Logan county, Ohio says NO to BigWind, but it doesn’t matter…

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Yesterday Jason Dagger presented Innogy’s update to the Scioto Ridge Wind Project which is sited primarily in Hardin County with a spillover of approximately 10 turbines into Logan County. This is an OPSB approved project.
 As the 2016 Examiner report explains, EverPower declared they would not build in Logan County without the PILOT.  The Logan County Commissioners responded to their constituents and denied the PILOT in June, 2016. 
Recently Innogy purchased EverPower and the decision has been made to site turbines in Logan County without the PILOT.  Mr. Dagger informed the Logan County Commissioners yesterday that the intent is to include Logan County in the Scioto Ridge footprint. 
The goal of Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart is to finalize a Road Use Maintenance Agreement (RUMA) with Innogy which states the conditions they must follow when using our county and township roads.  Innogy has indicated they wish to add conditions to this agreement….
 Concerned citizens have been complimented on the respect and courtesy they displayed and the intelligent and targeted questions asked of Mr. Dagger.
Mr. Dagger’s vagueness and lack of response to those questions was obvious.
Commissioner Antrim invited Mr. Dagger to begin the meeting with his presentation.  At the conclusion of that presentation, Mr. Antrim responded that though you have updated us on these changes, Logan County’s position has not changed.  We do not want you here.
County leaders are working on an agreement with a wind turbine devel-oper that will cover the costs of damage to any county or township roads.

 

Innogy SE plans to begin site preparations for Scioto Ridge Project, most of which is in southern Hardin County.

However, much of the gravel and concrete is expected to come out of Logan County and there are plans to put up around eight turbines near Belle Center.

Jason Dagger with Innogy said state regulators approved the project for 172 turbines, but the project has been scaled back to no more than

107…

He spoke Thursday before the Logan County Commissioners, Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart, Logan County Engineer Scott Coleman and about two dozen oppo-nents of wind turbines…

Local officials cannot stop the development nor do they have control over the project. They can, however, develop an agreement to protect the county’s investment in roads…

Dagger said the $300 million proj- ect will be completed in 2020.

This year will focus on the infrastructure and turbine site development followed by turbines going up in the spring and summer of 2020…

Examiner article

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Everpower ‘claims’ they will not build in Logan County if no tax abatement given

Really? Let’s call their bluff. The peoples’ response to this BigWind bully is below. It is written by a FORMER GREEN LOBBYIST. You may find the response enlightening….

The immediate fate of 18 wind turbines in Logan County soon will be in the

hands of the Logan County Commissioners, EverPower officials said at a Tuesday morning meeting to discuss the Scioto Ridge Wind development….

Mr. Shears, however, said after the meeting that if the Logan County Commissioners do not approve the request, the 18 towers in Logan County will not be built but the remain- ing towers in Hardin County will continue forward….

via: http://www.examiner.org/images/WebEdition/042016_EXAMINER.pdf

Fight the Wind
to Logan County, OH Commissioners 04.19.16

Thank you Commissioners for granting this time to speak with you. Today I will be representing Fight the Wind, a group comprised of numerous Logan and Hardin County residents who oppose industrial wind development in our counties, specifically, and in our nation, generally.

As we look out the windows of this building to the South, we see the restoration of the Logan County Courthouse. You didn’t ask for that June 29, 2012 storm. Daily since, you are faced with numerous decisions– many for which you’ve been both praised and criticized. As public servants, thank you for your due diligence in the restoration research, and for taking the heat of public opinion. As the restoration nears completion, I’m sure you are proud. You have jokingly referred to yourselves as the “Construction Commissioners.” A legacy of pride. I congratulate you.

My name is unimportant. I prefer to speak as just one resident of Logan County. Many in this county now have histories and relationships with foreign wind corporations, and before I speak for Fight the Wind, I preface with a brief recount of my history. Born and raised in Logan County, you may know. However, I ashamedly confess that at one time I believed my life’s calling was to save the planet. During that quest, I served as a lobbyist and speaker for the Central Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club, an Ohio Environmental Council employee, and an Ohio Farm Bureau intern–three organizations which today are at the forefront of propagating and promoting wind energy in OH. Back then, I intended to educate and persuade citizens and legislators to believe in the very romantic idea of green energy. And, if education failed, I believed it would be justifiable to legally pressure and coerce citizens to get the job done.

Later, having returned to Logan County, and to the beloved family farm, my uninvited storm arrived on March 27, 2007. I was among a dozen landowners in my area invited to an exclusive, lucrative business opportunity, the invitation extended by a neighbor. The seduction began with a PowerPoint presentation filled with photos of majestic white turbines dotting sprawling, beautiful green vistas. These photos were, as all wind PR photos are, devoid of residences, businesses, buildings, people, animals. At the meeting, landowners were handed term sheets and contracts. The terms sheet promised $5,000 upon signing, $15.00 per acre during the development period (predicted to be 1 – 3 years) and $5,000 per turbine upon moving to construction period, and then $4,500 – $16,500 per 1.5 MW turbine once in operation. Someone asked the presenters, who were donning starched, creased, previously unworn blue jeans and patent leather loafers or new, unsullied hunting boots, “What are the disadvantages of wind projects?” The response was, verbatim, “We won’t answer that question.”

I left the meeting feeling violated: I’d chosen to leave the city and return to Logan County. First offense was calling this kind of development a “FARM.” Second, was the industrial usurpation of property use, property value, safety, financial security, land integrity, and rural lifestyle–something I’d neither foreseen nor invited. In the weeks that ensued, we studied the contract. There, we found we were signing over rights–ours and neighbors’–and taking on ridiculous liabilities. We visited turbine projects. From those within the projects, the list of rights signed away and collateral damages was lengthy, far-reaching, and all- encompassing.

After doing our research, we quickly found out that this would be a bad deal for us, our neighbors, and the community. However, we could have signed to put turbines on a parcel unconnected to our home. We refused for a number of reasons, not the least of which was respecting my neighbors’ rights to property use and value.

Meanwhile, by the wind corporation we were baited, cajoled and later coerced and threatened. By neighbors we were badgered. These were neighbors who had NOT read contracts, but had signed them. I understood where they were coming from: It was March and April–they were busy planting spring crops. Who had time for an attorney? And, because farmers had conducted business for years solely on trust–and rarely were deceived, they were vulnerable to wind company formulaic PR and promises.

So why would I tell you my history? First, I was asked to. Secondly, I’ve seen this issue from someone who thought it was necessary, beneficial, and “right” to coerce people into living green. And, I’ve seen the issue from a landowner who could have benefitted financially. Thirdly, because it parallels others in this county, which has been occurring since 2005, and other communities around the state, the nation and the globe.

FTW citizens have observed that the legal process allows covert infiltration into a community by the wind company, who engage one or more locals as spoke persons or employees thereby more efficiently networking and persuading innocent, trusting landowners to believe a package of PR spin filled with promises.

Interestingly, these projects begin in stealth, and often–on the road to production of energy–must pass through the court systems. Perhaps it’s there that jobs are created.

And they create job losses. Case in point. A Brown County, Wisconsin Health Inspector who resigned 3/4/16, prior to the release of public documents which unearthed an 11/21/15 email in which she complained of migraines every time she went near turbines. She had released her conclusions, completely ignoring the sworn affidavits representing over 50 ill residents, recorded over a year, meticulously gathered and correlated to studies, and also referenced to significant peer reviews. Her conclusion was that she would monitor the turbine site “annually.” Shortly after the 3/18/16 release of the public documents, the county counselor also resigned. In addition, there is trickle-down job loss from loss of property value and abandonment of homes.

This formulaic seduction and deception by foreign investors is the same everywhere. Appeals include altruistic purpose of the projects coupled with various promises, including financial gain. Save the planet. Save the farm. Harvest the wind. Reduce CO2. Temp and full-time local jobs. Infrastructure. Better roads. Be progressive. No disadvantages. $ for landowners. $ for schools. $ for townships. $ for commissioners.

Although the spin, PR, and promises of wind are romantic and seductive, the reality is harsh, even devastating. And, not just to those within an industrial wind project. Anyone who buys electricity. Anyone who has political or legal responsibilities. Anyone who desires to have peaceful, transparent relationships within their community. Anyone who just wants to do anything on their property.

Wind energy is intermittent, unreliable. Americans want energy dispatched at the time and point of need. Americans wouldn’t rely on their tools, equipment, relationships, employees, etc. that only work 15-20% of the time. Yet, Americans are being asked to pay for intermittent wind energy many times over.

Federal grants and allocated tax credits. The subsidy tracker at goodjobsfirst.com, reports that EverPower is 39th on the list of the top 100 recipients of federal grants and allocated tax credits since 2000, receiving five subsidies totaling $317 million since 2009. In state and local subsidies, EP has received $7.5 million.

These subsidies, therefore, went to the UK-based private equity firm Terra Firma, who acquired EverPower in 2009, and who in 2015 sought to “flip” it for $1.5 billion. Hum, Saudi Arabia now owns OSU parking. What people group, of what idealogy, might have access to SR leaseholders’ land a year from now? November 3, 2015 in Power Source EP’s Mr. Speerschneider said “EP has 13 wind projects in the pipeline not under construction–none having secured long-term customers for their power . . . . ”

Secondly, state mandates. Wind is intermittent, although state laws support a large portion of wind generation by a certain date. Those mandates are currently on a temporary two-year freeze for reevaluation by economists and energy experts. Americans need on-demand, reliable, at time-and-place-of-need, readily dispatched energy. Therefore, wind must be backed by on-demand energy sources. These on- demand energy businesses are on “stand by” if/when wind energy is dispatched, all the while still having the cost of business without the sale of their product. The result is consumers pay more for all electricity, regardless of its source. Terra Firma’s own country, UK, is reportedly known for fuel poverty and it’s resultant deaths. Dr. Calvin Beisner of Cornwall Alliance says, “you control energy, you control people.”

Thirdly, local tax abatement. EP has hit the media hard lately–from Dayton to Lima–stating both that the Logan County Commissioners are–or will be– considering a PILOT–payment in lieu/instead of taxes and that there are millions for schools, government entities, and the community. Nice pie charts. Large monetary figures. PR purposes are obvious–get the citizens, schools, townships, community services–and you, commissioners–to BELIEVE the ship has come in. Get a BELIEVING public to PRESSURE YOU. Set the stage for when the PILOT request comes in. After consulting with numerous state experts, FTW knows the revenue to those entities is much greater over 20 years of the project with taxation- -yes, even WITH the depreciation schedule. And, since the depreciation schedule starts over if the company is sold, another potential benefit to all the above county entities is a possibility. PILOT is a deceptive, “I’ll give you some of your money Uncle Sam gave me at your front door, while my foreign cronies–take more out your back door, and you’ll have a cold house, and Uncle Bobby may freeze to death.”

Europe is now aware of the financial loss and devastation of wind energy. It is changing its mandates and ending its subsidies.

Logan County has been courted by the bad boyfriends of wind for about 10 years now. There are 10 years more of evidence from industrial wind projects around the state, nation, and globe to inform our citizens what industrial wind development’s reality is within a community. And many Logan (and Hardin) County residents have educated themselves.

It is with that knowledge, Mr. Wickersham, that Stokes Township residents spoke, and the Stokes Trustees filed an opposition resolution to the SR project.

Russells Point residents spoke, and the Village Council filed an OR to the SR project.

Belle Center villagers spoke, and the BC council filed an OR to the SR project.

Richland Township constituents spoke, and Richland Trustees filed an OR to the SR project.

Mr. Bayliss and Mr. Core, Rush Creek Township residents spoke, and the Rush Creek Trustees filed an OR to the SR project.

Indian Lake residents beat Everpower back from the Lake. Why? Because our community does not want industrial turbines here. The turbines are now not to be sited near the lake. The makings of that deal are not known to the general public.

However, it appears that your constituents in the remaining neighborhoods in Richland and Rush Creek Townships are persons whose lives, property, investment, lifestyle, and health are of lesser value than those nearer to IL. Will your potential approval of a PILOT endorse the differential value of your constituents?

And, the fractured community spills over into Hardin County when the realization hits that a Logan County School will be receiving some of HC PILOT all because Hardin County Commissioners automatically abated taxes for this project in choosing an Alternative Energy Zone, which it rescinded in January. Even if a LC PILOT is not granted, BL Schools will receive a percentage of HC PILOT payments.

Eighteen turbines have been approved for Logan County, sited within Richland and Rush Creek Townships. Of those 18, 7 are on property of non-Logan County residents: 6 of which are on parcels owned by out-of-state entities, and 1 on a parcel owned by an out-of-county Ohio resident. It’s easy being green, when you’re imposing on others’ lives with no disadvantages to oneself.

The current Ohio turbine setback standard was recently revised to 1,125′ from non- participating landowners’ property lines. SR was grandfathered in at 541′ to a property line. Regardless, either such distance is “trespass zoning”–the plundering of a neighbors’ use of their property, property value, safety, peace and quiet, etc. The SR certificate, which may be found on OPSB web site, reads “Assuming a maximum turbine height of 492 feet as proposed in the application, this minimum property line setback equates to a distance of 541 feet. The distance between the nearest non-participating property lines varies from 549 to 2,637 feet, averaging 1,198 feet.” On what planet is it rational to have a 36-ton blade assembly 400 feet in the air spinning upwards to 180 miles per hour 541 feet from anyone or anything? Blade shear and throw, ice throw, shadow flicker, noise, and infrasound.

Those who live next to an EP wind turbine will have that turbine in their bedroom, at breakfast, at supper, and even alongside them in their yard. Which is all fine and dandy if I invited them over, but I didn’t. And when someone comes over uninvited and won’t leave – that’s called trespassing. Please don’t be an accessory and accomplice to trespass zoning.

As LC Commissioners you do not have the power to stop SR from being built– even in Logan County. However, please don’t welcome EP with granting PILOT, thereby setting a precedent. The recorder’s web site confirms evidence of leases in Monroe and Zane Townships, which would provide a pathway to connect Paulding, Van Wert, Auglaize, Hardin, Logan, and Champaign Counties– blanketing them with turbines, which is a goal of, if not EP, then other federal subsidy recipients.

To quote Senator John Rodgers of Vermont, “I know of no place in the state where we can place industrial wind turbines without creating an unacceptable level of damage to our environment and our people. Destroying the natural environment in the name of climate change is moronic.”

So while Mr. Dagger just gave you his update on the project. I am here to give you FTW’s. They are awake, engaged, larger in numbers than ever before, angry and determined to defend their homes, property, county, townships, and schools, and will never go away until industrial wind goes away.

So with that being said, commissioners, citizens, and press, I am sure you are just like me – sick and tired of wind. Sick and tired of having to think about it. Sick and tired of dealing with it every single day. I just want to live my life. I have more important things to do than be here and I am certain that you have more important things to do with your time than deal with wind. All of us are absolutely tired of it. So why are we all here wasting our time? Because a foreign owned company wants to profit from our nation and our community. They are hoping that you will grant them even more profits.

Remember commissioners – this is our county, these are our townships, our homes, our schools. Your constituents have spoken, and the villages and townships near and in this project have written Opposition Resolutions against the SR project. If EP wants to develop our community, and harvest our resources to make a profit that they ship back overseas to their parent company they should do so on our terms. Not theirs. Our county deserves the full taxation due for this project.

Our county, our townships and our residents should have been a part of the process from the beginning, but we were not. Why? Because this business must be done in the dark.

If anyone thinks that this will all simmer down and we will slowly fall back to sleep, they are sadly mistaken. The outcry and the outrage will increase exponentially as this project starts construction. When our peaceful country roads and rural beauty become an industrial construction zone, the complaints will grow louder. When the turbines are turned on and lives are spun to oblivion, the complaints will be deafening. Our community will become an endless cycle of complaints, arguments, and discontent, pain, and heartache.

Many in this room have spent hours a week for years keeping up with economic, legal, health, environmental, agricultural, real estate, etc. aspects of industrial wind development. We, your constituents, are doing our due diligence. Please do yours. Although many participants in these projects have legally signed away their rights to speak out, many are going rogue, and some never signed.

Please make sure the RUMA protects all citizens during construction, operation, and decommissioning. Make sure a decommissioning plan-IRRESPECTIVE OF BANKRUPTCY–is in place. Find out what revenue taxation brings in compared to PILOT. This is not another Honda, Midwest Express, or Valeo. Look at fightthewind.com to follow links to global, national, and regional wind news. Read about the many complex aspects of wind energy.

Logan County has such a bright future. Please, please do not allow our community to become Collateral Damage to Industrial Wind. Your current legacy, of “construction commissioners” is one of honor. Please don’t let your legacy become “Wind Turbine Commissioners.” If turbines are built in this county, the chaos and complaints will continue for years, the hardship and devastation for generations. The seductive, bad boyfriend wins, and the beautiful, innocent Logan County is ravaged, unredeemable, unable to wake up from her nightmare.

I encourage each here today to visit fightthewind.com. There you will find links to web sites which inform you about wind locally, nationally, and internationally. Education is power.

Again thank you for your time and for allowing FTW to speak about this SR project.

Everpower proposes (sneaky) amendment in Ohio

Yesterday, September 12th, Everpower filed an extensive amendment to its Scioto Ridge project in Logan and Hardin Counties.   The filing includes approximately 70 different documents.    The important thing to note here is that Everpower probably filed the amendment on September 12 because the new property line setbacks go into effect on September 15th.  By filing yesterday, Everpower seeks to avoid the new setback requirements that would have required them to relocate any turbines that are too close to non-participating property owners. 

Everpower also proposes to consider two additional turbine models and to move certain turbines and transmission lines.  These changes affect setback measurements, noise modeling and shadow flicker among other things.   As a result of the changes, Everpower estimates on Page 23 that:

Of the 52 non-participating residences predicted to receive more than 30 hours of shadow flicker per year, 15 are pending (i.e., landowner is anticipated to become a participant) and 37 are non-participants. However, to assure a worst-case analysis, pending participants have been included with the nonparticipating receptors in the summary above. Table 08-02 summarizes the expected shadow flicker for non-participating receptors exceeding 30 hours/year predicted, comparing the results presented in the original Application with those anticipated under the currently proposed layout.

 

With respect to the setbacks, Everpower notes at page 32:

(c) Locations of Turbines in Relation to Property Lines and Habitable Residential Structures

 

The minor shifts in the five turbines do not violate any of the property line setbacks and residential setbacks under the Board’s rules at the time the original Application was filed. As noted below, the average property line setback has increased to 1,201 feet from 1,198 feet and the average residential structure setback has increased to 1,996 feet from 1,989 feet. The project’s setbacks are described below.

 

(i)                 Setback to Property Lines

 

Section 4906-17-08(C)(1)(c)(i) requires that “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 its highest blade.” The maximum height of turbines under consideration for the Facility at the time the original Application was filed was 492 feet (150 meters), which yields a property line setback of 541 feet (165 meters). All turbine locations, including the turbine relocations proposed in this Amendment, will comply with these setbacks, and the two new turbine models proposed in this Amendment are less than 492 in total height. As currently sited, the distance between proposed turbines and the nearest non-participating property line ranges from 549 to 2,669 feet, and averages 1,201 feet. The original Application presented a range of 549 to 2,637 feet with an average of 1,198 feet.  (Ed’s note: Do not be confused by use of averages!)

 

(ii)               Setback to Habitable Residential Structures

 

Section 4906-17-08(C)(1)(c)(ii) requires that “the wind turbine shall be at least seven hundred fifty feet in horizontal distance from the tip of the turbine’s nearest blade at ninety degrees to the exterior of the nearest habitable residential structure, if any, located on adjacent property at the time of certification application.” The maximum rotor diameter of the turbines under consideration for the Facility at the time the original Application was filed was 400 feet (122 meters). If the turbine blade were at ninety degrees, the tip would extend from the base of the tower one-half the length of the rotor diameter, or 200 feet (61 meters), which added to 750 feet, yields a total setback of 950 feet. All turbines and locations, including the turbine relocations proposed in this Amendment, will comply with these setbacks, and the two turbine models proposed in this Amendment both have blades less than 200 feet in length. As proposed, the distance between the proposed turbines and the nearest non-participating residential structure ranges from 1,292 to 4,047 feet, and averages 1,996 feet. The original Application presented a range of 1,335 feet to 4,047 feet with an average of 1,989 feet. (Ed’s note: Do not be confused by use of averages!)

 

With respect to Indian Lake, the amendment states:

(5) Impact on Recreational Areas within One Mile

 

The impact on recreational areas remains as described in the original Application. Of the turbines that have been shifted, only turbine 25 is within 1 mile of Indian Lake State Park, and it was re-located to the east,

away from the park. Noise and shadow flicker were re-modeled (see Exhibits B and C of this Amendment, respectively), but results for Indian Lake State Park are the same as in the original Application. There are no other recreation areas within one mile of the Facility.

 

(6) Visual Impact and Mitigation Measures

 

Visual impact mitigation measures remain as described in the original Application.

 

There is a great deal of specific information in this 44 page Amendment.  The document and all related exhibits with maps and charts for specific areas can be found at  the PUCO website by clicking on this link, below…

In the Matter of the Application of Hardin Wind LLC to Amend its Certificate Issued in Case No. 13-1177-EL-BGN

via DIS – Case Record for 14-1557-EL-BGA.

Winds of change blow Everpower out of Ohio…

More than a month ago, we learned that Everpower intended to close its Bellefontaine, Ohio office on or about August 1st.  At the time, the Bellefontaine Examiner called to verify the story and Jason Dagger denied it.  On July 22nd, Everpower’s Dagger and Mike Pullins sent a letter to Buckeye Wind Leaseholders advising them that the local office is indeed closing and the Pittsburgh office will handle any related business.  The letter goes on to say Dagger and Pullins will continue to be available locally and that an ‘operations and maintenance facility’ will open when construction begins.  In the meantime, they express concern over the ‘uncertainty’ caused by the renewable energy freeze and the elimination of the in-state mandate (SB310) as well as the threat of new setback requirements.  Everpower believes the change in setback language was enacted without any ‘qualified experts’ like the wind industry.  They assert that the language implementing new setbacks is ‘unclear’ but could impact Buckeye I and II and Scioto Ridge.  Notwithstanding, Dagger and Pullins remain optimistic that the projects will go forward but warn that “Landowners and community support is more critical than ever.”  They as for a demonstration of “Strong community support” and state:

“The more that is demonstrated by public officials, the better the investment environment for Everpower.  We encourage you, your family and friends to reach out to your local officials and share your support of the projects and ask that they take a public stand in support of the projects.”

We do not know what this plea for support means.  We do know that Pullins and Dagger have asked the Union, Urbana, and Goshen township trustees to withdraw their lawsuit filed in the Ohio Supreme court on July 16th.  They have attended Township Trustee meetings recently to vigorously argue for a negotiation rather than a court action.  The County and the Townships current appeal to the supreme court makes the case that Everpower was unlawfully granted amendments to their certificate withOUT a hearing.  Thie is important to understand because it appears they are trying to do it again by filing a motion to extend the deadline of the their certificate of approval.  Under the current certificate of approval, Everpower must dommence construction by March 22, 2015.  By attempting to obtain an extension by motion INSTEAD of an application, Everpower eliminats the opportunity for the public to comment.  If Everpower is required to file and APPLICATION seeking an extension, the public would have an opportunity to comment.  More important, if the Ohio Power Siting Board were required to hold a hearing on the request for an extension, it likely would not hold the hearing before the new setbacks become effective September 15th.

Please take this opportunity to let the Township Trustees and County Commissioners know you support their appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.  If you believe and application should be required for Everpower’s certificate extension, please let them know NOW.  If you would like to write to the Ohio Power Siting Board to request a hearing on the extension of Everpower’s certificate, you can email the OPSB at contactOPSB@puc.state.oh.us  and you must reference this case no:  08-0666-EL-BGN.  Written comments can be mailed to OPSB 180 E Broad St, Columbus, Ohio  43215 and you must also include the case number.

 

Will Ohio SB310 begin a ‘domino’ effect to repeal BigWind mandates?

Today will be a busy day as around 30 witnesses will testify in the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee concerning Senate Bill 310.  Today’s Columbus Dispatch reports that the bill may spark a national movement toward repealing mandates for renewable energy.  Americans for Prosperity has thrown their support behind the bill. 

The Urbana Daily Citizen reports that two appeals were rejected by the Ohio Power Siting Board.  Both appeals were directed toward Everpower projects: Buckeye Wind and Scioto Ridge.  In Scioto Ridge, the citizens were trying to address the fact that they had no real opportunity to  register objections to the project because most are summer people in the Indian Lake area.  Everpower waited until after Labor Day when they were gone, to hold a public hearing.   In Champaign County, the County and Townships had objected to amendments in the Buckeye I project that moved the staging area further to the east and made modifications to roads and underground lines.  Today, one of the witnesses who will testify  in support of Senate Bill 310 is a County Engineer who has similar concerns about damage to local infrastructure that may be beyond the County’s financial ability to repair…

Ohio is on the cusp of becoming the first state to significantly ease its renewable-energy standards, a milestone that would be noticed in statehouses across the country where similar debates are being waged.

Proposals have gained traction in Kansas and several other states and have at least been introduced in a dozen or so others.

But none has had as much success as Ohio’s Senate Bill 310, which has passed the Senate and appears poised to pass the House as soon as this week.

The Ohio bill would place a two-year freeze on annual increases in standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency. It also would repeal a rule that says utilities must buy half of their renewable energy from in-state sources and would make it easier for utilities to buy low-cost hydroelectric power and count it toward the standards.

Many of the same groups with an interest in the subject are active in multiple states. The American Wind Energy Association, Sierra Club and others are fighting to maintain rules that say utilities must obtain a certain amount of their energy from renewable sources. Meanwhile, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, and Americans for Prosperity are helping to push for change in the rules….

via If Ohio eases green-energy rules, will it spark national trend? | The Columbus Dispatch.

Will Ohio rollback BigWind’s mandates???????

The Ohio House Public Utilities Committee was greeted by fifty witnesses wishing to testify on Am. Sub. S. B. 310 yesterday.  The group was a mixture of both supporters and opponents and only a small number were able to be heard.  Many were asked to hold over until next week.  Among those who were not heard were the wind developers.  Copies of all testimony submitted can be obtained on the Committee website at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/public-utilities.  

Iberdrola rests its support for the renewable mandate on climate change and the idea that the fuel   – wind – is free. Iberdrola objects to how renewables are characterized:   “The Energy Mandate Study Committee’s foregone conclusion is telegraphed in the legislation that creates the committee and uses terms like unreliable, unaffordable and unrealistic.” Ominously, Iberdrola warns that “If you proceed with passage of SB 310, you are jeopardizing the viability of two additional investments in Ohio we are planning that would total about 250 MWs of generation capacity…”   These two unannounced projects are in addition to Blue Creek Dog Creek and Leipsic Wind.  We have no idea where the two new projects are targeted to be.

EDPR, developer of Timber Road in Paulding County, testified that project was the “direct result” of the mandate. Like Iberdrola, EDPR has unknown projects of 400 MW’s in the very early stages of planning.  Where?

Everpower’s Michael Speerscheider gives testimony  indicating his belief that tax abatement through the PILOT is a foregone conclusion because he states the amount the company will be paying for Buckeye I, Buckeye II and Scioto Ridge.  Everpower acknowledges “The investments that EverPower has made in the state have been made possible by the policies that the Ohio General Assembly put in place.”   (That policy is an unconstitutional mandate to build in-state renewable energy.)  Speerschneider cites numerous industry sponsored research papers to support the notion that renewables do not increase costs and that the subsidies they receive are far less than what other companies receive.   In saying this, Everpower tries to equate tax credits and tax abatement with oil depletion allowances or investment tax credits available to any company as part of the tax code.  This is a phony argument but, remarkably, he goes on to say “Denouncing wind energy because it relies on some level of government incentives is intellectually and ideologically dishonest.”

While not testifying, the American Wind Energy Association’s  (AWEA) lobbyist Dayna Baird filed a comment on yesterday’s story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer saying: “ First, AWEA is supportive of a compromise amendment to SB 310 that makes significant changes to the renewable energy standards .”    We do not know what the proposed “compromise” amendment might be but we are pretty sure it would eliminate the two-year freeze on the mandate while the Committee undertakes its review of Ohio’s mandates.

 Amidst all of the cheerleading for why the energy efficiency and renewable mandates are good for Ohioans and good for business, the annual survey of 500 Chief Executives was announced showing that Ohio has dropped five spots to number 26 as the best place in America to do business.  Regulations and taxes put us in the bottom half of the country with places like New York and California while our neighbor Indiana, with no energy mandates, was rated 6th best in the country.  Hmmmmmm…..

Twenty-nine states and the District of Colombia have passed renewable energy mandates that require consumers and businesses to consume minimum amounts of wind, solar, and other green energy. A handful of states have also enacted laws that require states to reduce their total energy consumption. These mandates have increased energy prices, causing many legislatures to reexamine their value.

While legislative efforts began and stalled in a handful of Republican states like North Carolina and Kansas, Ohio is positioning itself to be the first state to rollback its mandate, known as a Renewable Portfolio Standard RPS, and energy reduction program. As is generally the case, the mandate begins small and relatively painless but quickly ramps up, requiring utilities to use more and more renewable energy….

A study by the Manhattan Institute’s Robert Brycerevealed that, “in 2010, the average price of residential electricity in RPS states was 31.9 percent higher than it was in non-RPS states. Commercial electricity rates were 27.4 percent higher, and industrial rates were 30.7 percent higher.” Indeed, “in the ten-year period between 2001 and 2010—the period during which most of the states enacted their RPS mandates—residential and commercial electricity prices in RPS states increased at faster rates than those in non-RPS states.”…

Since Ohio is part of the multi-state PJM power market, any reduced energy prices resulting from reduced energy usage are spread throughout the entire PJM system while being financed entirely by Ohio ratepayers. Dr. Jonathan Lesser quantifies it this way:

80% of the price suppression “benefits,” to the extent they might exist, flow to customers outside Ohio and customers of Ohio municipal utilities and cooperatives, which are exempt from the electricity usage reduction mandate and the mandate tax. Thus, 80% of the alleged benefits accrue to “free riders” who do not pay for those benefits.

If left unchanged, the Ohio energy reduction mandate has actually created a situation where residential consumers could pay close to $4.00 extra per month for a retail reduction benefit of only $0.37 cents per month, according to Dr. Lesser….

via Ohio Moves to Rollback Costly Green Energy Mandates – Forbes.

(no surprise) Ohio Power Siting Board gives green light to Scioto Ridge

Due to a recent situation, we have removed the email follow blog option from our site and apologize for any inconvenience. It was also discovered, that we have a new follower of our blog from Everpower, Mr. Mike Pullins. Since the beginning, this blog has chosen open viewing- to encourage the sharing of information, from all over the world about the realities behind BigWind. It is our hopes that sharing of information will be a vehicle for change and we work tirelessly to educate others. When you follow us, we can “follow” you- where you go on our site, what you click, what links you view. Creepy? No, this is a tool to help us know what catches the eyes of our readers. It does, however, make us wonder if this open sharing of information causes a genuine change in the minds of readers, or if some use it for their benefit. What is meant by this? According to a March 15th opinion piece (Big Wind a bad deal for Indian Lake) in the Bellefontaine Examiner, a woman writes, “I recently attended the legislative luncheon at Indian Lake and was fortunate enough to meet and have a conversation with (known wind proponent) Senator Cliff Hite. I would like to close by quoting him directly: “Putting those turbines near the lake is a bad deal. There is a place for them and it is not at this lake. I don’t want to destroy your view either … but Everpower is indiscriminate where they place them.” If Senator Hite believes the turbines are a “bad deal” for Indian Lake; hopefully our commissioners will feel the same and listen to our township trustees as they unanimously resolve to oppose the Scioto Ridge Wind Project.”  

Now, it has been recently reported that Senator Cliff Hite has been busy placing telephone calls to people in Champaign, Logan and Hardin Counties.   In some cases he supposedly supports increasing setbacks and measuring from property lines.  Has Senator Hite recently changed his position about BigWind?  It almost sounds (above)like he is throwing Everpower under a bus. It certainly makes us wonder why he has had eight years to bring that about a change in position but only now that he has a primary opponent in the upcoming election (Milo Schaffner) has his tune started to change. It sounds like he might be willing to say whatever he thinks will work. If our squeaky wheel has begun to get some grease, then let’s continue squeaking! The OPSB has said yes to Scioto Ridge, but there is still a long way to go before the project becomes a reality, just read below…

Logan County Commissioners will be asked to grant something to wind energy developer EverPower that residents can only dream of: a property tax reduction of 80 percent. This would come in the form of a payment in lieu of taxes or PILOT. 

Recently, the Logan County Commissioners stated: “Even if we do receive an application for payment in lieu of taxes and it is denied, the wind developer would still be able to build the wind turbines.”

We agree. Rejecting tax abatement for Scioto Ridge may not stop the wind development. But the decision to make local taxpayers forego tax revenue will have consequences that should be understood.

First: EverPower parent, Terra Firma Capital partners, a UK private equity investor, will be delighted to have their return on investment pumped up by the good people of rural Ohio. It will be the icing on the cake already funded by U.S. taxpayers through billions in federal tax credits that subsidize one third of the capital costs of wind projects.

After collecting from our Federal Treasury, the British private equity firm intends to strip mine the Ohio Tax Code by asking for an exemption from the Ohio Public Utility Personal Property Tax PUPPT. This is the standard tax rate that was in place long before EverPower decided to come to Ohio and it was there before EverPower started soliciting leases and telling landowners that by signing they would help bring significant tax revenue to their communities.

Ohio’s wind resource is anemic and the Ohio mandate to buy wind generated in the states is under attack in the legislature and the courts. This mandate compels Ohio rate payers to pay far more for Ohio wind than for power purchased from windier states like Iowa or Minnesota. These higher rates fall on all of us — you, me and the companies we work for. A sweet deal if there ever was one for EverPower. It is one more form of subsidy the wind industry enjoys in Ohio.

(Logan County) Our commissioners should focus on the costs. They must consider whether there are benefits that outweigh the costs. It is clear the benefits accrue to the foreign company that has stated its intentions to exit the business before the PILOT ends in 20 years. It is clear that leaseholders will receive payments if the company is still around. And some gravel might get sold during construction of the turbine bases.

But what about the costs? The wind developers took our ability to zone. They took our property for their setbacks by measuring from homes, not property lines. When built, flashing red lights will take our night sky and the flickering shadows will invade our yards and homes. Persistent noise and sub-sonic vibrations that carry across property lines — will diminish neighbors’ rights to peaceful enjoyment of their property. With that comes property value loss.

Who would choose to live in the midst of the 50-story tall industrial wind experience? As the London School of Economics recently concluded, residential property values of non-participating parcels in the footprint of a wind fueled electric generating plant drop by 11 percent. Other studies indicate a decline of as much as 40 percent. That’s if they can find a buyer at all.

There are more than 300 non-farm rural homesteads in the proposed footprint of the Scioto Ridge project. If their average value is $100,000 and the average property value decline is only 11 percent, that’s $3.3 million that flows out of the pockets of innocent neighbors and into the pockets of project beneficiaries. And the number might be as high as $12 million. By comparison the $12 million that is so important to the rural homeowners is a measly three percent of the total taxpayer subsidies the project owners would receive based on President Obama’s staffs analysis of a similar project. You would think a wind developer with scruples would just buy out all the homes and resell them at a loss since they are using taxpayer dollars — not their own — in the first place.

We know that proposed PILOT payments would be approximately $2.7 million per year for the expected 20-year lifespan of the project. That totals $54 million over 20 years. But without the PILOT, wind industry spokesman Dayna Baird Payne estimated tax revenue would be $45,000 per megawatt MW — an average $13.5 million per year and $279 million dollars over 20 years!…

via Forum.