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….

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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

Ohio Renewable Energy committee has SIGNIFICANT farm bureau connections

Yesterday, the Ohio Senate members of the General Assembly’s
Renewable Energy Study Committee were announced.  We will be curious to see if Senator Cliff Hite will be as aggressive as he has been in the past in supporting the wind industry.  Hite represents much of the area targeted for wind development including all or part of Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Logan, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, and Williams Counties.  We have provided portions of their biographies (at bottom) of all Committee members and note there are significant Farm Bureau connections.

We also provide information on one of the Vorys firm’s other client’s –
Blackfork Wind being developed by Element Power, another UK based entity
which is owned by a private equity firm, Hudson Clean Energy Partners.
Hudson has offices in New Jersey and China.  A Hudson issued a press release
this week about its success in raising $91 million. One third of these funds
will support Element’s wind developments in Northern Europe.  Reading the
company’s profile, we note their commitment to “risk mitigated”
opportunities.  Risk mitigation seems to be provided by U.S. Treasury
through the PTC, local PILOT and state mandates.  We hope that the Study
Committee clearly comprehends that it is the taxpayer and the ratepayer who enhance the return on investment for these private equity players and their limited liability subsidiaries….

Element Power has requested an additional two years to build its 200MW Black Fork wind farm in the US state of Ohio, citing project delays and the prospect of a better market for wind power in a few years. Element, which is backed by Hudson Clean Energy Partners, the renewables-focused private-equity firm, received its construction permits for the 91-turbine Black Fork project in 2012.

But Black Fork, Element’s only project in Ohio, engendered significant local
opposition, ultimately landing the project in the Ohio Supreme Court. Last
December the court upheld Element’s right to build Black Fork, located in
north central Ohio.

Element’s existing construction certificate runs to January 2017, but the
developer has requested an extension to January 2019…

via Element wants Black Fork extension -Recharge News.

Ohio Renewable Energy Study Committee

1. Senator Troy Balderson (R) is currently serving his second General Assembly
in the Ohio Senate, representing the 20th District, which encompasses all of
Fairfield, Guernsey, Hocking, Morgan, and Muskingum Counties, as well as
portions of Athens and Pickaway Counties. He is currently the Chairman of
the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources. Tapping his vast knowledge on energy issues, Senator Balderson has been
appointed to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy &
Natural Resources…
<http://www.ohiosenate.gov/committee/energy-and-natural-resources> ….
In addition to his committee leadership responsibilities, Senator Balderson
serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture
<http://www.ohiosenate.gov/committee/agriculture> ….
Prior to joining the Ohio Senate, Balderson served in the Ohio House of
Representatives, where he was named to the powerful House Finance Committee and also presided as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture and Natural Resources….
As part of his effort to best serve the district, Senator Balderson stays
very active in the community including being a member of the Genesis Health
Care Advisory Board, the Cattleman’s Association, the Muskingum County Farm Bureau and the National Rifle Association….

2.As a farmer, business owner and former county official, Bob Peterson ® has devoted much of his time and attention to solving the challenges facing our communities. He now brings that same attitude and drive to the Ohio Senate as he works to improve all of Ohio. Bob represents the 17th Ohio Senate District, which encompasses Clinton, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson,Pike and Ross counties as well as portions of Lawrence, Pickaway and Vinton counties.

A farmer by trade, Senator Peterson and his family are the eighth generation
of Petersons to farm in the U.S. Peterson raises corn, soybeans, wheat and
livestock on his family’s farm. He also has been active in the Farm Bureau
in a variety of leadership positions, culminating to his position as Ohio
Farm Bureau President for nearly five years He also served as a member of the budget-writing Finance Committee, the Agriculture Committee, the Energy & Natural Resources Committee and the Insurance & Financial Institutions
Committee….Peterson received his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University, and is also a graduate of its LEAD Program, an intense two-year agriculture leadership program that features extensive experience in economics, environmental issues and state and national political processes….

3. Bill Seitz (We know he is a friend of the consumer, ratepayer,resident, so info was not added)

4.Senator Cliff Hite is currently serving in his second General Assembly as a member of the Ohio Senate, representing the 1st Senate District, which encompasses an 11 county region of Northwest Ohio including all or part of Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Logan, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, and Williams Counties. Prior to his appointment to the Senate, Hite served two terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. For the second time during his tenure in the Senate, Hite has been tapped to preside as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture….

5.Senator Shirley A. Smith (D) was elected to the 21st Senate District of the Ohio Senate in November 2006 after serving eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives as the State Representative for the 10th House District in Cleveland.  Senate District 21 encompasses Wards 2 through 12 and 14, Bratenahl, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, Garfield Heights, Newburgh Heights, and University Heights….

Smith serves as Ranking Member of the Government Oversight Committee and sits on the Finance Committee, Criminal Justice Committee, the Public
Utilities Committee, and the Agriculture Committee….

6.Capri S. Cafaro (D) has represented the 32nd Ohio Senate District since January 2007 when she was appointed to the 127th General Assembly. Cafaro’s district encompasses Ashtabula and Trumbull counties, located in Northeast Ohio. As of 2013, portions of Geauga County have been added to her district as well….She serves on the Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee, as well as the Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee, and the Legislative Service Commission. In 2008 she was named a Friend of Agriculture by the Ohio Farm Bureau… In 2009, Senator Cafaro was recognized as Legislator of the Year by the Ohio Speech and Hearing Coalition, the Ohio Farmer’s Union, AMVETS Department of Ohio, and Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers’ Association and the Soybean Association for her leadership and support of Ohio’s bio products industry and Ohio agriculture….