Library from Ohio
Comments of support and opposition were voiced Monday night about two proposed wind turbine zoning amendments — one of which was recommended for acceptance and the other for rejection. The Union Township Zoning Commission recommended that township trustees accept a proposal it drafted and reject a proposal submitted by Union Neighbors United, a group of residents concerned about wind energy development zoning issues. "If we put something on the books today it's not an end, it's a start," commission member Steve Bricher said. "Sitting here today, we have no guidelines for (wind turbine) placement."
Inconsistency with regulating wind turbines doesn't end with zoning. The county Building Department requires construction plans certified by an Ohio engineer before it issues a permit; Canton doesn't. The county's requirement could add another $5,000 in expenses because most wind turbines are shipped from outside Ohio or the country and do not contain plans certified by an Ohio engineer. "I don't want to stop anybody from building what they want, but it's my obligation under law to enforce the requirements of the code," said Stark Building Official Ed Stetz. He said wind turbines exceed residential standards so they must be regulated by the Ohio commercial building codes that require a professional designer's seal.
A regional advisory board recommended officials wait for more information before amending zoning restrictions to allow for wind turbines to be built in this Champaign County township. The Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission, a West Liberty-based advisory panel, recommended the Union Township Zoning Commission reject two zoning amendments it submitted - one from the commission itself and one from Union Neighbors United, a group of township residents concerned about wind turbine development.
Ohio lawmakers need to focus on creating imaginative, affordable incentives for solar and other alternative energy if they hope to lure manufacturers to Ohio in an increasingly competitive enviornment for such business. Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted says he's seen the light on solar and wind power for Ohio. It couldn't have happened at a more opportune time. ...The Senate's ill-defined requirement for 25 percent renewables and "advanced energy" by 2025 - as long as it's not too expensive - offers wiggle room the size of Lake Erie. That's not likely to mark Ohio as the next big market for wind and solar.
Subtle changes buried in an energy bill plotting the future of Ohioans' electricity rates guarantee that today's prices will never fall and make it nearly impossible for producers of green power to gain a foothold in the state. The amendments were added by the Ohio Senate to Gov. Ted Strickland's proposed energy bill, which the Ohio House has scheduled to debate at the leisurely pace of one hearing a week into the new year. Strickland, a Democrat, had asked the Republican-led General Assembly to pass the bill by Dec. 31, which now appears unlikely.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland's energy bill is on its way to the Ohio House of Representatives after the Senate unanimously passed an amended version Wednesday. Substitute Senate Bill 221 generally affirms the major tenets of Strickland's Energy, Jobs and Progress for Ohio plan, which includes creating a hybrid approach to regulating prices when rates set by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio expire at the end of 2008, and growing the state's investment in eco-friendly energy sources. ...While upholding most of Strickland's proposals aimed at increasing the state's investment in advanced and renewable energy, the senate bill puts a 3 percent cap on consumers' costs in making the shift.
Bowling Green's former utilities director, Daryl Stockberger, has been lauded by numerous groups and public officials for getting Ohio's first four commercial-sized wind turbines built just west of the city. ...So what happened Oct. 1 when push came to shove - when Bowling Green City Council felt the city needed to lock itself into a long-term contract for its largest source of power? It aligned itself with coal. ...AMP-Ohio is pursuing a new coal-fired power plant because it is legally obligated to provide a reliable stream of what's known as "baseload" electricity, Mr. Carson said. That's power that can be pulled off the grid 24 hours a day. Wind and solar power are supplemental sources..."Until you find renewable fuels you can use to make baseload [electricity], an energy-consumptive society like ours is going to have to do the best it can," Mr. Scherer said.
A group with varied opinions on wind energy development in Champaign County expressed their interests and concerns about wind turbines during the first Wind Turbine Study Group meeting Tuesday. The five-member group was created by the Champaign County Prosecutor's Office, with Prosecutor Nick Selvaggio serving as a mediator. Group member Julie Johnson, of Union Neighbors United, read a list of concerns she has with wind turbines being built in Union Twp.
The prosecutor's office will facilitate a weekly meeting to provide open discussion about the effects wind energy development could have on Champaign County. ... "Our approach is comprehensive and we're trying to make sure we understand the impact of these propositions," Shokouhi said.
More proposals for wind turbine zoning regulations within Union Twp. were discussed Wednesday night. ...The commission decided to wait to vote on the proposal until a completed draft has been compiled and until the Wind Turbine Study Group - a new group created by the county prosecutor's office to examine the affects of wind energy development in the county - has had a chance to meet and submit suggestions.
The Champaign County Commissioners voted to support state and local wind energy projects Tuesday. The commissioners unanimously passed a resolution backing renewable energy development in the state and urging Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to set a requirement for 20 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025.
Tour group members took turns being photographed standing in different spots near the blade, trying to get shots in an angle that might adequately show the immensity of the rotor. Once in place, it will span 263 feet in diameter while spinning.
According to a release sent Monday afternoon from the UNU, "Spokesperson Julia Johnson explained that the zoning amendment was withdrawn in order to support and encourage a more deliberate and coordinated assessment of wind turbine regulation in Champaign County." Johnson also said, "Townships in Champaign County are approaching this issue in a disjointed way. Since the time we submitted our zoning amendment, members of the Ohio Wind Working Group and the zoning and a subdivision committee of the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission have emphasized the need for a county or regional dialog on wind power regulation."
The Logan-Union-Champaign Region Planning Commission - based in East Liberty - reviewed the proposal, which had been passed on from the Union Township Zoning Commission last week for review. The LUC recommended the township zoning commission deny the proposal by Union Neighbors United - the group of township residents opposed to the turbines without more regulations.
No wind turbines are proposed for Clark County, but they could be, Planning Director Shane Farnsworth told the local rural zoning commission on Wednesday. "There's a lot of complexity to this issue," he said.
Twenty percent of our electricity from wind requires 10,000-plus turbines on a land mass of 42,000 square miles. Spread evenly across Ohio, we'd see two to nine industrial turbines everywhere we looked. Twice the height of a large radio tower, their enormous blades cast disturbing repetitive flickering shadows across everything up to .75 miles away, and can be noisy enough to disturb sleep in hilly regions. Wind energy costs $2 million per megawatt (MW), and 20 percent of our state's electricity today would require over 20,000 MW of wind. That's a $40 billion dollar investment with no electricity when we need it most - on windless summer days. Do we want to foot the bill for this inefficiency?
Let's look at the reality, not the hype. Ohio and every other state east of the Mississippi that is not on the ocean is just barely on the ragged edge of acceptability for a few turbines in a few high places that are already lived on, farmed on and gazed at for their beauty. This is a railroad that needs to be sidetracked. Legislating 20 percent of our power from wind won't make it any more feasible; it will just make us throw our money at it until we cry uncle.
After the meeting, when asked why the commission was discussing a more permissive proposal than it looked at originally, Runyan explained, "There are two very opposing sides to this; those that want no turbines whatsoever and others that want them because they get compensated very well. We can't please everyone, we just want something that will work for the community." However, Runyan did point out that none of the issues that were decided on by the commission were set in stone. "We are trying to get some general guidelines that we can live with."
A second wind energy company vying for space in Champaign County will continue its pursuit in spite of grant money awarded to a competitor last week. Invenergy, a Chicago-based developer of wind energy products, is one of two companies that has begun the process of measuring wind speed in Union Township and plans to progress toward wind energy development in the area, said Eric Miller, the company's senior development manager. "Our plans have not changed. We're still moving ahead," he said.
Wind energy projects headed for Champaign and Logan counties will get up to $3 million in grant awards to move forward with production, Gov. Ted Strickland announced Thursday. ...Diane McConnell, a Union Township resident and member of Union Neighbors United .. said the lack of information that affected residents have received is her biggest worry.