Dear Ohio Power Siting Board and Ohio legislators,
WAKE UP! Ohio wind turbine setbacks should NOT be shortened. BigWind does NOT belong next to schools and playgrounds! Setbacks should be increased. BigWind spins well over 100 mph and when parts come loose (or ice), they fly fast and far….
A DAMAGED wind turbine halted a football game at the weekend.
The County League game between Aspatria and Cockermouth was called off because of fears for the players’ safety.
The two sets of players were getting ready for kick off when two covers from the wind turbine at the ground were blown across the pitch.
The game had been moved to Netherhall Community Sports Centre all-weather pitch in Maryport, because the teams’ own pitches were waterlogged.
Referee Graham Young said: “I can tell you it was a real scary moment. We were almost ready to start the County League senior fixture when these two covers suddenly landed on the pitch and were blown along by the wind….
“What Susan Munroe and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce have in common is that they both represent a big business intent on transforming entire communities from agricultural/residential to heavy industrial without the consent of the local citizens. No other form of development transforms such large portions of local areas, 250 square miles and tens of thousands of people affected in the Seneca County area alone. When big business lobbies for voter suppression on such a large issue then as citizens we should be very wary of their intentions no matter which side of the wind decision we may be on“…Amen and thank you Mr. Feasel for your wise comments!
Business and environmental groups told state lawmakers Tuesday that subjecting proposed wind farms to votes of the people would likely kill the industry in Ohio.
“House Bill 401 is an alarming proposal that would take away landowners’ rights by subjecting wind energy development to a local vote that could result in the cancellation of a project after the permitting,” said Susan Munroe, economic development director for Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy and former president of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce.
“It pits neighbor against neighbor,” she told the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “It’s an attack on landowner property rights. No other development, much less energy resource development, has to endure this type of legislation at the local level.”…
The measure would allow voters living in townships to petition to place a referendum on the ballot to undo wind farm site approvals by the Ohio Power Siting Board. The effort is largely driven by opponents of several large wind farms in varying stages of development, with a total of 189 turbines, on farmland in Seneca, Sandusky, Erie, and Huron counties.
Paulding County has four wind farms totaling 182 turbines, a fifth under construction with 31 turbines, and a sixth in development, generating income that Commissioner Roy Klopfenstein said could not be duplicated by other development. A turbine will soon be built on his own property.
“It is our opinion that the referendum process in this case is just wrong,” he said. “We as commissioners receive far more calls on livestock operations than wind farms. Are we as a community going to permit other industries to be subject to a ‘do I like my neighbor?’ vote?”
Some committee members questioned why Paulding should be concerned given the support wind farms have received in that rural, sparsely populated county. Testimony on Tuesday was limited to those opposing the measure.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Nino Vitale (R., Urbana), noted that, as an energy source, wind farms take up thousands of more acres than, for instance, Lake County’s Perry nuclear power plant in Lake County.
“That is a big impact difference when you’re talking about 120,000 acres versus a thousand acres,” he said. “Maybe that is where some of the tension occurs in terms of why is this coming up.”
Rep. Jon Cross (R., Kenton), who has a wind farm in his home county of Hardin, asked Mr. Klopfenstein whether some of the impact on the wind industry might be alleviated if the referendum took place prior to a siting decision by the state board rather than after approval….
We have blogged about this before. In order to build a turbine, there are hundred of gallons of oil, toxic chemicals, concrete, steel, etc. that is generated. Turbines do not last forever and certainly, they do not last anywhere near that of a traditional nuclear or coal facility. What happens then? Recycled? NOPE, well maybe a small portion. The reality is that tens of thousands of machines and concrete will end up in landfills. Yes, landfills. Real green energy, huh! And, if you are a farmer and the BigWind company rolls belly up, who will pay for this? Will you feel safe farming below a dilapidated turbine? Of course not….
There’s some public-record material about decommissioning US wind farms, and it’s not reassuring. In Minnesota, the ten-year-old Nobles Wind farm has 134 turbines of about 1.5MW and is operated by Xcel Energy. Xcel estimates a cost for scrapping each turbine at up to $US530,000, or $US71million total. Each turbine has a tip height of 120 metres. Just to scrap one 40m blade involves crunching composite material weighing more than 6 tonnes. The turbines themselves contain a smorgasbord of toxic plastics, oils, lubricants, metals and fibreglass.
As American Experimentpoints out, even $US71million doesn’t finance a thorough clean-up. The contracts oblige Xcel to restore the land to a depth of only 4 feet, i.e. about one metre, whereas the foundations go down 5 metres. Moreover, underneath the 56 square miles of this Minnesota wind farm is 140km of cabling and pipes. The documents don’t say if the cables would stay or go. But Palmer’s Creek, another wind farm in Minnesota with 18 turbines, will be allowed to leave cables in situ below four feet.
As to local terms, the Australian Clean Energy Council says:
Decommissioning means that the wind turbines, site office and any other ancillary infrastructure is removed from the site, and roads and foundation pads are covered and revegetated, allowing land to be returned to its former use.’ Elsewhere the council says, ‘Typical landowner contracts require that the turbine is removed from its concrete foundation, and that the turbine site is covered in topsoil so that farming activities can continue. (My emphases. Would government greenies allow a decommissioned mine a similar latitude?)….
What if the Operator goes into liquidation? This is perhaps one of the major potential risks of entering into any wind farm agreement. If the company that you enter into the agreement with (or its successor if they sell the rights) goes into liquidation, then there may be insufficient funds to de-commission the plant, and therefore the items could be left in place, potentially in a state of disrepair. If the equipment had value it would probably mean that it would be removed. There is a real risk however that useless equipment could be left on the property at the end of the Lease.
Others add that landowners have no title over abandoned wind farm material and can’t even sell it to defray their own clean-up costs….
The decommissioning issue will generate a new set of horror stories in the decade to come. Count on it.
Yet another example of WHY current Ohio BigWind setbacks are NOT safe for the public, particularly our schools filled with children. Unfortunately, some politicians prefer to listen to the $$ that BigWind waves (obtained via our taxpayer subsidies), rather than the constituents that reside amongst these industrial monsters…..
Roads in the harbor opened again on Friday after being closed for a day and a half due to potential danger from a damaged wind turbine.
The turbine was struck by lightning in 2017, which destroyed one of the turbine’s blades. The lightning strike also partially melted the turbine’s gearbox, City Manager Jim Hockaday said.
“When it blew hard enough on Wednesday, it broke loose whatever temporary kind of weld it had,” Hockaday said.
Contractors hired by the city locked the turbine’s blades in place on Friday, and Lakeside Drive was reopened after the procedure was finished.
The road closure was done because of “an abundance of caution,” Hockaday said.
Conneaut entered into an agreement with NexGen Energy Partners and Conneaut Wind for the purposes of adding a wind turbine next to the city’s waste water treatment plant. The school district also entered into an agreement with the same company for a turbine next to Conneaut Middle School.
The turbine at the wastewater treatment plant was struck by lightning in February 2017, destroying one of the blades and damaging the internal workings of the turbines. NexGen offered to repair the turbine, but only if the city entered into a new power purchase agreement with NexGen. At the time, NexGen said the new agreement would help offset the cost of repairing the turbine.
Conneaut filed suit against NexGen and Conneaut City Wind in 2018, according to court records, alleging that the companies had abandoned the turbine, and giving the city the right to demolish the turbine if NexGen and CCW did not remove it within 60 days. The case was dismissed at the request of the city in December 2018.
The school district has had issues with the turbine at CMS. It has has malfunctioned since it was installed, and NexGen has been in a years-long legal fight with the manufacturer…
PLEASE ask Ohio legislators to NOT ENDORSE SHAYNE THOMAS for his bid to run for the 88th district.
Please both call and email the Speaker of the Ohio House, Larry Householder. Shayne Thomas is seeking key endorsements from legislators at the state level in a bid to fill the seat of Bill Reineke 88th District Representative. If Shayne Thomas secures those endorsements, he will be a viable candidate in the primary election this spring.
When you email Rep. Householder also include these legislators on that email: email@example.com Phone (614) 466-2500
– Representative Bill Reineke (Seneca and Sandusky County) firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are just a few of the many concerns that have been expressed already by those in the community concerning Shayne’s conduct as Seneca County Commissioner:
Many area residents started contacting Shayne Thomas in December 2017 to express concern about the proposed wind projects following public disclosure by the wind development companies. How many did he tell “there wasn’t anything we could do to stop them” or “although he hates to see hog barns or big silos go up the landowners have every right to do with their land what they choose”.
2. After December of 2017 many came to learn that he had been promoting the reduction of setbacks at the state level. This would place turbines closer to non-participating property lines than what current law allows. In June of 2017 when the majority of Seneca county was unaware of utility scale wind energy development in Seneca county, Shayne Thomas, Susan Monroe (from Apex and Van Wert county)and local businessman Gary Baldosser went before the Senate Finance Committee to promote the reduction to setbacks in Ohio.
3. Shayne Thomas used his influence to promote these projects by seeking legal counsel to support them at the OPSB. He recommended the Seneca County Commissioners hire the same lawyer that represents Apex Energy. Apex Energy is also the same company associated with the wind lease in which the family of Mr. Thomas will benefit financially from in the proposed Honey Creek LLC.
4. Although Seneca County Commissioner Mike Kerschner recommended the commissioners rescind the AEZ. Shayne Thomas was very vocal in protecting the AEZ (Alternative Energy Zone). After thousands of signatures were collected county wide to rescind the AEZ, Shayne Thomas made a statement at the November 13th 2018 commissioner’s meeting, recommending they wait until 9/19/19 at 9:00 AM to rescind the AEZ. A bizarre date which ultimately was changed and the AEZ was ultimately sunset in June of 2019.
5. In another commissioners meeting on August 21st, 2018, Shayne Thomas chose to walk out on a retired Seneca East School teacher and veteran, Paul Smith during a commissioners meeting. Shayne abruptly adjourned the meeting when Mr. Jones, a beloved teacher and writer, went to the podium to speak.
Now that there are two Seneca County Commissioners working hard to protect Seneca County from utility scale wind energy development, it appears Shayne Thomas plans to move forward in his political aspirations in running for the 88th District State Representative against Gary Click in the spring primary election on the Republican ticket. Interestingly, Gary Click recently attended a Seneca Anti-Wind Informational meeting and he has been very engaged with our group asking questions and sharing the concern over safety regarding blade throws.
Shayne Thomas apparently has seen the writing on the wall in Seneca County with 5 out 6 townships within the Republic Wind project voting to intervene. Also, the Seneca East School Board, The Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Seneca County Commissioners, Seneca County Parks, and numerous residents in the wind projects all choosing to oppose utility scale wind energy development in Seneca County. Shayne is pictured at the end of this email surveying a large group which assembled in a Republic Town Hall meeting which overwhelmingly opposed industrial wind.
That’t right, BigWind is proposing TALLER turbines in the USA…while they lobby, hard in Ohio, for SHORTER safety setbacks! ZERO logic. Additionally, as farmers complain that soil compaction occurs, what will occur as a result of LARGER and HEAVIER equipment on our roads and fields??????……
US developers propose record 207-metre wind turbine height
A new Department of Energy report shows that the wind industry is increasingly comfortable with taller turbines that optimise project cost and performance
By Richard Kessler in Fort Worth,15 August 2019
Wind project developers in the US through May have proposed turbine heights up to a record 207 metres (680 feet) versus an average 146 meters for 2018 installations, as the industry benefits from technology advances, according to a new Department of Energy (DOE) report.
Permit applications filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this year show 44% of proposed turbines will exceed 152.4 meters in height (from ground to blade tip extended directly overhead), up from 39% in 2018 and 14% in 2017. The FAA regulates all aspects of civilian aviation…
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists Mark Bolinger and Ryan Wiser, primary authors of the 2018 Wind Technologies Market Report, noted the FAA data represents total turbine height, not hub height, and therefore includes the combined effect of both tower and rotor size…
In 2018, turbine size continued to increase in response to technology advances as developers grow more comfortable with larger, taller machines that optimize project cost and performance…
Both rotor diameters and hub heights increased in 2018, continuing the long-term trend, according to the report…
Vestas CFO sees scope for upscaled turbines on land and sea
The OEM could boost the nameplate capacity of both its onshore and offshore models further, CFO Fredriksson says
By Bernd Radowitz in Berlin,15 August 2019
Vestas could upscale both its currently most powerful onshore and offshore turbine models further to reach a greater nameplate capacity, the Danish OEM’s chief financial officer Marika Fredriksson told Recharge.
The manufacturer will only develop any new product or concept if it sees a clear path to both lower levelised costs of energy (LCOE) and “something in the pocket for us,” the CFO had stressed in a conference call with investors on second quarter earnings..
Asked be Recharge in an interview little later, whether she sees greater chances for improvements in onshore or offshore – given the fact that Vestas has already presented a 5.6MW onshore model and a 10MW offshore machine – Fredriksson said: “I would say both.”
“In onshore, we see a good potential to further decrease the LCOE. We have a modular approach with EnVentus and still see a great potential to lower costs further,” she said…
Vestas in January had unveiled its EnVentus modular platform, launching two 5.6MW models as its so far highest-capacity machines on land.
While most rival OEMs meanwhile also have presented turbines in the 5MW class, going much higher in onshore capacity could lead to growing headaches as far as road transport is concerned…
MHI Vestas chief executive Philippe Kavafyan at the launch of the V164’s 10MW version had already said the OEM likely won’t stop at that size and will move forward with more “incremental innovation through all parts of the value chain.”
Why is experience so valuable? One reason is that it should make us wise to avoid mistakes of the past. Unfortunately, our elected legislators choose to heed the advice of slick salespeople, rather than seek the experience and wisdom of the people who elected them into office. Readbelow, about the wise experiences of Iowa with BigWind. Learn from their mistakes and try to educate others…..
230 government entities in the US alone have banned or blocked industrial wind turbines at the urging of their constituents. Hundreds of homes are directly affected by every large industrial wind installation. These installations cast a long list of negative impacts for 2640 feet, at least that is the distance the wind companies will admit, yet they require county ordinances allow them setbacks from the foundation of homes to be merely 1200-1600 feet.
On average only 10% of the residents (page 32) who live in any large proposed wind installation will actively participate in the project even though all residents are offered money and hold-harmless contracts from the wind energy development company. The list of negative impacts in these contracts are blighted views, flashing FAA warning lights, turbines causing or emitting noise, vibration, air turbulence, wake, shadow strobing (flicker) and electronic signal interference. These contracts if accepted by residents also require the resident give an easement over their entire property and waive the right to a jury trial for future problems. This is hardly worth the couple of dollars a day offered to residents.
What do these contracts mean by “vibration, air turbulence and wake”? The turbines must be set far enough apart so they do not impact each other. The homes in between also receive those impacts- often causing residents to feel ill or uneasy. The contracts say both “to cause and emit noise”. The turbine generators noise emissions are rated at 110-115 dBA – same as the front seat of a rock concert. The companies ask to be allowed a dBA of 50-55 at neighboring homes. These limits are not monitored or enforced. The movement of the blades can cause noise much like a bullroarer does. Turbine noise has been recorded in homes 5.5 miles from turbines by Australian researchers. This noise as well as the unheard pressure can cause sleeplessness.
Industrial wind including their excess transmission lines complicate and hurt farming practices. The Rock Island Clean Line, a 500 mile proposed wind energy power line across Iowa and Illinois was only able to acquire 8% voluntary easements after 4 years of asking because farmers do not like power lines or turbines in their fields. Iowa and Illinois residents defeated the line. Construction ruins farmland for generations. Crops may grow but once the ground is compacted or soil layers are mixed they will yield far less. Farmers have reported continuing crop loss around wind turbines after 12 years. Aerial applications for spraying or seeding cover crops is impeded hurting both the economy of the farm and of the county.
Many people believe that we are developing wind energy to cut carbon emissions but in Iowa our emissions from power plants rose 3% during 2016-2017 with thousands of turbines already built. That same year our emissions from industrial processes, likely from building wind turbines, grew 31%! Even the roughly 2 million pounds of concrete in each turbine base emits CO2 at almost pound for pound. In 2020 our emissions will surely rise again as we close the carbon-emissions-free Duane Arnold nuclear plant fifteen years early and replace it with a mix of industrial wind and natural gas or coal. Natural gas has half the carbon emissions of coal. Iowa’s fall in carbon emissions has as more to do with switching some of our power plants from coal to natural gas than our move to wind energy.
Iowa’s rural electric co-ops still cannot afford to build new industrial wind turbines, being tax-exempt the tax credits do nothing for them. Iowa’s Alliant Energy has raised rates 24.9% to build wind turbine infrastructure and pay $110 million to be released from the power purchase agreement they had with the Duane Arnold nuclear plant. They raised rates even though they receive the same tax credits MidAmerican will. MidAmerican Energy has seemed to be able to afford to build industrial wind without raising rates but they did enjoy $10 billion in tax credits to do it. MidAmerican’s owner Warren Buffet has publicly admitted that the only reason to build wind turbines is for the tax credits. In 2015 the Iowa Utilities Board asked MidAmerican to return more of that money to the ratepayers of Iowa who will shoulder 100% of the risk for turbine projects. MidAmerican complained to then Governor Branstad. Branstad changed the composition of the Iowa Utilities Board to “appease MidAmerican thus sending a message to the Board and its staff to get in line and approve anything that the utilities, particularly MidAmerican, bring to it.” –Sheila Tipton, from her published open letter to Governor Branstad.
Counties often admit they are allowing wind turbines for the property tax revenue they bring. Iowa Code 427B.26 outlines the tax payment schedule. The first year a wind installation is running they pay no taxes. The second year they will pay 5%, the third 10%, increasing by increments of 5% until they are forever capped at 30% in year 8 while each and every turbine is raking in about $300,000 a year in tax credits. Communities will see about $10,000 per turbine in year 8. This is after the heavy equipment takes value out of our roads, compromises our tiling infrastructure, compacts our world class farm ground and the turbines lower home values of hundreds of residents.
Industrial wind turbines do kill our eagles, other birds and threatened/endangered bats. This past year MidAmerican Energy applied for a permit with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to kill these animals with 2020 of their wind turbines. They finally applied for this permit after 20 years of having wind turbines. No other turbine company in Iowa has yet decided it is even necessary to get a permit for killing animals with their turbines. With organizations like the Sierra Club firmly standing with companies like MidAmerican there is no one to make sure that wind installations are held accountable.
The reason Iowa has industrial wind installations is that rural communities don’t have the power of a recall election, do not have the power of referendum and don’t even have the protections of the Iowa Utilities Board. Iowa’s Supreme Court made a surprising ruling recently that only our County Supervisors, lacking any kind of expertise or qualifications will be allowed to regulate wind projects, not the Iowa Utilities Board which means that the wind companies just regulate themselves. During depositions for a lawsuit that was filed in this matter one Supervisor admitted that he felt threatened by MidAmerican and their partner Invenergy. Counties often vote out wind supporting Supervisors but it is too little, too late. The only county in Iowa that has a decent industrial wind ordinance is West Des Moines’ Dallas County. They do have setbacks of 2640 feet and noise limits of 30 dBA no industrial turbine could ever honor. This effectively blocks any project from being built.
Now our Federal government is proposing that we extend tax credits for wind turbines another year. Understand when the tax credits begin, they run for 10 years. Any turbine that is built this year will receive 100% of the tax credit because of mechanisms like Safe Harbor. The tax credits are not ending. It is only the start of the tax credits that is ending. Industrial wind turbines in the US have been 100% paid for with our taxes. There are 59,338 wind turbines in the US receiving an estimated average of $4,000,000 each. If these other projects are receiving the same money that MidAmerican has admitted to that is $237,352,000,000. Industrial wind now only intermittently supplies 2-3% of the power in the US.
Our investor owned utility companies are incredibly powerful and wealthy. They like to build as much infrastructure as we will let them because they will receive an 11% guaranteed rate of return. Please look past the politicians and the few people being offered money to host these installations on land where they neither live nor farm and hear us. Stop to consider the atrocity that this is for the quiet, often disconnected residents of rural America. We are US citizens, we are tax payers and we are ratepayers. Our businesses and homes mean as much to us as yours means to you. People may believe that where we live there is plenty of room for all these projects but it is simply not true. Iowa only has 1% of the US population yet we have already covered well over one million of our acres with industrial wind installations, the same area as 3½ counties and only reached 37% in wind energy for our electricity usage. Can you imagine what 100% would look like?
Janna Swanson Ayrshire, Iowa Coalition for Rural Property Rights president National Wind Watch board member Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance member