Shocked-Ohio Supreme Court says NO to BigWind

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Our featured article is the recent decision, by the Ohio Supreme Court that “Altering a wind farm’s construction timeline is an “amendment,” and a proposal for a 91-turbine farm must return to state regulators for an extension, potentially subjecting the facility to stricter state rules...” Hallelujah!!! See more of this article at the bottom.

As the new General Assembly gets underway and Governor-elect DeWine puts together his Cabinet, there are a couple of things to note.  Current Senate Majority Floor Leader, Sen. Randy Gardner of Bowling Green has been tapped to be the new Chancellor of the Dept. of Higher Education.   His move to the Cabinet will open a vacancy in the 2nd Senate District.  If the Republicans appoint a replacement from the House, it is possible that Rep. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), Rep. Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton) or Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) could be chosen.   Sen. Gardner was a co-sponsor of Dolan’s setback bill.

Another Cabinet appointment is former Rep. Dorothy Pelanda of Marysville who will become the Director of Agriculture.  Pelanda has always voted with the wind industry.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on the legislative priorities of the incoming leadership in the Ohio House and Senate. One of Senate President Obhof’s five priorities is to “Overhaul energy laws. Obhof said he would like a comprehensive review of all of the energy laws. Examples of laws that could be changed are the renewable standard and the wind turbine setback rule.”   We are not certain what that means but we hope it means that he would be willing to give local citizens a voice in approving siting.  House Minority Leader, Rep. Fred Strahorn of Dayton also listed setbacks as a legislative priority.  “As part of encouraging higher-paying jobs, Strahorn would like to change the wind turbine setback law, which he believes would encourage more wind energy companies to invest in Ohio and create jobs.” 

In the meantime, a big case is being considered at the PUCO.  Go to http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?Caseno=18-0501&link=DI to file a public comment in opposition to AEP.  Many environmentalists and radicals have organized comment letter campaigns in support of AEP’s plan to build 500MW of wind and 400 MWs of solar.  But the staff of the PUCO has testified that AEP has failed to demonstrate the added generation is needed.   The Ohio Consumer’s Council and the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association have taken a similar position.   Furthermore, the PUCO staff stated that “a demonstration of customer preferences that are increasingly shifting towards renewable energy is insufficient to establish a need of utility scale wind and solar investment.”   AEP had tried to assert that consumers are clamoring for more renewable energy.  Our observations have been that many polls do not give reliable results because the people questioned do not understand the implications of building more renewables.  The Natural Resources Defense Fund, Sierra Club and the Ohio Environmental Council and others are working hard in support of AEP’s proposal. Opponents need to speak out.  AEP hopes the PUCO board will override the staff. Hearings begin next week.

In other news:

  • AEP is seeking approval to build 1.2GW of wind and has filed a request for proposals that is among the biggest ever seen in the US wind market, with Louisiana-based SWEPCO looking for projects qualified either for the full or the 80% PTC – meaning they would need to be on line by the end of 2021.  The projects must be at least 100MW in size and located within territory overseen by grid operator SPP in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas or Oklahoma, the areas served by SWEPCO. Proposals are due in March 2019.

 

  • Bill Gates has issued his annual letter and in the section on energy, Gates maintains  “Solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing”.  He goes on to discuss his support of nuclear energy.
  • Some years ago, Canada’s  Dr. Robert McMurtry and his wife Jane worked to develop a video about the harms of wind.  Jane McMurtry passed away recently.  In memory of Jane McMurtry, wind warriors everywhere are revisiting their important video.  See No Safe Space (video).

 

  • EverPower is the subject of litigation in West Virginia where three complaints were filed against New Creek Wind in federal court alleging negative effects on the health and well-being of several residents. “Specifically, while the plaintiffs are outside on their property, they are confronted with irritating and unabated audible noise which significantly limits the use and enjoyment of their property and results in annoyance, along with other symptoms…” one of the complaints states. The New Creek Mountain Sportsman’s Club claims its members suffer from headaches, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, hearing problems and other issues while on the hunting lodge’s property.  The plaintiffs claim the wind turbines have affected the serenity, ambiance, wildlife viewing and aesthetic nature of their properties.  The defendants knew or should have known their wind turbine project would interfere with the use and enjoyment of the plaintiffs’ properties and would result in negative physical and mental harm, according to the suits. When the plaintiffs are walking around their properties, depending on which way the turbine blades are configured, negative effects occur the closer they get in the direction of the wind turbines, according to the suits. The plaintiffs claim the wind turbines are a nuisance and that the defendants were negligent.”  Two separate lawsuits were filed 2017 as well. 

 

  • Amid hundreds of graphs, charts and tables in the latest World Energy Outlook (WEO) released last week by the International Energy Agency, there is one fundamental piece of information that you have to work out for yourself: the percentage of total global primary energy demand provided by wind and solar. The answer is 1.1 per cent. The policy mountains have labored and brought forth not just a mouse, but — as the report reluctantly acknowledges — an enormously disruptive mouse.  This report should be profoundly embarrassing to the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau, which has virtue-signaled itself to the front of a parade that is going nowhere, although it can certainly claim genuine leadership in the more forceful route to transition: killing the fossil fuel industry by edict.”
  • Wind developers continue to sell off projects to recycle capital.  Reports of sales include EDPR, Invenergy, Avangrid and Enel Green Power.

 

  • A federally funded survey of East Coast beachgoers found building utility-scale wind turbines within the typical range proposed by federal officials won’t repel most vacationers.  University of Delaware professors George Parsons and Jeremy Firestone undertook the 1,200-person survey for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and NOAA by showing respondents in 20 states a visual simulation of a wind farm with 100 6-megawatt turbines. The simulation included views of turbines placed as close as 2.5 miles from shore, far closer than the range contemplated by BOEM for most lease areas, and as far away as 20 miles, the BOEM range’s upper boundary. “The most salient finding is, the closer the turbines are to shore, the larger the negative impacts would be,” said Parsons.   Brilliant.  And 2.5 miles is the closest being evaluated.

  

Altering a wind farm’s construction timeline is an “amendment,” and a proposal for a 91-turbine farm must return to state regulators for an extension, potentially subjecting the facility to stricter state rules, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today.

The Supreme Court voted 5-2 that the Ohio Power Siting Board improperly approved a request by developers of the Black Fork Wind Energy Project to extend the date to begin construction from January 2017 until January 2019. Opponents of the farm, which would be located in portions of Crawford and Richland counties, contend the siting board allowed the company to use a procedure to evade new “setback” rules imposed by the General Assembly, which would require more distance between turbines and property lines…

The opinion noted the board approved Black Fork’s request just weeks before the new setback law took effect, and the outcome of deadline extension request could change.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, Judith L. French, and R. Patrick DeWine joined Justice DeGenaro’s opinion.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Patrick F. Fischer wrote that the board properly interpreted state law, which led it to conclude an amendment is required only when there is a “change in the facility.” Other changes, such as a construction deadline, can be changed by a less-formal procedure, in this case, by a motion, he maintained.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell joined Justice Fischer’s dissent.NO SURPRISE HERE!

Justice Kennedy also wrote a concurring opinion, which both supported the majority’s reasoning and raised objections to Justice Fischer’s dissent. She wrote that the law applies to more than a change in a facility, noting that “the legislature did not hide substantive limitations on the amendment of a certificate in a provision that specifically addresses when ‘the board shall hold a hearing.’ ” Rather than limit the types of changes that constitute an amendment, she explained, the hearing provision “simply distinguishes a category of applications to amend a certificate—those proposing a change in the facility—in which a hearing similar to the one required to be held upon an initial application may not be required.”

Ohio court news

Big Bad Wolf (BigWind) is trying to blow up Ohio’s economy!

 

“Little pig, little Pig, let me come in.”

“No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.”

“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.”

In this case, the Big bad wolf of industrial wind is determined to blow Ohio’s economy to pieces with the help of the Kasich Administration. But we “little people,” like the little pig, are building strong arguments to protect our homes and families. 

The pressure is building on the legislature concerning the mandates. We urge you to read the article below that indicate a showdown is coming. Governor Kasich appears more determined than ever to veto any continuance of the mandates or any effort to eliminate them. What would that mean? Ohio currently gets 2% of its electricity from renewables. If the freeze is lifted, Ohio utilities would have to secure 3.5% by the end of 2017 or face fines. This is coming in the face of considerable publicity from Ontario, Canada as to how renewables have increased rates and wrecked their manufacturing economy. Similar stories are reported from Wisconsin.

AEP wrote a notable column in the press about their preference for the PUCO to have – no pun intended – all the power to do whatever they want so that Ohio will have a predictable regulatory environment. They seem to reject the notion that Ohio is a part of a regional power system. Julie Sloat, president and COO of AEP Ohio is quoted as saying “Instead, Ohio needs to take control of its future by ensuring that the state has a diverse mix of power generation resources that protect Ohio jobs and the tax base. Ohio’s energy future needs to provide a more stable and predictable environment for business development and enable more investment in power plants – including wind and solar – within Ohio’s borders, while still allowing for customer choice.” Forget it. AEP’s position appears to be one which invites the people of NW Ohio to be trampled and its migratory flyways transformed into a new kind of ‘highway to heaven’ for birds.

The Ohio Power Siting Board’s comments period on proposed rules for siting industrial turbines closes on Monday, October 24th. The OPSB’s website notes: “In May 2016, the OPSB initiated a new rulemaking docket in case number 16-1109-GE-BRO for the purpose of issuing for formal comment proposed revisions to Ohio Administrative Code 4906-4-08. In an entry dated, September 22, 2016, the OPSB issued proposed rules in amended Ohio Administrative Code 4906-4-08 and newly proposed 4906-4-09. The OPSB requests that interested persons submit comments on the proposed rules by October 24, 2016, and reply comments by November 8, 2016. At the conclusion of the comment-and-reply comment period, the OPSB will issue final rules to be reviewed by the legislature before taking effect. Specific information on the proposed rules can be accessed at http://www.opsb.ohio.gov/opsb/index.cfm/Rules/.

One excerpt from the proposed rules speaks to setbacks as follows:

(2) For wind farms only, the applicant shall provide a map(s) of at least 1:24,000 scale showing the proposed facility, habitable residences, and parcel boundaries of all parcels within a half-mile of the project area. Indicate on the map, for each parcel, whether the parcel is being leased by the applicant for the proposed facility, as of no more than thirty days prior to the submission of the application. Include on the map the setbacks for wind turbine structures in relation to property lines, habitable residential structures, electric transmission lines, gas pipelines, and state and federal highways, consistent with no less than the following minimum requirements:

(a) The distance from a wind turbine base to the property line of the wind farm property shall be at least one and one-tenth times the total height of the turbine structure as measured from its tower’s base (excluding the subsurface foundation) to the tip of a blade at its highest point.

(b) The wind turbine shall be at least one thousand, one hundred, twenty-five feet in horizontal distance from the tip of the turbine’s nearest blade at ninety degrees to the property line of the nearest adjacent property at the time of the certification application.

(c) The distance from a wind turbine base to any electric transmission line, gas pipeline, hazardous liquid pipeline, or state or federal highway shall be at least one and one-tenth times the total height of the turbine structure as measured from its tower’s base (excluding the subsurface foundation) to the tip of a blade at its highest point.

(d) Minimum setbacks from property lines and residences may be waived in the event that all owners of property adjacent to the turbine agree to such waiver.

We understand that the proposed rules also require that setback waivers be in writing, and the developer must notify the property owner of the setback requirements and why the property is subject to the minimum setback requirements. The waiver must apply to subsequent owners or tenants of the property, and must be recorded in the County Recorder’s office.

With respect to noise, the proposed rules adopt the +5 dbA over background standard but do not use the recommended L90 measurement which is the accepted form. It is also silent on low frequency noise. Noted acoustical expert, Rick James along with audiologist Jerry Punch have recently released a peer reviewed paper Wind Turbine Noise and Health: A Four-Decade History of Evidence that Wind Turbines Pose Risks. Both James and Punch have testified as expert witness on behalf of UNU in the Buckeye Wind project being developed by EverPower. Rick has asked that we share the link to the paper with you. We encourage everyone to read this paper that specifically rebuts 12 false claims by the wind industry regarding impacts to health. The authors recommend that distances separating turbines and residences generally should be in the area of 1.25 miles. They also caution that setbacks for physical safety do not protect against adverse health effects. This makes the standard for acceptable sound levels critically important because they can provide support to the property line setbacks currently required in the rules. James and Punch favor a standard ranging from 30-40 dBA, which is consistent with the recommendation of nighttime noise levels by the World Health Organization.

Finally, we recommend to your attention an outstanding summary of impacts from industrial wind turbines in Canada. Did you know “Earthworms are absent around turbines. (it is thought to be from the vibration in the ground). Farms need the three types of earthworms to keep the land fertile for crops. No worms, no crops.” Go to http://www.windontario.ca/ for more great, but disturbing information….

How much of Ohio’s electricity is powered by renewable energy?

Five percent? Ten?

According to the most recent annual report of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it’s 2 percent.

In other words, 98 percent of the energy powering Ohio’s lights, stoves, air conditioners and so much more is created from nonrenewable sources, like coal and natural gas.

Is that OK? And if not, should state government do anything about it?…

Seitz’s view on clean energy regulations

1. The senator’s view on climate change.

“My view on climate change is that the climate has changed for millions of years and continues to change. I think there may be a contribution from manmade sources.”

2. Seitz: This is about cost.

During a 45-minute interview on the topic, Seitz said, “this is not about renewable energy” and “this is not about coal. … Since everyone is for clean energy and thinks it’s free, we thought it would be a good idea to disclose on their bill just how much we are paying for this stuff … By golly, here we are at the lower reaches of it (3 percent) and we’re going to 12.5 percent on renewables, and we have bill increases of about 9 percent. We’re not trying to protect the utilities here, we are trying to protect the ratepayer … I recently read that wind and solar prices would decline by 59 percent by 2026. So my answer is: We’ll buy it in 2026.” Note: Seitz made clear that he meant an increase of 9 percent on the “generation” portion of people’s utility bills, not the total cost.

2. Renewable energy companies are already getting a tax break.

“Federal taxpayers, which include you, me and everybody I guess but Donald Trump, are paying them a 30 percent subsidy now,” Seitz said, referring to the renewable electricity production tax credit. “Why do you (companies) not only need this generous tax break and require the states to mandate that the utilities buy your overpriced stuff?”

3. Ohio isn’t a good state for solar and wind.

“Natural gas is what we have in Ohio. We are not a particularly good sun or wind state. There are places where that makes a great deal of sense – extremely windy and extremely sunny places.”…

4. Senator asks why create state rules until we know what will happen with the federal Clean Power Plan?

“Under the Clean Power Plan, the federal government mandates to reduce carbon dioxide by 30 some percent by 2030. … Why would we subject Ohio businesses and Ohio residents to escalating costs under the 2008 state mandate until we know how these mandates sync up?”

What did Gov. John Kasich say in Texas?

Ohio Gov. John Kasich recently sat down with CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit Texas Tribune Evan Smith for The Texas Tribute Festival in Austin, Texas. They spoke about a wide variety of issues facing America, energy and the environment were two of them.

Evan Smith: You, I believe, have said climate change is …

Kasich: I think it’s real. I don’t want to overreact to it, but I think it’s real.

Smith: You know, the mere fact that you say those words, that’s a controversial thing.

Kasich: Look, look. You know, when you get to be in public life, where you get responsibility, put your hands on the wheel and drive the car. What am I supposed to do? Take a poll? Who’s going to like this or that? Now look, when I say I believe there’s climate change, what do you do about it? I’m not for shutting down all this fossil fuel, I think this is extreme.

Smith: You did advocate for a tax on hydraulic fracturing, did you not?

Kasich: Yours (in Texas) is higher than ours, and I’d like to get ours higher so I can cut my income tax, instead of you taking all my liquids out of my state and living high on the hog here in Texas, you know. I like you, but I don’t like that idea. What I’m saying is, I think we need everything. Look, the Tesla is an amazing car. Are we going to get a breakthrough in battery technology? If we do, it will change everything in this country. I believe in solar and wind and all that, but let me tell you, I believe in fossil fuels, as well. With coal – clean it. Dig it, clean it and burn it. Nuclear power, you know … I think there are a lot of people who are extreme, but this environment needs to be managed. I believe this Earth was given to us by the Lord, and we have an obligation to take care of it, but not worship it….

 

Source: Ohio produces less renewable energy than Kentucky. Is that OK?

BigWind actively ‘pursuing prey’ in Ohio

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On Tuesday, Senator Kris Jordan introduced Senate Bill 325 to “To repeal the requirement that electric distribution utilities and electric services companies provide 12.5% of their retail power supplies from qualifying renewable energy resources by 2027, to repeal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction requirements for electric distribution utilities, and to modify the topics included in the Energy Mandates Study Committee report.” Many of you will remember that Senator Jordan was our earliest and only supporter years ago when he traveled to Champaign County during the screening of the movie “Windfall”. Jordan’s bill is separate from the bill introduced by Senator Seitz which would continue the renewable mandate freeze for several more years.

In Logan County, the Commissioners have announced a hearing on EverPower’s request for tax abatement through the PILOT program. The hearing will be held on May 17th at 4:00 in the Holland Theater. The Bellefontaine Examiner newspaper report below contains a link to EverPower’s application filed with the Ohio Development Services Agency. It is notable that much of the application is incomplete. It strikes us that an incomplete application makes comprehensive public comment impossible. We do not know when EverPower intends to submit the missing information but can’t imagine any public official approving tax abatement without full understanding of EverPower’s plan.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, Fight the Wind, the mighty Logan County wind warriors, have taken aggressive action. They have placed a full page ad in the paper in opposition; put up a billboard and sent out a communication to the community. The Scioto Ridge project is proposed for Hardin County as well as two townships in Logan County. The hearing will only address that part of the project which is planned for Logan County. Each County must separately grant tax abatement and the actions of one county do not affect the other county.

In nearby Allen County, there will be a hearing TOMORROW, May 5th at 4:00 PM at the Allen Economic Development Group office located at 144 S Main St, Suite 200, in Lima. This hearing will consider a request from the Apex Long Prairie project to the Allen County Port Authority to run transmission lines along rail lines to facilitate delivery of power into the grid through the village of Spencerville. Immediately following the petition is the Apex outreach to citizens soliciting support from Van Wert citizens. Apex is an aggressive and determined wind developer based in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will be seeing a lot of them in Ohio.

Meanwhile, chaos seems to be the best way to describe what is happening in Ohio’s regulated utility world. Following the PUCO’s approval of plans by AEP and First Energy to build renewable energy and to receive an income guarantee for coal-fired plants that are being phased, PUCO Chairman Porter handed in his resignation saying he has accepted a position with an unnamed out of state company. Simultaneously, the federal regulators at FERC said they would not support the plan and would take a closer look at it. At this point AEP withdrew its proposal fearing that delays in their commitment to build 500 MW of wind would be at risk of losing the federal tax credits. Apparently AEP still intends to build the wind projects but it is not a sure thing. The location of AEP’s wind facilities has not been disclosed – if they know….

AEP bows to BigWind. Higher electric rates coming to Ohio!

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Big news is an announcement by AEP (Ohio) that it intends to develop 900 MW of renewable energy over the next five years as part of a settlement agreement with environmental activists like the Sierra Club and others if the PUCO approves their plan. Of the 900 MW, AEP plans to develop 500 MW of wind and 400 MW of solar. The solar energy is to be developed in Ohio’s Appalachian region. The Columbus Dispatch reports that “The case will go to the PUCO’s five-member governing board, which can accept, reject or modify the terms, and likely will issue a ruling in the next few months. Dynegy and others have said they will challenge the plan in court if it gets approved by the PUCO. If approved, AEP says it will begin the process of soliciting bids for the wind and solar projects within 45 days. The company will select a slate of projects and then submit them for review by the PUCO, with the goal of obtaining the go-ahead by January 2017 and breaking ground in 2018. The projects would be paid for by charges in customer bills, the amounts of which are not yet known.” Will PUCO approve it? YES. Remember, we like to call them the Say Yes to BigWind board…

So we are back to the Production Tax Credit and whether it gets extended long enough for AEP to grab a bunch of taxpayer dollars to build 500 MW of wind while driving up the cost of electricity in Ohio. But there is movement in the background for those who really do want to attack climate change and that is nuclear energy. The thought of it makes many environmentalists crazy (crazier) but we think it is going to happen. Will it be soon enough?….

GAHANNA, Ohio, Dec. 14, 2015 – AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) filed today with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) a stipulated agreement in support of the company’s expanded Purchase Power Agreement (PPA). The agreement will be signed or unopposed by 11 parties, including the PUCO staff, Sierra Club, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, Ohio Energy Group, Ohio Hospital Association, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition, as well as three competitive retail energy suppliers.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement on a comprehensive plan that helps ensure more stable electricity prices for Ohio consumers and promotes a reliable and diverse generation supply to support the Ohio economy,” said Pablo Vegas, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer….

BigWind Wars across Ohio and around the world

Another flurry of activity at home and around the globe.   New turbine models were introduced by Senvion at 3 and 3.2 MW, to be built in the U.S. and designed to penetrate low wind communities.   Meanwhile, in Germany 71% of Danish wind imports are being rejected because the accompanying transmission lines are thought to degrade the landscape.   In the U.K., EverPower’s owner and Terra Firma Chairman, Guy Hands, was dumping money into the upcoming elections in order to defeat the Tories who adopted a “Manifesto”  that “states that the Conservatives will “halt the spread of onshore wind farms”, arguing that while onshore wind now makes a “meaningful contribution to our energy mix to our energy mix”, wind farms “often fail to win public support” and are “unable by themselves to provide the firm capacity that a stable energy system requires”.

 

Closer to home, the late Sam Walton’s brother-in-law, Frank Robson, has taken on the wind industry in Oklahoma after learning of plans for a development near his property.   “His efforts to push back against wind energy developments in Oklahoma led him to hire lobbyists. One firm hired, FKG Consulting, is the largest lobbying firm in the state. FKG Consulting supplied Robson with a small army of consultants including a pollster, and devised a strategy that has transformed Robson’s image from angry wealthy landowner to tax consumer advocate. Robson’s consultants transformed his message by halting the NIMBY talk, and devised a plan to go after tax incentives that support wind; a cause polling showed would be more compelling to the public. Robson has also hired a local marketing expert, who then started a group called “Wind Waste,” to pull the incentives that wind energy receives in the state out of context.”

On the Indiana/Ohio border, EDP Renewables is exploring a wind initiative in one, two or three counties: Wayne, Randolph and Henry. “It could be that we would build one in each county or one that straddles all three counties,” said EDP project manager Jeffrey Nemeth. “We just don’t know at this point. We are in the very, very early stages of development, and there’s a lot of studying to do.”  “Nemeth said initial plans in this area are to build a wind farm that includes 100 turbines and produces 200 megawatts, which is the same size as the current farm in Randolph County.”   The likely purchaser of the wind energy would be AEP.

In Ohio,  new PUCO Chairman Andre Porter  took office yesterday pledging “”I cannot stress that enough – how important it is that we do things in a way that everyone feels as if they’re being treated fairly. That means that no one gets special treatment. There is going to be a level playing field here at this commission,” he said.”    Ohio’s rural community hopes they will at last see fair treatment.  Porter could start by adhering to the laws and regulations governing the siting of wind turbines.

 

Speaking of those laws and regulations, the environmental left continued its Clean Energy Tour through Dayton trying to rally the troops to support reinstatement of the renewable mandates and repeal of the new property line setbacks.    In a  recent news story, Iberdrola’s Eric Thumma made some amazing statements.  Thumma said he would urge lawmakers to rescind or reconsider Ohio House Bill 483, which tripled property line setbacks for turbines on commercial wind farms. As a practical matter, the law rules out any new commercial wind farms that don’t already have permits, he said. No public hearings were held on that last-minute change before the bill passed last year. In the less than ten minutes of debate on it, Seitz railed against noise and other aspects of wind energy. “We’d like to see legislation that is obviously protective of the areas in which we’re developing, but also allows us to economically develop wind farms,” Thumma said. “What I always ask people to do is come have a conversation with me,” Thumma added. “We’ll stand under an operating wind turbine, and we can talk at the same level that we’re talking right now.”   WOW!  Thumma is trying to conflate inaudible emissions with audible emissions while ignoring all laws of physics surrounding noise propagation.  Standing under a turbine to have a conversation is not something anyone would say in 2015 unless they think the audience is incredibly stupid.

 

We enjoyed Senator’s Seitz reply to subject of the mandates that now must be considered in the context of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.  ““The issue is not whether you’re for or against having the wind blow or the sun shine or the possibilities of using that as a power source,” Seitz said. “The issue rather is should utilities be mandated to buy that fuel, and should ratepayers be mandated to pay for it? Or should ratepayers have some choice in the matter? That’s really the issue. It’s been the issue all along.” “That’s the issue to me and to many others on this committee,” Seitz said. “And that issue has been compounded by the looming omnipresence of this ridiculous U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan.” The Clean Power Plan “threatens to impose new mandates on top of whatever state mandates there are,” Seitz said. “Why should we continue marching up State Mandate Mountain when there are new federal mandates on the horizon?”  

  

Last but not least, the bat issues are still mired in debate while UNU and the Indiana University Conservation Law Center decide whether or not to file an appeal to the EverPower bat mitigation plan. There is a great deal going on in this world and we appreciate everyone who has stuck with us and continued to educate themselves and their community. Thank you….   

While an Ohio energy study committee is tasked by law to look broadly at both the costs and benefits of the state’s clean energy standards, advocates say most of the group’s focus so far has been on factors against them.

“The committee has stated that they are coming at this with an open mind, and I continue to give them the benefit of the doubt,” said Rob Kelter of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

However, Kelter added, last month’s meeting of Ohio’s Energy Mandates Study Committee was “disconcerting.”

Lawmakers at that meeting focused primarily on perceived weaknesses of wind and solar energy, without considering the benefits of either renewable energy or energy efficiency….

Most of the time lawmakers spent asking questions focused on those discounts and ignored the primary value of renewable energy, say advocates.

“Wind is not necessarily a capacity resource,” said Dan Sawmiller of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal program. “It’s an energy resource.”

The capacity auction aims “to make sure that when there’s a peak period of demand, there is either enough generation or enough demand response or other energy efficiency resources to be able to make sure that the grid is in balance,” said Eric Thumma at Iberdrola Renewables, whose projects include the 304 MW Blue Creek Wind Farm in northwest Ohio.

“That’s a different product from energy, which is just the megawatt hours that are delivered to the grid from resources,” Thumma continued. “That’s really the product that wind and solar provide. They’re energy resources.”

“Capacity factors by themselves are not that critical,” Sawmiller said. “Consumers are more concerned with the total cost of producing the reliable electricity that they demand, not the capacity factor of a particular resource.”…

“The issue is not whether you’re for or against having the wind blow or the sun shine or the possibilities of using that as a power source,” Seitz said. “The issue rather is should utilities be mandated to buy that fuel, and should ratepayers be mandated to pay for it? Or should ratepayers have some choice in the matter? That’s really the issue. It’s been the issue all along.”

“That’s the issue to me and to many others on this committee,” Seitz said. “And that issue has been compounded by the looming omnipresence of this ridiculous U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan.”

The Clean Power Plan “threatens to impose new mandates on top of whatever state mandates there are,” Seitz said. “Why should we continue marching up State Mandate Mountain when there are new federal mandates on the horizon?”

Energy efficiency standards in Ohio and elsewhere “are totally cost-effective and save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” stressed Kushler.

“Even if EPA disappeared tomorrow, it would still be in the best interests of Ohio to do energy efficiency programs,” Kushler continued. “Energy efficiency is still cheaper than supplying and operating those generating plants and paying for their replacements” when they eventually get too old.

Thumma said he would urge lawmakers to rescind or reconsider Ohio House Bill 483, which tripled property line setbacks for turbines on commercial wind farms. As a practical matter, the law rules out any new commercial wind farms that don’t already have permits, he said.

No public hearings were held on that last-minute change before the bill passed last year. In the less than ten minutes of debate on it, Seitz railed against noise and other aspects of wind energy.

“We’d like to see legislation that is obviously protective of the areas in which we’re developing, but also allows us to economically develop wind farms,” Thumma said.

“What I always ask people to do is come have a conversation with me,” Thumma added. “We’ll stand under an operating wind turbine, and we can talk at the same level that we’re talking right now.”…

Advocates hope Ohio energy committee will broaden focus | Midwest Energy News.

additional references from above, please copy/paste:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/04/15/porter-sworn-in-as-puco-chairman.html

http://www.ohioenergyfuturetour.com

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2403945/tory-manifesto-vows-to-halt-the-spread-of-onshore-windfarms/page/2

http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2015/04/08/bat-listings-impact-on-wind-industry-yet-to-be-determined/

BigWind feels more confident in Ohio’s ‘wind-heavy counties’

BigWind is preparing for the battle of their lives to overturn the SB310 which froze the renewable mandates x 2 years. Note part of their strategy below…

The big battle over Ohio’s renewable energy standards is over, but there’s still some fight left in those looking to salvage the industry….

The centerpiece of the legislation is coming in the form of an Energy Mandates Study Committee. Twelve state legislators and Tom Johnson, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, must submit a report of the committee’s findings on the efficacy of the standards by next September…

Gov. John Kasich signed the freeze bill 11 days after the EPA plan was announced, but many of the legislators were unaware of the intermingling of the two bills, Payne and O’Donnell told me.

“A lot of legislators were not vested in the issue,” Payne said, meaning alt-energy isn’t a big industry or concern in their distrcit. “We think this is a reason for them to be vested.”

Payne and O’Donnell also want the committee to hold meetings across the state, including in wind-heavy counties in the northwest.

via Renewable energy backers hope federal carbon rules influence S.B. 310 Energy Mandates Study Committee in Ohio – Columbus – Columbus Business First.

Ouch! Ohio Senator Cliff Hite- this testimony against BigWind STINGS!

Yesterday was a very good day in the Ohio Senate on several levels.  Testimony offered in support of SB 34 to repeal the Ohio Renewable Mandate was given by several witnesses in the nuclear engineering field who discussed the promise of new technology but who asserted that a mandate of any kind sends signals to the financing and venture capital markets to divert investment to the mandated technologies like wind and solar.  Even small amounts of mandated wind and solar impede access to financing for emerging technologies.   The Public Utilities Committee was very interested in this aspect.  Then the “star” witness, Milo Schaffner, Hoaglin Township Trustee, from Van Wert County presented a Resolution from the Van Wert County Trustees Association supporting SB 34.    This was especially important because Van Wert County is represented by Sen. Cliff Hite, a major obstacle to the repeal of the mandate.  

Trustee Schaffner also described the remorse of a leaseholder whose farm drainage  was forever ruined; the fact that people who sought “Good Neighbor Agreements” were denied by Iberdrola who instead gave them $25 Wal-Mart gift cards; that shadow flicker is experienced in the Schaffner home which is a little more than a mile from the nearest turbine and that the noise was terrible. Trustee Schaffner’s testimony is below…

Chairman Seitz, Vice Chairman LaRose, ranking member Kearney, Members of the Senate Public Utilities Committee. I want to thank you for the honor of addressing this committee. My name is Milo Schaffner and I have lived 64 of my years in Van Wert County’s Hoaglin Township. I have been involved in our community as a school board member, youth leader, job creator, (Schaffner Tool and Die), school teacher, and have just been re-elected to my fourth term as township trustee.

I stand before you now as Vice President of the Van Wert Co. Trustee Association. I would like to read to you a letter that was sent to our Senator Mr. Hite.

On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, the Executive Committee of the Van Wert County Township Association met with all twelve townships represented and unanimously Resolved to support Senate Bill 34 submitted by Senator Jordon to repeal the requirement that electrical distribution utilities and electrical services companies provide 25% of their retail power supplies from advanced and renewable energy resources by 2025. We urge you to support Senate Bill 34. Sincerely Jeffery A. Harmon President Van Wert County Township Association. 

A copy of this is included in my testimony.

I would now like to stand before you as Hoaglin Township Trustee. I believe based upon this past November election our views are the majority of our township. Many Wind Turbine Lease Holders are in support of our stand, and thanked us for what we have been doing. We have simply been telling the truth and asking the hard questions of wind developers, that people seem to forget to ask when they are promised money.

You may not be aware that Iberdrola sent a letter to people who have asked for a good neighbor agreement. This letter informed them that Iberdrola was no longer offering good neighbor agreements, Iberdrola included a $25 gift card to Wal-Mart and thanked them for their interest. Sometime later when I saw Mr. Litchfield, project developer for Iberdrola, I told him of the shadow flicker at my house one mile away from the nearest turbine. His response was if I signed a Good Neighbor agreement Iberdrola would buy blinds for our house. The Ethics Committee has already ruled a Trustee cannot accept more than that which is offered to the average citizen. Ethics Committee opinion of March 10, 2010. Mr. Litchfield knows this because he told me Iberdrola’s attorney helped write the opinion. How could anyone accept this when your neighbor who lives within 1500 feet of a turbine was refused a good neighbor agreement?

I now stand before you as a Small Business Owner. Most of our machines are run by computers and require a dependable source of electricity at a competitive price. Dependable because these machines have no hand cranks. If the electricity amperage or voltage is varied it can cost many thousands of dollars in repairs. Let me ask you why should I invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment in a state that has chosen to require me to buy electricity that is not dependable, and is far too expensive? 

Lastly I stand before you as a citizen of Hoaglin Township, Van Wert County, and the state of Ohio. I ask why have you passed bills that ruin our piece of happiness? Please do not test my intelligence with the old jobs argument. Come look at the license plates on vehicles at the interconnection site. Mr. Litchfield was asked if Iberdrola would hire the graduates of Vantage Vocational School who took the Wind Turbine program. His answer was no, we hire people who have been trained by the manufacturer of the turbines. Remember, we were led to believe these young people would be hired and have good paying jobs.

My Wife of over 48 years and I enjoyed drinking coffee on our front porch until the turbines came. We even went out in the winter, all bundled up and drank coffee and talked. Our neighbors called us the Cracker Barrel of Hoaglin Township. Now when we go out it only takes a couple minutes until my wife says she can’t stand it and goes inside. We have talked about moving but this is where we raised our children. They come back home where they were raised for all the Holidays. 

In closing I would like to tell you how ruthless these wind developers really are. I had asked Mr. Litchfield years ago about people being lied to concerning what they were told they had signed and what they had really signed. His response was we cannot be held accountable for that because we hire another firm to get leases signed and we have no control over what they tell people. I was walking down the street a couple months ago, I believe it was in Sept. when a man said, “Hey Milo, I have been thinking about you the last couple weeks.” My response was that can’t be good. His response was I saw your picture on the front page of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and I wanted to tell you, if I had known then what I know now I would never have signed up my farm. They told me what I signed gave them only the wind rights to my farm. I now have a road through my farm that has destroyed two outlets. I don’t think I will ever be able to get my farm to drain properly again. I told him not to feel bad because they have done the same thing to other people. The man was correct he never got his farm to properly drain again, He died last week.

If a wind project is a wise investment, let people freely pursue it. I have no reason to believe the experience of others will be much different from Van Wert. The tragedy is that this probably would have never happened in the way it has developed if there was no mandate. Developers can trample one community and move on to trample the next one because they are protected by a mandate that gives them that right.

This bill is about removing the mandate.
I ask you to Pass Senate Bill 34.