BigWind requires ‘magical’ math to make sense in our energy grid

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It has been a momentous week in many ways.   Seneca Wind developer, sPower, officially withdrew its application and the OPSB granted the withdrawal on August 15th.  But this is not the first time this ill-fated project has been withdrawn.   In a previous incarnation, Seneca Wind was owned by Exelon who filed a pre-application notice in 2016 and then withdrew in 2017.   Exelon sold to sPower in 2017 and sPower filed a new application at that time.  Many are wondering if history will repeat itself and sPower will sell the project to a different developer like Apex. 

As proposed, the Seneca Wind project was to have a total nameplate capacity of 212 megawatts and consist of up to 77 wind turbines, access roads, electrical collector cables, laydown yards, an operations and maintenance facility, meteorological towers, a substation, and a 138-kilovolt (kV) electric generation transmission line to connect to AEP Ohio Transmission Company Inc.’s existing Melmore Substation.  The OPSB entry granting the withdrawal notes in a footnote that the 138-kV transmission line will be the subject of a separate filing with the Board.   Hmmm.   That looks suspicious to us.

In its entry, the OPSB describes the project as consisting of approximately 56,900 acres of leased land in Seneca County, consisting primarily of existing farmland.   This, to us, is another problem for the future.  In defining the area, one might agree that, on an acre by acre basis,  farmland is the predominant land-use compared to acreage upon which a home sits.  But is it fair to describe a rural-residential area as farmland?  It appears to us that the description used by OPSB without further detail, is misleading and unfair to the community whose opposed the project on the basis of population density.  That would be people – not livestock.

Transmission is a key aspect that communities should not ignore.  The OPSB lists two transmission projects in the pre-application stage: 19-1073-EL-BTX for Emerson Creek in Huron and Erie Counties  as well as 19-1066-EL-BTX for Republic Wind in Seneca County.   The Emerson Creek transmission line will be a 345 kV overhead line that will be approximately 9 miles long.  The Republic Wind line is planned to be an approximately 7-8 mile line located in Seneca County, Ohio and is needed to connect the proposed Republic Wind electric generation project to the electric grid.  It does not appear that public hearings on these projects have been held.

Happily, the Erie County, Groton Township Trustees submitted a Resolution to the OPSB opposing the Apex Emerson Creek project.  They join Oxford Township which is also on record opposing Emerson Creek.  Norwich Township has filed for intervenor status.    Moreover, the Seneca County Commissioners amended their previous Resolution dissolving the Alternative Energy Zone designation and added language that includes: “The Seneca County Commissioners withdraw all previous support of the Seneca Wind, Republic Wind or any proposed wind turbine projects to the maximum extent allowed by law. 

According to reports we have received, Lake Erie’s LeedCo Icebreaker project attorneys have tried to bar testimony from Dr. Jeffrey Gosse who recently retired from a thirty+ year career with US Fish & Wildlife serving as our USFWS Region’s Energy Coordinator.  In his testimony Gosse states “I have substantial professional experience and expertise in conducting avian radar and bat acoustic studies.”   DrJGosse  The testimony makes the point that:

 

“The Current Record and the Pre-Filed Testimony do not present any indication that Icebreaker has identified a specific technology that it proposes to use for pre- or postconstruction radar monitoring for birds and bats, or for post-construction collision detection for birds and bats, much less that Icebreaker has performed any validation testing of any such proposed technologies and presented the testing results to the Board. As a result, there is no basis for the Board to make findings and determinations as to the probable environmental impact of the Project on birds and bats as required by R.C. 4906.1 0(A)(2), or that the Project represents the minimum adverse environmental impact to birds and bats as required by R.C. 4906.1 0(A)(3). “

 

At the same time, we learn the US  Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it is considering Endangered Species Act protections for the lake sturgeon.  This should also support opposition to building wind turbines in Lake Erie. 

 

We also attach today a copy of a lengthy article entitled Inconvenient Energy Realities. It is a “must read” for all wind and solar warriors as well as government officials.   “Regardless of one’s opinion about whether, or why, an energy “transformation” is called for, the physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically “new energy economy” in the foreseeable future. Bill Gates has said that when it comes to understanding energy realities “we need to bring math to the problem.Inconvenient Energy Realities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seneca county, Ohio continues its fight against BigWind

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After seeing the information on the proximity of a large number of 650 foot turbines to Seneca East school, and the new World Health Organization concerns about the sound levels that sPower says will be experienced at the school, several people have contacted us about what could be done. We have checked into the issue and learned that the school can intervene at the Ohio Power Siting Board against the project as currently proposed in an effort to get the turbines pushed back farther away form the school for the safety of the children.

If you share these concerns, you can contact the school board members and superintendent. 

We hope that Seneca East takes the relatively easy step of filing an intervention so that all may rest easy that the health of the children is being considered in the siting of the proposed wind project. If this situation is new to you please study the attached map showing the proposed turbine location distances and sound levels around Seneca East school. Anything in the green/tan/gold areas on the sound map is considered unsafe by the World Health Organization.

***ADDITIONAL BREAKING NEWS***

Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas’s Mother-in-law’s Trust officially signed a wind turbine lease on August 4th 2018 with APEX Clean Energy for the Honey Creek Wind Project!!

Since the signing of this wind lease Commissioner Thomas has passed a resolution to intervene in the Republic Wind Project (APEX) and also has voted to officially hire a Pro-Wind Attorney to represent them. This same attorney’s law firm has had ties to APEX as well!!

Is this a conflict of interest? Is this unethical? We will let you decide!!…

 

At this point, it’s safe to say lots of Seneca County residents oppose potential incoming wind turbines.

On Wednesday night, for a little over an hour, county commissioners listened to concerned citizens’ thoughts and opinions on the Seneca Wind Project.

The meeting was organized by Commissioner Shayne Thomas.

“Nothing is pre-scripted, so we’re coming in with open minds and open hearts, and hoping to understand what the townships’ position is and move on from there,” said Thomas.

Every comment that was made, whether it was by the public or township trustees was anti-wind turbines.

Currently, the APEX Republic Wind project is on hold, but the sPower Seneca Wind Project is moving forward in front of the Ohio Power Siting Board….

Coverage of latest meeting 

Citizens for Clear Skies on facebook for more details and pictures- meeting was attending by some 500 citizens!!!

 

Ohio residents fighting BigWind

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Thank you to The Toledo Blade for covering some realities that the media often ignores, even if a little of the information is wrong. Ohio is NOT a great place for wind turbines. Look at the government wind map on our home page for proof.  Additionally, it is IMPORTANT for you to notice the bold blue mid page.  One BigWind development often leads to more….

Look almost anywhere across the United States and the fight against wind turbines comes down to a simple mathematical formula that involves people.

That’s the assessment of Jim Feasel, a fierce opponent of wind power and a resident of Seneca County’s Eden Township….

It’s all about the number of people per square mile. More people equals more conflict, Mr. Feasel said.

Seneca County has about 103 people per square mile, more than many parts of the country where the wind industry prospers and slightly more than the average square mile in the United States, according to the U.S. Census. Van Wert County, which hosts three-quarters of Ohio’s largest wind farm, the 152-turbine Blue Creek Wind Farm,has 72 people per square mile. Paulding County, home to the other quarter of that $600 million project, has less than half the density of Seneca County, with 49 people per square mile….

“It’s a topic you don’t bring up in a room of friends,” Mr. Feasel said. “All of the problems go away when you put [turbines] in areas where there aren’t people.”

He and Deb Hay of Thompson Township are among many residents behind a grass-roots group called the Seneca Anti-Wind Union. The group has drawn crowds in excess of 500 people to rallies twice this year…

Five Seneca County townships comprise the footprint for one of the projects at the center of the Seneca County dispute: Utah-based sPower’s proposed 85-turbine Seneca Wind farm, which the Ohio Power and Siting Board is expected to decide on in early 2019. The project is estimated to cost between $275 and $300 million and is expected to generate $56 million in tax revenue for schools and other local government bodies…

Charlottesville, Va.-based Apex Clean Energy’s $92 million Republic Wind project calls for 58 turbines, each about 591 feet tall, spread across different rural Seneca County townships, according to Ohio Siting Board records…

As if there weren’t enough controversy now, Republic also has two even-bigger projects in the early stages of planning in that part of northwest Ohio: its proposed Emerson Creek Wind project, which calls for 65 to 85 turbines in Erie and Huron counties, and its proposed Honey Creek Wind project, which calls for about 80 turbines in Seneca and Crawford counties…

Rural northwest Ohio is considered one of the state’s best regions for wind farm development…THIS IS WRONG! SEE our HOMEpage picture (near bottom)

Still, in Seneca County emotions are flying high, with several residents saying the projects have torn apart extended families and driven a wedge between longstanding friendships with neighbors.

“I’m concerned about this bitterness,” Greg Smith, a Bloom Township resident and Seneca Anti-Wind Union leader, said. “When you talk about the hard feelings and the divide it has created, it’s big time.”…

“I’ve had a number of people in my office with tears in their eyes worried about their home value and their quality of life,” Mr. Thomas said. “But their neighbor owns the land [next to them] and it’s a legal act in the state of Ohio. There’s the issue. It’s a property rights issue.”

Mr. Thomas has been a target of critics for several reasons, including testimony he delivered to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee on June 7, 2017, in which he sought a repeal of the setback rules the legislature passed four years ago. Those rules require 1,225 feet seperate the tip of a turbine from the nearest property.

Several developers have said those rules are too restrictive, and critics are incensed that Mr. Thomas told the Senate panel 16 months ago that most Seneca County property owners were in favor of softer setback requirements when many of them hadn’t even heard of the Republic Wind project back then.

Although developers began courting property owners as far back as a decade ago, details weren’t unveiled to the public until Republic Wind held an open house in Green Springs, Ohio, last December

Another thing that draws ire from critics is Mr. Thomas’ steadfast refusal to help townships be represented affordably in the Ohio Power Siting Board’s review process.

Mr. Thomas said he and Commissioner Holly Stacy, the other person on the three-member county board who favors the wind projects, have hired a former Apex attorney, Michael Settineri, to represent the county commission for the OPSB proceedings at a rate of $480 an hour. Many believe the county will end up paying more than $100,000 for his expertise.

“Commissioners are using our taxpayer dollars to hire a high-priced attorney to fight us,” Mr. Smith said.

Seneca County Prosecutor Derek W. DeVine, who normally would represent the commission, has offered to represent the townships but only if there is unanimous consent between them and county commissioners. The lone holdout is Mr. Thomas, who said he won’t grant consent because he believes that would jeopardize his attorney-client privilege with Mr. DeVine….

sPower’s Seneca Wind project calls for machines that are 652 feet up into the air at the apex of their blades, which would make them among the tallest structures in northwest Ohio. Only a few turbines in Texas are that tall…

 

Toledo Blade

Ohio gets ‘messy’ when ‘clean energy’ (BigWind) plays ‘dirty’

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Thank you to the Toledo Blade, for covering ‘the rest of the story’. It is rumored that BigWind is steaming mad about this article and they are using muscle to get it retracted. Would you please take a moment to send the news site a thank you? Getting the truth out can be very hard….

We are led to believe that the fictional Madge and Gladys types could be sitting at the regionally-famous local café here, discussing Seneca County politics.

They fawn all over two county commissioners who are supporting the wind turbine project that would spread more than 80 towers across the farmland to the east, with a potentially devastating impact on bats, bald eagles, migratory birds, and the rural landscape. The duo chatter on about the wind business bringing “millions in new revenue to our county” and being a boon to schools, roads, and construction jobs.

Then the sludge barrel is opened, and the spin machine is set to turbo. Commissioner Mike Kerschner, a Republican who opposes the current arrangement with wind energy companies, then gets blasted by the pair of apron-wearing, county fair pie-baking mavens. “I guess Kerschner is against good jobs, better schools, and lower taxes,” they conclude in the radio spot. Giggles follow.

This is clean energy playing dirty.

I don’t know Mike Kerschner, but I’ll assume he likes good jobs, better schools, lower taxes, puppies, rainbows, and occasionally helping an elderly woman cross the street. His mortal sin is pulling back the curtain on a big wind project and asking just what the Wizard of Oz is doing back there.

The radio ads, which saturated the air waves in recent weeks, are the product of a Columbus-based entity with the seemingly innocuous name Economic Prosperity Project. Follow the dusty, purposely circuitous trail further, and you’ll find a Florida-based outfit named Strategic Image Management was paid $20,600 to concoct the radio ads. On its website, one Strategic Image Management employee brags about successful efforts “where TEA Party candidates were used to syphon Republican votes in swing districts to help Democrats retain or flip seats.”

Economic Prosperity Project keeps its financiers confidential.

The firm sPower is the Salt Lake City-based entity behind the Seneca Wind project.

Dan Williamson, senior vice president of Paul Werth Associates — a public relations firm for sPower — said sPower in no way funded the radio campaign, adding they want nothing to do with such an attack on Mr. Kerschner.

“While the commissioner has his position, we respect it,” Mr. Williamson said. “He is a fine public servant and not only would we not run an ad like that, we do not support an ad like that, and we denounce it.”

https://players.brightcove.net/1146616445001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5841949793001

The effort is even swampier when you consider the potential damage that 80-some giant turbines could inflict on bald eagles, migratory birds, and bats. Wind energy companies hire their own experts, conduct their own studies and carefully carve out their own conclusions….

“The data that has been gathered is junk,” said Shieldcastle, who throughout his 30-plus years as a wildlife biologist has focused his work on avian research. “This is the same ballgame that is going on with every wind farm project — the data is trash. There is nothing to support their claims of little impact. They are not answering the questions they are supposed to answer, and basically they are getting away with everything they can.”…

He is not a lone voice in the wilderness with his concerns about where wind turbines are placed.

Bats gain little attention since they do their work under the cover of darkness, devouring billions of insects and saving the agricultural industry loads of money in pest control. But experts fear they could be the most frequent victims of long blades slicing through the night air. The Tennessee Wildlife Federation reported that in just two months, the turbines at the Backbone Mountain wind farm chopped up some 2,000 bats…

And then there is the human impact. Some Seneca County farmers signed wind turbine leases years ago when they were sold by John Deere. That paper changed hands a few times before landing in sPower’s portfolio, and the prospect of one farmer’s 650-foot tall wind turbine casting its huge King Kong erector set shadow over a neighbor’s rural estate has created a schism of tension and resentment across the wind project’s 25,000-acre footprint in Scipio, Venice, Reed, Bloom and Eden townships…

“This wind project will change Seneca County to look like Seneca County on mars,” said Jim Feasel, a retired builder who owns an 800-acre farm in the county but turned down significant financial overtures to put wind turbines on his property. “I just couldn’t do that to my neighbors.”…

The group opposing the wind project contends that, along with the destructive impact on birds and other wildlife, the monetary incentives that sPower will receive are too high a price to pay for what the county landowners will lose in quality of life. They quote investment guru Warren Buffett, who said: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Shieldcastle, the research director for the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in nearby Oak Harbor, who said his organization has not been contacted by the wind companies to consult on potential bird and bat impact, said the torches and pitchforks are appropriate when citizens raise questions about wind farms.

“I’m glad to see people are standing up for themselves because it is becoming more and more obvious that these companies are trying to bully and intimidate anyone who opposes them or even asks questions,” he said…

 

Toledo Blade