Ohio Conservative Energy Forum exposed as BigWind in sheep’s clothing

I write in response to Columbus Business First’s March 2 article about a poll showing that conservative voters back green energy policies.

The article begins with the assertion that conservatives in Ohio favor clean energy policies, and accuses the Republican legislature of engaging in efforts to water down or kill renewable energy rules.

It also cites a poll showing that 85 percent of conservative voters are willing to pay more for their electricity if it is sourced from renewable energy sources.

The article, like others that have contributed to the spin initiated by the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, also indicates that Ohio’s mandates that favor particular supply or demand side technologies at the expense of captive electric customers need to be maintained to curry favor with the likes of Amazon.

I offer a different perspective.

In 2001, Ohio implemented legislation giving most retail electric customers in the state the right to act on their own electric generation supply preferences. They can exercise this right as an individual customer or through buying or aggregation groups…

This right is also not available to the customers of Ohio’s municipal electric utilities like those in Westerville and Columbus. (Perhaps this is something that the Columbus Partnership and Columbus 2020 might want to work on to help their Amazon campaign.)

Since 2001, if a retail electric customer in Ohio wants to obtain all of their generation supply from renewable sources, they can do so. And if they are willing to pay more for the renewable supply, they are free to do that as well. Ohio’s mandates compel customers who may have other preferences to nonetheless pay for renewable supply regardless of how much it costs. And Ohio’s investor owned utilities have used their role in the mandate compliance process to get hefty bonuses (also paid by captive customers) that further increase bills.

Ohio’s mandates are anticompetitive and anti-consumer. If the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum’s poll is correct, then Ohio’s customer-choice platform gives Amazon and most other Ohio retail electric customers complete control over their generation supply outcome without impinging on the price and technology preferences of their neighbors.

The article also makes a pitch for modifying Ohio’s minimum setback requirements that must be met by developers of large wind farms. This pitch is based on claims made by wind farm developers…

It is true that Ohio modified the minimum setback requirements in 2014. But the modification did not increase the minimum setback requirements. Instead, the modification required that the minimum setback distance be measured from the adjoining property line just like setbacks are measured in the case of all other land use regulation schemes. This change better respects the property rights and interests of non-participating owners of property adjoining a wind farm project.

 

Under current Ohio law, these non-participating property owners can agree to allow the wind farm developer to evade the minimum setback requirements by executing waivers…

Rather than respect the rights of these adjoining property owners, wind farm developers and their friends at the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum want Ohio to compel these property owners to, in effect and without compensation, provide the wind farm developer with an easement that subjects the adjoining property and anybody located on that property to the fire, ice throw, blade sheer, shadow flicker, noise and other risks attendant to the construction and operation of industrial size wind farms…

 

 

Link to article

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Rural Greenwich, Ohio, taking BigWind to the supreme court

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“according to Ohio law, before the Ohio Power Siting Board can issue a certificate for a windfarm, the board must be able to show the proposed windfarm will comply with various requirements related to flicker, sound and ice throw. The board was supposed to have developed rules related to those requirements by 2008. The board “never issued those rules“…Setbacks exist for a reason and that is safety. Few people know that the NW Ohio wind site in Paulding county experienced a blade shear. How far away was a piece found? More than 900 feet away!! How does the OPSB stay in business??…….

A rural Greenwich group’s fight to keep wind turbines out of their neighborhood is headed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

A state board on Thursday gave Windlab USA, a wind turbine developer, the go-ahead to construct 25 turbines in rural Greenwich, rejecting a request for a rehearing by a couple who lives by the future development.

The project will comprise 4,600 acres and up to 25 turbines, each 490.5 feet tall with rotor diameters of up to 383 feet….

 

A point of contention is whether Monica Jensen, Windlab USA’s vice president of development, has secured the necessary signatures from all adjacent property owners to bypass the minimum setback requirements.

Jensen on Thursday said she has “15 waivers” from residents whose property violates those setbacks.

But Sam Randazzo, an attorney for the Greenwich Neighbors United, a group opposed to the wind turbines, said of the 25 proposed turbines, 62 percent violate the minimum setback requirements. He added that amounts to “at least 100 property owners.”

“The only way the construction can proceed is if (Windlab) obtains waivers from all adjacent property owners,” Randazzo said.

The attorney said if you draw a circle based on a one-mile radius from the center of the proposed windfarm, there are more than 900 residences, in addition to “many active farms” as well as recreational and hunting businesses.

“That is why there has been such strong opposition,” he said.

“There’s no way that they have secured waivers from all of those property owners,” Randazzo said. He added that the ruling handed down by the siting board Thursday stipulates that Windlab must have those signatures before starting to construct a turbine.

“At the end of the day, they can’t construct anything unless they secure a waiver from the adjacent property owners,” he said. “That would be against the board’s order.”

Schilling confirmed the ruling requires the signatures.

The attorney was asked about the 15 waivers Jensen said she’s obtained….

The lawyer also said according to Ohio law, before the Ohio Power Siting Board can issue a certificate for a windfarm, the board must be able to show the proposed windfarm will comply with various requirements related to flicker, sound and ice throw.

The board was supposed to have developed rules related to those requirements by 2008. The board “never issued those rules,” Randazzo said. He added, therefore, the board issued Windlab USA a certificate to construct before the developer can demonstrate they can satisfy those requirements.

Opponents have also raised concerns about noise, adverse health effects and impact to wildlife….

Source: Winds in rural Greenwich are blowing toward Columbus … specifically the Ohio Supreme Court

If (BigWind energy in OH) is so cheap, why do we have to FORCE peop’s to buy it?

A group of environmentalists and others, like the Farm Bureau, who are pushing for reinstatement of the renewable mandates have completed a tour of the state and issued a report that is getting a lot of media attention. In addition to pushing for reinstatement of the mandates, they are demanding repeal of property line setbacks established last year to protect property owners. Siting has never been considered by the mandate committee and it would be surprising to see it included in the Mandate Committee’s report . And as for the mandates, Senator Seitz is quoted in the Columbus Business First as saying ““I don’t think we’re likely to resume our march up Mandate Mountain, but I also don’t think we’re going to repeal where we are right now,” he said. “Let things unfold the next three years due to turbulence created by the U.S. EPA.” “Those that believe these things are important should be given every opportunity to put money where their mouth is,” he said. “Loud and clearly.”…

We aren’t quite sure how to interpret all of this but it could mean the Committee will recommend that those who want to use more renewable energy could do so on a voluntary basis and pay for it themselves instead of forcing higher costs on ratepayers and taxpayers. This would be an outcome we could live with for now….

…Ohio’s Energy Future Tour, a coalition of business groups and environmental advocates, issued a report on Wednesday calling on the state to lift a “freeze” on benchmarks for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and to make other changes that embrace clean-energy technologies….

There are two laws at issue.

• First is Senate Bill 310, passed last year, which placed a two-year freeze on state rules that require utilities to buy certain amounts of renewable energy and to meet targets for reducing energy use. The law has several other notable provisions, including a repeal of a rule that says utilities must buy half of their renewable energy from sources within the state.

• Second is a change to rules addressing placement of wind-energy turbines, a modification that was inserted into a larger budget bill last year. The change puts more distance between turbines and nearby buildings, which has the effect of reducing the number of turbines that can be installed for some projects….

Sam Randazzo, a Columbus lawyer for industrial businesses and a supporter of last year’s legislation, says the report is making requests that would lead to an increase in utility bills. He says the authors are straining their credibility when they argue that renewable energy is affordable and good for the economy, and also argue that renewable-energy mandates are necessary.

“If it’s so cheap, why do you have to force people to buy it?” he asked.

The legislative committee will issue its recommendations, and then it will be up to the General Assembly to decide what to do next. If lawmakers take no action, the freeze would lift next year….

Source: Clean-energy advocates want Ohio to alter course

Ohioans willing to be the ‘last man standing’ in fight with BigWind

 

Crawford/Richland counties

Ohio citizens are ramping up their fight against BigWind. More residents have joined the fight and will take BigWind to the Supreme Court, if necessary.  Above, you read 1 letter written by someone who is willing to be, ‘the last man standing’ in the fight (entirety at link below) and the excerpt below, is from Greenwich township. The Ohio Power Siting Board appears to have their hands full with unhappy Ohioans…

A state board may have approved a wind turbine project in Greenwich Township, but a group of residents opposed to the idea arent finished fighting.

Omega Crop Company owners Gerald and Connie Oney have filed a rehearing request with the Ohio Power Siting Board. The board is a separate entity within the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and has the final say as to whether the park is built.

The board can make one of three decisions within 30 days of Omegas filing: It can reconsider its approval of the project, deny Omegas reconsideration request or it can expand the amount of time it takes to consider its options….

via Answers just blowin in the wind | Norwalk Reflector.

and via http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/TiffToPDf/A1001001A14I29B72856I04594.pdf

BigWind creates ‘Chaos’ at the Ohio Power Siting Board

This week several filings have been made with the Ohio Power Siting Board.  Union Neighbors United has requested a rehearing on the OPSB’s approval of Everpower’s motion to extend the certificate expiration date in Phase I of Buckeye Wind.  Ohio law requires that extensions be granted only after applications to amend a certificate are investigated, subjected to hearing and appeal and some due process accorded to the public.  UNU asserts Everpower is seeking to avoid due process because any delay in obtaining the extension would subject them to the new setback rules which require measurement from property lines.  The UNU application for rehearing makes the case that Everpower is simply attempting to avoid these new requirements. Moreover, UNU points to the Blackfork Wind and the Paulding County Timber Road III projects (also represented by the Vorys law firm) that filed similar extension requests in order to get around the new law that seeks to protect the property rights of landowners in and around the footprint of a wind project.

 It is important to note, again, that the OPSB has failed to properly adopt its revised rules because they were not submitted to the Ohio General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. This means that the whole issue of what rules even apply to any wind development are up in the air. The ones who lose in the chaos are citizens who are trying to protect themselves and their communities. The OPSB has heaped insult on top of injury by not only leaving in question what the rules are, but also unlawfully suspending the rules for project extensions in order to accommodate the wind developers who are trying to duck the laws.  What a mess.

The Greenwich Wind project in Huron County is yet another example of the regulatory chaos.   The Omega Corporation, one of the entities impacted by the Greenwich Wind project, filed to extend the time period for the community to intervene in this project. They were denied.  We have also attached their application for a rehearing of the Board’s denial.  This is another indictment the OPSB and its failure to faithfully and fairly implement the laws regarding wind development.   Further information on this and all other wind cases pending before the OPSB can be found on the OPSB website at http://www.opsb.ohio.gov/opsb/index.cfm/Cases/ .  If you think you live in a ‘SAFE’ place away from BigWind, you will rethink your theory….

We will keep you abreast of what happens next in this drama.  It is complicated but very much worth taking the time to understand because the future of a number of Ohio wind developments hangs in the balance….

It may not be too late to stop development of the Greenwich Windpark, attorney Sam Randazzo told about 75 township residents and visitors at a Greenwich Neighbors United informational meeting Tuesday…

via Greenwich residents request wind farm rehearing – Times-Gazette | Ashland & Ashland County, Ohio.