BigWind ‘Bouncers’ make bad neighbors

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 1.54.09 PM

Nov. 15, I attended the Apex public information meeting for the Firelands Wind LLC-Emerson Creek Project (OPSB case # 18-1607-EL-BGN). These public meetings are required by administrative rules for the Ohio Power Siting Board under OAC 4906-3-03. The meeting had some poster presentations and a map which depicted the locations of 655-foot-tall industrial turbines…

At one point during the meeting, I stopped to speak with a couple I knew from Erie County. I had opened my folder to make a note of the location of one of the turbines in that county. An Apex employee rushed at me and loudly stated “she is signing people up.” I showed her what I had written on my folder but she (the Apex employee) proceeded to insist that the sheriff deputies make me leave. The sheriff deputies were polite and explained that because this was a private venue and Apex had rented it, Apex had the authority to make me leave. I questioned how this could be a public event, posted in the Sandusky Register, yet…The officers explained…I did leave as the officers said they would have to charge me with trespassing if I did not leave at the request of Apex.

…Because we have no say in approving projects or how they will be sited, they really do not think they need to be accountable to us or to take our concerns seriously. And they can throw me out of a public meeting….

original letter in the Tribune

Advertisements

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

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 1.28.32 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 YOU CAN”T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!

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

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

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

In other news:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Are there Billionaires against BigWind? turning tides…

Screen Shot 2018-12-08 at 9.07.38 AM

Should the government have mandated ‘the horse and buggy’? No, and it should not mandate BigWind!!!

Bill Gates offered some surprisingly critical comments about environmental activists who believe the proliferation of renewable energy is the only answer to climate change.

Gates is no stranger to environmental activism. The founder of Microsoft — and a man worth almost $100 billion — has used his wealth to propel a number of climate change initiatives. He currently leads a coalition of billionaires who are investing in clean energy technologies. The philanthropy organization he founded, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is focusing on the adaptation to climate change.

Gates has also invested in the development of advanced nuclear reactors, and a company, Carbon Engineering, that uses technology to capture carbon right out of the sky….

While he has devoted an enormous amount of money and personal time to helping curb carbon emissions, Gates isn’t afraid to level criticism at environmental activists. The billionaire philanthropist told Axios that people who believe solar and wind development is the sole solution to stopping climate change are just as bad as people who block progress.

“That general impression that ‘Oh, it’s just about solar and wind,’ that I think is as dangerous to us as the fact that in one country, the U.S., there’s a faction that associates with ‘Hey, let’s not make any trade-offs to go in and solve this problem,’” he said.

“A lot of people think, OK, renewable energy, wind and solar, has gotten a lot cheaper, isn’t that it?” Gates explained. “Well, electricity is only a quarter of the problem. In fact, we’ve got to solve the entire 100 percent…

Gates’ comments come when wind and solar proponents are increasingly pushing state governments to increase their renewable energy standards. Numerous efforts — much of them funded by billionaire activist Tom Steyer — have sought to increase the renewable energy mandates in varying states.

Bill Gates

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

 

BigWind is suing Ohio b/c they don’t like our laws!!!

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 9.32.00 AM

What a week.  In a nutshell, this is what happened:

Senators Randy Gardner and Matt Huffman were elected to the 3rd and 4th top leadership positions in the Senate.  Gardner’s district includes Erie, Fulton (part), Lucas (part), Ottawa and  Wood. Huffman’s district encompasses Allen, Auglaize (part), Champaign, Darke (part), Logan (part), Mercer and Shelby.  These areas are vital to our plight, as BigWind is relentless is pursuing large land takeovers. Many constituents, fighting against BigWind in these areas, want setbacks measured from property lines and a right of referendum or local vote on every proposed wind facility.

BigWind, on the other hand, has decided to fight back, ”the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC) and three local landowners in Paulding County filed a lawsuit against the State of Ohio claiming the current property line setback law established in 2014 in HB 483 is unconstitutional.  MAREC seeks to have the law overturned.  Section 15 (D), Article II of the Ohio Constitution provides: “No bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title. No law shall be revised or amended unless the new act contains the entire act revived, or the section or sections amended, and the section or sections amended shall be repealed.”

The complaint notes that the purpose of HB 483 (also known as the Mid-Biennial Budget Review or MBR) was “to make operating and other appropriations and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs.”  The regulation of economically significant wind turbines is a state program run by the Ohio Power Siting Board.  If the setback change in HB 483 is deemed unconstitutional, it is likely to have the unintended consequence of also invalidating many other laws that were adopted in connection with appropriation bills.   The General Assembly would likely not be happy with such an outcome.

Is this is a “Hail Mary Pass” being thrown as the time is running out to enact legislation repealing the 2014 setback?  It is a serious matter nonetheless. The case is in the Paulding County Court of Common Pleas.  If BigWind can’t get what they want through obtaining sufficient Good Neighbor Agreements, they want to take what they need by invalidating the current law.  Paulding County Commissioner, Tony Zartman, is quoted saying, ““We strongly support this action. In fact, our concern over this unconstitutional maneuver is so great that we are currently considering joining the case ourselves. We believe filing this lawsuit is in the best interest of our community and our future economic growth.”

Of interest is the announcement of LafargeHolcim, a large cement company in Paulding.  Along with ONE Energy, LafargeHolcim will build three turbines to power its facilities.   We recall that in 2013, LafargeHolcim was featured in the press as a large provider to the wind industry. They provided the concrete for the Blue Creek turbine foundations and for the roads traveled by heavy equipment used to build the facility….

Paulding county link

Paulding county and farmers