Legislation

Kasich’s 10 pillars energy policy

Draft report from the Ohio PUCO about alternative energy benchmarks for public comment.

How Obama’s Green Energy Agenda is Killing Jobs

Friends,

(7-29-12)  Lots of activity this week here and abroad.  Please take a moment to read these important updates. Everpower paid their application fee this week and the clock has started to tick!

PTC    As Congress looks forward to beginning its August recess, citizens across the country are mobilizing to meet their representatives at home in their district offices or at town meetings.  We understand big wind is complaining non-stop that its future is doomed and all fingers are pointed at Congressional Republicans for refusing to extend the PTC. Many believe big wind is making a mistake with its message. It’s now abundantly clear to investors and shareholders that they’re working with an industry that rises and falls at the whim of elected politicians. People are beginning to rethink their positions.  The PTC is falling out of favor for many, but there is much important work to do. We are fortunate to have Urbana’s Rep. Jim Jordan continuing to challenge the extension of the PTC.  If you have a moment to call and thank him – now is the time. (Mansfield: 419-522-5757; Lima: 419-999-6455; or Findlay 419-423-3210)  If you or members of your family live in another Congressional District,  call the local office over the next week to insist that the Production Tax Credit for wind NOT be granted an extension.  Today’s Politico reports that  Congress is struggling on this issue.While they are making early moves toward a six-month deal to keep the government funded and avoid a September shutdown, Republicans are struggling to develop a tax extenders package – potentially including the soon-to-expire wind production tax credit – against opposition from more conservative members. GOP freshmen and conservative members of the Republican Study Committee (chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan) have shown little love for the extenders. For these Republicans, any support for the PTC could dilute their pursuit for a broader tax-reform package in the next Congress, if the party retains the majority.  We will continue to watch  and report what we see. In the meantime, call your Congressman!

Friends,
(05-01-12)  Thank you for a remarkable effort to submit signatures for the letter opposing the extension of the federal Production Tax Credit! We will be submitting the letter on May 10 after we merge the signatures from Auglaize, Mercer, Shelby, Logan, Van Wert, Paulding and other counties. A strong voice for Ohio will be heard in Washington, D.C. If you haven’t signed on yet or would like to encourage a friend, please do.

Attached to home page is an update from recent Van Wert daily paper concerning the Blade Shear accident in Paulding County. All the turbines at Timber Creek II remain turned off and all blades are waiting to be inspected. Large cranes have been brought back to the site to dismantle the blades from the damaged turbines. This must be a difficult situation for the landowner at planting time.

Tomorrow the Ohio Senate will unveil changes proposed to the Governor’s energy plan. You will recall last week a group of local citizens testified in support of expanding the definition of renewable energy to include waste heat recovery and cogeneration. Governor Kasich reinforced the points we made in our testimony during a speech sponsored by a Washington, D.C. newspaper. Printed below is the coverage of the remarks and the weak defense of the wind lobbyists.

Lastly, a good Editorial from the Wall Street Journal entitled “Gouged by the Wind” describes how state renewable requirements are driving up the cost of electricity. Another busy week!

 

Friends,
(04-28-12) Hello everyone. Will you please share this call to action with those in your area who would be willing to sign? They may contact me directly or you may share their contact information/consent with me. And….remember to include YOUR name and address as well!

As we advised you earlier, we are submitting comments for the record to protest the extension of taxpayer subsidies for wind energy. Below is the text of the letter.
We are now collecting signatures from Ohioans for the letter and ask that you join us in signing by replying to this email with your name and address.
Every signature adds to the weight of our comments, so we encourage everyone of voting age in your household to sign.
We will attach your name to the letter and send it to Congressman Tiberi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures.
This is time sensitive. Please reply with your name and address by Tuesday, May 8.
The American Wind Energy Association is actively recruiting people to sign letters of support for the extension and we need to provide a strong voice in opposition. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Spread the word by sharing this e-mail with friends and neighbors who would like to sign. Your friends may reply directly to me with name and address or you may forward their consent to me. We expect a great response and your help in gathering signatures will make a difference.
Thank you again for all of your support. We are on the home stretch and your participation will be meaningful to Chairman Tiberi who is from Columbus, Ohio.

Text follows below:

Thanks for all that you do.
Linda hugheslinda1@gmail.com

U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Ways and Means
Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures
April 26, 2012 – Hearing on Certain Expiring Tax Provisions
Comments Submitted for the Record
The undersigned residents and property-owners of the State of Ohio respectfully submit these comments in response to the Subcommittee’s April 26, 2012 Hearing on Certain Expiring Tax Provisions. Our comments are limited to the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy.
Executive Summary: The PTC is often credited for most of the growth in the wind sector but attributing market activity to the subsidy is overly simplistic and fails to consider other crucial factors driving development. When evaluated against key economic and environment criteria, the cost of the subsidy has proven excessive and the benefits to American taxpayers minimal. If the PTC were to expire, the economics of the industry would shift to States with renewable mandates. Power markets will ultimately confront the real cost of wind energy, and price it accordingly. The overall impact on the industry would be far less severe than proponents claim[1].
Supporting Statements:
High Cost: Since adopted in 1992, the cost of the PTC for wind energy has ballooned from $5 million/year in 1998 to $1.5 billion annually today. The open-ended subsidy of 2.2¢/kWh in after-tax income represents a pre-tax value of approximately 3.7¢/kWh. In many regions of the country the PTC now equals, or is greater than, the wholesale price of power. Even if the PTC were to sunset, taxpayers are still obligated to cover nearly $10 billion in tax credits for wind projects built in the last decade. This is in addition to the $15 billion debt for wind projects eligible under Section 1603 (including anticipated 2012 grants).
Inefficient: Since the PTC is uniform across the country it is highly inefficient, supporting poorly sited development in some areas while in other areas supporting projects that would have been built regardless of the credit. This is true in Texas and the Pacific Northwest where wind capacity exceeds transmission capacity and wind is curtailed[2]. In New England the PTC likely pays more subsidy than is necessary owing to aggressive State mandates. Utilities in New England routinely sign long-term power contracts for wind at prices significantly above market.
Other factors advancing wind development: The industry insists it’s at risk of a slow-down without the PTC. This view ignores other crucial factors driving development including state mandates and natural gas prices. It is not possible given available data to identify the extent to which the PTC has contributed to growth in the sector[3]. In fact, demand for wind has eroded recently due, in part, to states meeting their renewable mandates. Lower natural gas prices further reduced wind’s attractiveness as a ‘fuel saver’. The EIA now forecasts flat growth in the wind sector for this decade regardless of what happens with the PTC[4].
Job losses: Despite billions in public funding the wind sector experienced a net loss of 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2010 bringing the total to 75,000[5] jobs. Most of the remaining jobs are temporary construction positions requiring peak levels of development year-after-year to maintain current levels. Attempts to attribute job creation to the PTC must be tempered with corresponding job losses due to higher renewable energy prices. The State of Vermont found that adding just 50 MWs of renewable energy at higher-than-market electricity prices “had the deleterious effects of reshuffling consumer spending and increasing the cost of production for Vermont businesses[6].”
Environmental benefits: Wind energy is an unpredictable, variable resource that cannot be relied on to serve load. Its primary benefit is in reducing U.S. electric carbon emissions. According the Navigant[7], a four year extension of the PTC could avoid an incremental 170 million tons of CO2. This “best case” estimate is not predicated on an actual working grid region, but if we accept Navigant’s estimate the cost to taxpayers is at least $23/ton CO2[8], ten-times the $1.92/ton market price for offsets in the Northeastern states participating in RGGI! The PTC is a high-priced vehicle for very questionable reductions of CO2 emissions.
Conclusion: The key question is whether the benefits of the PTC for wind are worth the cost. This 20-year old subsidy is expensive, inefficient, has failed to produce net-job increases that are sustainable, and the cost applied per ton of CO2 is more than 10x the market price of carbon under RGGI. The U.S. power market has undergone significant change since the PTC was adopted, including deregulation. It is not possible to isolate the extent to which the PTC contributes to wind sector growth[9]. Without the PTC, project economics would shift to states with RPS policies. The value of renewable credits might rise in response but power markets will ultimately confront the real cost of wind energy, and price it accordingly.

______________________________________
[1] Linowes et.al. 2012 Congressional Testimony http://science.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-investigation-and-oversight-subcommittee-energy-and-environment-%E2%80%93-joint-hearing  [2] Wiser and Bolinger, 2010 Wind Technologies Market Report, (2011) vii http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/reports/lbnl-4820e.pdf  [3] Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law And Background Relating To Tax Credits For Electricity Production From Renewable Sources (2005) 14 https://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=startdown&id=1579  [4] EIA, Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (2012) http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/  [5] Wiser and Bolinger v – Note: No independent audits exist to confirm job counts. Since any new job in the electricity sector must contribute to increasing the cost of electricity, this creates economic de-stimulus.  [6] VT DPS, The Economic Impacts of Vermont Feed in Tariffs (2009) 12 http://publicservice.vermont.gov/planning/DPS%20White%20Paper%20Feed%20in%20Tariff.pdf  [7] Navigant Consulting, Inc. Impact of the Production Tax Credit on the U.S. Wind Market (2011) 38  [8] Navigant provides no detail on how it determined offsets. The study assumed some wind would be built without the PTC and only looked at incremental benefit over 4 years (2013-16). The cost per offset is potentially higher than 23/ton.  [9] Joint Committee on Taxation 14

{end of call to action text}

Local Wind Opponents, Universities Rally To Expand Renewable Energy Standards

Senators heard neighbor groups and two state universities Wednesday urge support for Gov. John Kasich’s plan to allow cogeneration technology to qualify under Ohio’s renewable energy portfolio standards.
Wind energy developers and environmentalists have been asking the Senate to nix the governor’s plan to allow industrial waste energy facilities to qualify for renewable energy credits, saying it would offset demand for wind power and jeopardize substantial investments the industry has already made.
During his speech to the Ohio Energy Jobs Summit, Gov. Kasich questioned the wind industry’s motives in opposing the energy bill (SB 315 ) provision that would make cogeneration eligible to qualify for the renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which requires for 12.5% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025 (SB221, 127th General Assembly).
“We believe in solar and wind,” he said. “All those who were in alternative energy, in renewable standards, believe in a cleaner environment and that’s just fantastic. But don’t lobby for your own industry to keep other industries out that result in a cleaner environment.”
Milo Schaffner, owner of Schaffner Tool and Die, Inc., told members of the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee that the bill would correct many of the problems of Ohio’s dependence on wind energy to satisfy the RPS.
As a Hoaglin Township trustee in Van Wert, the witness said he worked hard to address issues caused by local wind turbines, such as noise, shadow flicker or “blades flying to pieces.”
Testifying on behalf of Concerned Citizens of Mercer County, Jim Niekamp testified in support of the proposal to add cogeneration to the RPS as a better alternative to wind energy.
Landowners who signed leases with wind developers, and agreements not to complain about them, have forced their neighbors “to live in an industrial energy park against their will,” he said. “It divides communities – neighbors fight with neighbors, friends fight with friends and family members fight with family members.”
Wind energy is more expensive and less reliable than cogeneration, which is abundant in Ohio, Mr. Niekamp said, adding that the RPS risks driving up energy costs for businesses. “How quickly do they start abandoning ship when their costs rise compared to other states?”
Logan County resident Tom Stacy urged to remain narrowly focused on how to keep electricity as dependable and affordable as possible.
Wind energy is much less efficient and more expensive than waste heat power sources and must rely on conventionally fueled electricity sources anyway, he said. Moreover, turbines require at least 50 acres per megawatt, which leads to far more “industrial sprawl” than cogeneration technology.
Champaign County business owner Terry Rittenhouse said waste heat recovery technology is compact, located in industrial areas, and therefore doesn’t present any of the problems that divide local communities like wind turbines.
“Waste heat recovery has no good neighbor agreements, also known as hush money, for which citizens are asked to sign away their civil rights, no destruction of roads, no personal risk of injury for innocent families, no counties covered in strobe lights and aircraft warning lights and no threatened recall elections of government officials,” he said.
Bob McConnell, president of the Desmond Stephan Mfg. Company in Urbana, said he believed the provision would help the steel industry provide affordable products while helping suppliers to be environmentally friendly and reduce their own costs.
“It is unthinkable to me to ask that public policymakers mandate an energy source, incentivize it with subsidies and tax breaks, protect it from free market competition and then force me to use it in my company that operates in an unsubsidized free market where we enjoy no protection from domestic or foreign competition,” he said.
Shelby County farmer Scott Gaier said he was offered a significant amount of money for leasing his land to wind developers, but decided against it when he considered the impact to the community and the fact that he would no longer be able to use aerial spraying on his crops.
“Open space and tillable farm ground are not really renewable because the planet isn’t getting any bigger. When you look at wind energy that way, it doesn’t seem renewable at all,” he said.
While most witnesses offered support for expanding the RPS, members also heard some testimony urging caution.
John DiDonato, vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, said the RPS created powerful incentives for the company to invest in Ohio projects, like the proposed 185 MWm, $350 million Honey Creek wind project in Seneca and Crawford counties.
“Perhaps the most significant issue confronting our industry is regulatory uncertainty – the threat that after several years of new laws and new rules being in place and being allowed to work, an effort will be made to change those rules,” he said. “It’s a significant disincentive to companies like ours.”
Adding cogeneration to the RPS will create an oversupply of renewable energy credits (RECs) that will jeopardize billions of dollars of investment and devalue the market for cogeneration technology as well, he said.
Mr. DiDonato suggested adding benchmarks to the advanced energy portfolio, limiting cogeneration to energy efficiency standards, or increasing the in-state RPS requirement.
Mary Huttlinger, outreach and communications manager for the Small Business Majority in Cincinnati, asked senators to protect the energy efficiency resource standard and find another way to encourage development of cogeneration.
“Ohio small business owners believe government investments in clean energy have an important role in boosting our national economy and creating jobs,” she said, citing results of the group’s recent poll that found 66% of respondents support continued government spending on clean energy.
“Senate Bill 315 as currently written would threaten the progress made in providing affordable alternative energy options to small businesses,” she said. “There are better options to incorporate CHP and WER resources into the state’s energy policies without diluting current energy efficiency and renewable energy targets.”
University CHP: Members also heard representatives of the University of Cincinnati and Kent State University request an amendment to allow their combined heat and power (CHP) plants to be eligible for renewable energy credits.
Joe Harrell, UC’s executive director of utilities, said both facilities were constructed before the 2007 cutoff date for existing CHP to qualify under the bill. In addition, the units sometimes produce more electric energy than steam, which could also disqualify them, depending on how the administrative rules are drafted, he added.
UC’s cogeneration plant, built in 2004, is part of more than $90 million the school has invested in utility infrastructure over the past decade, he said. He suggested the measure be amended to include state universities with CHP facilities built after 2002, which is limited to UC and Kent State.
“Being able to produce and sell renewable energy credits will allow these universities to fully utilize their CHP investments which produce clean, efficient, reliable power in Ohio,” he said.
Tom Euclide, Kent State’s associate vice president for facilities operations and planning, said the school’s CHP plant cost $33 million and generates 12.5 megawatts of electricity, which reduces the carbon footprint and overall operating costs.
Chairwoman Sen. Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) noted that renewable energy developers have argued against expanding the RPS to protect the investments they have already made in wind farms and other facilities. She added that the case of two publicly funded universities, whose shareholders include taxpayers, was unique and asked about the institutions’ return on investment for their CHP units.
Mr. Harrell said UC enrollment has increased by about 20% over the past several years, while energy costs have dropped, largely because of the CHP facility. Mr. Euclide said Kent State had experienced lesser energy savings.
The ability to get RECs will help UC and Kent State get additional revenue from the facilities, which will help reduce operating costs and allow them to invest in more energy efficiency and keep costs down for their student, Mr. Harrell said.
Chairwoman Jones said in an interview that she hopes a substitute bill will be ready for adoption Thursday.
The subbill will not determine which direction the committee will move on some of the more controversial issues, she said. Amendments, which are due from members on Monday, will address more contentious aspects of the legislation.

U.S. Energy Independence – Discussion here Energy Independence becoming more of a reality

Groundbreaking law prohibits wind turbines

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

ST. HENRY – Council members made history Monday night by passing unique legislation that bans wind turbines in town.

The new law, which unanimously passed third reading, prohibits the construction of all types of wind turbines, wind chargers and wind generators. It also outlaws any device, apparatus or structure used to convert kinetic energy from wind to produce electricity.

State officials previously told The Daily Standard no ordinance of this kind has been passed by any municipality in the state of Ohio.

Council members have said they may consider exceptions to the law on a case-by-case basis. However, village administrator Ron Gelhaus said the legislation has a purpose.

“It’s there to protect the people of the village,” he said.

Council members said the new law was discussed months before Cooper Farms, which has a plant in St. Henry, announced in February the construction of two 1.5-megawatt wind turbines at its Van Wert facility. Company officials had said they would consider placing turbines at other plant sites if the initial pair are deemed successful.

Eric Ludwig, director of corporate development at Cooper Farms in Van Wert, today said the company had “no official plans” to put a turbine at the St. Henry plant, but it was a future possibility.

When asked about the new legislation in the village, Ludwig said, “it would be nice to have guidelines instead of restrictions.”

Gelhaus said he told plant officials the new law did not specifically target them.

Two years ago, wind energy company NextEra proposed building a large wind turbine farm in the southern portion of Mercer County. By the spring of 2011, the project was nixed due to overwhelming objection from area residents.

By Shelley Grieshop

We have been monitoring developments in the US Senate, as subsidy proponents try to put together new packages.

1 — Senators Mark Udall (D-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Scott Brown (R-MA) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) have introduced legislation to extend for two years the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC).

This is deceptively labeled as “The American Energy and Job Promotion Act” (S.2201):

http://www.governorswindenergycoalition.org/?p=1615

2 — Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has filed S.2204 which extends several renewable energy tax breaks including the wind PTC. It also resurrects the 1603 credit for wind energy.

This bill is marketed as paying for itself by eliminating tax benefits available for the oil industry:

http://www.paramuspost.com/article.php/20120323152814176

[If you look at the EIA statistics for the electrical energy sector, the most recent annual wind energy subsidies exceeded the subsidies of all other conventional sources of electricity, combined — so go figure the contortions going on here.]

A vote on either of these may occur as soon as Tuesday.

Your Senators need to hear from you on Monday that they should vote NO on S2201, and NO on S2204, and NO on any other bill that extends renewable energy credits.

They can be reached through the Congressional Switchboard number: 202-224-3121.

If you feel energetic, it wouldn’t hurt to make some calls with the same message to:

1) Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader,

2) the three Republican Senators who co-sponsored the shameful S.2201 legislation (see above #1),

3) the four Democrat Senators who opposed the Stabenow amendment, as there is hope for them:

Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Jim Webb (D-VA).

The bottom line, as usual, is that these subsidies: a) produce net job losses, and b) waste money on a third-rate source of electricity that is far inferior to our other alternatives. (Use your own words.)

Thank you for your good efforts. We have beaten the wind lobby three straight times now, and a fourth should be no problem if we maintain our focus.

Regards.

john droz, jr.

One response to “Legislation

  1. Ann Fisher 06/02/2012 at 3:36 pm

    Please reply..would be interested in signing

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