Transmission or Ohio
State and federal wildlife investigators are wrapping up their year-long investigation into the deaths of bald eagles who apparently came into contact with a transmission line strung across Conneaut Creek, officials said last week.
A 600-kilowatt wind turbine erected in early 2010 at Conneaut Middle School rarely operated properly and has cost its owner, NexGen Energy Partners, plenty of money, according to a lawsuit working its way through Ashtabula County courts.
There's a battle brewing along the ridges of Western Ohio. Several wind energy companies might build hundreds of giant turbines to generate electricity. There's support -- but a lot of opposition.
Along the glacial ridge above the tiny community of Zanesfield in Logan County, Page Mays built a comfortable home in an idyllic setting.
"We went ahead and bought this property and built this house, figuring that we were going to see pretty much what we were going to see," Mays says. "But that ridge over there is where they want to put the wind turbines now. We didn't bargain for that."
Touted as the ultimate in clean energy, hundreds of wind turbines may be erected on these hills which are among the highest in the state of Ohio. But the Mayes worry about the effect on their property values, their way of life and their health.
The red and white dotted line snaking 146 miles across a map of Colorado could be a path to a new energy economy or a scar on the state's spectacular landscape.
That string of dots - a proposed new high-voltage transmission line into the San Luis Valley - also is pitting utilities, agricultural and business interests against an amalgam of community groups and landowners, from a goat herder to a billionaire hedge-fund manager.
It is a battle that may be fought across Colorado, as the state needs $2 billion in new transmission lines to tap into wind and solar power, according to a state task force.
And it is a clash running across the West.
A group of Pacific Northwest and California power companies has joined utilities from the Southeast and other regions to oppose widespread cost-sharing for transmission expansion to carry wind and solar power to distant markets.
A letter from 14 power companies and organizations in the Northwest, sent Feb. 19 to Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), calls for developers and customers of new renewable power to pay for transmission connecting their projects to customers.
The controversial proposal could create more than 80 temporary jobs during the construction phase, along with a handful of permanent jobs. It could also add as much as $1.26 million to the region's economy, but opponents have raised concern with the safety of the project, and argued the proposed turbines are too close to homes in the project's footprint.
NorthWestern Energy's Mountain States Transmission Intertie would carry 1,500 megawatts, much of it wind power, from central Montana to Midpoint, Idaho.
But to do it, the 500-kilovolt line, known as MSTI, must cross a 430-mile mishmash of lands owned by residents, ranchers, farmers, counties, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Energy Department.
The proposal has stirred a fierce debate in the state.
A Bellevue teen died after an apparent fall from a wind turbine, family and friends say, but police have yet to confirm what happened.
Bellevue police officials said only that they are investigating the death of Ernesto "Ernie" Garcia, 17, who died early Monday at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo.
Since March, travelers have been contending with utility crews as they install new utility poles and electricity distribution lines through Lanesborough, even as a lawsuit holds up final connection to the $46 million Berkshire Wind project on Brodie Mountain. The lawsuit alleges that the special permit issued for road access to the construction site expired before the work began.
In what garnished rapid applause from residents, officials voted to end discussions with NRG Bluewater Wind on the request for underground power lines from their proposed offshore wind farm through the town.
Phil Anschutz - who has made money out of everything from a well explosion to a failing railroad - is looking to wager $9 billion on the fierce winds of Wyoming.
Anschutz's Power Company of Wyoming is seeking to build the nation's largest wind farm and then ship the power to California over a 725-mile transmission line, the longest to be built in decades.
On May first, 2008 Governor Strickland signed a new energy and utility bill into law. Among other things, the bill established the long-awaited Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - legislation requiring that by the year 2025, 12.5 percent of the state's power come from renewable technologies like wind or solar. But the bill's language is murky, and as ideastream's Gretchen Cuda explains, not everyone thinks it's a victory for green energy. ...An amendment to the bill says that if the cost of renewable energy increases overall rates by 3 percent or more, companies are off the hook for meeting the 12.5 percent renewable requirement. Ken Silliman is chief of Chief of Staff to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. He says that could become a major setback.
The Electric Transmission Customer Protection Act is intended to prevent FERC from applying cost-recovery mechanisms for interstate transmission projects beyond where the upgrades will have an immediate, direct benefit.
This position is at odds with a current proposed rule in FERC's docket that seeks to implement a methodology that spreads infrastructure costs regionally among a wide range of consumers.
A bill to be introduced by Assemblyman Curt Hagman will fight Southern California Edison's plan to erect large electrical towers near homes in the city.
The 200-foot high voltage towers that Edison aims to construct in Chino Hills are part of its 173-mile green energy project that will travel from wind farms in Kern County to the Los Angeles Basin.
Residents and city officials fear the potential for harm.
"It is my strong conviction that the choice of energy supply should come from the demands of the free market, and not from policymakers and environmental lobbyists," said Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Powell, sponsor of the bill that would eliminate the requirement for use of renewable-energy sources such as wind and solar.
Lawmakers on the Legislature's Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee heard testimony on a bill that would require lines transmitting 5,000 volts of power or more to be at least 300 feet from homes, schools, churches and licensed day care centers, among other places.
A wildlife biologist whose area of expertise is bat and bird activity, has joined the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to study the effects of wind turbines on native and migrating wildlife, especially in the Lake Erie Basin.
Keith DeWitt Lott will study the impact that the rotating blades of wind turbines have on the 300 species of birds and nine species of bats found in the state.
"As Ohio moves into the realm of wind-based energy, it's important that we do so in a socially and environmentally responsible way," said ODNR Director Sean D. Logan in a news release.
"Our study data suggest that $20 million was spent in this area during the months of April and May, and, in addition to concerns about large-scale mortality of birds and bats, the potential loss of significant birding-based tourism dollars must be considered as well."
The Black Swamp Bird Observatory is calling for a three-year moratorium on any additional wind turbines within three miles of the Lake Erie shore.
Birders said Tuesday they are seeking people from all walks of life who share their concerns about the proper siting of wind turbines in the ecologically fragile western Lake Erie region. ...the group will be stepping up its campaign for a three-mile buffer zone along the shoreline in Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Erie counties.
The Black Swamp Bird Observatory is seeking a three-year moratorium on additional wind turbines within three miles of the Lake Erie Shores in Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Erie counties until research, including radar studies, on how the turbines affect the lives of nocturnal migrants can be completed.