Library filed under Legal from Ohio
The developer of the US’ first freshwater wind farm in the Great Lakes has appealed against over-restrictive operating restrictions on the approval it received last month. After a long permitting journey to satisfy 14 federal, state and local agencies, the 20.7MW Icebreaker in Lake Erie was unanimously approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) in May.
The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) has asked the board to reconsider its decision so that the plans to build and operate the six-turbine demonstration project eight miles off Cleveland’s shoreline can move forward.
NexGen purchased a wind turbine from Elecon Engineering, through Reflecting Blue, and erected the turbine next to Conneaut Middle School. The turbine at CMS occasionally produced electricity, but was never officially commissioned and had repeated technical problems, said Bradley Barmen, attorney for NexGen.
In its trial brief, NexGen sets out nine points that it will try to prove. Beyond the manufacturing issues and the hydraulic power issue, NexGen claims that the three turbines the company purchased from Elecon Engineering and Reflecting Blue Technologies are not fit to produce electricity, that they do not have a 20-year lifespan, and that the turbines were not certified with India’s Centre for Wind Energy Technology, which regulates wind turbines in India, where the turbine installed at CMS was built.
The page includes a legal challenge of the Department of Energy’s and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ funding and authorization of the Icebreaker Wind Project, a first-of-its-kind proposed offshore wind energy facility in Lake Erie with a price tag in excess of $40 million that is expressly intended to spur future development of offshore industrial wind energy in the Great Lakes Region and beyond. A portion of the complaint is provided below. The full complaint can be accessed from the document link(s) on this page.
“Buckeye Wind LLC and Champaign Wind LLC have relinquished the Certificates of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need issued for the Buckeye Wind project as construction activities have not commenced as required under the certificates,” according to a statement issued by Viola Baumann of Innogy – the Germany-based parent company of Buckeye Wind.
Buckeye Wind LLC and Champaign Wind LLC, who collectively sought and received approval to construct the Buckeye I and Buckeye II wind energy facilities, have now withdrawn their applications and surrendered their certificates of environmental compatibility and public need. The notices of withdrawal are available at the document links on this page.
In early 2018, Seneca Wind LLC initiated the process before the Ohio Power Siting Board to secure authorization to construct and operate a 70 turbine (up to 200 MW) wind energy facility on 25,000 acres of leased land situated in Seneca County, Ohio. This letter submitted to the Siting Board states that Seneca Wind LLC wishes to withdraw its application from consideration.
The application for the Black Fork wind energy facility was initially submitted to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) on March 10, 2011. The project, if constructed would have included up to 91 turbines (up to 200 MW) across 14,500 acres in Richland and Crawford counties, Ohio. There was significant opposition to the project but it was granted a permit by the state. In December 2018, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision that OPSB wrongfully granted the project an extension to the date on which construction was to begin from January 2017 to January 2019. The Court found that the change was an amendment to the permit and required a more extensive review process and would subject the project to more onerous state setback distances.
In a six-page filing obtained by The Blade and expected to be entered soon in the OPSB online docket, three lawyers for Utah-based sPower’s subsidiary, Seneca Wind LLC, notified the state siting board that the developer wants to “suspend the procedural schedule and stay discovery” until further notice.
Judge Rollex held off ruling on the validity of leases for now, but said he was denying sPower’s request for the preliminary injunction — in other words, denying the company’s request to go on private property to do its work whether landowners agreed or not.
The complaint filed in Seneca County Common Pleas Court states that each defendant refused to allow Seneca Wind access to their properties and that Seneca Wind needs to access the properties to analyze, plan and construct the project and to provide key information to Ohio Power Siting Board as it considers the application.
Retired Wood County Common Pleas Judge Robert Pollex, assigned by the Ohio Supreme Court to preside over the case, told attorneys after the final witness testified that he would give them until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to submit their final briefs. The judge is being asked by sPower to issue an order granting immediate access to 31 tracts of land in which a different would-be developer negotiated leases from the 30 property owners more than a decade ago.
Seneca Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Utah-based sPower, whiffed Monday on its first attempt for a court order that would have let it proceed with preconstruction work on 31 tracts of private land that are part of the massive wind farm it wants to build. Visiting Judge Robert Pollex denied a request from Seneca Wind attorneys for a temporary restraining order against 30 property owners holding the combined 31 leases.
There’s a new judge and a new hearing date for the legal complaint Utah-based wind turbine developer sPower has filed against 30 property owners whom the company claims are in breach of contract by resisting sPower’s attempts to come onto their property
The Supreme Court voted 5-2 that the Ohio Power Siting Board improperly approved a request by developers of the Black Fork Wind Energy Project to extend the date to begin construction from January 2017 until January 2019. Opponents of the farm, which would be located in portions of Crawford and Richland counties, contend the siting board allowed the company to use a procedure to evade new “setback” rules imposed by the General Assembly, which would require more distance between turbines and property lines.
This important legal challenge of the Ohio Power Siting Board decision tests whether the Board ignored state law and the conditions of its own certificate approving construction of the Black Fork wind energy facility when it granted a requested extension of the permit. A detailed description of the case is provided below and at the link appearing on this page. Oral arguments were heard on August 1, 2018 and can be watched at this link. Black Fork is proposed as a 91-turbine facility with a maximum capacity of 200 megawatts. The permit was initially issued in 2012.
For the second time since 2014, the Ohio Air National Guard has backed away from its plans to erect a commercial-scale, $1.5 million wind turbine at Camp Perry — a decision that the region’s biggest birding organization hopes will put an end to five years of contentious litigation and send a message to other would-be developers.
The victory sets an especially important precedent because many other wind energy projects are currently being planned around the Great Lakes, which could threaten the future of millions of migratory birds and bats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has recommended that no turbines be built within 3 miles of the Great Lakes shoreline.
“Any settlement like this will help the project move forward,” Dagger said. “It ultimately may not look exactly like the initial project that was permitted.” There will likely be fewer turbines built, but the locations of those turbines will not change, he said.