Apex wants to blanket Van Wert County, Ohio with turbines

We have been watching Apex, since they purchased the leases for southern Van Wert county. Their plans are now official and stated on the website. A new office has been opened in Ohio City. What will the Van Wert county commissioners say this time? Despite complaints from farmers and townships, the commissioners only see $$$. May we remind you where all of the $$$ comes from….our pockets! Hundreds of millions of taxpayer $ will be given for the building of this project and it will produce less than a dozen long-term jobs. But, Apex will throw $ back to the leasing farmers and the county….pocket change for them. Why should YOURS and MY tax$ fund their project? It will also produce far LESS energy than they tell us! How do we know this? Because it is public information how much electrical energy wind sites produce and Van Wert county has dismal, pathetic results. These sites will never replace the energy we can produce from a coal, nuclear or natural gas plant. NEVER.

Apex Clean Energy has acquired the development rights for and is exploring the feasibility of constructing Long Prairie Wind, a wind energy project in rural southern Van Wert County, Ohio….

Source: Long Prairie Wind

Ten Reasons to Eliminate the Windustry’s Taxpayer Feast

BigWind is gathering a lot of attention, as it is scrambling to renew its taxpayer handouts (PTC production tax credit) and as states are canceling their renewable portfolios (Kansas,NC,Ohio?). Below are 10 reasons to eliminate the taxpayer handout to the Windustry.  Click on the link at the bottom to read the details…

1. It INcreases electricity costs.

2. It is a Special Interest Handout.

3. It Threatens the reliability of the electricity grid.

4. It Encourages “Cannibal Behavior”

5. It DESTROYS MORE jobs than it creates.

6. It stifles innovation.

7. It is crucial to the EPA power plant regulations.

8. It ignores environmental drawbacks of wind energy.

9. It props up an old, failed technology.

10. It promotes an energy source that depends on other energy sources….

Ten Reasons to Eliminate the Wind PTC – American Energy Alliance.

Are Ohio’s farmers beginning to say NO to BigWind, but YES to solar?

The Huron County Greenwich Windpark project is in the spotlight this week as citizens continue to battle what they believe has been an unfair and legally questionable process before the Ohio Power Siting Board.  We imagine many Ohio communities feel empathy for the Greenwich residents.   One issue that is in dispute concerns the OPSB’s interpretation of the law concerning when consent must be given by neighboring landowners when a setback waiver is requested.   It appears that OPSB does not quite know, or perhaps is not willing to say at this juncture, how it applies the law.   We are not aware of the OPSB having ruled in this area previously and so we were puzzled by the comment of the wind developer’s attorney, Sally Bloomfield.    “Bloomfield said that if GNU’s interpretation were adopted, it would be a marked departure from prior law and practice. In the past, the Siting Board has consistently interpreted the law to say that any waiver “has to be granted by the people who were affected” by it, she explained.” 

We know of no previous rulings on the issue of waiver consent and no prior interpretations of the law.  Notwithstanding,  the law appears to provide the prerequisite for all abutting property owners to give consent when waivers are granted.   Bloomfield seems to be adding her own interpretation and introducing language that is neither in the law or the rule.   The OPSB is continuing to mull over this conundrum and we have no idea when they might issue any clarifications.  We do know that every wind-affected community will be watching closely.    And from the story below, it looks as though Senator Seitz will be watching too.

Meanwhile, next door in Indiana,  wind developers are happily working away expanding existing sites and looking for new ones on which to erect up to 2,000 new wind turbines.   This would triple the number they have now.   Indiana is touted as having suitable lands and strong winds along wiith a good geographic position to serve demand centers like Chicago and Indianapolis.  One cloud on Indiana’s turbine filled horizon is the ultimate rules for the government’s Clean Power Plan.   

“One particularly sticky issue: EPA’s proposed “clean power plan” rules don’t give a utility any credit, under the CO2-lowering mandates, for using green energy in its generation portfolio if it buys wind power from outside its home state. If that proviso stands, Indiana’s wind industry could be hurt because it currently sells the bulk of its power to non-Indiana utilities. They would be newly motivated to drop their Indiana contracts and buy their green energy from wind farms in their own states. Utilities and other interests are lobbying the EPA to drop the rule giving credit only to home-state-bought green energy. The final EPA rules are expected out this summer. States also will have a say in the matter, so they’ll have to be lobbied, too.”

We are keeping our fingers crossed that the proposed rule on home-state-bought green energy is removed.   This is a very important issue especially for states that may lack reliable and affordable resources within their own borders.

While Ohio’s wind woes continue unabated, we were somewhat amused by the new embrace of solar energy by farmers in Ohio’s NW counties.  The Mansfield News Journal reports: “It’s solar energy, however, that’s making real inroads into the farming communities of the region today, and as far as Rick Niese is concerned, the reason is simple. “Actually, we forget that we have them. I thought we would see a glare from the road. There is no glare. They’re not reflecting, they’re absorbing. No muss, no fuss,” he said. “My dad and I were talking about this the other day. We wish you could go around and do this and actually forget about the windmills, because you don’t even know it. The windmills, you’ve got them out there in everybody’s face, everybody sees them. We really like the idea of solar versus wind.”   

So do we, Mr. Niese. So do we…..

An effort by opponents to stop a proposed Ohio wind farm, which includes a legally questionable maneuver to prevent property owners from granting variances, has the support of the state legislature’s most outspoken critic of renewable energy.

Greenwich Windpark, one of the few wind energy projects moving forward in Ohio, was approved by the state Power Siting Board in August. However, opponents, along with state Sen. William Seitz, have requested a rehearing and want to apply stricter rules than those that were in effect when the Siting Board ruled last summer.

Earlier this month, Seitz provided Midwest Energy News with materials from Greenwich Neighbors United (GNU) in Huron County as an example of “the efforts of local folks…to fight ‘Big Green Wind.’”…

Meanwhile, in a pending rulemaking proceeding, GNU is urging the Siting Board to change its rules so that any adjacent property owner could prevent a waiver by another property owner, even if the waiver would not affect the person objecting to it.

“I believe it says all adjacent property owners to that wind farm have to sign waivers” for a setback or any other variance, maintained Ledet. “I think that’s something that’s going to have to be battled out in court.”

“We want to make sure the Ohio Power Siting Board is doing what the Ohio Power Siting Board should be doing for the citizens of Ohio,” Ledet also said. “Are they concerned about our safety and our welfare and our property rights?”…

Ledet said GNU is also trying to reach out to other communities “to help other people that are going to be facing the same onslaught” from wind farms.

For the time being, though, SB 310 and HB 483 have apparently put the brakes on most in-state wind development….

State lawmaker part of effort to stop Ohio wind project | Midwest Energy News.

BigWind Wars across Ohio and around the world

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

additional references from above, please copy/paste:

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

http://www.ohioenergyfuturetour.com

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

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

Ohio grid admits BigWind is expensive; Indiana commiss regrets saying YES to BigWind

It has been another busy week with BigWind in Ohio. On the “good news” front, the Ohio Mandate Study Committee convened on Wednesday to hear testimony from the grid operator, PJM.  Our friend Senator Seitz was brilliant in his questioning and extracted admissions that the transmission requirements and back-up needed to support wind made them very expensiveWithout significant, ongoing subsidy, wind cannot compete in the market.   The downstream consequences to the current reliable and affordable generation fleet were dire as well.  It was made very clear to all legislators that the PJM grid operator only counts 13% of wind’s nameplate capacity as viable while next door in Indiana, the MISO grid operator credits wind with only 2.7% of nameplate.  Senator Seitz suggested that MISO’s number may be more credible than PJM’s.  Meanwhile, we understand more clearly why President Obama has proposed that the Production Tax Credit for Wind be made permanent.

Speaking of subsidies, an organization called “Good Jobs First” released a report this week on Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations.   GJF is dedicated to educating the public on how much taxpayer money the federal government is handing out and to whom.   Their report totals up subsidies covering  137 programs in 11 federal Cabinet agencies from 2000 to the most recent records.  This is across all industries in the country. Greg LeRoy, the organization’s executive director, said in a news release that the data aimed to give transparency to which companies specifically are receiving federal assistance. “For more than 20 years, so-called corporate welfare has been debated widely with little awareness of which companies were receiving most of the federal assistance,” LeRoy said.    And who ame in first?   Spanish wind developer, Iberdrola has raked in over $2.2 billion in taxpayer funding!  Iberdrola was followed by five other wind companies that received more than $1 billion each.

From Indiana comes an open letter from a Tipton County Commissioner to Howard County Commissioners who are considering proposals for wind development.  This letter is a must read.  It is an ‘oh so familiar’ lament and we are seeing more of them all across America.  Former Commissioner Harper closes her letter with this message: “As an elected official/public servant. . . . . if you must go forward with approvals that allow wind farm development . . . and thus you become the reason a wind farm was built in Howard County. . .  it will be a decision you will regret the rest of your life. “    Please click the link and read this letter in its entirety…

I am writing to you all as a former commissioner colleague who aided in the negotiations and agreements with E.ON Climate Renewables with Tipton County in 2011.  From the onset, I was open to windfarm development in a small section of Tipton County because the commissioners had received no opposition and I felt that the landowners wanted it.  My own family was offered an opportunity to lease land to E.ON and we declined because my husband did not care to farm around the towers, and I just didn’t want to look at them.  I set my own personal views aside and made decisions based on what I felt the majority of the public wanted.  I was outspoken enough, however, to say that I would never support a plan to cover a large portion of the county with wind turbines.  As it turned out, the problem was that when the decisions were being made to build “Wildcat I”, the commissioners were not hearing from the “majority”.  People really did not know this was happening, or if they did, they did not perceive it to be as “invasive” as it was.  As you know, public notices are small and often overlooked in the newspaper, so not much resistance was present……………until the towers went up, and people saw how enormous and intrusive they were.  The red blinking lights even disturb my own summer evenings and my home is 6 miles from the closest tower….. !!!!…

In Tipton County……….my 83 year old mother is mad at me (since I signed the agreements) because she no longer has colorful birds coming to her feeders……..my brother’s view from his family dining room table used to be a vast expanse of crops and natural habitat…….now that pristine ‘vista’ is forever marred by giant metal structures………….neighbors hate each other…………back and forth letters to the editor have been selling papers for over a year now………….families are torn apart,,,,, and because the physical presence of the towers will be there for 30 years, these relationships will never be repaired.   In short. . . . this has become an issue that has divided our community like no other.   

It has torn our county apart.  The May, 2014 primary election is evidence that the majority of the voters supported candidates openly opposed to wind farm development and an incumbent commissioner was voted out of office due to his unwillingness to listen to the majority on any issue, including wind….

You can’t lose something you never had…………so you are not “losing” the supposed ‘windfall’ of money that the project purportedly brings in.   What you WILL lose however, cannot be measured in dollars.  You will lose the rural landscape as you know it and you will lose the closeness of “community spirit” because people will hate each other over this and the presence of the towers will always be a constant reminder of the rift…………thus the wounds will never heal….

Tipton County Indiana Commissioner voted for wind farms, now lives with regrets.

How far away does your home have to be from a turbine to keep its $ value?

THE leading wind turbine appraisal expert in the USA has spoken, and what he said is not good for BigWind. Here, in Ohio, we must be thankful for our legislature, last year.  They approved INcreased setbacks from property lines for industrial wind turbines – although still woefully Inadequate.  Additionally, it was refreshing to see our Governor approve a ‘freeze’ on our renewable energy standards. Both of these legislative victories have given us time to gather more information, like this, about the negative impacts that industrial wind turbines can have on our property, communities, citizens, businesses and economy…

Michael McCann, of McCann Appraisal, LLC, a Chicago-based company, testified about property values and how they are negatively affected when wind turbines are installed.

    He said he has 33 years experience in appraising many types of commercial real estate, land and special use properties. He also has extensive litigation experience, qualified as an expert witness in over 20 states, and has testified at federal and state trials, zoning hearings, utility siting boards and arbitration. He has also done work for other wind farm projects throughout the United States….

    He also illustrated reasons for people to sell property with a turbine on or near it include health impacts….

    He also listed issues he called “more physical in nature.” These included trespass or intrusion, excessive noise, vibrations, odor, contaminants and flicker….

    McCann said overall results showed a 25 percent lower value within three miles of the turbines as compared to control sales more than three miles away from turbines.

    Property impact studies have been done throughout the world and one he described showed assessed values indicated a 20 percent deviation from assessed sale value.

    McCann also said he came to some conclusions, including having a setback of less than three miles can cause a significant loss of value, as well as many of the health problems people have described to him in the past that qualified experts have agreed with.

    “They (doctors) do find it happens,” McCann said. “It doesn’t happen to everybody.”

    McCann also noted that people should hire appraisers that comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisers Practice, especially in cases like this.

Experts offers insight to wind farm questions – News – Pontiac Daily Leader – Pontiac, IL – Pontiac, IL.

BigWind tax loss hits county, SCHOOL districts

Ohio should learn a lesson from the mistakes in California. Our schools cannot afford to make these mistakes! What will happen in Paulding county when these realities hit? Van Wert schools must be thankful that they don’t receive a dime from the turbines just North of the city.  The facts, below, expose 2 dirty truths about these wind sites. OUR tax dollars PAY them, in year 1, for producing nothing- we pay them for merely existing!  Secondly, they rarely produce what they ‘claim’ they will produce. In fact, in Ohio, they produce less than 30% of what they ‘claimed’ before they ever started spinning. Why should our tax dollars be wasted on an industry that fails to deliver results? Why should our tax dollars be wasted on foreign-owned companies? These facts should outrage anyone with a brain who works for a living….Thank heavens our Ohio legislators enacted Senate Bill 310 this year which ‘freezes’ our renewable energy mandates for evaluation…..

A sudden and dramatic drop in the value of Kern County’s massive wind energy farms will strip millions of dollars out of government coffers this fiscal year.

The Kern County Assessor-Recorder’s office has warned county officials that they expect to drop wind energy property value by $777 million less than three months into the fiscal year.

County budget officials estimate that will strip $1.8 million from the county’s main operational fund and $900,000 from taxes used to run the Kern County Fire Department.

Other governments — cities and schools and special districts — could also lose revenue.

The impact on local districts whose territory includes wind farms — including Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District and Tehachapi Unified School District — was not immediately available before deadline….

Assistant Kern County Administrative Officer Nancy Lawson said the county budget is expected to lose around $2.7 million….

The county builds a cushion into its spending plan for changes in tax values, she said, and that cushion is big enough to handle the shortfall.

But that money is usually used to pay off property owners who win a legal appeal with the county over the size of the property tax bill.

This, however, is a permanent change to the value of wind energy developments.

Lawson said the county will have to absorb that reduced revenue into all future budgets….

Ansolabehere said the drop in wind energy values came for a number of reasons.

In the first year that a new wind energy project is active, he said, the operator gets a check from the federal government that covers 30 percent of its value.

That check doesn’t come in the second year.

So, Ansolabehere said, the value of a wind project often drops dramatically in the second year.

The other major reason valuations have dropped, he said, is that some projects are not producing energy at the level they were expected to…

“After they are operating for a few years you can see whether they are producing better or worse than expected,” he said.

But, on the whole, production is less than predicted.

 

Wind tax loss hits county, districts – TehachapiNews.com.