Shocked-Ohio Supreme Court says NO to BigWind

screen shot 2019-01-11 at 4.16.24 pm

Our featured article is the recent decision, by the Ohio Supreme Court that “Altering a wind farm’s construction timeline is an “amendment,” and a proposal for a 91-turbine farm must return to state regulators for an extension, potentially subjecting the facility to stricter state rules...” Hallelujah!!! See more of this article at the bottom.

As the new General Assembly gets underway and Governor-elect DeWine puts together his Cabinet, there are a couple of things to note.  Current Senate Majority Floor Leader, Sen. Randy Gardner of Bowling Green has been tapped to be the new Chancellor of the Dept. of Higher Education.   His move to the Cabinet will open a vacancy in the 2nd Senate District.  If the Republicans appoint a replacement from the House, it is possible that Rep. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), Rep. Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton) or Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) could be chosen.   Sen. Gardner was a co-sponsor of Dolan’s setback bill.

Another Cabinet appointment is former Rep. Dorothy Pelanda of Marysville who will become the Director of Agriculture.  Pelanda has always voted with the wind industry.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on the legislative priorities of the incoming leadership in the Ohio House and Senate. One of Senate President Obhof’s five priorities is to “Overhaul energy laws. Obhof said he would like a comprehensive review of all of the energy laws. Examples of laws that could be changed are the renewable standard and the wind turbine setback rule.”   We are not certain what that means but we hope it means that he would be willing to give local citizens a voice in approving siting.  House Minority Leader, Rep. Fred Strahorn of Dayton also listed setbacks as a legislative priority.  “As part of encouraging higher-paying jobs, Strahorn would like to change the wind turbine setback law, which he believes would encourage more wind energy companies to invest in Ohio and create jobs.” 

In the meantime, a big case is being considered at the PUCO.  Go to http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?Caseno=18-0501&link=DI to file a public comment in opposition to AEP.  Many environmentalists and radicals have organized comment letter campaigns in support of AEP’s plan to build 500MW of wind and 400 MWs of solar.  But the staff of the PUCO has testified that AEP has failed to demonstrate the added generation is needed.   The Ohio Consumer’s Council and the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association have taken a similar position.   Furthermore, the PUCO staff stated that “a demonstration of customer preferences that are increasingly shifting towards renewable energy is insufficient to establish a need of utility scale wind and solar investment.”   AEP had tried to assert that consumers are clamoring for more renewable energy.  Our observations have been that many polls do not give reliable results because the people questioned do not understand the implications of building more renewables.  The Natural Resources Defense Fund, Sierra Club and the Ohio Environmental Council and others are working hard in support of AEP’s proposal. Opponents need to speak out.  AEP hopes the PUCO board will override the staff. Hearings begin next week.

In other news:

  • AEP is seeking approval to build 1.2GW of wind and has filed a request for proposals that is among the biggest ever seen in the US wind market, with Louisiana-based SWEPCO looking for projects qualified either for the full or the 80% PTC – meaning they would need to be on line by the end of 2021.  The projects must be at least 100MW in size and located within territory overseen by grid operator SPP in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas or Oklahoma, the areas served by SWEPCO. Proposals are due in March 2019.

 

  • Bill Gates has issued his annual letter and in the section on energy, Gates maintains  “Solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing”.  He goes on to discuss his support of nuclear energy.
  • Some years ago, Canada’s  Dr. Robert McMurtry and his wife Jane worked to develop a video about the harms of wind.  Jane McMurtry passed away recently.  In memory of Jane McMurtry, wind warriors everywhere are revisiting their important video.  See No Safe Space (video).

 

  • EverPower is the subject of litigation in West Virginia where three complaints were filed against New Creek Wind in federal court alleging negative effects on the health and well-being of several residents. “Specifically, while the plaintiffs are outside on their property, they are confronted with irritating and unabated audible noise which significantly limits the use and enjoyment of their property and results in annoyance, along with other symptoms…” one of the complaints states. The New Creek Mountain Sportsman’s Club claims its members suffer from headaches, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, hearing problems and other issues while on the hunting lodge’s property.  The plaintiffs claim the wind turbines have affected the serenity, ambiance, wildlife viewing and aesthetic nature of their properties.  The defendants knew or should have known their wind turbine project would interfere with the use and enjoyment of the plaintiffs’ properties and would result in negative physical and mental harm, according to the suits. When the plaintiffs are walking around their properties, depending on which way the turbine blades are configured, negative effects occur the closer they get in the direction of the wind turbines, according to the suits. The plaintiffs claim the wind turbines are a nuisance and that the defendants were negligent.”  Two separate lawsuits were filed 2017 as well. 

 

  • Amid hundreds of graphs, charts and tables in the latest World Energy Outlook (WEO) released last week by the International Energy Agency, there is one fundamental piece of information that you have to work out for yourself: the percentage of total global primary energy demand provided by wind and solar. The answer is 1.1 per cent. The policy mountains have labored and brought forth not just a mouse, but — as the report reluctantly acknowledges — an enormously disruptive mouse.  This report should be profoundly embarrassing to the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau, which has virtue-signaled itself to the front of a parade that is going nowhere, although it can certainly claim genuine leadership in the more forceful route to transition: killing the fossil fuel industry by edict.”
  • Wind developers continue to sell off projects to recycle capital.  Reports of sales include EDPR, Invenergy, Avangrid and Enel Green Power.

 

  • A federally funded survey of East Coast beachgoers found building utility-scale wind turbines within the typical range proposed by federal officials won’t repel most vacationers.  University of Delaware professors George Parsons and Jeremy Firestone undertook the 1,200-person survey for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and NOAA by showing respondents in 20 states a visual simulation of a wind farm with 100 6-megawatt turbines. The simulation included views of turbines placed as close as 2.5 miles from shore, far closer than the range contemplated by BOEM for most lease areas, and as far away as 20 miles, the BOEM range’s upper boundary. “The most salient finding is, the closer the turbines are to shore, the larger the negative impacts would be,” said Parsons.   Brilliant.  And 2.5 miles is the closest being evaluated.

  

Altering a wind farm’s construction timeline is an “amendment,” and a proposal for a 91-turbine farm must return to state regulators for an extension, potentially subjecting the facility to stricter state rules, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today.

The Supreme Court voted 5-2 that the Ohio Power Siting Board improperly approved a request by developers of the Black Fork Wind Energy Project to extend the date to begin construction from January 2017 until January 2019. Opponents of the farm, which would be located in portions of Crawford and Richland counties, contend the siting board allowed the company to use a procedure to evade new “setback” rules imposed by the General Assembly, which would require more distance between turbines and property lines…

The opinion noted the board approved Black Fork’s request just weeks before the new setback law took effect, and the outcome of deadline extension request could change.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, Judith L. French, and R. Patrick DeWine joined Justice DeGenaro’s opinion.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Patrick F. Fischer wrote that the board properly interpreted state law, which led it to conclude an amendment is required only when there is a “change in the facility.” Other changes, such as a construction deadline, can be changed by a less-formal procedure, in this case, by a motion, he maintained.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell joined Justice Fischer’s dissent.NO SURPRISE HERE!

Justice Kennedy also wrote a concurring opinion, which both supported the majority’s reasoning and raised objections to Justice Fischer’s dissent. She wrote that the law applies to more than a change in a facility, noting that “the legislature did not hide substantive limitations on the amendment of a certificate in a provision that specifically addresses when ‘the board shall hold a hearing.’ ” Rather than limit the types of changes that constitute an amendment, she explained, the hearing provision “simply distinguishes a category of applications to amend a certificate—those proposing a change in the facility—in which a hearing similar to the one required to be held upon an initial application may not be required.”

Ohio court news

Advertisements

BigWind FAILS in Hawaii. Will Ohio learn?

screen shot 2019-01-08 at 9.08.14 pm

Ohio will become a graveyard of industrial wind turbines, unless our citizenry educates themselves and others, about the realities of this industry. We canNOT rely on our legislators to protect us, as many have either been bribed by or have drunk the BigWind Kool-Aid.  Why is is that our legislators will not educate themselves about these realities? Why are they ONLY listening to the BigWind lobbyists, paid for decades, by our tax dollars??????? Maybe it is time for some new policitians, who know how to THINK…..

Recently, my wife and I were blessed with an early Christmas gift from our son. We spent a week in the beautiful state of Hawaii….I wish instead to tell you what I observed and discovered with relevance to the Hawaiian people’s experience with wind turbines.

At 7,000 feet above sea level, we stopped at a ranger station, and I had an interesting conversation with a young ranger who held a degree in biology from the University of Oklahoma….

When I asked about the wind turbines that rest silent and unmoving on the jetties close to the rugged seashores of the mountains, he responded with the following statement.

“We are more concerned with the ecology of our island than of wind energy. We have two species of bats that near extinction. That is more important to our people.”

He continued, “I am not an expert of wind turbines, but I do know they were installed around 2008, and they did not prove to be as efficient as they were advertised to be.”

We continued up the mountain to our destination, stopping at a sheep-shearing station around 9,000 feet for a meal. It was there our tour bus driver — another ranger, with a degree in wildlife management from UCLA — continued with his knowledge about the subject. He had listened quietly to the conversation that was engaged earlier in the day.

“The wind turbines are not cost efficient. When they stop working, the maintenance to repair them is not a good business move. Although we built them on shorelines where people do not live, their appearance is ghastly. Most of them remain still as they rust away. The big energy companies took advantage of the Hawaiian people.”

Broken promises:

The rusting wind turbines of Hawaii

A breathtaking sight awaits those who travel to the southernmost tip of Hawaii’s stunningly beautiful Big Island, though it’s not in any guidebook. On a 100-acre site, where cattle wander past broken ‘Keep Out’ signs, stand the rusting skeletons of scores of wind turbines….

Yet the 27-year-old Kamaoa Wind Farm remains a relic of the boom and inglorious bust of America’s so-called “wind rush,” the world’s first major experiment in wind energy.

At a time when the EU and the British Government are fully paid-up evangelists for wind power, the lesson from America — and the ghostly hulks on this far-flung coast — should be a warning of their folly.

— By Tom Leonard, a correspondent for Hawaii Free Press (www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/ID/6350/Broken-promises-The-rusting-wind-turbines-of-Hawaii.aspx)

Why do we not listen to the people in Hawaii, Indiana, Colorado, California, and New York when they warn us about the exploitations of wind energy companies? Is it the genuine desire to save our planet that makes us rush to hasty decisions created by outsiders? Is it the temptation of financial rewards for our family? It certainly cannot be based on research or history, for research warns of extreme danger and history speaks of consequences that result in regret as we rush to discover clean renewable energy…

Original article January 2019

 

Not 1, but 41 reason why BigWind CAN’T replace FOSSIL FUELS

screen shot 2019-01-07 at 9.21.22 pm

BigWind is a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing.  We have been told a LIE that renewable energy will replace and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  The OPPOSITE is true.  Most people think this reality sounds like nonsense.  Please educate yourselves and share with others….

Preface. Electricity simply doesn’t substitute for all the uses of fossil fuels, so windmills will never be able to reproduce themselves from the energy they generate — they are simply not sustainable.  Consider the life cycle of a wind turbine – giant diesel powered mining trucks and machines dig deep into the earth for iron ore, fossil-fueled ships take the ore to a facility that will crush it and permeate it with toxic chemicals to extract the metal from the ore, the metal will be taken in a diesel truck or locomotive to a smelter which runs exclusively on fossil fuels 24 x 7 x 365 for up to 22 years (any stoppage causes the lining to shatter so intermittent electricity won’t do). There are over 8,000 parts to a wind turbine which are delivered over global supply chains via petroleum-fueled ships, rail, air, and trucks to the assembly factory. Finally diesel cement trucks arrive at the wind turbine site to pour many tons of concrete and other diesel trucks carry segments of the wind turbine to the site and workers who drove gas or diesel vehicles to the site assemble it.

Here are the topics covered below in this long post:

  1. Windmills require petroleum every single step of their life cycle. If they can’t replicate themselves using wind turbine generated electricity, they are not sustainable
  2. SCALE. Too many windmills needed to replace fossil fuels
  3. SCALE. Wind turbines can’t be scaled up fast enough to replace fossils
  4. Not enough rare earth metals and enormous amounts of cement, steel, and other materials required
  5. Not enough dispatchable power to balance wind intermittency and unreliability
  6. Wind blows seasonally, so for much of there year there wouldn’t be enough wind
  7. When too much wind is blowing for the grid to handle, it has to be curtailed and/or drives electricity prices to zero, driving natural gas, coal, and nuclear power plants out of business
  8. The best wind areas will never be developed
  9. The Grid Can’t Handle Wind Power without natural gas, which is finite
  10. The role of the grid is to keep the supply of power steady and predictable. Wind does the opposite, at some point of penetration it may become impossible to keep the grid from crashing.
  11. The grid blacks out when the supply of power varies too much. Eventually too much wind penetration will crash the grid.
  12. Windmills wouldn’t be built without huge subsidies and tax breaks
  13. Tremendous environmental damage from mining material for windmills
  14. Not enough time to scale wind up
  15. The best wind is too high or remote to capture
  16. Too many turbines could affect Earth’s climate negatively
  17. Wide-scale US wind power could cause significant global warming. A Harvard study raises questions about just how much wind should be part of a climate solution
    Less wind can be captured than thought (see Max Planck Society)
  18. Wind is only strong enough to justify windmills in a few regions
  19. The electric grid needs to be much larger than it is now
  20. Wind blows the strongest when customer demand is the weakest
  21. No utility scale energy storage in sight
  22. Wind Power surges harm industrial customers
  23. Energy returned on Energy Invested is negative
  24. Windmills take up too much space
  25. Wind Turbines break down too often
  26. Large-scale wind energy slows down winds and reduces turbine efficiencies
  27. Offshore Wind Farms likely to be destroyed by Hurricanes
  28. The costs of lightning damage are too high
  29. Wind doesn’t reduce CO2
  30. Turbines increase the cost of farming
  31. Offshore Windmills battered by waves, wind, ice, corrosion, a hazard to ships and ecosystems
  32. Wind turbines are far more expensive than they appear to be
  33. Wind turbines are already going out of business and fewer built in Europe
  34. TRANSPORTATION LIMITATIONS: Windmills are so huge they’ve reached the limits of land transportation by truck or rail
  35. Windmills may only last 12 to 15 years, or at best 20 years
  36. Not In My Back Yard – NIMBYism
  37. Lack of a skilled and technical workforce
  38. Wind only produces electricity, what we face is a liquid fuels crisis
  39. Wind has a low capacity Factor
  40. Dead bugs and salt reduce wind power generation by 20 to 30%
  41. Small windmills too expensive, too noisy, unreliable, and height restricted…

    Windmills require petroleum every single step of their life cycle. If they can’t replicate themselves using wind turbine generated electricity, they are not sustainable

    Fossil fuels are essential for making wind turbines, as Robert Wilson explains in Can You Make a Wind Turbine Without Fossil Fuels?….

EnergySkeptic

 

 

The Big Data (Amazon) Center ‘Deception’

As the year ended, Senator Matt Dolan’s New Year’s Resolution appears to be his commitment to re-introduce his wind turbine setback legislation as fast as he can in 2019.  Speaking to the statehouse news service, “Sen. Dolan said he plans to continue working to better inform his colleagues about the issue, describing it as an “education process.”   That would otherwise be known as a “disinformation” campaign and will require State Senators and Representatives in the NW quadrant of Ohio to be effective spokespersons skilled at countering the fake news.  By way of example, Sen. Bob Hackett of Madison County is adamant that there are no setbacks in any state bordering Ohio that are longer than Ohio’s.  Because he has been misled, Hackett intends to help Sen. Dolan in the 133rd General Assembly as a co-sponsor of a setback bill.  

The Senate will return to session to start the 133rd General Assembly on Monday, Jan. 7. The Senate’s calendar calls for members to be back in Columbus for a full session after that on January 30. The committee hearing process is set to begin on Tuesday, Feb. 5.  The House has yet to release its session schedule for the new year.

In addition to setback legislation, the Senate is likely to consider a ZEN bill which provides a Zero Emissions Nuclear energy program to bail out First Energy.  Not surprisingly, this idea is vigorously opposed by left-wing groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists who think support for nuclear energy is a way to block clean/renewable energy.   Whatever the outcome, there is no way some wind farms in NW Ohio can replace the jobs lost or devastating economic dislocation brought about by the closing of nuclear facilities. Nuclear facilities employee MANY people and provide HIGH paying jobs….UNLIKE BigWind.

One of principal arguments for wind and solar development put forward by politicians is the need to have renewable energy available for the new tech economy and, in particular, fast growing data centers. We decided to look into this a little deeper and were surprised to find that Amazon Web Services does not support that view. In fact, their much touted contract to buy the power generated by EverPower’s Scioto Ridge (aka Hardin Wind) in Hardin and parts of Logan County was quietly ripped up in 2017.

In a December 14, 2018 press report from The Information, a “senior AWS executive told colleagues inside the company that renewable energy projects are too costly and don’t help it win business.”  The article goes on to say that data center operators purchase wind for “the public relations benefits that come from being good corporate citizens and also to lock in long-term power supply contracts.  In a moment of candor, Amazon admits renewables are too costly and they have not made any wind purchases in over two years since they walked away from EverPower’s Scioto Ridge.  CONFIRMATION OF OUR MESSAGE FOR YEARS!!

Greenpeace, Sierra and other environmental activists are going after Amazon to force them into achieving 100% renewable power by 2020.  That is a tall order.  Amazon currently stands at 50%+ renewable.  It is sickening that the charade of renewable energy being able to affordably and reliably power intensive energy users is allowed to warp reasoned energy policy.  It is worse that politicians like Senator Dolan play a part in this charade.

In the meantime, earlier this month Ohio Montauk Innovations LLC, a Google data center affiliate, received a set of incentives from the State of Ohio for a $600 million data center in New Albany, a high income suburb of Columbus. The project is intended to create $2.5 million in payroll.  The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 100 percent, 15-year data center sales tax exemption, though it has the option to be renewed for up to 40 years through October 30, 2058.  That agreement would be worth $43.5 million over the life of the tax credit, which it can claim on sales and use taxes associated with data center equipment purchases at the site. 

Approximately one mile from the new Google data center, Facebook is building a $750 million data center.  A recent look at national data center development by Data Center Dynamics explains that “the American Midwest has become a region of choice for colocation and data center investments, offering a cost-effective and reliable alternative to many densely populated coastal regions. Also, being centrally located between both coasts affords an abundance of network connectivity and affordable power, it’s pretty easy to understand why this region continues to develop. “   

Given the above, we can say once again that the “emperor has no clothes”.   Data Centers aren’t waiting on reduced wind turbine setbacks or renewable energy mandates in Ohio to build.   But data centers  do need affordable energy.   If they are forced to buy Ohio renewables by environmental activists and politicians who want to look ‘green,’  that high-cost energy would need to be made cheaper by federal PTC subsidies, county Payments-in-Lieu-of Tax (PILOT), and stolen easements across non-participating properties through setbacks measured from homes.   Otherwise, data centers can buy cheaper renewables from windier states.  They could also buy nuclear energy which eco-activists oppose despite it being clean energy.   And then there is always natural gas! Or clean coal!

An important article in this issue speaks to “energy realism” as demonstrated by the United States at the recent climate conference in Poland.  “There are reasonable nations who are willing to confront the fundamental financial and technological realities of today’s energy landscape. By hosting a side panel at the climate talks focusing on how nuclear energy and technology to burn fossil fuels cleanly can contribute to achieving emissions goals, the U.S. has positioned itself firmly as the leader of the latter.”

 “The Trump administration’s willingness to shake off pressure from other developed countries to focus exclusively on renewable energy fits into the policy of energy realism which has characterized Rick Perry’s tenure at the U.S. Energy Department. Secretary Perry laid out his vision for American energy policy in March at the CERA Week energy conference in Houston, emphasizing that “we don’t have to choose between growing our economy and caring for our environment. By embracing innovation over regulation, we can benefit both.” 

 Elsewhere:

 

sPower has opened an office in downtown Tiffin to promote its Seneca Wind project.    A Seneca County resident pens an excellent Letter to the Editor on why wind developments do not belong in Seneca County.

In Lancaster County, Nebraska, local zoning for noise was changed at the request of NextEra.  The newly approved rules set a 50-decibel upper limit around the clock for participating property owners. There is no change in the county noise rules for nonparticipating landowners.  It was noted that most of the participating landowners do not live in the project area and will be unaffected by the change.  

In Pennsylvania, a township zoning board denied an application by Atlantic Wind to build a wind facility. “The decision was met with applause and cheers from township residents, whom religiously attended zoning hearings to make their opposition to the project clear. Among their primary concerns were water quality, noise and sight disturbances form the turbines, its close proximity to the proposed PennEast Pipeline and the potential harm the turbines could inflict on birds and bats.”

 Apex sold its second project in Illinois to Liberty Power, a unit of Canadian Algonquin Power.  Upon completion, the Sugar Creek project will then be sold to Atlantica Yield.  It’s all about the money!  It appears that the Apex model is to sell projects, raise money and develop more.  They may not be a long term partner in any community.   In South Dakota, Apex sold the 151MW Dakota Range III wind project to French independent power producer Engie. 

BP has also sold three wind developments.  “The deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, underscores the churn taking place in the US wind market as the reduction of the federal wind tax credit and growing cost-competitiveness of wind energy brings in new types of investors, including many deep-pocketed asset managers and pension funds.  It also highlights the move to repower or upgrade projects across the 90GW US wind fleet, as projects built in the market’s early years begin to show their age.”  Vestas will fulfill the orders for the upgrade.  A Vestas executive remarked that “With the exponential advancements in wind technology over the last decade, the turbines of today barely resemble the turbines of yesterday,” says Chris Brown, president of Vestas’ sales and service division in the US and Canada.”   This makes the case for full OPSB review of any amendments to projects that were previously approved.

CleanTechnica, a left-wing renewable advocate raves about the momentum in wind development as though it will replace coal. They also tout its (albeit subsidized) price competitiveness.

Finally, Ohio has moved into the top five for recoverable shale natural gas reserves in the United States.  Data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the state saw a 24.5 percent increase in proved shale gas reserves from 2016 to 2017, bringing it to 25.6 trillion cubic feet. That moves Ohio past Oklahoma and behind only Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia and Louisiana.  We say – if you’ve got it, flaunt it!…

Monday, December 24, 2018

Senate Sponsor Vows to Continue Efforts to Revise Wind Setbacks in Next General Assembly

 

Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said he hasn’t given up on revising Ohio’s wind turbine setback laws despite legislative inaction this session.

 

Although the House and Senate are expected to return to wrap up final business this week, Sen. Dolan’s attempts to gain caucus support for his proposal to loosen setbacks (SB 239) seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

 

Sen. Dolan says he doesn’t expect any last-minute amendment to accomplish his goal during lame duck. The setbacks were controversially increased in 2014 when the House amended a separate bill (HB483, 130th General Assembly) hours before its passage, increasing restrictions in a way wind supporters say stifled the industry.

 

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t even get hearings on the bill in practically the last year,” Sen. Dolan said in an interview. “I’ll bring it right back up.”

 

His proposal would have increased the setback to 1.2 times the blade’s length – up from the current 1.1 times – while at the same time requiring the minimum distance from the nearest blade to be measured from the nearest residential structure rather than the nearest property line. The net impact of those changes would shorten the required setback.

 

Sen. Dolan said the crux of the proposal will likely remain the same when he reintroduces it next year.

 

“I drove up to northwest Ohio and met with a lot of folks up there so there are some minor changes I could make as to the process and we could monkey a little with the distance too but it’s the same concept,” he said.

Democrats too are likely to renew their own efforts on setbacks. Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) and Sen. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) also authored measures to revise setbacks this year, although with a Republican supermajority in both chambers it was Sen. Dolan’s bill – and its predecessor from former Sen. Cliff Hite – that received the most consideration.

 

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) continues to say that a “significant portion” of his caucus believes the current setbacks are too restrictive.

 

But the House, which inserted the original amendment, has been more reluctant and fought hard against Senate-proposed revisions during the last budget. They’ve argued lowering the threshold would place homeowners at risk of being hit by ice or blades in the case of a failure.

 

Sen. Dolan said he plans to continue working to better inform his colleagues about the issue, describing it as an “education process.”

 

“On a macro level we need to make sure when we say we’re an all the above energy state we truly are so that on a micro level those that wish to invest in alternative energy know Ohio’s a safe place to invest, that those who want to purchase their power from alternative energy know Ohio will produce it for them,” Sen. Dolan said.

 

“So, it’s a bill that looks toward tomorrow more than anything,” he continued. “What worries me is if we dig our heels in in allowing new development – not only energy – it sends a message to other industries too that anything new, anything cutting edge, anything a little bit controversial Ohio’s going to shrink from? No. Ohio’s got to work to make sure we’re welcoming that type of innovation. That’s why it’s so important to me.”

 

Business leaders have also increasingly pressed lawmakers to act on the issue. Most recently, a coalition of Ohio corporations urged policymakers to adopt a more consistent approach to energy policy, including revising the setbacks.

 

Meanwhile, a group of Paulding County farmers last month filed a lawsuit in common pleas court against the state alleging the 2014 amendment violated the single-subject provisions of the Ohio Constitution.

 

Why do some in Ohio fight against BigWind?

Senate President Larry Obhof surprised the Ohio caucus by naming Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) as Chair of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Media reports noted “I look forward to Steve’s leadership of this committee,” said Obhof. “He has proven himself a hard-working, thoughtful, solution-oriented leader, and he understands the importance of developing a long-term energy policy that provides affordable options for Ohioans and protects our natural resources.”   Wilson was appointed to the Ohio Senate in 2017 and was elected to his first term in 2018. He currently serves on the Education; Finance; Insurance and Financial Institutions; Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs; and Ways and Means committees.  Sen. Wilson, a retired banker,  has not previously served as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee . He  is a co-sponsor of Sen. Dolan’s stand alone bill SB 238 to roll back property line setbacks.

With a new chairman installed, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources resumes its committee work this week.  It should be noted that HB 114 is not on the agenda.  Sen. Matt Huffman, attending a breakfast in Urbana on Saturday,  expressed his belief that there was just not enough time left in year to deal with HB 114.  Senator Huffman gave a brief speech while in town in which he said that there are significant manufacturing expansions occurring or planned throughout his District.  He is very concerned about these employers being able to attract employees. He said that if communities cannot supply a workforce, companies will begin to turn away from NW Ohio.  This begs the question, why would anyone want to live in the middle of an industrial power plant?  How inviting would it be to attract a workforce to an area that had become uninhabitable due to the proliferation of industrial wind turbines? 

As Lordstown, Ohio struggles to accept the loss of the GM plant there.  We should not forget it was only last May that the people of Paulding County destroyed a bit more of their environment and provided taxpayer subsidy (PILOT) to GM to “power” the Lordstown plant with wind. Guess wind and solar aren’t such great economic development/retention tools after all. Wonder how the folks in Paulding are feeling about now?

Out of curiosity, we visited the Ohio Secretary of State’s website to see if we could find more incorporations for Apex wind projects.  While it is not possible to determine where these projects might be, it was instructive to see how many limited liability companies have been created – some of them within the past couple of years. Here are eleven:

Apex                     Ashtabula Wind

Apex                     Buck Springs Wind LLC

Apex                     Emerson Creek Wind LLC

Apex                     Emerson Creek West

Apex                     Firelands Wind LLC

Apex                     Grant Ridge Wind LLC

Apex                     High Springs Wind LLC

Apex                     Honey Creek Wind LLC

Apex                     Long Prairie Wind I         

Apex                      Long Prairie Wind II

Apex                     Sugar Grove Wind LLC

The list, above, should remind all of us WHY it is important to persevere in this fight for property rights. This is a many year long battle, that must continue until our tax dollars no longer subsidize this inefficient energy……

There are many reasons why rural communities are fighting back against wind development. This isn’t some crusade against a cleaner source of energy, that would be silly to think that people against living in a wind turbine project want dirty air and water. What this boils down to is property rights guaranteed by the constitution, and the safety, health, and welfare of all citizens in the rural community.

First on the property rights issue. The rural communities are zoned agricultural/residential. Nothing about industrial wind turbines are either of those. The fact is, wind turbines are industrial electric generators. It is an oxymoron to call them wind “farms.” That is a fancy spin that pushes the idea of it being agricultural. And why do they push that? Because the wind industry expects a special land use exception to site wind turbines like they are agricultural.

I ask a simple question to the readers. Can anyone name one example of zoning regulation that measures someone’s industrial structure to the foundation of another person’s house? You can try to find it but it doesn’t exist. This is largely the language in wind ordinances that wind developers look for when attacking a rural community in the cloak of darkness. They want the public to think this is a farming operation so they can justify measuring these things to a house and not a property line. They want this to look like a confined feeding operation like that of a hog barn which can be measured to a house. Then you get into the argument that “I would rather have a wind turbine than a hog barn.”

Which leads to another question: When you build or choose to live in the rural community that is zoned for agriculture is it unreasonable to think you may experience agricultural nuisances? You know that comes with living rurally. A follow up to that, when you build or choose to live in the rural community that is zoned agricultural is it unreasonable to think you will be dealing with something industrial? Yes, that is unreasonable. It goes against the very essence of why people choose to live in the rural community.

Turbine manufacturers have recommended safety distances in their operations manual that is mainly established by Gcube insurance, the main insurer for liability of industrial wind turbines. The setbacks in these manuals are largely kept from the public for proprietary reasons. Shouldn’t the public have a right to know just how dangerous the wind industry’s own insurers define as what is safe? Setbacks all over the Midwest can easily be proven inadequate by many resources. If you want some specific information about proper setbacks please read some of the following links. Here is a study that proves that a 300′ turbine can sling debris over 1700′ from a physicist. Other recommendations based on safe setbacks can be found in many other places too (1, 2, and 3). As a final follow up to this section, ask any wind developer to produce a scientific, peer-reviewed, independent study that proves the setbacks they advocate for and claim are safe. They will duck and dodge. A developer recently turned that question around on me and I produced the study listed above along with two others studies. Then all I heard was silence.

This is about conflicting land uses and equitable zoning over all else. The language in leasing agreements plainly states there is a “no build” zone that extends out from a turbine. Measuring a turbine to someone’s house can deny them the right to develop their land as they see fit in the future. That is theft, it is referred to as trespass zoning. If developers want to site wind turbines, the zoning must be to a neighboring landowners property line unless they sign a “good neighbor agreement” also known as a setback waiver.

This is perfectly legal right now. But wind developers do not want to negotiate the property rights of all landowners in a footprint. They expect zoning law to allow them to steal uncompensated easements from all non-participating landowners as a part of their robbery scheme. That is unconstitutional. This is the source of the main opposition for people in the rural community.

Next, it is a quality of life issue. Wind developers constantly say there is no scientific evidence that wind turbines affect people’s health. Which poses another question. If that is true, then why does every leasing agreement offered admit all the health effects they so adamantly discredit actually do exist? I have copies of lease agreements and all the health effects are in every contract. And here is the bigger point, when you sign an agreement, you have been essentially “gagged” into speaking negatively about wind turbines to the public. There is a gag order in the agreement. Why are those terms necessary if the wind industry is so right about discrediting the health effects? Independent studies show wind turbines do affect people’s health and you can read that in many places (1, 2, and 3).

Thirdly, wind developers insist wind turbines do not have an adverse effect on home values. That can also be soundly refuted. They constantly cite a study done by the Lawrence Berkley Laboratory. That study is flawed. The Berkley study can be refuted in multiple sources (1 and 2). There is plenty of evidence that says wind turbines absolutely affect home values. Information about property value depreciation can be easily found (1, 2, 3, and 4.). If these reports are so wrong about property values and the wind industry is so right, then why do wind developers fight against offering the citizens a property value guarantee? Doesn’t that seem appropriate given the lengths they go to try to prove that wind turbines do not result in property depreciation?

Finally, some specific refutations of the pro-wind crowd from Van Wert County that was interviewed in your recent series. The Chamber of Commerce president said that the Blue Creek Project is the “number one tourist attraction” in Van Wert County. Where is the proof of that? I and many other residents have not once heard people visiting our community for the wind turbines. That is pure speculation and opinion. Secondly, she calls the turbine money a “game changer” for our schools. The two school districts that receive wind money have been on sound financial footing for multiple decades because their taxpayers have routinely supported ballot issues. It has nothing to do with wind payments. The annual payments are fractions of the annual operating expenses of these districts. School funding can easily be found online to prove it.

The only district in the county that doesn’t receive wind payments has far more academic opportunities than the other districts that do. The Van Wert City School district has fully implemented project-based learning through the New Tech Network, have two programs in the PTLW (project lead the way) methodology in Biomedical Science and Engineering, have a fully functional mass media television production studio on campus, a state respected robotics club, and a more diverse offering of courses. All of these without the addition of wind payments. So it’s a false narrative that wind payments are “game changers”; the truth is they help schools at a fraction of what is claimed.

It is also necessary to disclose some information regarding the pro-wind farmer interviewed in your piece. This farmer, admittedly, is compensated by hosting wind turbines. At a tune of $20,000 or so per year, this farmer has already received over $100,000 in payments and will garner over $400,000 by the end of the terms of the contract. Would that not be enough to say a wind turbine’s noise is “minimal?” Would that allow one to make no distinction between industrial wind turbines and a highway a mile away? If one believes so much in the cause, why would they not just donate their property for the cause? This comes down to money. Money for a minority of landowners at all of their neighbor’s expense.

In conclusion, folks fighting for their quality of life are not against better means to serve our complicated energy needs. We are fighting for our property rights, our health, our guaranteed safety, and energy policy that makes sense. I haven’t even touched on the false narrative perpetuated by the wind industry and how it’s saving the Earth. I have plenty of science that proves that is plainly false.

I also haven’t touched on the complicated economic picture that proves this technology firmly relies on tax and ratepayer support to produce a highly expensive, low-value product that negatively impacts all our bank accounts. Those are arguments that simply do not resonate with the average citizen. The complexities and dynamics are very difficult to comprehend. Lastly, the large amount of people who support wind technologies will never live near any wind installation, thus making it easy to push it on the rest of us.

— Jeremy Kitson, Citizens for Clear Skies, from Van Wert County, Ohio (Thank you to the News Sentinel of Ft. Wayne, for printing this letter!!!)

Jeremy’s printed letter

letter reprinted in entirety w permission from author

Boom! Ohio commissioner slammed w BigWind facts

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 5.14.39 PM

…Commissioner Stacy, in your letter, you referred to “facts have been misconstrued” and “not sharing real facts” or “not stopping misinformation.” I take personal offense to your comments since I have been the primary presenter at the Seneca Anti-Wind Union informational meetings (which you have yet to attend) and I feel I do my best to be truthful and to only present the facts.

Let’s review the facts:

FACT 1: The turbines being proposed are 652 feet tall, only 18 inches shorter than the tallest turbines in the United States that are located in Randall County, Texas, where you can’t see a home anywhere close to the turbines. Now, Emerson Creek plans to use even taller turbines.

FACT 2: The turbines will generate shadow flicker.

FACT 3: The turbines will generate noise.

FACT 4: The turbines will kill bats, eagles and other migratory birds.

FACT 5: The turbines will ruin our rural landscapes.

FACT 6: The turbines will reduce our property values.

FACT 7: At night the turbines will be lit with red flashing lights.

FACT 8: 26 of the proposed Seneca Wind turbine sites are not legal per the current setback laws, including one that is 740 feet from my property line.

FACT 9: 16 turbines are proposed to be located within a 2-mile radius of Seneca East School.

FACT 10: The Seneca East School Board voted unanimously to intervene in the Seneca Wind project.

FACT 11: There will be unintended consequences where the people bearing the brunt of the wind turbines won’t support future tax levies.

FACT 12: Commissioner (Shayne) Thomas testified to a Senate committee to reduce the setbacks which would move the turbines closer to homes.

FACT 13: A pro-wind lobbying group wrote and submitted a testimonial letter in your name without your approval to the Energy & Natural Resources Senate Committee.

FACT 14: Seneca County has a population density of 100 people per square mile, while sPower’s other two wind projects in Utah and Wyoming have less than 3 people per square mile.

FACT 15: The commissioners had the opportunity to stop the approval of the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) for both the Republic Wind and Seneca Wind projects, but yet chose to do nothing.

FACT 16: The PILOT funding is based on 2011 dollars and does not adjust for inflation over the life of the project.

FACT 17: Eight out of 10 townships in the two project footprints have voted to intervene against the project with the Ohio Power Siting Board.

FACT 18: Per the Ohio EPA, the specific area where the Republic Wind and Seneca Wind projects are both located is designated as a “Drinking Water Source Protection Area with a High Susceptibility to Contamination and Water Quality Impacts.” So the quality of our well water is at risk per the EPA’s own document.

FACT 19: Windpower is highly subsidized with taxpayer money and inefficient in production of energy.

FACT 20: There are an average of 3,800 blade failures every year. We will have blade failures in Seneca County.

FACT 21: For turbine projects greater than 5MW, state law overrides any local zoning protections.

FACT 22: You have not rescinded the AEZ (alternative energy zone) which allows additional projects to come into the county without any local control.

Commissioner Stacy, you have chosen to ignore these facts as well as many others since you’ve been blinded by the wind company’s money. You are turning your back on the majority of the citizens who have the least to gain and the most to lose. You should be ashamed of this and this will be your legacy in the history of Seneca County.

Tribune letter link

BigWind attacking Ohio lame duck session

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 1.25.10 PM

The mad rush to year-end has officially begun!  Big wind accelerates its development efforts during the holidays hoping no one notices.  Panic sets in as the lame duck session of the Ohio General Assembly gets underway. The declining Production Tax Credit forces some developers to reconsider the viability of some projects in the pipeline.  The lobbyists and P.R. shills for the wind industry crank out more questionable reports about the ‘benefits’ of renewable energy.

Meanwhile, the Champs Elysee in Paris has been in flames for eight days because Prime Minister Macron has hiked the gas tax in order to fund more renewable energy and the people are pushing back. The protests are blamed on the French urban-rural split.  The elites in Paris don’t drive and don’t care if diesel fuel goes to $7 a gallon while rural people are wondering how they will be able to afford to drive to work.  The contempt of the “elites” for the rural people is coming into sharp focus here in Ohio as well as in France.  To the barricades!

In the Ohio Senate, President Obhof says he will appoint a new chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week.  Current Vice Chair of the Committee is Sen. Kris Jordan who has always been sympathetic to the anti-wind community.  Other Republicans on the Committee are Bacon, LaRose, Dolan, Gardner, Hottinger, and Hoagland.  Perhaps President Obhof will name one of these.  There are currently two unfilled vacancies on the Committee.  The Senate has scheduled full sessions for Nov. 27 and 28th as well as December 6, 12, 13, and 19.  If the Committee votes for HB 114, it would go to the floor on one of these dates.

President Obhof was reported to express his opinion that the Republican Caucus supports a setback modification. “I think there is a desire by a significant portion of our caucus to also fix or change…the setback rules for windmills,” Sen. Obhof said, adding that the caucus wants the change “to allow more development than what we’ve seen over the last few years.” 

A new “report”  entitled A Path Forward has been released by a “corporate coalition” called www.poweringohio.org  and funded by the Environmental Defense Fund.  This group is made up of left-wing elites and name-brand companies that stand to profit from government-forced green energy policies in the power and transportation sectors.  It is a quintessentially “elite” report prepared by Synapse Energy Economics located in Cambridge, MA.  The lead author was in charge of Vermont energy policy (which, until recently, had a 6,000’ setback) and another author has frequently served as an ‘expert witness’ for the Sierra Club,  Natural Resources Defense Council, the Michigan Environmental Council, and other environmental activist organizations.   The report includes such statements as:

“Meanwhile, the legislature, with gubernatorial support, should remove barriers to wind investment by relaxing setback restrictions.(page 9)  and  “Businesses can work with local wind and solar developers to develop on-site or in-state purchase agreements that will lower their electricity price risk and help them meet their business objectives. JobsOhio can encourage pairings by facilitating matches between expanding companies and clean energy developers, and by offering a discount on Ohio clean energy as part of its economic development incentive packages. Assistance from JobsOhio would both reduce the transactional requirements of obtaining local clean energy and provide a competitive advantage when compared to other states in the region.”   (14)  The emphasis is added but good heavens! This looks like a document written for failed gubernatorial candidate Cordray as opposed to a roadmap for Gov.-Elect DeWine.  Now wind is looking for more taxpayer handouts through the secretive JobsOhio program.  Disgusting.

The action in Seneca County is on fire as sPower’s Seneca Wind project moves forward.   A local judge has filed to intervene in the case.  In his letter to the OPSB, Judge Shuff states he “has important interests to protect in this proceeding,” including excessive noise, strobe-like shadow flicker, “marring of local viewsheds,” negative impacts on property values, and deaths of migratory birds, bald eagles, and bats. He adds he wants to help protect against an “unconstitutional taking of property by the applicant.”  Also filing to intervene is the Black Swamp Bird Observatory represented by veteran attorney’s Jack Van Kley and Chris Walker.  More information on this case can be found at http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?Caseno=18-0488&link=DIVA .

Against that backdrop, Seneca County Commissioner Holly Stacy jumps into the fire in a column printed in the local paper.  Saying change is inevitable and people should just accept it, Stacy goes on to thank what she thinks is the ‘silent majority’ of pro-wind supporters.   Whew – pants on fire Commissioner Stacy!  Constituents Chris Aichholz and Jim Feasel offer some great comments in an effort to set her straight.

To the south in Hardin County, the Hardin Wind, LLC project – also known as EverPower’s Scioto Ridge is moving forward.  Rumors in the area suggest Innogy plans to build in Hardin County as well as Logan even though Logan County did not approve PILOT.   On November 15th, the OPSB approved Innogy’s request to add two additional turbine models and to allow the developer to post a notice in the paper as opposed to sending a letter to residents in the footprint.  More about this project can be found at http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=18-1473-EL-BGA .

 

When EverPower sold its operating projects and its pipeline of projects to Innogy, Innogy indicated it would review each project under development to determine whether or not the project would go forward.  The following Projects were identified as the “pipeline”:

 

  • Mud Springs, MT
  • New Creek Wind Project, WV
  • Scioto Ridge Wind Farm, Hardin & Logan Counties, OH
  • Mason Dixon Wind Project, Somerset County, PA
  • Kimberly Run Wind Project, Somerset County, PA
  • Buckeye II Wind Project, Champaign County, OH
  • Buckeye Wind Project, Champaign County, OH
  • Cassadaga Wind Project, Chautauqua County, NY
  • Baron Winds Wind Project, Steuben County, NY

 

It is believed that Mud Springs, Scioto Ridge, Cassadaga and Baron Winds are now being addressed by Innogy. There is some uncertainty about the remaining projects.   Mud Springs was mentioned in an article about a newly commissioned project in Montana.  In West Virginia,  two lawsuits were filed against New Creek Wind in 2017 after the plaintiffs claimed its wind turbines are noisy. Everpower Wind Holdings Inc. and Enbridge Holdings LLC were named as defendants in the suits. The status of the suits is not clear.   The New York Cassadaga Project was recently approved but the New York Baron Winds project was not approved.  There are a number of issues to be litigated in the Baron Winds project including the “cumulative” impact of several wind projects.

The town of Fremont, where Baron Winds is located, revised their local zoning ordinance during the state’s processing of the application under Article 10.   The zoning changes include a requirement that turbines be turned off after a receptor has experienced 20 hours of shadow flicker; noise levels of 50dBa at residences was changed to property line and the level of noise at a structure was reduced to 40dBa at night; property line setbacks were increased from 1.1x turbine height to 1.5x and no turbine can be closer than 1,500’ from a residence.

The report on the Cassadaga project notes “The Cassadaga project was part of the 2GW portfolio of US wind developments Germany’s Innogy bought from EverPower earlier this year and one of just three projects within the portfolio that are expected to reach completion by the end of 2020, in time to qualify for the full production tax credit.”  Good grief!!!

 

In other news:

 

  • A Texas Policy Foundation analyst writes a clear article looking at the rural-urban divide in energy policy.  He concludes It’s easy to be pro-subsidy when you don’t have to live with the results. I can sit in an Austin high-rise or a cushy studio and pontificate, or I can listen to locals and look at the facts. Rural America is speaking, and the data backs them up. Renewable energy subsidies are a bad deal.”  Included in the article is a link to a Texas Public TV presentation where the studio audience laughs at a woman who is affected by shadow flicker.
  • The geniuses at the Minnesota Department of Energy have discovered the answer to the lack of energy storage.  They believe “the most cost-effective way to reach higher levels of wind and solar penetration involves overbuilding renewable capacity and curtailing energy production as an alternative to more expensive seasonal energy storage.”   That’s because building out more capacity to help offset intermittency of wind and solar plants is still more cost-effective than deploying the same amount of long-term energy storage, according to current cost forecasts.”   And no thought to land use….none.
  • Nebraska’s Madison County revised it local zoning regulations for wind. “The original regulations approved by the county in 2007-08 only required turbines to be 1,000 feet from a non-participating person’s home. After listening to input in recent months, the commissioners ultimately decided to recommend 2,200 feet for setbacks.  The industry standard is 2,000 to 2,400 feet, so Madison County has split the difference. Participating land owners still must have their houses at least 1,000 feet from the turbines.  Invenergy rep Framel said he thinks the planning commission in general did a good job and its regulations would be acceptable to wind companies. “ NOTE: We have never seen an “industry standard”  recommendation.  Even if not measured from a property line, this setback is considerably longer than Sen. Dolan’s proposal.

 

  • Illinois’s Dekalb County has revised their wind siting rules based upon their experience.   The new regulations are meant to protect neighbors from the noise and flickering lights others in the county have experienced with less-regulated wind farms. They include 3,000 foot setbacks from neighboring properties, no shadow flicker, and very low maximum noise levels. Brad Belanger has been a strong supporter of the strict regulations. He said, “The board did their due diligence in coming up with the ordinance that addresses both the health, welfare, and property rights. What a wonderful way to start off the Thanksgiving weekend.”  Local citizens collected and presented a great deal of documentation which effectively refuted the claims of the wind industry.

 

  • Apex seems to generate controversy wherever it goes.  In a scathing letter to the Buffalo, NY news, the former chairman of the Somerset Planning Board said “The Apex “forum” on the proposed Lighthouse Wind Project held last month at Lyndonville High School was a staged propaganda event. It was an effort to indoctrinate the public and suppress comment and reaction. It was the culmination of a month long barrage of mailings intended to convince a community overwhelmingly opposed to the project of the benefits of an industrial wind turbine complex.”   For good measure, our friend Mary Kay Barton gives her two cents about the project and the support it has received from the Sierra Club.  “We love the natural environment that God has blessed us with here in western, central and upstate New York! We have no intention of allowing money-grubbing Big Wind Bullies to force us to destroy the beauty God has blessed us with in exchange for the consumer fraud that is industrial wind. We hope and pray the Sierra Club will return to the group’s original mission of appreciating all of God’s creation and working to protect it, as John Muir intended. However, regardless of whatever the Sierra Club does, we will fight anyone who tries to force these “monuments of subjugation” upon our communities.”

 

  • Apex is under attack also for its Galloo Island Wind project in New York.  Citizens are calling for the state to deny the Apex application.  “They filed a claim Oct. 31 stating that Apex violated Article 10 law, and the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment should deny the company’s application. They cited a portion of the law stating the board can dismiss the application based “upon discovery of materially false or inaccurate statements in the application” or the “discovery of material information that the applicant withheld or misrepresented …” “Compared to revocation of a certificate/application for false statements and material omissions, the ‘Do-Over’ remedy ordered for (Apex), sends a message that applicants need only be forthcoming after they are caught red-handed because there are no serious consequences to submitting a fraudulent Article 10 application,” they wrote in their claim.”  At issue is Apex’s representations about an eagle’s nest in the project footprint.

 

  • Anticipating future wind development in the New York area near Richland, the town council adopted zoning regulations for wind.  “ The law requires large wind energy facilities that generate 100 kilowatts or more to stay one mile away from facility property lines and their turbines to be no taller than 500 feet, and prohibits the noise from them from exceeding 35 A-weighted decibels for more than 5 minutes to “protect nearby citizens from harmful infrasound.”  The Ordinance is included below.  It is worth reading.

 

  • The Wall Street Journal takes a Virginia off-shore demonstration project to task in a slam by the Editorial Board.  The commission’s 20-page order, issued Nov. 2, is a takedown from front to back. “Dominion’s customers will pay the costs of this Project,” it says. The two turbines will generate electricity at 78 cents a kilowatt-hour—compared with 9.4 cents for new onshore wind, 5.6 cents for new solar, and around three cents for energy bought on the open market.” Customers will pay at least $300 million (plus financing costs) to demonstrate a large-scale project that, based on Dominion’s own studies, will not be a competitive option for the next 25 years,” the commission says.  Not that reality matters. “As a purely factual matter,” the commission says, the proposal “would not be deemed prudent.” But the Legislature has declared that offshore wind is “in the public interest.” Voilà, the petition is approved. That same day the utility issued a jaunty press release: “Dominion Energy Virginia customers are one step closer today to getting power from a new, renewable form of energy. The State Corporation Commission ruled in favor of plans to build two six-megawatt wind turbines.”  Reminds us of Lake Erie’s Icebreaker.

 

  • At the recent wind industry annual Operations and Maintenance conference,  G.E. announced a new and taller turbine.  “Taller turbines can access higher wind streams and system innovations have improved energy conversion. Set for commercial launch in 2019, GE’s 5.3 MW design increases annual energy production (AEP) by up to 50% compared with GE’s 3 MW turbines, according to the company. The turbine also incorporates a two-piece blade design for on-site assembly, improving transportability and access to siteOnshore turbine dimensions will continue to grow in the coming years and hub heights and rotor lengths could hit 200 m in the near future, Ken Young, Chief Operating Officer of Apex Clean Energy, a major renewable energy developer, told the conference on November 12.”  “Larger towers and rotors will impact major components, experts warned. Increased stress on generators “requires more vigilance and more competence in our core skills,” Young said. Site conditions are also generally more demanding than those that in the past, offering lower wind levels– requiring a larger rotor– or higher levels of turbulence and wind shear, MacRobbie noted. “We are starting to see the impact of that on the equipment,” he said. Proactive measures are required to mitigate higher levels of leading-edge erosion, MacRobbie noted.””   

 

  • Are the land conservationists ready to challenge the wind industry on land use? An article from the Global Warming Policy Foundation notes “It’s also worth remembering that, as well as wanting something like a quarter of the UK’s land area devoted to biofuels of one kind or another, the CCC makes the case for more wind turbines. They have apparently tried to obscure this inconvenient fact in their report by lumping windfarms and urban areas in a land category called ‘settlements’. But the worry is that up to 10,000 square kilometres of land – twice the area of the Cairngorms National Park – is potentially being earmarked as part of a wider rollout of wind industrialisation.  It’s fair to say that all this amounts to an ecological catastrophe in the planning. Yet there has not been a squeak from environmentalists in response. This is odd. Although ten years ago some greens were quite keen on biofuels – Friends of the Earth once wrote to the then-chancellor, Gordon Brown, demanding that oil companies be compelled to blend biofuels into petrol – they fairly quickly realised that energy crops are not all they are cracked up to be. You might therefore have expected some sort of a reaction to the suggestion that nearly a quarter of the UK’s land area should be devoted to energy crops and that a further very large chunk should be industrialised. It’s not as if they haven’t noticed – Caroline Lucas of the Greens and Craig Bennett of Friends of the Earth both cited the IPCC report favorably. Bennett even said that it showed “huge additional action needed in next 12yrs to keep climate change to 1.5 degrees”.  The problem is that as soon as you start looking for solutions to possible climate change, it very quickly becomes obvious that the cure is far, far worse than the disease. Nevertheless, the green lobby needs to raise funds to keep itself in business. Talk of “huge additional action” can therefore be a good way to keep the money flowing in, just so long as there is a certain reticence about precisely what that action is. Expect the silence of the greens to continue.”

 

  • Cost advantages to larger projects are reviewed in a new O&M report. “ The rapid buildout of large-scale wind facilities in the U.S. Interior has been a key driver of lower costs and the benefits of scale are set to be compounded in the coming years. The average capacity of U.S. wind farms rose from 34 MW in 2008-2017 to 72 MW in 2008-2017 and IHS Markit predicts capacities will double again in the next 10 years, McNulty said. “Between 2018-2027 we expect the average project size for new projects to be greater than 150 MW….for the U.S. Interior we expect it to be over 200 MW,” he said. As turbines age, O&M costs increase on average to as much as $58,000/MW annually. Direct costs rise sharply by the end of the first decade of operation, which is offset somewhat by declining indirect costs such as general site administration, business services, taxes and royalties, IHS Markit said. One quarter of turbine gearboxes and generators needed replacement within 10 years of operations, it noted.”  This is a warning that most Ohio wind projects will likely need to expand in the future.

 

  • Two pilot studies are presented with the aim of examining the acoustical properties of wind turbine noise that might be of special relevance regarding effects on sleep. In both pilots, six participants spent five consecutive nights in a sound environment laboratory. During three of the nights, participants were exposed to wind turbine noise with variations in sound pressure level, amplitude modulation strength and frequency, spectral content, turbine rotational frequency and beating behaviour. The impact of noise on sleep was measured using polysomnography and questionnaires. During nights with wind turbine noise there was more frequent awakening, less deep sleep, less continuous N2 sleep and increased subjective disturbance compared to control nights. The findings indicated that amplitude modulation strength, spectral frequency and the presence of strong beats might be of particular importance for adverse sleep effects. The findings will be used in the development of experimental exposures for use in future, larger studies.

 

  • Jason Biller of Seneca County offers a thoughtful analysis of bird mortality and the way in which the wind industry sets up false comparisons of threats to avian species….

pic

powering Ohio

Toledo Blade and Seneca county

Holly Stacy

Recharge News-Pattern brings rare wind project online in coal-heavy Montana

WV lawsuits

Innogy’s Cassadaga approved as New York market builds steam-By Karl Erik Stromsta in New York-21 November 2018

Ohio Statehouse News