Ohio house bill 114= protections for citizens and energy rates, but will it pass?

This week we welcome into the world House Bill 114 sponsored Ohio Rep. Louis Blessing who noted that “A lot of the utilities are going to be doing these programs on their own, and I think it’s kind of unnecessary to have the mandates at this point.” Fellow sponsor Rep. Bill Seitz’s view is “What we are now saying is we are going to scrap the renewable portfolio mandates in their entirety and repeal them with goals.” HB 114 is co-sponsored by all of the House Republicans including House leadership plus one Democrat. That is a veto-proof majority in the House but the bill’s fate in the Ohio Senate is less certain.

Not surprisingly, AWEA, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the reliable left, are gearing up for a BIG FIGHT. A report issued by the Buckeye Institute last week asserts that energy mandates drive up costs and threaten jobs. AWEA shot back with a loud reply. We understand there may not be one single factual statement in the AWEA reply….

We also received disturbing, but not unexpected, news this week that Senator Cliff Hite is still making efforts to reduce setbacks for wind turbines. Word is that he proposes to keep property lines but significantly shorten the distance from a turbine to the property line. There are also rumors of ongoing discussions about granting more local control to communities. We will continue to keep our ears to the ground and report what we learn.

Also interesting is that more municipalities in Denmark – home of Vestas – are banning onshore wind altogether. “John Snedker, the head of the planning and environmental committee, said that resistance against wind farms has been exploding.”….

Ohio Republicans have introduced a bill to gut the state’s renewable energy standards.

The changes would strip the 2008 law that enacted the standards of much of its muscle. House Bill 114 follows through on a promise made last month by Rep. Bill Seitz to scrap the requirements and make them voluntary.

“What we are now saying is we are going to scrap the renewable portfolio mandates in their entirety and repeal them with goals,” said Seitz, R-Cincinnati and chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee. Utilities would no longer be mandated to supply 12.5 percent of their power with alternative energy by 2027, and they would not need to ensure 0.5 percent of that is supplied by solar power. Those would now be goals, and utilities would not be “fined into oblivion” if they don’t meet the goal, Seitz has said.Under current law, they have to make compliance payments if they don’t meet annual benchmarks.The bill also would allow Ohio electric customers to opt out of costs utilities pass on to customers for renewable energy charges starting in 2019. Plus, commercial and industrial customers, who tend to use the most power, could opt out of energy efficiency programs.

Utilities wouls still have to meet energy efficiency requirements, but the maximum rate would drop to 17% from 22% by 2027….

Source: Ohio’s renewable energy mandates would become goals under latest proposal led by Bill Seitz – Columbus – Columbus Business First

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Will BigWind be TRUMPED?

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It will take days, weeks and months to sort out the election of Donald Trump. Today there was a whole lot of spinning going on in the wind industry. We bring you a sample of media highlights – enjoy!

· The Lima paper claims that West Central Ohio -aka Ground Zero for Wind Development – played a big part in delivering Ohio for Trump. Check out the overwhelming percentage of votes for Trump in our wind-ravaged region.

· Bloomberg reports “If corporate rates fall, as Trump has pledged if he is elected Tuesday, investors will have less need for write-offs through tax-equity investments. With wind and solar projects expected to need $56.2 billion in capital during the next president’s first term, a slump in the tax-equity market may leave developers short.” “Can you get to a 15 percent rate and still have a tax-equity market?” Martin said. “It just doesn’t seem realistic.”

· Giant turbine maker Vestas saw their stock tank following the election. About 40% of Vestas market is in the US. “Shares in Vestas Wind Systems A/S plunged after U.S. voters unexpectedly propelled Republican nominee Donald Trump to the presidency, sparking concern that the renewable- energy industry will face future political headwinds.”

· Vestas, which had been very optimistic prior to the election was singing a different tune this morning. In a statement after the election, Vestas said it would not speculate on different scenarios for the US renewables market – but noted that wind enjoys strong public support in the US, even with Trump supporters. “Polls show that almost 80% of Trump supporters want more wind farms built in the United States,” Vestas said. This is delusional.

· The Washington Post reviews the agony of the green community. “We’re feeling angry and sad and contemplative,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.” “ Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, acknowledged that Tuesday was “clearly a disappointing night” for environmental activists. “I’ve been doing this work for 40 years, and there are times we’re very aggressively on offense, and sometimes we need to play defense,” Karpinski said, vowing that the community would continue to organize, litigate and pressure both companies and the government. “Despite what Mr. Trump might think, the climate crisis is real and not a hoax.. We need to do what we can at all levels to double down and make progress, in this country and around the world.” Look for more aggressive action at the state level!

· A pro-renewable pundit writing for Recharge tries see the “bright side” by asserting “If there’s one thing that’s long been clear when it comes to Trump and renewables, it’s that he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. That’s bad news on many levels, of course, but in a sense it’s also cause for optimism. Trump and his advisers are about to get an education in many areas, including the realities of the energy industry. When that happens he will come to understand that not only is blind opposition to wind and solar power irrational – it’s also terrible politics, even in the most conservative corners of the US.” SAY WHAT????

· Eenews reports “The specifics of what Trump will do to gut climate change work are unclear. But he has promised to eviscerate as many Obama executive orders and regulations as he can as soon as possible. That includes the electricity-sector climate rules known as the Clean Power Plan.” “I think it’s safe to say carbon regulation of the power sector is about to face a sea change,” Segal said.

· E&E News also reported “Gregg Small, CEO of Climate Solutions, a nonprofit based in Washington state, said Trump will be “devastating” to efforts to limit temperature increases worldwide. “There is no way to overstate the disaster this is for the world,” Small said. “It’s honestly hard not to break down in tears at what this means for the planet.” 

· Dan Shreve of MAKE summed it up well in ReCharge News: “Nevertheless, the impact to the US renewables sector is undeniably negative, but not necessarily in the near term. Conversely, the surprise win by Trump is likely to prompt an even more substantial order surge in the US to capitalize on existing Production Tax Credit (PTC) incentives, resulting in a more pronounced peak in demand through 2020 for the US wind market. This, of course, assumes that existing support mechanisms are maintained, and MAKE does not expect existing PTC/ITC (Investment Tax Credit for the solar industry) legislation will be impacted by the Trump win, given that elimination of the incentives would require overcoming a Democratic filibuster. The long-term health of the renewables sector is a different story altogether. President-elect Trump has gone on record numerous times to decry the science behind climate change and is not expected to support any renewables initiatives.

“It has been reported that the first weeks of the Trump presidency will likely be focused on rescinding and implementing a wide variety of executive orders. Unfortunately, this is very likely to include the CPP, as it was included as an executive order under Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The ongoing litigation in the US Court of Appeals and expected appeal to the Supreme Court would therefore be moot, and upwards of 55% of wind energy demand from 2020-30 could be eliminated.”

One thing is clear. Now is not the time to quit praying for our country. There are many issues/problems that need to be addressed in this new administration….

Iowa wind farm generates more tax credits than electricity-Ohio will too

The information below is not only true of Iowa, but also Ohio. Our BlueCreek industrial wind site does not have high production numbers (this is public info); in fact, there is no industrial wind site in Ohio that does! Our wind is not sufficient for producing large amounts of wind energy, but you would not know that if you listened to BigWind. BigWind is lobbying, hard, for reduced setbacks in Ohio, along with automatic tax breaks (PILOT), and promoting their ‘jobs’-ha, that’s a laugh. There is absolutely no comparison in the number of jobs that traditional fuels (natural gas and coal) create with their power plants. BigWind generates a handful of construction jobs and then, typically, less than a dozen once the site is up and running.  Wake up America. One Presidential candidate wants to ram these industrial monsters into our communities, while the other says NO.  This industry is raising, and will continue, to raise our electricity rates and that is terrible news for Ohioans, Americans, industry and our poor….

…the Warren Buffett-owned utility company MidAmerican Energy may soon build a massive new wind farm in Iowa. The thing is, electricity is far from the only thing it will generate. Known as “Wind XI,” the proposed 2,000 megawatt wind farm—Iowa’s largest ever—has the potential to produce a lot of electricity, but even more tax credits.

In total, Wind XI could generate up to $1.8 billion in tax credits for its backers over the next decade.

The winners? Warren Buffett; MidAmerican Energy’s other investors; and Facebook, Microsoft, and Google—MidAmerican’s biggest customers, who will receive tax benefits of their own for using wind energy. The losers? Taxpayers and other ratepayers footing the bill.
Unfortunately, this is part of an ongoing trend in wind energy across the country. It’s not the demand for more electricity that’s driving construction, but rather the government’s preferential tax treatment and counterintuitive energy mandates.

The demand for electricity in the U.S. has been nearly flat over past decade, due to slow economic growth and gains in energy efficiency. Despite the lack of new demand, new wind farms are popping up across the country because of the tremendous tax credits they generate for their owners….

And the tax credits Buffett mentions are substantial. Although MidAmerican Energy likes to note that Wind XI is not receiving any financial incentives from Iowa, that’s only half of the story. The federal government provides $23 in credits for every megawatt hour—the large-scale unit of production for energy– of electricity produced by wind and other alternative energy sources. Known as the production tax credit (PTC), this government giveaway means that MidAmerican’s new wind farm could generate $180 million in credits each year.

The federal government does even more than that to ensure green energy producers get ample benefits. MidAmerican Energy can use the PTC for up to 10 years, after recent regulatory changes expanding the life of the credit. In addition to the tax credits, government regulators set a fixed rate of return for MidAmerican Energy to charge its customers. MidAmerican will receive a guaranteed 11 percent return on equity for Wind XI, meaning it will rake in $395 million in profit over the roughly 30 year life of the project.

Another set of reasons why new wind farms are in high demand are energy mandates at both the state and federal level. Currently, 29 states have renewable portfolio standards mandating utilities to generate a certain percentage of their electricity from sources such as wind and solar. On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent carbon regulations—if eventually upheld by the Supreme Court—will shutter many traditional power plants, leaving wind farms to take their place.

In other words, government policy is doing everything in its power to set the stage for wind….

Source: Iowa wind farm generates more tax credits than electricity

Will the Renewable Energy ‘house of cards’ FALL in the USA?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently released a report agreeing with the renewable industries’ dual claim that even though technologies like wind and solar power are now cost-competitive with conventional energy sources, governments should continue to subsidize them(say what??). This rhetoric suggests that American taxpayer dollars should continue to prop up the profitability of select companies compared with what the free market would objectively and more efficiently determine.

In other words, the IEA implicitly confirms that by removing government support, many renewable energy companies would collapse like a house of cards because they aren’t competitive without it. Further, the report concludes that without government subsidies for renewable companies, investors would not be comfortable investing private capital.

Why then would the U.S. government want America to put all of her eggs in a renewables basket? Warren Buffet, billionaire and major investor in wind energy, has admitted that wind isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. “The only reason to build them [wind farms]” is the subsidies; “They don’t make sense without” them….

The IEA report confirms that renewable energy technologies depend more on government action than fossil-fuel based investments. Unlike renewables, coal and natural gas producers can respond to market signals by adjusting their output and operating costs. Texas is at the center of this debate over preserving renewable subsidies because the state leads the nation with 18.2 GW of combined installed wind and solar capacity. The Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard’s (RPS) goal of reaching 10,000 MW by 2025 was met in 2010, 15 years ahead of schedule. The Texas Legislature now faces a dilemma of whether to increase the costly RPS after long meeting its goal…

Since the RPS was not increased or made voluntary, renewable energy credits for new projects have become even more scarce than they were during the boom of projects in the early 2000s. Despite this, Texas has reached 16 GW of installed wind capacity since the boom and now produces roughly 20 percent of the nation’s wind-powered electricity generation.

Given the scarcity of renewable energy credits, how did Texas renewables achieve this growth?

According to the IEA, about one-third of the 4.8 GW of wind power installed in Texas in 2014 was financed using “synthetic power purchase agreements,” also known as hedges. Under these agreements, the power producer sells its electricity directly into the wholesale spot market and receives the prevailing market price. To compensate for the unpredictability of market prices, however, the power producer signs a contract for a financial product known as a “hedge” to provide protection against volatility and increase the stability of future cash flows.

These agreements effectively enable project developers, in combination with federal tax incentives, to secure debt and equity financing required to finance their projects.* …

Regarding renewables, producers are hedging their bets on production with synthetic power purchase agreements to ensure profitability despite receiving government subsidies. All this to finance energy that cannot be produced when it’s not windy or sunny outside…

It’s time for Texas to take a closer look at the effect of increasing renewable generation and steer the competitive electricity market away from growing subsidies for unreliable energy sources. Once Texas, the nation’s leading energy producer, starts to move the dial, other states and the federal government should follow to allow free markets to work instead of contributing to a boom and bust cycle.

Source: The Renewable Energy House of Cards | RealClearEnergy

BigWind creates a ‘living nightmare’ in Michigan. Is Ohio next???

 

In Huron County, Michigan, the headlines following a hearing on more wind development were: “Residents: Life here is ‘living nightmare’ “ The story is one sad experience after another from the people who are bearing the brunt of the state and federal policies and subsidies that promote wind development along with the ideological fervor of the anti- fossil fuel carbon haters. But who gets the blame at the end of the day in Michigan? THE LEASEHOLDERS! ““But the biggest thing is the landowners who signed up,” Smith said. “They started the process with developers. It started with landowners, and people seem to forget that.” We suppose there is a good lesson there that the best protection is an informed public that turns away the developer’s alluring promises. The problem is that the developers work in secret and play neighboring landowners off one another by falsely claiming “everyone has signed up, so you might as well, too.” Often the landowner is old and doesn’t fully understand.  This scenario is likely to occur in Ohio, unless our citizenry becomes informed about the truths behind BigWind. Oh, and let us not forget the ‘Say Yes to BigWind’ aka Ohio Power Siting Board. They are all but ensuring that this WILl happen in Ohio…

As plans progress for hundreds more wind turbines in Huron County, residents continue to fire their opposition at both developers and county officials.

This year, wind energy developers will push Huron’s turbine count toward 500 and beyond.

On Wednesday, residents skewered county planners for allowing that to happen, claiming they aren’t protecting residents and telling of the “hell” and “living nightmare” they’re now stuck with in the state’s unofficial wind capital…

“You and every township board in this county has traded our health, safety and welfare for the almighty dollar,” an emphatic Barry said as she chastised planners.

“Because it seems like that’s all you’re considering with these turbines is the dollar and not the effect that they have on the people in this community. … Shame on you for not protecting this county.”…

“And our quality of life has been taken away, replaced with a pollution of never-ending noise, shadow flicker, red blinking lights and health issues for many,” Barry said…

Jon Elliott of Pigeon said he “lives in hell” near the 44-turbine Pheasant Run project, which mixes with another 44 in the Brookfield Wind Park that span five townships in western Huron County…

“I don’t want to have those right at my back door,” Elliott said, raising his voice toward planners. “I might as well put a for sale sign on and have you guys buy the place.”

It wasn’t Nancy Krohn’s first rodeo, either.

“It’s a living nightmare around here now,” Krohn, of Elkton, said…

 

The comments hit a nerve for Jeff Smith, the county’s building and zoning director.

“It bothers me because we worked hard in my office (on the new wind energy ordinance),” Smith said.

Officials took nearly two years drafting and adopting a new wind energy ordinance.

Smith, at the forefront, worked with planners, an acoustics firm, the county’s attorney, other officials, residents and wind developers, seeking information locally, statewide and across the country to write a turbine rulebook for 16 county-zoned townships.

What resulted was a 22-page ordinance almost triple the length of a 2010 revision. Wind developers said it was so strict it would zone turbines out of the county. Smith acknowledged the impact stricter rules would have on wind projects, but stood by the ordinance, saying it’s “reasonable” and will protect everyone in the county. He cited a want for responsible development and consistency…

“It’s in place to protect people, and it does protect people,” he said.

He went on, putting the blame on higher-ups for the drive for wind energy projects and explaining why developers eyed Huron County for siting…

 

“But the biggest thing is the landowners who signed up,” Smith said. “They started the process with developers. It started with landowners, and people seem to forget that.”

Seeking landowner interest is one of the first steps for developers…

 

Source: Residents: Life here is ‘living nightmare’ | Local News | michigansthumb.com

Will BigWind ‘Trick or Treat’ the American taxpayers?

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TRICK! Charles McConnell, executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative and a former assistant secretary of Energy at the Department of Energy under Obama was interviewed about the federal Clean Power Plan and flatly asserted that “If you look at it, really, fundamentally it’s more or less a forced renewable portfolio standard that requires the deployment of an enormous amount of wind. If you boil it down, that’s really what we’re talking about. It’s approximately 127,000 new windmills in the next 15 years in this country that’ll take up, if they were all deployed, about 10 million acres of land.” We urge everyone to read the interview with McConnell below.

BEST TREAT OF ALL! Another great interview with Ohio Senator Bill Seitz who spoke with a Michigan news outlet. Seitz explained, “As you can imagine, our committee recommendations aren’t popular with our enviro-socialist friends. But, in spite of what they say, this isn’t about clean energy versus dirty energy. It’s about efficient energy.” Seitz also stated, “The federal government has no power to tell states or utilities they need to have wind farms or how many they need to have.” And when asked if the average residents in Ohio realize the extent to which wind energy is actually reliant on fossil fuels, Seitz replied “No, most of the public and the press generally don’t know that. It’s a dirty little secret the public and press are unaware of [including the Cleveland Plain Dealer] and there are people who want to keep them unaware of it. Obviously, the better informed the general public is, the better off we’d all be.”…

CLIMATE:

Former DOE official McConnell says power plan a forced renewable portfolio standard

Aired: Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Does the Clean Power Plan help spur carbon capture and storage technology innovation and investments? During today’s OnPoint, Charles McConnell, executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative and a former assistant secretary of Energy at the Department of Energy, discusses the Obama administration’s fossil energy strategy and the challenges ahead for technological innovation. He also explains why he believes the Obama administration has been “disingenuous” about its plans for an all-of-the-above energy strategy.

Transcript

Monica Trauzzi: Hello, and welcome to OnPoint. I’m Monica Trauzzi. With me today is the Honorable Charles McConnell, executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative and a former assistant secretary of Energy at DOE from 2011 to 2013. Charles, it’s nice to see you. Thanks for coming on the show.

Charles McConnell: Pleasure.

Monica Trauzzi: Charles, you were one of the critics of the efficiency building block that was part of EPA’s draft Clean Power Plan. With that block out of the final rule, how has the game changed for coal as states begin crafting their compliance mechanisms and utilities strategize on investments?

Charles McConnell: Well, I think it’s pretty obvious what it is to coal, but it’s not just coal. It’s coal and gas. If you look at it, really, fundamentally it’s more or less a forced renewable portfolio standard that requires the deployment of an enormous amount of wind. If you boil it down, that’s really what we’re talking about. It’s approximately 127,000 new windmills in the next 15 years in this country that’ll take up, if they were all deployed, about 10 million acres of land.

Monica Trauzzi: From a technological standpoint, can that be met?

Charles McConnell: No, it can’t. And that’s a little bit of what’s flawed with many of the calculations and how some of the decision making and rulemaking came about is that, if you look at the practical aspects of it in terms of deployment and in terms of the reliability and cost for people in this country, it’s just really not something that’s … for our efforts here.

Monica Trauzzi: But there’s no directive written into the final rule specifically on wind — driving all the investments towards wind. There’s this Clean Energy Incentive Program that seeks to incentivize all clean energy, so why specifically do you think that this is going to drive wind?

Charles McConnell: Well, if you look at gas as an example, which a lot of people have seen as the replacement for coal, many of the states that are going to be bearing the burden of this — and by the way, of the 50 states, seven of the states bear roughly 40 percent of the responsibilities for all of the reductions. And so what you end up with are technical milestones and hurdles that, unless you do deploy wind, you’re — you’re unable to meet them…..

And the quote, above, from Senator Seitz= An article on liberty and free markets as sound public policy for Michigan, Michigan Capitol Confidential.

Source: Interview with Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz

Why is it important to repeal Ohio’s BigWind mandate?

Many times, we have blogged about the Forbes magazine article highlighting rising electricity rates in 10 states where BigWind generates the most power: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2014/10/17/electricity-prices-soaring-in-top-10-wind-power-states/   Now, we have an independent review, about North Carolina and Kansas, confirming why mandating the use of BigWind is disasterous for a state’s economy. Remember, Ohio has currently ‘frozen’ our mandate, aka Senate Bill 310, while a committee reviews the effects of the mandate. This should be additional confirmation why Ohio should say goodbye to BigWind…

The Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University has produced a report on the costs of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in North Carolina…

Strata’s RPs findings utilize an innovative method of analysis originally developed by the Federal Reserve BANK of Philadelphia. Through econometric analysis and modeling, the methodology isolates the effects of policy mandates like RPS and outputs general impacts. Our findings show that states with RPS have a significantly higher set of negative economic impacts than states without RPS. Specifically, our research shows that across RPS states, industrial production (measured by electricity sales) is greater than a 13% decline. Additionally, real personal INCOME declines in RPS states by almost 4 percent. For a typical household, this translates to about $4,000 per family in Kansas and slightly more than $3,800 in North Carolina in 2013 alone. As a result, our analysis shows that Kansas has lost over 5,500 jobs and North Carolina has lost 23,769 jobs as a result of RPS mandates to date….

Institute of Political Economy | Renewable Portfolio Standards: North Carolina.