Hooray! Seneca county rescinds AEZ and HB6 passes

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A big hooray for Sandusky County where the County Commissioners have rescinded their designation as an Alternative Energy Zone (AEZ).  The vote cancelled the action taken 7 years ago.  Readers will recall that the Seneca County Commissioners rescinded their AEZ earlier this summer and it took effect June 30th.

 

The OPSB Public Hearing for Seneca Wind, a project of  sPower, was held on Tuesday in Tiffin.  It was refreshing to hear that both PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo and Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman, Nino Vitale, attended in person.  That is a first as far as we know.   They were treated to many thoughtful arguments and concerns expressed by local citizens.  We have attached the testimony of Walt Poffenbaugh (last link) who spoke to the issue of cumulative impacts of projects planned for the area.  Walt demonstrated that the combined projects proposed for the area cover a territory nearly as large as metropolitan Columbus.   We encourage all to read Walt’s substantive remarks.  Given that the OPSB does not have rules that address cumulative impact, it will be interesting to see how this concern is dealt with in subsequent proposals.

 

Moments after the bill was passed, Gov. DeWine signed it into law and took off for the Ohio State Fair where he told reporters,  “I think it accomplishes what we wanted to accomplish,” Gov. DeWine said. “It saves the jobs of the folks who devoted – many of them – many, many years to providing power for us.”  “No. 2, it should bring about a small reduction in the cost to residential consumers as well as to commercial consumers,” he added.  Gov. DeWine said he also was “happy to sign” the measure because he believes it will lead to long-term environmental benefits. He put his pen to the measure less than three hours after legislative leaders sent him the bill. “If we had lost our two nuclear plants, we would have lost 90% of our carbon-free production in the state of Ohio,” he said. “It just makes sense from a public policy point of view. It makes sense from a jobs point of view. It makes sense from the environment point of view.”  “We would anticipate that our solar as well as our wind (industries) will continue to increase in the state of Ohio,” he said. “We have to recognize it is not the most optimal state for wind nor solar, but there is an industry in the state, and we want to encourage that to grow.”

Still reeling from the passage of HB 6, pro-wind and gas folks were quick to react to the new state of affairs.  Statehouse news reports included:

 

Andrew Gohn, American Wind Energy Association

“Ohio consumers and manufacturers want greater commitment to renewable energy, not less. Yet, while many states are expanding access to cleaner sources of energy, Ohio’s legislature has chosen to take a costly step backward by weakening the state’s renewable portfolio standard,” said Andrew Gohn, Director, Eastern State Policy, AWEA. “House Bill 6 won’t make Ohio’s air cleaner, but it will hike consumer electric bills and send both jobs and clean energy investment to Ohio’s neighbors.”

 

Marnie Urso, Audubon Great Lakes    (AUDUBON?  REALLY?)

“Energy efficiency and renewable energy are vital components in protecting Ohio’s birds and wildlife from the threat of climate change and ensuring all Ohioans have access to safe and affordable energy. HB6 is a missed opportunity to enact comprehensive energy policy that would keep pace with the rest of the region and country which is embracing the future of abundant, affordable, renewable energy. This clean energy killing policy is not the investment in healthy air and economic growth that our state deserves.”

 

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)

“This was not an easy vote for some of our Democratic members, including myself. Democrats will always stand with hard-working Ohioans over corporations. HB6 was never a Democratic bill; it was never even a bipartisan, compromise bill. It was yet another example of the Majority Party playing games, forcing impossible choices between protecting the environment and keeping food on the table for 1,400 workers and their families. I hope that the companies who receive the taxpayer dollars from HB6 will honor their promise to protect the jobs at both nuclear plants and support these workers’ continued employment.”

 

Daniel Sawmiller, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

“While the rest of the nation is adding jobs left and right from one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, Ohio is sending a clear signal to the clean energy sector that they are not welcome in the state. HB6 is irresponsible economic policy. And if this mess of a bill passes, the rest of the nation will be looking closely at Ohio’s statehouse trying to understand the motivations for a bill that is so far out of line with what is happening everywhere else.”

 

Neil Waggoner, Sierra Club

“HB6 is bad government and politics in its most pure form. When the process starts with legislators’ demeaning low-income Ohioans and apologizing to utility lobbyists it’s no surprise the final legislative product increases customer bills every month for years to come.  “With HB6, Ohioans get dirtier air, higher electric bills, and the understanding that the majority of their elected officials at the Statehouse are more concerned with making a bankrupt company happy, and helping out other utility companies for their foolish investments in failing coal plants, than taking care of their own constituents.  “FirstEnergy and Ohio’s other electric utilities must be very satisfied with the legislators they financed today. Can those legislators’ constituents say the same?”

 

Ohio Conservative Energy Forum

“The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum (OHCEF) remains opposed to the passage of HB6. The bill takes our state backward and threatens tens of thousands of jobs throughout Ohio in the growing clean energy industry. “As supporters of an all-of-the-above energy policy, the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum has never been averse to nuclear energy, but we remain profoundly disappointed that the General Assembly did not use the opportunity presented in HB6 to further grow Ohio’s emerging clean energy economy. As OHCEF has maintained throughout the legislative process, the State of Ohio cannot afford to be left behind as a growing number of conservative states embrace renewable energy.  “OHCEF will continue to support a free-market approach to a diversified energy portfolio that embraces all forms of energy generation – including nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable energy. OHCEF will fight to reduce government regulation by fixing the current wind setback mandate and will seek distributed generation reforms that will give Ohioans the freedom to produce their own energy.”

 

Not to be outdone, the opponents of HB 6, fueled by natural gas hedge funds, filed a petition with the Ohio Secretary of State to overturn the law through a public referendum.   (Guess somebody is going to get a referendum – what irony!)   Calling themselves “Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts” the group is headed up by a veteran campaign strategist whose claim to fame was the 2009 casino gambling law.  They will hit the streets soon to gather about a quarter of a million signatures to put the issue on the ballot.  We hope Ohioans won’t vote “YES” to increase their electric bills!

Our friend and Time Magazine’s Hero of the Environment, Michael Shellenberger lauded the passage of HB 6 in a Forbes article.  “Ohio nuclear plants provide eight times more electricity than all of the state’s solar and wind combined.  Lawmakers around the world are increasingly taking note of the severe impact that industrial wind turbines have on wildlife. Industrial wind turbines today threaten several bird and bat species with extinction.

Conservationists and birders in Ohio have hotly opposed a proposal to build dozens of turbines on Lake Erie, which is home to dozens of threatened, endangered, and high-conservation value bird species

Then there is the economics. It would have cost $25 billion to replace Ohio’s nuclear plants with solar and $22 to replace them with wind — and taken 300 to 2,600 times more land.”   With your continued support, we can make Ohio a leader in clean energy through support of nuclear while safeguarding wildlife and being efficient in our land use practices!

 

On the flip side, so-called environmentalist like Sierra and the renewable lobby, are having fits saying  “the biggest effect of H.B. 6 may be the muting of Ohio’s renewable and efficiency standards. By weakening Ohio’s 12.5% renewable energy standard to 8.5% and further shrinking the standard by subtracting green energy purchases by large energy users, the bill blocks wind and solar development in a state that’s already a clean energy laggard, said Leah Stokes, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who’s writing a book on state renewable standards.  Some of the nation’s largest wind energy developers have said Ohio’s existing restrictions on turbine placement, enacted in 2014 when the Legislature temporarily froze the renewable standards, have already steered investments to neighboring states. H.B. 6, they warned, would only continue to lessen their interest in the Buckeye State.” 

 

In other news:

 

An assortment of articles reacting to the passage of HB 6 are included.  In one, US Rep. Marcy Kaptur says “Ohio is now saddled with an energy policy that amounts to a “death wish” for growth. “The problem is that as you look at a region to invest in, we look less innovative. We look less inclusive. We look less creative,” Kaptur said. “And companies are looking to invest in places that have their act together and are looking at energy and the full portfolio of choices therein as we build a new energy future for our country.”  We continue to point out that these so-called green companies like Amazon and Google are choosing to locate in metropolitan Columbus not Tiffin or Van Wert.

Republicans at the national level are addressing how to deal with emissions reduction by promoting greater investment in technology whether it be carbon capture or advanced nuclear energy.   “Climate change is real, and we need to address it. The question is, how do we do that?” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said. “I think we should support all ways of decreasing emissions, from traditional renewables to cleaned-up fossil fuels to nuclear to innovative new tech like carbon capture. The other side often would make us think that there’s only one way to address it — solar, wind, the Green New Deal.”

In New York, the Chautauqua County Legislature approved two motions unanimously that go against policies being passed by state officials. “On Wednesday, one of the motions was in opposition to construct wind turbine farms on Lake Erie. During last month’s legislature meeting, Robert Bankoski, D-Dunkirk, and Kevin Muldowney, R-Dunkirk, spoke about their opposition to the possibility of wind turbine farms on Lake Erie. Following the meeting, Bankoski said several other legislators who represent communities along Lake Erie followed up their comments by creating a motion to oppose wind turbines on Lake Erie.”    We wish Ohio Counties would do the same and pass Resolutions in opposition to turbines in Lake Erie.

  

A group of U.S. wind tower manufacturers are pushing for tariffs on imported wind components, a move that some researchers say could raise costs for new projects by as much as 10% at a time the industry is already under pressure.  The Wind Tower Trade Coalition asked the Commerce Department and U.S. International Trade Commission to impose tariffs against wind tower imports from Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam in a petition this month. The manufacturers argued that components from the four countries are sold below the prices set in the 1930 Tariff Act.

 

Even though HB 6 will reduce electricity bills in the short term, there are continuing pressures on costs.  The transition to a 100% renewable US power grid will need investment of up to US$4.5 trillion over the next 10 to 20 years, new analysis from Wood Mackenzie found.  Wood Mackenzie estimates that about 1,600 gigawatts (GW) of new wind and solar capacity would be needed to produce enough energy to replace all fossil fuel generation in the US. Dan Shreve, Head of Global Wind Energy Research, said: “The mass deployment of wind and solar generation will require substantial investments in utility-scale storage to ensure grid resilience is maintained.”

About 900 GW of new storage will also be needed to ensure wind- and solar-generated power is available exactly when consumers need it. The scale of the challenge is unprecedented, requiring a complete redesign of the power sector.

 

New on our radar screen is the issue of transmission expansion and potential costs to ratepayers.  “Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chair Sam Randazzo began Monday’s daylong discussion of transmission investments with an appeal to stakeholders: “We need your help.”  His request came as regulators sought in a daylong conference to grapple with rising spending on transmission projects, which in turn translates into higher consumer bills.  “We need the help of stakeholders to proactively move forward,” Mr. Randazzo said. “We are seeing this large investment at a time where there is not much increase in total sales or demand.”  The cost of that “massive amount of investment” spread over a customer base that’s not growing at an equal rate leaves just one outcome, the chairman continued. “There’s not much else that can happen when you do that other than very significant increases in prices – all of which may be necessary,” Mr. Randazzo said.”

Nuclear link

Ohio rolls back RPS

Antinuclear on the move in Ohio

Blah,blah,blah, even Washington hates the Oh bill

Free (foreign) Bigwind may get expensive tariffs

Will green plan be expensive? HA! Ya think?

Seneca Wind Public Hearing Testimony 07232019

Thumbs Down to Ohio BigWind Alternative Energy Zone

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A great victory was achieved this week for the warriors of Seneca County when two of the three County Commissioners voted to repeal the county’s designation as an Alternative Energy Zone.  Seneca County now joins Van Wert as a county which has repealed their designation.  Remaining AEZ counties include Sandusky, Delaware, Franklin, Putnam, Paulding, Hardin, Clinton, Noble and Summit.  Recently, requests to approve individual PILOT requests were turned down in Logan, Huron and Erie Counties.  Had these counties been designated AEZ, tax abatement and PILOT payments would have been automatically granted. 

Dale Arnold and the traveling Farm Bureau circus made an appearance in Urbana this week to tout the latest “ag commodity” – solar energy.  Harvest away.  We are still waiting to farm coal and gas, maybe raise a little nuclear. Among the points reported to us by attendees were that many of Ohio’s 33 solar companies have left the state because permitting is difficult; solar projects under 50 MW are subject to local zoning;  10 solar projects are in the OPSB pipeline; and permitting can take between 36 and 48 months.

PILOT is apparently important to solar developers.  According to a summary report written in 2010 by the law firm of Bricker & Eckler, PILOT “significantly reduced the state tax burden on renewable and advanced sources of energy generation, such as solar, wind, co-generation, and clean coal. Under the old laws, taxes on solar and wind were estimated to be approximately $115,000 and $40,000 per megawatt (MW), respectively – rendering Ohio a less competitive marketplace for deployment of these technologies.” Current PILOT law reduces the tax burden on qualifying projects to $6,000 to $9,000 for wind and $7,000 per MW for solar.

At the very bottom of this issue of Wind News is a very readable publication by Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute.  We think it will make you laugh out loud as Mills explains the physics of energy and shows why there is no possibility that the world is undergoing— or can undergo—a near-term transition to a “new energy economy.” Mills takes on wind, solar and battery storage.   One example: “The annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand.”  The US routinely maintains two months of stored energy to meet demand in the event of emergency.  You do the math.

An interesting bill was introduced recently.  HB 126 would bar an action challenging an act for violation of the one-subject rule if it is commenced later than 275 days after the act’s effective date.  This has applicability to the lawsuit filed in Paulding County by wind leaseholders and AWEA against the state which alleges current setbacks violate the Ohio Constitution because they were included in a budget bill in 2014.  HB 126 would forbid a lawsuit like the one filed in Paulding County unless it was filed 275 after it was enacted.   Rep. Seitz is a co-sponsor of this bill.

 

In this week’s news:

 

  • The Icebreaker Wind project in Lake Erie received important approvals from the Ohio EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit to commence construction.  We wonder if these turbines will be granted PILOT and, if so, what entity would have the authority to grant it?

 

  • The General Assembly is getting closer to the introduction of legislation to promote low and no carbon energy generation.  Rep. Jamie Callender, who chairs the House Public Utilities Committee, is leading the effort and says, “We’re looking at promoting lower emissions not just with nuclear but also solar and wind and also with other types of generation here in Ohio,” he continued. “How can they take what they’re doing and move it to be clean? We’re being very cautious to the extent we cannot play favorites but come up with a global solution that helps everyone move toward lower carbon emissions.”  Callender is a self-proclaimed fan of renewables. He expects legislation to be introduced in early April, possibly as early as this week.

 

  • Kevon Martis swats back at Rep. Casey Weinstein’s comments reported last week about wind turbine setbacks not being a matter of safety concern in that all generation carries risk.  “Any risk of wind turbine failure must be added to the risks of gas extraction, transportation and power generation because wind generation is wholly dependent upon the gas resource. It is not a replacement for those resources. Thus your colleague’s comparison collapses.”

 

  • North Carolina could permanently ban big wind-power projects from the most energy-intensive parts of the state’s Atlantic coast, but a state senator said Wednesday the move is necessary to prevent hindering military training flights.  Legislation introduced by Republican Sen. Harry Brown would prohibit building, expanding or operating sky-scraping wind turbines within about 100 miles from the coast. The bill would apply to the area that stretches from the Virginia border to south of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base.

 

  • In Ohio, the General Assembly has ignored and avoided the issue of wind turbine interference with military training routes but perhaps that could come to an end.  An assessment of the Seneca Wind project states “Considering the low altitudes associated with these routes, it is possible that wind development could have an impact on military operations. It is possible that these routes are used frequently by aircraft from Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base and other nearby units. If this is the case, the originating activity of these routes may object to proposed wind development within the route boundaries. The units may also object to any wind development over 499 feet AGL due to the likely increase to the minimum cloud ceilings required to fly the routes.”  This study and its concerns should be of importance to any community near a military airfield including Wright-Patt.  The study is attached.

 

  • Another great article on the renewables scam focuses on Georgetown, Texas – part of the 100% renewable gang.  “Like other places said to be 100-percent reliant on “renewable energy,” Georgetown doesn’t actually have its own wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass resources powering it. It simply pays an upcharge for electricity that is said to come from renewable sources. If the green communities and businesses actually did use all renewables, it would likely be very easy to tell: On calm nights the lights would go out. A very few locales in the nation might have the geological features necessary to keep the lights on when renewables fade — such as hills and water that allow a sizeable hydroelectric dam — but most don’t.”   Of course, the 100-percenters have figured out a slick way to get around these physics truths: They pretend.   The 100-percent renewables scam is being sold to us by the government, the utility companies, and the towns and businesses that participate. The “scam” buys goodwill with the duped public and is not only good public relations, it’s also an easy route for them. But as with most governmental interference in the free market, the public ends up taking it in the pocketbook.

 

  • The scammers and pretenders are forming a trade association.  Imagine that.  Companies from a variety of industries — including Walmart, General Motors, Google and Johnson & Johnson — are forming a trade association to represent firms that purchase renewable energy and remove barriers that make it complicated to shift away from carbon.  The new organization, the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, is building on years of work between corporations and climate advocacy nonprofits. Currently, about 200 companies, cities and universities are involved. Miranda Ballentine, the CEO of the new trade group, says the organization will help push energy markets and public policies to make it easier to actually choose to buy green energy.   This story from National Public Radio actually states: Many companies have set green energy targets as part of overall sustainability efforts — whether out of a sense of corporate responsibility or in the pursuit of positive PR.    And don’t forget the blackmail/extortion from those “climate advocacy nonprofits”!

 

  • The US DOE is about to waste some more taxpayer dollars to advance offshore, distributed and ‘tall’ wind across the lower-50 states. DOE is looking at supporting 140 meter towers.  That is a 459’ tower before measuring the blade.

 

  • The Grain Belt Express appears to be moving forward again under the management of its new owner, Invenergy.

It continues to be an active climate, in Ohio, filled with ‘constant change’…..

Seneca County commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday to “sunset” the alternative energy zone put in place in 2011 by a previous board. The AEZ will end June 30….

Phasing out the AEZ in about three months does not affect the Seneca Wind or Republic Wind proposed projects, but would mean the AEZ is not automatically in place for companies that might propose new wind projects after June 30…

Commissioner Mike Kerschner changed his vote since the November vote was taken.

“The fact is that if we rescind it we then have the power within this group of negotiation,” Kerschner said. “It puts a lot more power on this group.”

He said Erie and Huron counties also have rescinded their AEZ programs…

Chris Aichholz, spokesman for the local anti-wind organization, said “We consider today’s decision by the commissioners to rescind the alternative energy zone another achievement. These types of successes only come as a result of our tireless efforts to educate the community on the industrial wind turbine projects being proposed for our county.”

He said the group has been asking for the AEZ to be rescinded for almost a year.

Original article

About Ohio nuclear

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

First Energy Solutions to Lawmakers: Time Running Out to Save Nuclear Plants

Kevon Martis

North Carolina

The Renewable Energy Scam

Walmart,GM,Google want more renewables.

Recharge

US opens wallet to offshore, rural and ‘tall’ wind

Department of Energy earmarks $28m with eye on ‘significant opportunities’ for cost reductions

By Darius Snieckus

28 March 2019

Corporations promise more renewables

No timeline for $2.3bn US Midwest wind link despite state OK

Invenergy says still ‘premature’ to look at construction schedule for 4GW Grain Belt Express after regulatory boost

By Richard Kessler in Fort Worth

26 March 2019

Mark Mills of Manhattan Institute **********

 

Why can’t batteries save BigWind in Ohio?

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In the past, we have blogged about the poor performance of industrial wind energy turbines in Ohio (just ask USV/ONU schools about this!). It is public record that they actually produce less than 40% of what they touted to the public. Remember how many homes were to be powered by an industrial site? Hogwash! Anyway, due to the intermittent nature of industrial wind energy turbines, they must ALWAYS have natural gas or coal running in the background….in other words, they NEVER stand alone and replace ZERO fossil fuel plants. What is the obvious solution to this problem? Batteries. Except that all of us know that batteries are anything BUT environmentally friendly and do NOT last nearly long enough before they are tossed (but not in the trash!) Knowing this, What is your prediction about the proposed batteries (5x semitruck sized) for Ohio?….

We’re now told the solution to the chaos delivered by wind and solar is giant lithium-ion batteries, of the kind peddled by Elon Musk. The reefer-smoking, Californian carpetbagger managed to offload one unit in wind power obsessed, South Australia, collected $150 million, and was never seen again….

This conjob was first sold in South Australia, as with their experiment of a 50% Renewable Energy Target descending into a costly farce, and to cover-up the fact they needed spend several hundred million on emergency diesel generators to keep the lights on just before the state election, with Hollywood fanfare SA announced they were installing ‘’the world’s largest battery’’ to save the day.

And unsurprisingly, the green useless idiots of the left have swallowed this hook, line and sinker – as rent seekers continued to go laughing to the bank to cash their millions from subsidies.

Well the performance of the ‘’world’s largest battery’’ last Thursday exposed what a complete con job it’s been – and delusion that we can power our economy on solar panels, wind turbines and big batteries is as dangerous to the economy as rabies is in a dog.

Let’s look at the evidence from 1/24/2019…

As wind power collapsed into the afternoon, prices in South Australia surged to $14,500 Mwh (they averaged around $40 Mwh before all these ‘cheap’ renewables flooded into the grid) at around 4.30pm ‘’the world’s biggest battery’’ started to dribble in 30MW to the grid.

The 30MW was less than 1% of South Australia’s total demand, and less than 0.1% of the National grid’s demand.

The world’s biggest battery continued to dribble out around 30MW until 7.30pm, then it ran flat, rendering it completely useless as peak demand hit at 7.30pm.

Meanwhile the emergency diesel generators (chewing through a reported 80,000 litres of diesel an hour) were doing the real work in SA, pumping out over 400MW at a time on demand – and they continued to so as demand peaked at 7.30pm, when the world’s largest battery had given up the ghost.

So at peak demand, in the renewables paradise of South Australia, 97% of their electricity was coming from fossil fuels.

Over the afternoon, I estimate the ‘’world’s biggest battery’’ delivered only around 100 Mwh of electricity – compared to 2000Mwh by the diesel generators.

The facts should be clear from the evidence that it’s a dangerous delusion that Australia can run the economy with solar/wind backed up by big batteries…

Article link

BigWind in Seneca county, Ohio forced to press the Brakes (Delay)

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Seneca Wind Petitions The OPSB for a Two-Month Delay in their Project and Hearings

As many things have come crashing down around sPower in the last few months it appears that they are officially struggling to continue on with their schedule as they had originally planned. According to a document filed today on the OPSB’s website for the Seneca Wind Project, sPower has formally asked the OPSB to delay their Seneca Wind Project’s schedule by at least two months!

It appears that this is just another issue that sPower has encountered recently in their efforts to make this project work. It is certain that they are finally realizing just how difficult of an uphill climb this is going to be if they want to try and push their industrial wind turbine sprawl in Seneca County!

Pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code (“OAC”) 4906-2-07(A) and OAC 4906-2-27(A), Seneca Wind, LLC (“Seneca Wind” or “Applicant”) and the Staff of the Ohio Power Siting Board (“OPSB” or “Board”) move the Board for a modification of the procedural schedule. Seneca Wind and Staff request that the procedural schedule be tolled in a manner set forth below in the memorandum in support. Tolling of the current schedule will provide Seneca Wind sufficient time to provide Staff additional information that it needs to complete its investigation….

OPSBlink

Anti-wind group OPENS OFFICE in Ohio

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The Seneca Anti-Wind union has opened an OFFICE that will be staffed by volunteers to provide the TRUTH about the proposed industrial wind projects in their area! Citizens are uniting, educating and sharing information. This is a great way to combat the powerful industrial wind lobby!

Seneca Anti-Wind Union opened its office downtown in the Laird Arcade Tuesday afternoon.

The office is to serve as a central location where people can find information about proposed wind turbine projects in Seneca County….

The organization, which originated in late 2017, has been gaining support and building steam since an April 17 meeting at Camden Falls about the wind farms planned in Seneca County, said Chris Aichholz, one of the group’s leaders…

So, he said the organization began a quest to find out information about the two projects planned for Seneca County and inform the public about wind power. He said the group has manned tents at the flea markets at the fairgrounds, area farmers markets and the Seneca County Fair.

“We did as much as we could possibly do to get people aware,” he said.

Then the idea of opening an office surfaced from within the group.

“The right opportunity presented itself and we said, ‘Yeah, sure,” he said.

“It really stemmed from sPower,” he said. “They have an office on Court Street. And we thought if they’re going to have an office, we want an office.”…

“Not everybody has Facebook. Not everybody has email,” Aichholz said. “Now we have a spot where people can ask questions, see maps.”

During a ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon, Commissioner Mike Kerschner said the organization has the best interests of Seneca County at its heart.

“We are people concerned about Seneca County, our home, now and into the future,” Kerschner said. “This is not a 9-5 job with a paycheck on Friday. This is a passion with no financial reward. We wish to be of value to our children.”

He said the group is interested in the effects of the proposed wind projects, protecting property values, and keeping children out of harm’s way.

“We are here to offer our time, talent and treasure,” he said. “We are volunteers who want to educate and protect.”

For more information, visit the organization’s Facebook page, Seneca Anti-Wind Union, or email senecaantiwindunion@hushmail.com.

Seneca anti-wind group opens office

BigWind ‘Spinning’ the TRUTH

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The New Year is staring off with gusto!  A must watch video has been produced by the Seneca Anti-Wind Union coalition.  Everyone – we mean everyone should watch this video, share it on your social media, send it to your friends and think about ways your community can activate your neighbors.   Watch https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=pzg8qPOgI7s.

Next, educate yourselves about a memorandum filed with the PUCO by the Staff of the Ohio Power Siting Board in connection with Republic Wind in Seneca and Sandusky County.  Last February Apex filed an application for Republic Wind.  In May, the OPSB declared the application complete and ready for review.  In December, Apex filed a motion to change the turbine models and alter the array resulting in all proposed turbines being put in new locations causing changes to access roads and collector lines.  They also requested that the OPSB commence a hearing on the revised application in March, 90 days after submitting practically a whole new application.  The OPSB staff rejected the request citing the customary 60-day window to determine whether the amended application is complete.

Staff sees no need to rush the process.  Apex will ask the PUCO to overrule the OPSB staff. 

If one visits the Apex Republic Wind website, https://www.republicwindenergy.com/ , this is how Apex characterizes it’s amended application and the push to cut short the time period for careful evaluation:

‘“Great news! After months of diligent work to gather feedback from the community, we have found a few opportunities to amend our proposed turbine layout for Republic Wind. We have been working with OPSB to update our permit application for the project with this new layout, which we believe will be even more amenable to the members of the Seneca County community as a whole. We are glad to report that we do not anticipate this shift to delay our project, even with our request to extend the OPSB review process. We want to thank everyone who provided feedback for helping us create an even stronger Republic Wind project.”

Pure spin!  They call this significant amendment, an “update” and does their statement that they do not anticipate a delay mean they do not anticipate the PUCO will support the OPSB?  Something to watch!

Next up is Invenergy’s Hardin Wind project.  This project has not received opposition from the community.  It was approved in 2010 under the old setback rules measured from the neighbor’s house and has been  amended multiple times although it does not appear the OPSB ever required Invenergy to adhere to the new setbacks.  According to the docket in the case, construction started in 2016.   In order for Hardin Wind to secure 100% of the PTC, they would have to place the project in service within four years of commencing construction (2020).  In 2017, the media reported that AEP would purchase the power from Hardin Wind for its subsidiary, Appalachian Power serving West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. But unbeknownst to us, the West Virginia Public Service Commission denied the AEP’s request to buy the output of Hardin Wind last April.  The WV PSC said the cost of the power would impose an unnecessary increase in power bills and be a burden on taxpayers.  WOW!

“Appalachian Power’s push into renewables suffered a setback in April when the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) denied the company’s proposed purchase of two wind farms, one in Greenbrier County and another in Ohio. The PSC ruling stated that construction costs would cause an unneeded increase in power bills and a burden on taxpayers. The PSC decision followed a similar decision made by Virginia regulators in April.

The company had proposed to buy the Beech Ridge II Wind Facility in Greenbrier County and the Hardin Wind Facility in Ohio for more than $86 million.

Appalachianarticlelink 

We are not certain if much construction has actually occurred in the Hardin Wind project and we wonder if it will go forward without a contracted entity that will buy the expensive power. Notwithstanding, it is interesting to look back to 2017 when AEP announced it would purchase the power from Hardin Wind, At the time, Invenergy spun the project this way:  “Wind power’s declining costs and the extension of a federal tax credit “make the purchase of these wind facilities beneficial for customers, improve Appalachian’s fuel diversity, and increase the company’s flexibility to develop and offer renewable products for its customers,” Appalachian Power said in a statement.”  Guess not…..

Elsewhere:

Trouble in Paradise China.  “China has said it will not approve wind and solar power projects unless they can compete with coal power prices.

China says NO to BigWind- Link

It has now been determined that the US emitted more CO2 in 2018 despite less coal and more renewables.  This is a very interesting article which shows that U.S. emissions reductions since 2007 were principally the result of the recession and lower energy use.  As the economy recovers and industry expands, renewables cannot contribute to CO2 emission reductions.  As increases in energy demand continue, more renewables are not the way to address emissions reduction…..

Recharge 

US 2018 CO2 emissions up despite less coal, more renewables

Research firm Rhodium Group reports the 3.4% increase was aided by the power sector with natural gas the main replacement for coal as electricity demand grew

By Richard A. Kessler in Fort Worth 09 January 2019Updated 09 January 2019

US CO2 emissions rose 3.4% in 2018, the largest increase in eight years, despite near-record coal plant closures and the addition of 7.9GW of wind and solar capacity through October, according to a preliminary estimate by research company Rhodium Group.

This compares with declines of 0.8% in 2017, 1.7% the prior year and 2.7% in 2015…

Total US emissions have generally declined since the Great Recession that began in 2007-08, in part because of lower electricity usage in the ensuing years but also from reduced carbon intensity of US energy supply as utilities switched from coal to natural gas and renewables…

Even though 14.3GW of coal capacity likely closed last year, the most since 14.7GW in 2015, additions of renewables fell far short of making up this shortfall as US electric power consumption surged year-on-year in a robust economy.

That raises questions about to what extent renewables can replace coal generation next decade and by extension, contribute to CO2 emission reductions…

 

Is BigWind the ‘greatest’ thing to ever come to Ohio? Sorry, many think NOT

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 1.28.32 PM

This past week, Sen. Obhof reiterated his feeling that HB 114 to lower the renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and reduce the wind turbine setbacks was not likely to advance given the year-end time crunch and because the changes proposed need “more caucus support”.  “”We have very little time left and, as I’ve mentioned before, I think it’s more important we get policy right than that we set some kind of arbitrary deadline and say, hey, they need to be done by this date,” he said. “If we get to a place we’re comfortable, we’ll pass 114 and if we don’t, we won’t.”   In addition, the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Steve Wilson, publicly expressed that he “views his role as that of a caretaker and that he won’t advance any controversial legislation without the direction of Senate leadership.” Wilson also stated that he does not expect his committee to meet for the rest of the year.

Interestingly, Senator Wilson says he has consulted with former Chairman Troy Balderson to learn more about his role.  He would like to become the new permanent chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year if it meant he would be able to play a part in establishing a “wide-ranging” energy policy to guide the state. “I think these various bills we’re dealing with…they’re all things we should be measuring against a policy, a 30,000-foot policy that says do we or do we not think diversity in power is important?” he said.

The question of whether or not Ohio should have an energy policy that places importance on diversity in power is a good one.  Ohio has many power diversity issues. Whether to prop up nuclear plants, pull support from coal facilities that have years more life, or manipulate the market through subsidies and so forth are legitimate questions.  We think it is also legitimate to ask whether the population density of Ohio excludes sprawling wind developments that destroy the quality of life for rural residents.   If there are few areas where wind is commercially viable and there is also lack of rural community support, should wind be pursued for the sake of “diversity”? What would be the justification?   The riots in France are in opposition to an energy policy that was adverse to rural residents.

Senator Macron Dolan, who is advocating for his setback reduction bill, SB 238, wrote an opinion column in the Cleveland paper.  He claims the market is demanding advanced sources of energy (whatever that means). He seems to equate advanced energy with “renewable” energy despite the fact that Ohio has lots of clean energy from clean coal to nuclear to natural gas.   Like, Senator Wilson, Dolan thinks Ohio needs to take a “macro” look at energy policy.  Dolan also likes to focus on the notion of job creation even though most people in NW Ohio know that jobs would not likely be created in their local communities. Moreover, rural communities are working overtime to retain local employers who increasingly find it difficult to attract employees locally.  (BTW we learn in today’s news that one industry needing as much electricity as data centers is pot farms.)

Dolan’s position seems to be supported by a news article from People’s World.  Who?   People’s World.   Not being familiar with this media outlet, we looked them up on their website  which says:

“Editorial Reviews: The People’s World / Mundo Popular (www.peoplesworld.org) is a national, grassroots newspaper and the direct descendant of the Daily Worker. Published by Long View Publishing Co., the PW reports on and analyzes the pressing issues and struggles of the day: for workers’ rights, peace, equality, social and economic justice, democracy, civil liberties, women’s rights, protection of the environment, and more.

The PW is known for its partisan coverage. We take sides – for truth and justice. We are partisan to the working class, racially and nationally oppressed peoples, women, youth, seniors, international solidarity, Marxism and socialism. We enjoy a special relationship with the Communist Party USA, founded in 1919, and publish its news and views.”

 YOU CAN”T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!

Going back to the discussion on the need for renewable energy and related jobs, a hearing was held in SE Ohio’s Appalachian region where AEP plans to build two solar facilities that will be among the nation’s largest. Testimony in support of the project came from environmental advocates and some local people (maybe some Marxists and Communists). “Not all parties are sold on the project, however, with the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the Ohio Consumers Counsel arguing in filings that AEP’s plan violates the law because the company has not demonstrated adequate need. If the company can’t demonstrate the generation is needed, they argue, consumers shouldn’t be placed on the hook for those added costs. “This should be quite a challenge because Ohio’s electric capacity is not set by utilities, but instead is determined by the market and the regional transmission organization, PJM Interconnect,” OMA Vice President Ryan Augsburger said. It’s a well-known fact that Ohio presently enjoys a significant surplus of electric capacity.”

We now wonder if there is a different standard for utilities like AEP versus private for-profit wind developers who don’t seem to have difficulty getting approval for building unneeded generation facilities. Facilities for which they receive taxpayer support through PILOT on top of uncompensated nuisance  easements across neighboring properties through inadequate setbacks.

If Senator Dolan does not push SB 238 across the finish line in 2018, he promises to reintroduce his bill in January.   

In other news:

  • The Spectator also takes a swipe at wind’s “growth spin.”  The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’. You may have got the impression from announcements like that, and from the obligatory pictures of wind turbines in any BBC story or airport advert about energy, that wind power is making a big contribution to world energy today. You would be wrong. Its contribution is still, after decades — nay centuries — of development, trivial to the point of irrelevance.”   This article is a must read. It furthers the belief that there is nothing that can be believed if it is asserted by the wind industry. Preview: A two-megawatt wind turbine weighs about 250 tonnes, including the tower, nacelle, rotor and blades. Globally, it takes about half a tonne of coal to make a tonne of steel. Add another 25 tonnes of coal for making the cement and you’re talking 150 tonnes of coal per turbine. Now if we are to build 350,000 wind turbines a year (or a smaller number of bigger ones), just to keep up with increasing energy demand, that will require 50 million tonnes of coal a year. That’s about half the EU’s hard coal–mining output.

 

  • A group of Apex leaseholders and wind advocates held a community meeting in Huron County to discuss the Apex Emerson Creek project.  Calling themselves NOW (Northern Ohioans for Wind), the group heard from Miranda Leppla an attorney with Clean Energy Ohio and the Ohio Environmental Council.  Prior to that, Leppla worked on behalf of wind developer clients at the Vorys law firm.  The information she was reported to have shared with the community was literally unbelievable.  She actually said cats are the number one killer of birds and BATS and number two killer is climate change.  Excuse us?  Anyone out there find a bunch of eagles and hawks passed out from the heat?  Leppla went on to claim there is no scientific evidence of any health issue.  Hey Miranda, ever hear of the World Health Organization or their cautions on wind noise? This presentation was nothing short of shameful.

 

  • On the opposing side of Emerson Creek, representatives of the Seneca Anti-Wind Union held their own community information meeting to a packed house.  Concerns were raised about the ability of a landowners to build on their own land at a future point in time if the property was within the setback distance.  “But Natasha Montague, a spokeswoman for Apex Clean Energy, the company developing Emerson Creek, said turbines stopping a home from being built on a nonparticipating property is a myth.  “Any setback (required distance between a turbine and a home) is on the developer, a non-participating landowner is free to do whatever they want with their land,” Montague said. “Ohio has one of the largest setbacks in the country for nonparticipating houses. A turbine’s tip has to be at about a quarter mile from the property line.” The question is why anyone would build within striking distance of a failed blade, a chunk of thrown ice or moving shadows?  Would such a property hold it’s value if subject to nuisance effects?  Could it be financed or insured?

 

  • Apex submitted its own “article” to the Sandusky Register which printed it as news and not opinion.   Apex is beginning its efforts to convince County Commissioners to grant tax abatement for Emerson Creek.  Without really using any figures, Apex dangles the lure of thousands of dollars of revenue within Huron County’s reach.  What they don’t say is that while they may pay about $9,000 per MW, they would be paying about four times that amount if tax abatement is not granted.   Apex also refers to the largely discredited Hoen property value study that averages home prices with a five or ten mile radius of turbines rather than discretely evaluating homes within a ½ mile of a turbine.  Many times, nearby properties cannot sell at any price and foreclosures are omitted from the statistics.

 

  • As a part of their thuggery, the wind advocates falsely claim that local residents opposed to wind development are funded by fossil fuel interests.  Nothing could be further from the truth – and most fossil fuel companies are significantly invested in wind anyway.  Notwithstanding, Ohio wind developers and left-wing environmental activists are sending out mailers, erecting pro-wind billboards and making political donations to curry favor for their interests.  It is a David and Goliath battle and it is getting worse.  Chris Aichholz from Seneca County writes a good rebuttal to wind’s false claims.

 

  • In Henry County, Indiana, an ordinance was adopted by the town of Shirley.   Indiana law allows communities to establish a “four-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction outside its corporate boundaries.” The ordinance cites a state statute under home rule that allows towns to do this.  There are now 11 towns in the county that have created the four-mile zone around their city limits.  These towns acted to protect themselves when the County Commissioners adopted setbacks considered by the residents to be inadequate.  The wind warriors hope that if all the towns in the county adopt the four mile rule, it will be difficult for any wind developer to build despite what the Commissioners legislated.

 

  • In Jasper County, Indiana the local wind ordinance is under review as Renewable Energy Systems (RES) is planning to construct a wind farm. The ordinance amendment affecting turbine use in the county was brought about by changes proposed by a group of local individuals including Jasper County Plan Commissioners. The group’s goal was to provide what it has referred to as “adequate protection to those who choose not to participate in the White Post Wind Project.”

 

  • Huron and Erie County wind warriors will be interested to read about southern Illinois where opponents of a proposed wind development argue that the 600-foot-tall, 2,400-ton turbines would diminish the area’s natural beauty and harm sensitive geologic features that provide habitat to 16 endangered species, including bats and crustaceans that live in caves and underground streams. “Don’t get me wrong, we are all for alternative energy,” said Joann Fricke, 64, a retired U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who lives next to the proposed project along Illinois 156 with her husband, Mike. “But this is just not the right place for a wind farm.” Similar views have been expressed by local environmental organizations, such as Heartlands Conservancy and CLIFFTOP (Conserving, Lands in Farm, Forest, Talus or Prairie).   Opponents got a boost in October, when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources published a report, known as an Ecological Compliance Assessment Tool (EcoCAT), examining how natural areas and endangered species could be affected by the proposed wind farm.  The agency made 19 recommendations. The first was for the developer to consider an alternate location. The tree- and prairie-lined bluffs in Monroe County are largely made of karst, which is eroded limestone that includes caves, underground streams, fissures and sinkholes, according to Keith Shank, an IDNR manager in realty and capital planning, who led the EcoCAT study.  “Wind turbines weigh thousands of pounds, and they need huge concrete foundations that go down 12 to 20 feet,” he said. “That’s a lot of weight that’s not on the ground now, and the thing with karst, you never know whether there’s a void under your feet. So it’s a challenge to build anything in this part of the county.”

 

  • Extensive coverage of setback deliberations are continuing in Ford County, Illinois where Cindy and Ann Ihrke where recently elected to the town Board despite Apex’s aggressive efforts to defeat them.  In a straw poll, all 12 county board members supported restricting wind turbines from being any closer than 1,640 feet from the property lines of any land not being leased to a wind-farm operator. “There are times it is loud,” said board member Tom McQuinn, whose rural Paxton home is about 2,500 feet from a turbine. “It is extremely loud and obnoxious, and I personally could never vote to make someone live closer than 2,250 feet from one. … We should be able to protect those who don’t want anything right on top of them.”  This is an extensive article but worth reading.

 

  • A number of articles in Ohio and elsewhere reflect that labor unions are aggressively supporting proposals to develop wind facilities in order to secure work for local members.  But in Minnesota, the State utility regulators postponed a vote to approve a western Minnesota wind farm after construction unions criticized the project’s nonunion builder for primarily hiring out-of-state workers.  RES, a major renewable energy developer, last year proposed the Bitter Root wind farm near Canby with 44 wind turbines that could generate up to 152 megawatts of power, a decent-sized project. RES would both develop and build the wind farm. The Laborers’ union, representing several construction unions, asserted that the socio-economic benefits of Bitter Root would be “substantially diminished” by a lack of Minnesota workers. RES has used nonunion trades workers on other wind farms in Minnesota, and the Laborers’ union says those workers were mostly from out of state.  RES is currently constructing another wind farm near Woodstock in Minnesota’s southwest corner.   About 85 percent of the license plates on workers’ cars at the Woodstock job are from out of state.

 

  • There is hope that one day the wind turbine will be a thing of the past.  Google is working on a new kite technology to capture steadier winds at higher altitudes. The rotors can generate up to 600 kilowatts of energy, or enough to power 300 homes, Makani executive Fort Felker said in a 2017 blog post. That’s a fraction of the power output of a conventional land-based wind turbine, but the company’s goal is to “build a new wind power technology capable of reaching altitudes not currently accessible to conventional wind turbines,” Felker said in the post.  The kite would fly at an altitude of about 1,000 feet, which is much higher than typical land-based turbines, according to Felker. At that altitude, Hall said, Makani’s kite may be able to tap into winds that are stronger and more constant than the ones terrestrial wind turbines rely on.

(now, back to the picture at the top)…All of these questions and more were answered at the Northern Ohioans for Wind (NOW) alternative energy forum, “Wind and Our Community,” which took place Thursday at Ernsthausen Recreation Center. NOW is a grassroots organization that “gives a voice to local community members who support renewable wind energy development.”

NOW representative and local landowner Kevin Erf, who helped emcee the event, said Apex Clean Energy “has made significant investments in our community” by its wind turbine projects and in looking to bring turbines to Huron County and surrounding areas. He said the projects will benefit the schools, local economy and job rates and the area residents “for generations to come.” …

One Bellevue property owner said he has worked with Apex and the other companies and said from his experience, he believes “everyone of us in Huron County are going to benefit, whether we’re in the footprint or not.

“This is the most beneficial project in our community — ever. It looks like a win-win for everybody. There may be some inconveniences, but it looks like despite that, it’s going to be a win-win for everybody. I don’t know what could be better than this.”