Electricity Climbs to All-Time Record
The New Meaning of Green… Developers To Clear 850,000 Sq M Of Virgin Forests To Make Way For 700-Foot Turbines
REVEALED: TWELVE USELESS WIND TURBINES
Latest Local News:
Wind farm could be knocked flat by new regs
Advocates hope to hold the line on 2-year freeze
Editorializing for Wind in Ohio: A Rebuttal
Wind turbine setbacks important for safety
Count on the media to mishandle this story
Friends: (07-27-14) More than a month ago we learned that Everpower intended to close its Bellefontaine office on or about August 1st. At the time, the Bellefontaine Examiner called to verify the story and Jason Dagger denied it. On July 22nd, Everpower’s Dagger and Mike Pullins sent a letter to Buckeye Wind Leaseholders (page two) advising them that the local office is indeed closing and the Pittsburgh office will handle any related business. The letter goes on to say Dagger and Pullins will continue to be available locally and that an “operations and maintenance facility” will open when construction begins. In the meantime, they express concern over the “uncertainty” caused by the renewable energy freeze and the elimination of the in-state mandate (SB 310) as well as the threat of new setback requirements. Everpower believes the change in setback language was enacted without any “qualified experts” like the wind industry. They assert that the language implementing new setbacks is “unclear” but could impact Buckeye I, Buckeye II and Scioto Ridge. Notwithstanding, Dagger and Pullins remain optimistic that the projects will go forward but warn that “LANDOWNER AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT IS MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER.” They ask for a demonstration of “strong community support” and state:
“The more that is demonstrated by public officials, the better the investment environment for Everpower. We encourage you, your family and friends to reach out to your local officials and share your support of the projects and ask that they take a public stand in support of the projects.”
We do not know what this plea for support means. We do know that Pullins and Dagger have asked the Union, Urbana and Goshen township trustees to withdraw their lawsuit filed in the Ohio Supreme Court on July 16th. They have attended Township Trustee meetings recently to vigorously argue for a negotiation rather than a court action. The County and the Townships current appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court makes the case that Everpower was unlawfully granted amendments to their certificate without a hearing. This is important to understand because it appears they are trying to do it again by filing a motion to extend the deadline of their certificate of approval. Under the current certificate of approval, Everpower must commence construction by March 22, 2015. By attempting to obtain an extension by motion instead of an application, Everpower eliminates the opportunity for the public to comment. If Everpower is required to file an application seeking an extension, the public would have an opportunity to comment. More important, if the Ohio Power Siting Board were required to hold a hearing on the request for an extension, it likely would not hold the hearing before the new setbacks become effective on September 15th.
If you have an opportunity to let the Township Trustees and County Commissioners know you support their appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. If you believe an application should be required for Everpower’s certificate extension, please tell them now. If you would like to write to the Ohio Power Siting Board to request a hearing on the extension of Everpower’s certificate, you can email the OPSB and you must reference the case number Case No.: 08-0666-EL-BGN. Written comments can be mailed to Ohio Power Siting Board, 180 E. Broad Street, Columbus Ohio 43215 and you must include the case number.
(07-26-14) We share two reports. The first from The Economist discusses the work of the Brookings Institute that concludes wind and solar are the most expensive means by which to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and government policy should focus on reducing emissions rather than trying to boost certain kinds of renewable energy. This article is not easy to understand but provides one of the clearest explanations of why wind development is not in the best interests of Ohio ratepayers. We hope the legislative study committee will look at this issue.
Second, we include a good review of the American Bird Conservancy’s efforts to fight the issuance of 30 year kill permits for eagles. This article practically reads like a novel about government corruption!
(07-25-14) There has been a somewhat quiet consolidation of wind developments in Ohio and Indiana this year and we are just now beginning to see the bigger picture. Wind projects in various stages of development across Ohio have been sold to Apex. We will be seeing and hearing more about Apex in the days to come. Could they have been surprised by the change in property line setbacks and the renewable mandate freeze? If not, they may become buyers for other projects in Ohio as other developers threaten to leave the state. Who is Apex? Our research indicates they are a subsidiary of Greenlight Energy Resources which, in turn, appears to be connected to BP Alternative Energy.
It is often difficult to sort through ownership of wind facilities/leases. In the case of Apex, there seems to have been little publicity. The “press releases” quoted below are the complete texts we could find. It seems the announcements may not have even been sent to the media in the areas where the acquired projects are located. Lack of transparency is nothing new in the world of industrial wind but a new law in Kentucky may begin to change that. Earlier this year the Kentucky legislature passed a law that requires a wind developer to announce when they intend to work in an area and, in some cases, send letters to property owners advising them of their interest in the area. We understand that that the public notice must be given before wind leases are signed. In addition, prior to submitting an application to the state, the local community can request a public meeting to review the proposed application. Another article indicates that NextEra and Duke Renewables both abandoned Kentucky projects when required to give the public more information about their plans. Perhaps they thought educated property owners would not sign wind leases. Hmmm……. Read local comments.
(07-18-14) Lots to report as news of Everpower’s request to amend their Buckeye Wind I project deadline hits the paper in both Urbana and Springfield. On one hand Everpower appears determined to press on while on the other hand they appear cautious. This compares to Iberdrola who has determined that they will be unable to find enough willing leaseholders in Van Wert and Putnam Counties to make their Dog Creek and Leipsic Wind projects possible due to the new setback requirements. As we have seen, there is resistance in Putnam County but on Tuesday the County Commissioners went ahead and approved the County as an Alternative Energy Zone thinking it might help. We will be interested to hear more about this. We recall that Van Wert County rescinded its AEZ designation. (Note: We are amazed that the wind industry calls the setback area the “fall zone” – completely ignoring blade shear, flicker and noise issues! See the Norwalk Reflector story.)
By seeking to extend its deadline to build until 2018, it appears that Everpower hopes to dodge the effects of both recently passed legislation. By amending their certificate prior to September 14th, they avoid the possibility the new setback requirements on Phase I would apply to them and by moving the extension to 2018, they have a chance to see the re-imposition of a renewable energy mandate after the legislative Study Committee completes its work. The Urbana paper reports: “The motion further states that even if the appeals are resolved prior to March 22, 2015, the company will be left with insufficient time to finalize financing, develop final engineering plans, complete engineering, obtain procurement and construction contracts, and review plans with the board’s staff.”
As Champaign County approaches time for the County Fair, work is underway by Erin Hennigan and Amy Blanton to again host a wind education and public outreach booth. Many will recall the wonderful effort put forth by these dedicated people last year. They consistently had more people crowding around their small booth than Everpower had at their corporate display. Erin and Amy have asked that we put the call out for volunteers. Please consider whether you might have three hours to contribute to the cause, or if you would like to make a donation, contact Erin to volunteer. Please consider helping us out! Last year it was pretty great to hear people’s stories and see how much support we have. Everpower was pretty unsettled by our booth! The fair runs from August 1-8th. It remains critically important to continue the education of our community.
(07-16-14) It was gratifying to read that while Governor Kasich is out and about during this campaign season, he is defending the new property line setbacks which will become effective September 14th. The Columbus Dispatch reports the Governor “defended the increased setback restrictions on wind turbines by saying, “Private property rights are important. People choose to live somewhere. You just don’t go in there and disrupt their life.” The Dispatch goes on to note that “Energy has emerged as a key difference between Kasich and Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald.”
Defense of safe setbacks that respect property lines comes at a time when fire hazards are being studied. The Financial Times reports that “Wind farms have long been blamed for blighting views and killing birds but now it is claimed they are also a bigger fire hazard than commonly thought. About one wind turbine fire a month is reported publicly around the world but that is “just the tip of the iceberg”, according to Guillermo Rein of London’s Imperial College, co-author of research estimating that the actual number of blazes could be 10 times higher.”…”The results surprised us a lot,” Mr. Rein said, explaining that he and colleagues found information about the extent of turbine fires was often incomplete or not publicly available.” During the Buckeye Wind Phase II case, the Ohio Power Siting Board sided with Everpower’s attorneys when they objected to UNU’s efforts to enter accident and fire information into the case record.
Yesterday, Champaign County and the Townships filed an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court protesting the OPSB’s failure to hold a hearing on amendments to the Buckeye Wind project. This filing comes at the same time that Everpower is seeking an extension to their certificate of approval for Phase I.
We also include another press report about the community education meeting in Bellefontaine. Speakers included Tom Stacy who addressed the economics of the project and concluded “the money that is returned in the form of local taxes and leases to local landowners is a small portion of the tax money the wind development companies are taking out of the state, Mr. Stacy said. “If we think schools are underfunded and this is a way to address that, there is a better way to do that than to give a company from outside the country 95 percent of the tax money and let them return the other 5 percent to the schools and local government.” Philip Morse, a mechanical engineer also spoke at the meeting and asserted, “Wind turbines do not generate energy when wind speeds are less than 8 miles per hour and when wind speeds are too high they are constantly using energy to operate the braking systems or can shut down entirely, the engineer said. “The name of the game is not about engineering or power production. It is about something else that other people are better prepared to answer than I am,” Mr. Morse said. “On an industrial scale like this, these things are going to be energy suckers – feed me your money; feed me your power. “Wind turbines are not alternative energy sources,” he said. “They are lackluster supplemental energy at best.”
(07-15-14) Last night Logan County’s Fight the Wind leaders held a public information session on Everpower’s Scioto Ridge Project. You can watch the Lima television coverage here. The meeting was also covered on Columbus News.
As citizens in Logan County were educating themselves about the Everpower project planned for Logan and Hardin Counties, two requests for extension were filed. Everpower submitted a request for an extension of Phase I of the Buckeye Wind I project until March of 2018. The certificate issued for this phase is due to expire in March, 2015. A request for extension of Hardin Wind, LLC was also filed. This project was originally an Invenergy development but we believe it was acquired by Everpower and consolidated into the Scioto Ridge project. The recent budget bill which contained language revising setbacks makes the new setbacks applicable to new projects as well as to currently approved projects that request amendments. An extension would presumably be an amendment triggering new setback requirements. However, the new setbacks provisions do not become effective until September 15th and so it is unclear at this point how the Ohio Power Siting Board will regard these requests.
We also include a very misinformed Editorial from the Lima News who think electricity is generated with foreign oil and that wind turbines are no different than tall trees. The failure of the media to understand the issues surrounding wind development keeps the public in the dark. It is for this reason that educational efforts such as those last night in Logan County are so very important.
(07-14-14) The “silly season” of election politics gets underway full steam now that we are past the 4th of July celebrations. Ed Fitzgerald, Democratic candidate for Governor, leads off with a campaign promise to repeal Senate Bill 310 freezing Ohio’s renewable mandates during a two year
study period and he promises to “undo” the recent extensions of wind turbine setbacks measured from property lines. We suggest that as you visit your county fairs this summer, stop by the Democratic Party tent and ask for the studies on which candidate Fitzgerald bases his policies.
Engage his campaign staff in a discussion of health impacts and see what they know. Ask them what safety documents underpin his support for the proximity of industrial wind turbines to homes.
Speaking of property line setbacks, following last year’s adoption of both property line setbacks and required property value guarantees by the Tipton County, Indiana Board of Zoning Appeals, wind developer Juwi sued the county. Juwi claimed the Board’s actions made this late stage wind project difficult to build. But now Juwi has issued a press release announcing
“the continuing litigation costs and indefinite time period associated with pursuing the permits through litigation no longer make sense for the company.” Juwi will abandon the Kokomo area project.
And lastly, we caught up with the latest reports on Everpower’s owner, Guy Hands, CEO of Terra Firma Capital Partners. Yesterday, investigators from the U.K.’s The Independent newspaper released their findings that British taxpayers have provided millions in subsidy to Terra Firma through the UK
Export Finance agency courtesy of a crony deal between Hands and his friend, the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague. The story’s focus is on the point that tax dodging companies are not supposed to get taxpayer subsidies.
Hmmmm… The Terra Firma subsidiary in this instance is AWAS an airplane leasing business located at an address in the Cayman Islands shared by 18,000 other businesses and referred to by President Obama as “either the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world”.
The Independent goes on to quote the British Prime Minister who ” pledged to crack down on companies avoiding tax, saying: “Companies need to wake up and smell the coffee, because the customers who buy from them have had enough.”
Indeed. During our season of US Independence Day celebration, it is ironic to reflect on how much we have in common with our British cousins – we are both fed up with public subsidy and a rigged system that favors special interests. Terra Firma is front and center both here and abroad. Seems like Mr. Hands is in everybody’s pocket!
(07-13-14) This week Everpower spoke on the record to the Springfield News Sun about their future plans. Everpower spokesman, Michael Speerscheider, had this to say:
” It’s still too early to say whether the legislation will mean the end of the Buckeye wind farm,” said Michael Speerschneider, a spokesman for Everpower. The project is in jeopardy because the state legislation will freeze current mandates for renewable energy, he said, making it harder to find a buyer for the electricity produced by the turbines. Everpower doesn’t have a timeline for when it will decide whether to move ahead or kill the projects. “It’s very early,” Speerschneider said. “We’re still trying to figure out what it all means and if we can work through it. It could very well be something that leads to having a lot more difficulty in completing the projects.”
The American Wind Energy Association (“AWEA”) stated they plan to be actively engaged in the process of the new legislative Study Committee and their spokesman states “We’d say it starts a two-year debate and we plan to win the debate,” Kelley said. “I don’t think we can afford to wait two years.”
Meanwhile, Senator Keith Faber states in the article that: “The renewable mandates might make sense, he said, but the state needs to determine whether the wind farms are a good investment for consumers.
“They’re getting multiple subsidies,” Faber said of the wind farms. “The question is when is enough enough and when should they be viable.”
This is the first time we have heard Senator Faber express concern about the subsidies that federal and Ohio taxpayers and ratepayers have paid out to support wind development. Under current law, renewable energy is eligible to seek local tax abatement of the public utility personal property tax for projects where construction begins prior to January 1, 2019. But we believe the mandate is also a form of subsidy so it is difficult to understand exactly what Senator Faber means. On more than one occasion, Everpower has expressed concern over whether they could go forward without the federal Production Tax credit, or whether failure to be granted PILOT payments would make the project infeasible. Those two issues didn’t come up in the context of today’s story even though the PTC is currently expired and Everpower has yet to make application for PILOT in Champaign County.
In the meantime, Everpower’s local team of Jason Dagger and Michael Pullins were busy advising the Champaign County Commissioners on local economic development. In a public hearing to which only four members of the public went, Dagger and Pullins comprised ½ of the “public”. They opined as follows:
“Buckeye Wind Farm Project Manager Jason Dagger said this was a tremendous asset to move money back toward economic development. “I would encourage you to move more (money) towards economic development if there’s ever the possibility to do that because I think that is a driver for this county,” Dagger said. “We need to see groundbreakings in general. Whether they’re renewable energy or general businesses that need to expand in the community, we need to see folks out there attracting them in here and showing the assets that we have.” EverPower Consultant Mike Pullins suggested the county should partner with surrounding counties to leverage resources toward economic development.”
Could they be working on warming up the Commission for their plea for tax abatement as a “driver” for their debatable economic development? Linked here is a thought provoking article in the context of whether wind development is a benefit or a harm to a community. A farmer from Illinois speaks out about many of the harms to his community.
(07-02-14) First we would like to thank everyone who signed on to the letter of thanks to Governor Kasich, Senate President Faber and Speaker of the House William Batchelder. The letter carried with it a whopping 684 signatures! Julie Johnson had an opportunity to speak to Governor Kasich the day the letter was sent and was able to emphasize to him how many potentially impacted Ohioans appreciated his support for new property line setbacks and the energy mandate freeze. He was glad to hear the news and said we were the ONLY ones who expressed thanks and that everyone else he heard from was angry. (We can only guess that might be wind developers or leaseholders.) The Governor acknowledged shadow flicker, noise and vibrations could be a problem in people’s homes.
Coincidentally, a Michigan Court ruled last week in favor of citizens who sued over excessive noise, vibration and flicker from a 56 turbine wind development. This case is interesting because the area residents had hired an independent noise consultant prior to construction of the wind project. The noise expert predicted there would be problems before the project was built. Local press reported “Independent analysis demonstrated that the turbines would not only exceed the noise ordinance as proposed by CMS and adopted by Mason County but that the turbine noise would create widespread complaints and result in legal action by those subjected to this industrial development in a rural environment.” Likewise, Union Neighbors United hired an independent noise consultant to do studies in Champaign County prior to the Ohio Power Siting Board issuing a permit for the Buckeye Wind Phase I project. UNU’s consultant made the same kind of predictions about the potential for widespread complaints in Champaign County if the project was built. It was good to see the citizens in Mason County, Michigan prevail in the court.
A hot topic in many counties is tax abatement and whether wind projects should be granted significant local subsidy for their projects. Most counties have raised concerns about granting favorable tax treatment to wind projects that will do widespread damage to the community and to local property owners. Many townships have actually adopted resolutions in opposition to wind development. In Van Wert County, where an Alternative Energy Zone designation allowed for an automatic tax abatement for the Blue Creek project, the County Commissioners have now rescinded the designation. As other wind projects approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board seek to move forward, it is less likely that tax abatement will be granted. But that did not stop AWEA from honoring the legislator behind the subsidy program as their “2014 Windpower Influencer”. Ugh. Senator Chris Widener appears to be the “Crony of the Year” for the wind industry. We look forward to Widener’s term ending in 2015.
Many will recall that Everpower’s initial plans called for wind turbines near two Champaign County air strips – Grimes Field and Weller Field. Approximately 18 turbines were deemed hazards by the FAA due to height restrictions near airports. Now the FAA is considering lowering the allowable heights near airports from 250 feet to 160 feet. The FAA wants the new height limits to accommodate planes that lose an engine. They cite the ongoing danger to aviation due to increasing development near airports and they specifically identify wind turbines as a source of concern.
Word from Van Wert County is that Iberdrola is seeking property easements from non-participating property owners near their planned Dog Creek project. No news on progress but we will keep an eye on it.
(06-25-14) We need you to comment.
The comment period is now open for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants already in operation – aka the existing-source rule. Now, more than ever, we need you to send comments to the EPA, urging it to implement common-sense rules that will keep electricity reliable and affordable.
We’re still studying how this will affect Ohio’s electric cooperatives specifically, but if the EPA plan is implemented as written, electric cooperative members could see price hikes of $40 a month or more.
Please visit Action.coop to send a prewritten message, which you can alter if you choose, to the EPA. Tell your co-workers, relatives and friends who aren’t co-op members that they can visit TellEPA.com, which is the non-member’s route to filing a comment.
The July issue of Country Living includes a story on the new rule plus a comment card that readers can tear out and mail back.
Is it really about global warming?
Averting global warming has been cited as the driver behind the EPA’s proposed rule aimed at limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. But a recent analysis of the proposal for the Global Science Report concluded that the environmental benefit is minimal – less than two one hundredths of a degree Celsius by the year 2100.
The authors, Chip Knappenberger and Patrick Michaels, pointed out that the number was missing from the EPA’s fact sheet touting the rule’s benefits.
“We’re not even sure how to put such a small number into practical terms,” they wrote, “because, basically, the number is so small as to be undetectable. Which, no doubt, is why it’s not included in the EPA Fact Sheet.”
(06-23-14) Setbacks from wind turbines seem to be big news from Findlay to Finland where the Ministry of Social Affairs & Health has issued a new report asserting that existing 1,640 foot setback regulations in that country are “far too short”. How timely.
The report states that “the Ministry has stated that a buffer zone of 500 meters [1,640 feet] between habitation and a wind power plant is all too short and that the distance should be clearly greater. The Ministry has suggested as the rule of thumb that the distance should be roughly 10 times the polar altitude of the power plant. The real sites of the power plants or the type and size of the power plants are not yet known in the context of the land use plan. Therefore the Ministry proposed 2 km as the buffer zone [about 1.25 mile]. In this way the hazards of power plants could with great probability be avoided. Now a buffer zone of 2 km is referred to in discussions as the absolute minimum distance, which was not the purpose in the Ministry’s opinions. Wind power plants can be built closer than that but then the impact assessment should be careful and assertive and be based on reliable given values. Power plants should not be built within a distance shorter than 2 km without a comprehensive health impact assessment.”
With this context in mind, it is shocking to see the Ohio wind developers and environmental leaders continue their attacks citing jobs, money to communities, climate change and so on as justification for inadequate setbacks. Interestingly, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health takes the view that if residents are not adequately protected, wind energy will become so hated that all further wind development will come to an end. This is diametrically opposed to the response of wind developers in Ohio. Perhaps the difference is that some developers in Ohio do not plan to be long term owners of these facilities and so they do not care. Recall that Everpower’s owner, Terra Firma, is on the record as saying they plan to exit the company in five or so years.
The conclusion of the Finland Ministry report states:
“It has been annoying to follow the discussion that aims at promotion of additional construction of wind power in Finland and where views of worried citizens have not been taken into consideration. The actors promoting wind power construction should understand that no economic or political objectives should be placed above the requirements for individuals’ health and wellbeing, and that people’s worries cannot be removed by justifying wind power construction by climate policy or economic objectives – rather the opposite. The worries can only be removed by well-done impact assessments and well implemented projects in connection with which the nearby residents have been genuinely heard and their worries have been taken into consideration. The next few years will show if there is desire to understand this matter and how wind power construction will succeed or not.”
If an article written by Jereme Kent, the owner of One Energy of Findlay, Ohio is any indication, absent the new setback legislation, there would be no consideration of the people living in harm’s way. Mr. Kent believes more PR and more lobbying are the answer. Mr. Kent completely disregards the views of “worried citizens” and will surely hasten the day when wind is so hated that all further wind development will come to an end. Or maybe it already has.
(06-17-14) Last Friday, Governor Kasich signed into law SB 310 and HB 483. This is a great day for industrial wind turbine opponents in Ohio, particularly our area. Ohio is the first state to reverse course on renewable mandates.
SB 310 freezes the renewable mandate for two years while a study committee reviews Ohio’s energy policy. More important, SB 310 repeals the requirement that any portion of the renewable mandate has to be satisfied from renewable power generated inside Ohio. This makes it less likely wind farms will be built in Ohio, as wind electricity is cheaper to generate in other states.
Additionally, thanks largely to State Senator Keith Faber, HB 483 now measures a turbine setback at 1,125 feet from the property line of a non-leasing landowner. This provision is a step in the right direction. ANU members may have noticed in one of the recent emails a reporter was quoted as saying that in the Blue Creek wind farm in Van Wert County only 19 of the 152 turbines could have been sited using this setback requirement. This statement is a little hard to believe. However, even if this is not entirely correct, the impact of an increased setback on the viability of wind farms is enormous.
ANU wants to thank everyone for their tireless work in this effort locally since February 2012. Hard to believe it has been over two years since our first organizational meeting in Buckland. Keep up the good work, as the wind proponents will only work harder.
Finally, ANU encourages everyone to reach out and personally thank Julie Johnson, Champaign County, and Tom Stacy, Logan County. The amount of time, effort and money they have spent cannot be measured. Without them this would not have been achieved.
(06-16-14) Today the Urbana Daily Citizen printed the attached “editorial” . The concluding message is: “To date, the only measurable result of this seven-year process so far has been mounting expenses and acrimony. We would like to exit purgatory now. Perhaps our escape is nearer now.” The Governor is expected to act on turbine setback legislation today. We will keep you posted.
(06-10-14) We need your help again.
The Governor’s Office is being flooded with call from the renewable energy advocates to veto the setback language in the budget bill.
It is not right to have the setback measured from a home – it should be from a property line.
If the wind company wants to intrude on the neighbor’s property, it needs to get an easement and compensate the landowner.
CALL GOVERNOR KASICH NOW TO ASK FOR SUPPORT OF SETBACKS IN HOUSE BILL 483.
(06-08-14) Another week of waiting and a promise that next week the Governor will sign both bills to expand wind turbine setbacks and to call a time-out on the renewable mandates. We sure wish the Governor would hurry up because the wails coming from the wind industry are keeping Kevon Martis working overtime at the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition. Below are two editorials from the Toledo Blade. One appears today and the other was printed yesterday. As usual, Iberdrola carries on about how much they have invested in Ohio (it was our tax dollars to begin with) and that they might have to rethink their future plans.
Meanwhile, in regard to the proposed setbacks from property lines, our favorite Farm Bureau wind cheerleader, Dale Arnold, is quoted as saying, “Many farmers see the proposed setback requirements as an affront to their private property rights, Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau energy policy director, said. “What science, what evaluation, what discussion has gone into this?” he asked. “We’re concerned many of those [setback requirements] are arbitrary.” Well, we will tell you what went into the legislators’ consideration – the manufacturer’s recommendations. Many of us will recall the Ohio Wind Working Group that was intended to develop “Best Practices” for the wind industry back in 2007. Dale Arnold was a member of this group and when it was determined that the recommendation by the National Academy of Science for ¼ mile setbacks should be adopted, the whole group folded and the State terminated the contract of the group’s facilitator. It has taken 7 years to right a wrong.
Yesterdays Toledo Blade column, linked above, was riddled with errors. One of the most repeated accusations from the opponents of the mandate freeze is that “Governor Kasich caved to members of ALEC, who double as lawmakers, in the General Assembly. He caved to Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists whose money increasingly dictates legislative and election outcomes. He caved to a nationally coordinated attack on Ohio’s clean-energy standards. He caved to fossil-fuel fans who are financially threatened by renewable-energy progress.” Whew! For all of us who worked as citizens – not funded by some big fossil fuel lobby or billionaires – this type of harangue shows that the wind industry and its friends in the media have no arguments of substance to support renewables and so they resort to name calling.
If the wind developers and environmental community want to engage in conspiracy theories, Kevon Martis offers his version with a Guest Editorial that the Bellefontaine Examiner printed on Saturday on page six. Martis’s editorial was submitted to numerous Ohio papers, including the Urbana Daily Citizen. We’ll see if anyone else picks it up.
Last, in a rather uncomfortable report, the World Council For Nature issued a news bulletin on the deaths of 1,600 mink at a fur farm in Denmark. The proximity of wind turbines and low frequency vibrations are considered to be the cause of the problem.
(06-05-14) The lobbying and last ditch efforts have not stopped. The good news is that the renewable mandate freeze was sent from the legislature to the Governor’s Office yesterday afternoon and the Governor’s Office has reiterated they will sign it. In a last effort, a letter (attached) was sent to the Governor from a coalition of groups opposing the bill including AWEA, Everpower and the Van Wert and Hardin County Chambers of Commerce. These actions have been opposed by the people living in those counties.
In the meantime, we understand that the budget bill with the new setback provisions has also gone to the Governor. This has prompted yet more Editorials, this time from the Toledo Blade and the Cleveland Plain Dealer calling for a line item veto of the setback. We suspect that the Governor and Senator Faber may be having a conversation about that. We recall that in Senator Faber’s home county, Mercer County, the Township Trustees Association passed a Resolution opposing the development of wind energy in Mercer County. We shared additional setback information with the legislature yesterday including that the State of Wisconsin requires 1,800 foot setbacks from the property line. Tom Stacy did a bit of figuring and has determined the financial impact to the wind developer of securing easements from non-participating neighbors. The conclusion is that “Even if the cost of leasing appropriate amounts of land surrounding wind projects triples from current levels, that would only be an increased expense for the developer equal to 4.6% of subsidies and only about 3% of total revenue.” In other words, wind developers can afford to negotiate easements and compensate neighboring non-participating property owners.
(06-04-14) Yesterday two views on wind turbine setbacks were featured in the media. The Bellefontaine Examiner spoke with Senator Faber who is quoted in the story below as saying, “”We need wind energy setbacks to be consistent with other zoning laws,” Sen. Faber said. “You shouldn’t be able to use other people’s properties for the purpose of zoning setbacks.” Notwithstanding, the wind industry is busy in the background trying to convince others that the Governor should veto any change to the setback rules. Because the new setback language is contained in a budget bill, we believe it is eligible for a line-item veto should the wind industry prevail. An Editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal expresses support for a veto both because they feel it could harm the wind industry and because they do not like the process of putting the change into the budget bill where many other legislative initiatives are contained. They fail to remember that two extensions of the PILOT program were legislated without discussion as a part of earlier budget bills. The wind industry is quick to use the budget process when it suits their purposes but cries foul when the results are against their interests. It is dumbfounding to us that the Akron Editorial Board does not seem to understand that easements and compensation are appropriate strategies to employ when one wants to intrude on another’s property. Nor do they seem to think that the wind industry should be treated like any other entity when it comes to following zoning norms. This should be a concern to all with respect to the blind support for wind at any cost. We are grateful that Tom Stacy and Michael Shepherd have posted comments on the Akron editorial.
(06-03-14) Yesterday the House and Senate Conference Committee met to make changes to the Mid-Biennium Budget Review (“MBR”). This is the bill into which Senator Keith Faber inserted the revision to wind turbine setback measurement. Faber’s language changed the measurement to the property line from the residence. The Conference Committee made a change to the language before voting it out of Committee. The MBR will now be voted on today before the legislature goes into its summer recess. The change grandfathers in all wind applications in the pipeline as well as certified projects. We always assumed this to be the case but the new language removes any uncertainty. The good news is that many Ohioans will be better protected going forward.
R.C. 4906.20, 4906.201
Specifies that the minimum setback, beginning on the effective date of the bill, for a wind turbine be at least 1,125 feet in horizontal distance from the tip of the turbine’s nearest blade at 90 degrees to the property line of the nearest adjacent property.
Permits wind turbines that already received a certificate of approval from the Power Siting Board prior to the effective date of the bill to continue under the existing setback requirement, which is measured from the nearest, habitable,
residential structure, located on the adjacent property, if any.
We are still awaiting word that the Governor has signed SB 310 to freeze the renewable energy mandates. We have no reason to doubt that it will be signed but the wait is frustrating. While we are waiting, we have taken a look at some other news and reviews. First we bring you an article from Renewable Energy Magazine written by the head of a PR firm in Boston that specializes in countering “NIMBY” initiatives (Not-In-My-Back-Yard). The author lays out the strategy for wind companies to be better prepared to win legislative battles. The article focuses on Ohio. The strategy actually resembles the one employed by citizens all over Northwest Ohio – except our campaigns were based on truth. Once the Governor does sign the freeze bill, we will need to remain actively engaged in continuing to educate our communities and it appears likely the battle to educate may be harder if the wind industry deploys massive PR initiatives. The Public Strategy Group counts Iberdrola among its clients. We think wind PR is “lipstick on a pig” – it is still a pig.
Perhaps the PR campaign has already started as seen in an article from the Mansfield News Journal where a contractor writes an opinion piece on the value of wind energy because he makes money from building access roads for wind turbines. It is important to remember that SB 310 is about MANDATES. It really is not about wind or solar per se. If these technologies can stand on their own two feet and serve a cost effective and beneficial service, the public will support them without a mandate. The Opinion piece in this newspaper lacks one shred of documentation to support the author’s claims. This is a county where wind PR could triumph if ongoing opinions like this are not aggressively countered by ongoing public education. Richland County’s Representative Romanchuk was one of six Republican legislators who voted against SB 310.
Just north of Richland County, a wind development is planned for Huron County’s Greenwich Township. A public hearing was held and it is reported that about 40 people attend and two spoke in favor. The developer intends to erect 25 Nordex 2.4 MW turbines. “Monica Jensen, vice president of development for WindLab in North America, said three things still have to happen for the Greenwich Wind Farm to get under way in 2015. The Ohio Power Siting Board, the state agency that regulates wind farms, has to issue a certificate for the project. In addition, Windlab has to obtain a contract to sell the power, and Windlab has to complete getting a connection from the wind farm to the electrical grid.” It will be interesting to watch the progress of this project given the current environment. The Sandusky Register article describing this project also lists an inventory of pending Ohio projects. All of these projects would be grandfathered into the old setback rules.
Lest anyone be too upset, Michigan Capitol Confidential, a publication of the Mackinac Institute quotes the Ohio Environmental Council as saying. “”Contrary to the reassuring tone of yesterday’s statement by the governor’s office, the final bill as approved by the General Assembly did not land ‘at the right spot’ for Ohio and does anything but assure that Ohio will ‘move forward in a balanced way,’ ” the group said in a statement. “Rather, Gov. Kasich’s anticipated approval of this recklessly imbalanced legislation will not simply ‘freeze’ but all but annihilate clean energy standards.” (emphasis added). Ohio’s standards were not “clean energy” standards. They were renewable mandates for wind and solar and projects approved without any evaluation of their actual contribution to clean air.
Attention is now diverted to President Obama’s announcement of EPA rules to cut carbon emissions by 30%. The Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environment Ohio and other left wing organizations were quick to attack Ohio’s renewables freeze as an impediment to compliance with the Administration’s proposed plan. It is interesting to hear the rhetoric this time. Rather than its past focus on Global Warming or Climate Change, the Obama Administration decided to frame the matter as an urgent health concern. In this context, EPA Secretary McCarthy used the word “moral” six times in her announcement and the word “coal” once. And so the newest PR campaign is launched.
(05-30-14) Attached below are several articles covering yesterday’s historic vote in the Ohio House. Following the House approval, the Senate concurred and the bill went to Governor Kasich for signature. If you would care to watch the session on the House floor, the portion covering SB 310 begins at about 50 minutes into the program.
As you can see from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Editorial Board is calling for a veto of the legislation. We are once again asking for your help in urging the Governor to sign the bill. Please email these members of the Governor’s staff: Scott Milburn ; Eric Poklar ; and Wayne Struble . Let these gentlemen know you support the Governor in signing the bill because a timeout is needed to evaluate our energy policy. Tell them you oppose mandates that protect special interests while robbing communities of their right to determine their own future. Include the fact that wind and solar have been proven to be both unreliable and inefficient means of powering Ohio’s manufacturing economy. There has yet to be a wind farm that has produced a 30% efficiency.
You will note in the Lima paper that Everpower’s Michael Speerscheider claims the extended setback included in the Ohio Mid-biennium Budget Review applies to the Scioto Ridge Wind Farm. We do not understand why he thinks this way and we have included the analysis of the Legislative Service Commission with respect to an interpretation of the language. Based on our reading, applications approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board prior to this amendment are grandfathered in.
(05-29-14) The press releases were flying all day. Every environmental advocate, every misguided newspaper editorial board, and the renewable developers were throwing their “energy” into a last minute attempt to bring about a veto. Meanwhile, the Governor was on a five-city tour of the state to tout his newest JobsOhio website called Ohio Means Jobs. A major feature of the website is “Ohio Energy Pathways” that are intended to lead people to a job in the renewable energy field.
The Governor’s Office has confirmed that the Governor will sign the bill and we hope it is today! On Monday, the President will release a draft of his climate change regulations. The National Chamber of Commerce issued a release saying that a quarter of a million jobs would be lost as a result and the economy would be wrecked. The Natural Resources Defense Council rebuts the Chamber’s arguments. In Ohio, the Chamber was active on the local scene in support of SB 310 while its Van Wert Chamber affiliate took the opposite position.
In prepared statements to the media, EDP Renewables and Everpower threatened to leave the state. We observe the renewable energy lobby focusing on jobs and perceived environmental benefit. In the Toledo Blade, two ministers speak out on the “moral implications” of the renewable freeze.
Thank you to all who wrote to the Governor’s Office to express your support for SB 310. Well done.
(05-28-14) The House passed SB 310 this afternoon following hours of debate. We do not have the official count but think it was in the order of 52 In Favor; 38 Opposed and 9 not voting. We will give you a full report tomorrow but we are NOT FINISHED. We will be asking for your help with support for the Governor’s signature. The opponents will not rest until every avenue is exhausted. They made repeated attempts to amend or replace the bill today. They gave impassioned speeches filled with erroneous information. They will not rest and neither can we! More later – we just wanted to share the big news as soon as we could.
(05-27-14) I urge everyone to contact our state representative, Tony Burkley, to urge him to support passage of SB 310 which freezes Ohio’s renewable energy mandate at 2014 levels. This bill has passed the Ohio Senate and has passed out of committee in the Ohio House of Representatives. It is scheduled to be voted on today by the full House. It appears Representative Burkley is either undecided or against passage. Everyone is urged to contact his office ASAP by using any of the contact information below – urging him to support passage of SB 310. Thanks for your help.
Phone (614) 644-5091, Fax (614) 719-3974
(05-26-14) THANK YOU for your efforts this weekend in support of the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 310. Today the House Public Utilities Committee narrowly voted the bill out of Committee with two Republicans voting against it – Romanchuk and Duffey – and one Democrat for in favor. The bill eliminates the in-state mandate for wind and solar and freezes the mandates for renewables and energy efficiency at their 2014 levels while a Study Committee evaluates the impact of these energy policies on Ohio consumers and manufacturers. The bill will now go the full House for a vote and, assuming it passes, it will go to the Governor and become law.
Our job is not over as we will be actively engaged in following the work of the Study Committee and providing what input we can in the process. We will continue to keep you abreast of how the wind developers respond to today’s action. We are so very, very grateful for your support.
Renewable energy providers and windmillers will do everything possible to avoid revealing to you how much the hydrocarbon-fired utility is paying for both the cost of electricity and the cost of the Renewable Energy Credits (RECS). “If the electric consumers of America ever find out how much money renewable energy providers are making from artificially increased prices, they might come out and tear down the windmills.”
How Warren Buffett Milks Consumers & Taxpayers Through Wind Energy
(05-22-14) Contact Representative Robert Sprague! We need ALL on board to focus on Rep. Sprague to support Senate Bill 310!
The focus is on Rep. Sprague–contact him first and foremost! And do so ASAP!
TELL REP. SPRAGUE TO VOTE YES ON SENATE BILL 310!
Here is Sprague’s personal assistant’s email and phone number:
(05-21-14) On Tuesday, the House Public Utilities Committee heard almost 7 hours of testimony. Thank you to those who made the trip once again and to those who submitted written testimony. By going to Ohiohouse.gov you can read all submitted testimony including that of Mercer County Engineer, Jim Weichert. The plan was to hear testimony on Tuesday and then vote Senate Bill 310 to freeze the mandate and to eliminate the in-state requirements out of Committee on Wednesday morning and then to the floor of the House on Wednesday afternoon. But the wheels came off on Tuesday night due to the fierce and well-funded lobbying efforts of the opponents. There is a lot of money at stake in this legislation. In fact, we think is it more about money than it is about energy. Tom Stacy has prepared a review of the costs to Ohioans. Right now residential customers of DP&L are paying an extra $96 a year for the mandates. This cost will increase every year. For employers, it will cost jobs. See Tom’s Q&A below.
One of the very sad things is the extent to which the wind industry and investment bankers have succeeded in co-opting people of faith. Yesterday’s Columbus Dispatch front page featured members of the clergy standing in front of Trinity Episcopal Church urging the Governor to veto SB 310, if it passes. Many churches benefit from subsidized energy efficiency through Interfaith Power & Light. There is nothing wrong with Christian charity but families are harmed when employers are forced to reduce their work force in order to pay the ever increasing electricity costs of the energy mandates. It is an unintended consequence of government intervening in a market where it doesn’t belong. According to Tom’s analysis, the mandates (EE and RE combined) will cost Ohioans $4.03 Billion through 2025 and $873 Million each year thereafter. These costs fall the hardest on low income families and employers. The clergy is advocating for a bill that will inevitably cause Ohioans to lose jobs so that the churches can get a break on their electric bill. We think that is an uninformed position, if not immoral.
The House will wheel and deal over the Memorial Day weekend and the House Public Utilities Committee will reconvene on Tuesday morning. It is anyone’s guess what will happen. The legislators rumored to be sticking points are Republicans Damschroder (whose Seneca County constituents are about to be bombed with 198 industrial wind turbines covering 29,000 acres); Reps. Boose, Baker, Sprague, Duffey and Burkley. It is interesting to note that one of the Seneca County projects is proposed by turbine manufacturer, Nordex. In documents filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board, Nordex says: “Wind resource is extremely limited in Ohio; there are only a handful of project sites with the wind resource necessary to support a utility scale project. The convergence of sufficient wind resources, sufficient transmission capacity, compatible land uses and interested landowners willing to lease their land – all are needed for a viable wind energy project. In order for Ohio utilities to meet the requirements for renewable energy mandated by the Ohio legislature, all viable Ohio wind sites must be considered as potential wind energy project sites. Each specific criterion set forth in OAC Rule 4906-17-04 may not apply even though the site is an appropriate one for a wind energy project.” It appears from this statement that unless the mandates are eliminated, no community will be able to protect itself. We think Nordex probably knows what they are talking about.
In the meantime, the Ohio Senate passed the Mid-Biennium Budget review bill. It now goes to a conference committee for concurrence by the Ohio House with amendments added to the bill in the Senate. One of these amendments was added by Senator Faber to change the existing measurement of turbine setbacks from the home to the property line. This is something we have fought for a long time. The setbacks distance will remain at 1,125 feet but it will be from the property line. Existing projects with certificates of approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board will be grandfathered into the old setbacks but new projects would have to comply whenever the bill becomes effective which could be July 1, 2014. It is possible that this amendment will be killed by the House conferees. We will be watching. The extended setback provides more protection to homeowners and would require the wind developers to compensate neighboring property owners if they want to intrude on their land.
PS Linked article on Everpower’s projects from the Urbana Daily Citizen. A remarkable quote from Jason Dagger in the article: “EverPower Project Manager Jason Dagger said on Monday that the board’s decision completed the procedural process for the Buckeye Wind project. “We now have the ability – by the board’s determination – to construct the project but now we want to work with the county and townships to alleviate any final concerns that they have,” Dagger said. “We have an open door policy for that part and we want to continue that discussion.” Dagger said construction on the project would not happen this year. Regarding the Scioto Ridge project, Dagger said the company plans to continue to work with intervenors in that project.”
TOM STACY Q & A
Q: What DOES the mandate cost residential customers (of DP&L) now – per year?
A: About $96 per year for the efficiency and renewables riders combined.
HERE is a link to a “mandate tax” calculator published by the Industrial Energy Users-Ohio coalition of companies. An average residential household uses about 1,200 KWhs per month. Most Bellefontainers are served by DP&L but you can choose your consumption, type of customer, electricity provider and voltage on the calculator. Please feel free to offer a link to the calculator so people can calculate for themselves.
Q: What HAS the mandate cost ALL customers SO FAR since its inception?
A: The PUCO reports to the General Assembly every year the costs of compliance with the mandate. Those reports are available on PUCO’s web site HERE (under Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard Reports).
Renewable Energy Certificate prices were not published for 2009 and 2010. Therefore, using the weighted average REC value from 2011 applied to the compliance MWHs for the two previous years yields the mandate to date has cost the average household $395 (including the efficiency riders) and all Ohio electricity consumers a total of
$363 Million through 2014 (estimated)
Q: What WILL the mandate cost customers IF it is ever fully met…
– based on historical cost in most recent year reported by PUCO?
A: The mandates (EE and RE combined) will cost Ohioans $4.03 Billion through 2025 and $873 Million each year thereafter.
Q:- based on the COST CAP defined in ORC 4928.64 (C)(3) and interpreted by PUCO?
A: From this year forward if the 3% cost cap were met every year the mandate would cost Ohioans $5.96 Billion
Linked above is a “mandate tax” calculator published by the Industrial Energy Users-Ohio coalition of companies. An average residential household uses about 1,200 KWhs per month. Most Bellefontainers are served by DP&L.
Q: Will my employer’s electricity bill impact my job?
A: While electricity usage varies widely by industry type, heavy industries such as steel, plastics, chemicals and aluminum could use as much as $180,000 per year in electricity PER EMPLOYEE. That means a 10% increase in electricity rates for your employer takes $18,000 per year off the table for wages and benefits every year. That could mean a number of other things, too. An employer might even be forced to close or relocate a business to different a state with more competitive electricity prices.
Data example taken from HERE
Q: Where are the laws that prescribe these payments?
A” The law is section 4928.64 of the Ohio Revised Code
(05-19-14) Today will be a busy day as around 30 witnesses will testify in the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee concerning Senate Bill 310. Today’s Columbus Dispatch reports that the bill may spark a national movement toward repealing mandates for renewable energy. Americans for Prosperity has thrown their support behind the bill.
Closer to home, the Urbana Daily Citizen reports that two appeals were rejected by the Ohio Power Siting Board. Both appeals were directed toward Everpower projects: Buckeye Wind and Scioto Ridge. In Scioto Ridge, the citizens were trying to address the fact that they had no real opportunity to register objections to the project because most are summer people in the Indian Lake area. Everpower waited until after Labor Day when they were gone, to hold a public hearing. In Champaign County, the County and Townships had objected to amendments in the Buckeye I project that moved the staging area further to the east and made modifications to roads and underground lines. The news report states that local officials expressed concern about adequate protection the community’s infrastructure. Today, one of the witnesses who will testify in in Columbus in support of Senate Bill 310 is the Mercer County Engineer who has similar concerns about damage to local infrastructure that may be beyond the County’s financial ability to repair.
At the federal level, there is still much debate about legislation to extend a number of expired tax provisions like the Production Tax Credit. This gets very complicated because a Senator like Ohio’s Rob Portman, who opposes extension of the PTC, may vote in favor of a different bill that is important to him but that bill might have the PTC extension tacked on to it. It does not mean that Portman supports the PTC. This is exactly what happened recently and the wind developers are busy trying to mislead the public – again – that there is support for the PTC. In fact, Iberdrola wrote a letter to the Editor of the newspaper in Van Wert congratulating him on his vote in support of the PTC. This is a lie and they know it but, factually, Portman did vote for a bill that had the extension of the wind subsidy tacked on. Last week, Portman had an opportunity to vote on a procedural bill that prevented the renewal of the PTC and did so. It is complicated but the wind industry assumes we are too stupid to figure it out. Letters to the Editor thanking Portman for his stand against renewal of the Production Tax Credit would be helpful in every local paper. Letters to the Editor do find their way to the Senator’s attention. Senator Sherrod Brown is a lost cause.
On the health front, a study from Canada has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal. This is big news because the wind industry continues to discount any adverse health effects from people living near wind turbines. The wind industry points to the lack of peer-reviewed studies. It takes a long time – years – for studies to be conducted and findings published. Hopefully this is just the start of more published research documenting health issues.
(05-18-14) The Ohio House Public Utilities Committee was greeted by fifty witnesses wishing to testify on Am. Sub. S. B. 310 yesterday. The group was a mixture of both supporters and opponents and only a small number were able to be heard. Many were asked to hold over until next week. Among those who were not heard were the wind developers. Copies of all testimony submitted can be obtained on the Committee website. We have attached the testimony of Everpower, Iberdrola and EDP. We expect them to testify next week.
Iberdrola rests its support for the renewable mandate on climate change and the idea that the fuel – wind – is free. Iberdrola objects to how renewables are characterized: “The Energy Mandate Study Committee’s foregone conclusion is telegraphed in the legislation that creates the committee and uses terms like unreliable, unaffordable and unrealistic.” Ominously, Iberdrola warns that “If you proceed with passage of SB 310, you are jeopardizing the viability of two additional investments in Ohio we are planning that would total about 250 MWs of generation capacity…” These two unannounced projects are in addition to Blue Creek Dog Creek and Leipsic Wind. We have no idea where the two new projects are targeted to be.
EDPR, developer of Timber Road in Paulding County, testified that project was the “direct result” of the mandate. Like Iberdrola, EDPR has unknown projects of 400 MW’s in the very early stages of planning. Where?
Everpower’s Michael Speerscheider gives testimony indicating his belief that tax abatement through the PILOT is a foregone conclusion because he states the amount the company will be paying for Buckeye I, Buckeye II and Scioto Ridge. Everpower acknowledges “The investments that EverPower has made in the state have been made possible by the policies that the Ohio General Assembly put in place.” (That policy is an unconstitutional mandate to build in-state renewable energy.) Speerschneider cites numerous industry sponsored research papers to support the notion that renewables do not increase costs and that the subsidies they receive are far less than what other companies receive. In saying this, Everpower tries to equate tax credits and tax abatement with oil depletion allowances or investment tax credits available to any company as part of the tax code. This is a phony argument but, remarkably, he goes on to say “Denouncing wind energy because it relies on some level of government incentives is intellectually and ideologically dishonest.”
While not testifying, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) lobbyist Dayna Baird filed a comment on yesterday’s story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer saying: ” First, AWEA is supportive of a compromise amendment to SB 310 that makes significant changes to the renewable energy standards .” We do not know what the proposed “compromise” amendment might be but we are pretty sure it would eliminate the two-year freeze on the mandate while the Committee undertakes its review of Ohio’s mandates.
Amidst all of the cheerleading for why the energy efficiency and renewable mandates are good for Ohioans and good for business, the annual survey of 500 Chief Executives was announced showing that Ohio has dropped five spots to number 26 as the best place in America to do business. Regulations and taxes put us in the bottom half of the country with places like New York and California while our neighbor Indiana, with no energy mandates, was rated 6th best in the country. Hmmmmmm…..
In other news, an Editorial from Forbes praises the leadership in the Ohio Senate for passing SB 310, another German firm takes a big hit from renewable energy, a candidate for Canadian Prime Minister vows to do away with all green energy programs that have been a “financial disaster” and the Ohio Power Siting Board approves a request for a re-hearing in Everpower’s Scioto Ridge project.
(05-17-14) We have received word that at 5:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon, Kim Wissman, Director of the Ohio Power Siting Board was terminated. We have no other information at this time but welcome the news. Many of us remember years ago when Ms. Wissman came to Urbana to address the community and stated flatly that unless we had wind power, the lights would no longer come on when we flipped the switch. Everyone now knows this to be false.
Hearings will resume on Tuesday in the House Public Utilities Committee and there is a possibility of a vote on Wednesday. The advocates for keeping energy efficiency mandates have repeatedly talked about all the cost savings being enjoyed. Little did they know that on Friday, AEP filed a rate increase to cover the energy efficiency costs. “Just yesterday, AEP-Ohio filed for new rate increases with the PUCO to comply with the energy efficiency mandate. Come August, AEP-Ohio residential customers will see a 115 percent increase in their mandate surcharge and large electric users will see a whopping 391.6 percent increase in their efficiency surcharge.” See Chris Pandoni’s article.
In Kentucky, NextEra has announced that it is walking away from a proposed development which it has allegedly been working on for four years. NextEra blames a request by the State of Kentucky to hold a public hearing 90 days prior to filing an application as well as the prospect of tougher setbacks. In Ohio, public hearings are held after applications are filed. In the article NextEra is quoted saying: ” NextEra has been and remains committed to reasonable public transparency…at the appropriate time in the project; it would be imprudent and unreasonable for NextEra to convene a public meeting at this time because the project is in the early development phase; and dissemination of highly sensitive and proprietary information at this stage of the project harmful to NextEra’s business activities would occur at the requested public meeting.” In other words, NextEra doesn’t want anyone in the community to know where the turbines are planned until it is too late. Sounds familiar!
More good news comes from Washington, D.C. where a bill to renew a number of tax breaks failed to move forward on procedural grounds. The extension of the Production Tax Credit was included in the package that did not move forward. It is unlikely that the Senate will be able to move on the bill until after the November election. We will want to keep up the communication with our Senators and Representatives to push for an end to the PTC. We have included the youtube video of a floor speech by Senator Flake of Arizona where he calls the PTC a “zombie”. Worth a watch.
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