senator Seitz suggested that MISO’s number may be more credible than PJM’s.  Meanwhile, we understand more clearly why President Obama has proposed that the Production Tax Credit for Wind be made permanent.

Speaking of subsidies, an organization called “Good Jobs First” released a report this week on Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations.   GJF is dedicated to educating the public on how much taxpayer money the federal government is handing out and to whom.   Their report totals up subsidies covering  137 programs in 11 federal Cabinet agencies from 2000 to the most recent records.  This is across all industries in the country. Greg LeRoy, the organization’s executive director, said in a news release that the data aimed to give transparency to which companies specifically are receiving federal assistance. “For more than 20 years, so-called corporate welfare has been debated widely with little awareness of which companies were receiving most of the federal assistance,” LeRoy said.    And who ame in first?   Spanish wind developer, Iberdrola has raked in over $2.2 billion in taxpayer funding!  Iberdrola was followed by five other wind companies that received more than $1 billion each.

From Indiana comes an open letter from a Tipton County Commissioner to Howard County Commissioners who are considering proposals for wind development.  This letter is a must read.  It is an ‘oh so familiar’ lament and we are seeing more of them all across America.  Former Commissioner Harper closes her letter with this message: “As an elected official/public servant. . . . . if you must go forward with approvals that allow wind farm development . . . and thus you become the reason a wind farm was built in Howard County. . .  it will be a decision you will regret the rest of your life. “    Please click the link and read this letter in its entirety…

I am writing to you all as a former commissioner colleague who aided in the negotiations and agreements with E.ON Climate Renewables with Tipton County in 2011.  From the onset, I was open to windfarm development in a small section of Tipton County because the commissioners had received no opposition and I felt that the landowners wanted it.  My own family was offered an opportunity to lease land to E.ON and we declined because my husband did not care to farm around the towers, and I just didn’t want to look at them.  I set my own personal views aside and made decisions based on what I felt the majority of the public wanted.  I was outspoken enough, however, to say that I would never support a plan to cover a large portion of the county with wind turbines.  As it turned out, the problem was that when the decisions were being made to build “Wildcat I”, the commissioners were not hearing from the “majority”.  People really did not know this was happening, or if they did, they did not perceive it to be as “invasive” as it was.  As you know, public notices are small and often overlooked in the newspaper, so not much resistance was present……………until the towers went up, and people saw how enormous and intrusive they were.  The red blinking lights even disturb my own summer evenings and my home is 6 miles from the closest tower….. !!!!…

In Tipton County……….my 83 year old mother is mad at me (since I signed the agreements) because she no longer has colorful birds coming to her feeders……..my brother’s view from his family dining room table used to be a vast expanse of crops and natural habitat…….now that pristine ‘vista’ is forever marred by giant metal structures………….neighbors hate each other…………back and forth letters to the editor have been selling papers for over a year now………….families are torn apart,,,,, and because the physical presence of the towers will be there for 30 years, these relationships will never be repaired.   In short. . . . this has become an issue that has divided our community like no other.   

It has torn our county apart.  The May, 2014 primary election is evidence that the majority of the voters supported candidates openly opposed to wind farm development and an incumbent commissioner was voted out of office due to his unwillingness to listen to the majority on any issue, including wind….

You can’t lose something you never had…………so you are not “losing” the supposed ‘windfall’ of money that the project purportedly brings in.   What you WILL lose however, cannot be measured in dollars.  You will lose the rural landscape as you know it and you will lose the closeness of “community spirit” because people will hate each other over this and the presence of the towers will always be a constant reminder of the rift…………thus the wounds will never heal….

Tipton County Indiana Commissioner voted for wind farms, now lives with regrets.

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The road to American electrical blackouts is paved with wind turbines

Even though this article was written in April of 2014, it is still incredibly pertinent today.  This administration is heavily pushing renewable energy on the American citizen, through EPA rules and regulations- spoken about just last week by our President. Congress is, again, considering the renewal of the Wind Production Tax Credit.  The assaults on our energy grid are endless. Please educate yourselves and share your knowledge with friends and your legislators. We must now allow this to happen.  We do not want to someday say, “I told you so!”….

Last winter, bitterly cold weather placed massive stress on the US electrical system ― and the system almost broke. On January 7 in the midst of the polar vortex, PJM Interconnection, the Regional Transmission Organization serving the heart of America from New Jersey to Illinois, experienced a new all-time peak winter load of almost 142,000 megawatts.

Eight of the top ten of PJM’s all-time winter peaks occurred in January 2014. Heroic efforts by grid operators saved large parts of the nation’s heartland from blackouts during record-cold temperature days. Nicholas Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, stated in Congressional testimony, “This country did not just dodge a bullet ― we dodged a cannon ball.”

Environmental policies established by Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are moving us toward electrical grid failure. The capacity reserve margin for hot or cold weather events is shrinking in many regions.

What industry pays customers to take its product? The answer is the U.S. wind industry. Wind-generated electricity is typically bid in electrical wholesale markets at negative prices. But how can wind systems operate at negative prices?

The answer is that the vast majority of U.S. wind systems receive a federal production tax credit (PTC) of up to 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for produced electricity. Some states add an additional credit, such as Iowa, which provides a corporate tax credit of 1.5 cents per kw-hr. So wind operators can supply electricity at a pre-tax price of a negative 3 or 4 cents per kw-hr and still make an after-tax profit from subsidies, courtesy of the taxpayer….

Capacity shortages are beginning to appear. A reserve margin deficit of two gigawatts is projected for the summer of 2016 for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), serving the northern plains states. Reserve shortages are also projected for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) by as early as this summer.

The United States has the finest electricity system in the world, with prices half those of Europe. But this system is under attack from foolish energy policies. Coal-fired power plants are closing, unable to meet EPA environmental guidelines. Nuclear plants are aging and beset by mounting losses, driven by negative pricing from subsidized wind systems. Without a return to sensible energy policies, prepare for higher prices and electrical grid failures.

Americas power grid at the limit: The road to electrical blackouts | The Daily Caller.

How long can BigWind operate in the RED? As long as taxpayers give them handouts…

According to the Energy Information Administration, last year’s average wholesale electricity price in the PJM grid was around $42 per MWh. In bold, below, you plainly see why BigWind is not profitable without our taxpayer handouts (even though they received $67/MWh)…even in windy areas like Illinois. This also explains why electricity rates have skyrocketed, all over the world, where BigWind has a strong presence – and – why electricity rates are now rising in USA states which have a larger wind presence.  And, who is buying Big Sky? Everpower, the company wanting to build multiple wind sites in central Ohio. An important question to ask is this, what will these areas do if these turbines become ABANDONED? How will this affect their farmers, as the turbines dilapidate? How will it affect the local tax rate?  How will it affect neighboring property values? How will it affect future economic growth?….

Suzlon Energy Ltd., the Indian wind- turbine maker in default on $209 million of bonds, may take over one of Illinois’ biggest wind farms if it’s unable to collect a loan it made for the project.

That would stymie two years of efforts by the cash-strapped manufacturer to recover money it needs to pay its own creditors….

Most wind farms sign 20-year power sale agreements with a utility to lock in prices and secure revenue streams. Big Sky doesn’t have one and sells its output on the spot market in the 13-state PJM Interconnection LLC grid, Edison Mission spokesman Douglas McFarlan said in a Feb. 18 e-mail.

The average 24-hour price near Big Sky last year was about $35 a megawatt-hour, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Including tax credits and a government clean-energy cash grant, Big Sky may have earned an average of $67 a megawatt-hour last year, BNEF’s Grace estimated.

The project probably needs to earn $80 a megawatt-hour on average over its lifetime to meet a 10 percent hurdle rate, or the minimum acceptable rate of return for an investor, she said….
via Business: Washington Post Business Page, Business News.

BigWind MISSES their mark 58% of the time

 

This link is to an article with absolutely spectacular graphs of the value (or lack thereof) that wind adds to the grid in Ireland, in 15 minute increments.  The bold type below is succinct and relevant to the USA. How would you like to be a grid operator who deals in energy capacity auctions and have your suppliers UNDERestimate their production 58% of the time? And then have others who OVERestimate their production 41% of the time? How do you operate a business model, effectively and efficiently like this? The kicker here, also, is that PJM (USA) can levy FINES on  natural gas,coal,nuclear,hydro if they fail to meet their auctioned production numbers – BUT – they are PROHIBITTED from fining BigWind for the same problem.  What does the energy future look like for countries with these policies?…

EARLIER THIS MONTH, the Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte revealed that wind energy contributed more energy than ever to the national grid one windy evening last December.

1866 megawatts, 42 per cent of our total electricity needs at the time, was generated and fed into the grid, according to the Minister. Furthermore, the Irish Wind Energy Association IWEA has predicted that 18 per cent of demand last year was met by wind energy….

Over the past five years (31 December 2008 to 31 December 2013), the amount of power contributed to the grid by wind turbines missed this forecast 58 per cent of the time.

The figure was surpassed 41 per cent of the time, and in the remaining 1 per cent the demand was either met or data was unavailable.

via These five graphs dig into the figures behind wind energy in Ireland.