Transmission or Ohio
A new task force wants to know if Cuyahoga County's energy future is blowing in the wind.
The county commissioners this week appointed a 17-member body to craft an alternative-energy policy that will focus initially on the promise of wind power.
Specifically, the Task Force on Wind Energy has been asked to consider reforming the state's eminent domain laws, but only as they pertain to electrical "collector" lines -- those lines needed to connect wind farms to major intrastate and interstate transmission lines.
The challenge also forces lawmakers to delve into the complexities of interrupted viewsheds that are both public and private.
Ohio lags other states in generating power from the wind partly because of high taxes, an industry group said yesterday. Even so, the state is in the top 10 in the number of workers making wind-energy components. ...Skeptics such as Matt Mayer of the conservative Buckeye Institute don't think the wind industry can survive without government aid, in Ohio or anywhere else. "The fact is that it's still grossly inefficient compared to gas and coal," he said.
The question of whether or not there will be a number of wind turbines dotting the landscape of Van Wert and Paulding counties may come down to a familiar issue - taxes.
According to Dan Litchfield of Iberdrola Renewables, one of a handful of companies vying for local land rights for turbines, the tax rates could end up preventing the construction of Blue Creek Wind Farm. That project was to use approximately 160 turbines, 120 of those in Van Wert County.
County officials are faced with balancing concerns about the project with revenue that could be generated for the county, townships and school districts.
Officials expressed concern about several aspects of Buckeye Wind, including its effect on property values, and the county's legal and financial responsibilities if the project should fail.
A $1.7 billion Southern California Edison renewable energy project under construction in three counties met with a legal challenge today from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The project is intended to create 250 miles of new and upgraded electrical transmission facilities and substations. The project will transmit electrical power from wind farms in Tehachapi.
MUTUAL - The Union Township Board of Zoning Appeals voted in favor, 3-1, of allowing a wind test tower belonging to Everpower Renewables to be placed on Ault Road, during its meeting Monday night.
According to board member Fred Meyers, one board member removed himself from the discussion and vote for personal reasons.
Meyers said the structure will be 190 feet tall and have three wind measurement devices that will send information to Everpower Renewables.
The adjudicatory hearing on the Buckeye Wind application before administrative law judges for the Ohio Power Siting Board resumed Tuesday with rebuttal testimony from David Hessler, the acoustic engineer the company hired to model noise projections and measure background sound data. ..."You stated ... that there will always be some complaints that the project is audible at all," Napier said.
"Correct," Hessler said.
"Is it fair to say you believe this project will be audible at some times?" Napier asked.
"Yes, most definitely," he said.
Oregon City Schools officials had hoped Clay High School's 283-foot-tall wind turbine would have been operating by now ...The turbine, installed to cut the school's electricity costs, began operating on April 29, but Toledo Edison shut it down after a month, after citing safety concerns with a switching gear.
But even in Texas - a state long accustomed to oil pipelines and other energy infrastructure - opposition to the transmission lines is mounting. Many landowners do not want to surrender their land to high-voltage power lines, even though they would be paid to do so. "The meters on the attorneys are running," said Robert Weatherford, the president of Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment.
A Texas company planning a $3.5 billion transmission line project has applied to become a public utility in Oklahoma.
The application by Plains and Eastern Clean Line Oklahoma, which is an affiliate of Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners, with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is only the second of its kind ever attempted, commission spokesman Matt Skinner said Friday.
Opposition to the construction of high-voltage transmission lines in Texas could result in a smaller-scale project than originally envisioned by state officials, State Sen. Kirk Watson told a crowd of local workforce leaders Wednesday at a conference on renewable energy and state politics.
"Elected officials and regulators are working at scaling back and actually scrapping portions of the CREZ lines."
Sharyland Utilities, a unit of Hunt Consolidated, is one of the companies building a web of transmission lines to bring West Texas wind power to Dallas and other big cities. ...But Sharyland has proposed stringing one of the lines across the Palo Duro Canyon. ...Under three of five basic scenarios, the line would go from rim to rim of the second-largest canyon in the country. ...The Palo Duro Canyon power line is a dramatic example of the type of friction that accompanies the siting of many transmission lines. Other utilities building the wind lines face their own community concerns.
PUC spokesman Terry Hadley said he expects most of the wind transmission lines to face opposition.
The state's Public Utility Commission, or PUC, approved the CREZ concept in 2008 in response to a directive from the Legislature in 2005. The plan calls for network of transmission lines to bring the wind power to cities in the Central and East Texas. ...Trouble is, between the windy plains and the cities demanding power lie many people who fear that their scenery will be despoiled.
"Wind is coming whether you want it or not," Ohio Power Siting Board Executive Director Kim Wissman said at one point in the more-than-two-hour-long meeting with concerned citizens and wind turbine leaseholders.
She said that while some companies have abandoned a project in the early stages, she does not recall a time in her 30 years with the Siting Board that the arm of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has turned down a project.
"I'm not sure the board has outright rejected an application, but we have required certain modifications," Ms. Wissman said.
"What we are trying to do is meet the regional's state's goals to provide a renewable energy source to New Hampshire and New England."
But despite its worthy goals, the project has caused a furor in The North Country. ...Russ Johnson is a Columbia resident.
"We the people of Northern New Hampshire don't want you. We don't want you defiling our landscape and our economy by forcing your way over our forests and mountains and homes and we will fight you every step of the way."
Wyoming is an ideal place to generate electricity from wind. But getting current from turbines to customers is a political and economic puzzle. How it plays out will have lessons for renewable-energy projects nationwide.
"Everyone has gotten so caught up in the ‘green is good' idea that they don't stop to think about the economics and the physics and the evidence. We're financing this with debt, which put the U.S. economy in the tank, and all the empirical evidence is against this producing enough energy to get us off fossil fuels," said Michael Delia, who owns a home near the Southeast Lighthouse.
The four giant windmills just outside of Bowling Green might be in for some company.
In conjunction with JW Great Lakes Wind and American Municipal Power-Ohio, a joint-action group for municipal utilities, the city is investigating the idea of adding onto the state's only utility-size wind farm.
Company officials announced Thursday ITCTransmission has received approval from the Midwest ISO for the Thumb Loop high-voltage electric transmission line project.
The project will serve as the "backbone" of a transmission system designed to deliver wind power from Michigan's Thumb area to locations where it is needed.