Articles from Ohio
A condition added to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB)’s approval of the project that turbines should be shut down overnight for most of the year “renders the project economically not viable”, said LEEDCo, which has spent years planning the six-turbine Icebreaker offshore wind farm in Lake Erie, Ohio.
However, the developers of the project were less than satisfied with one of the conditions of the approval by the OPSB. According to the order, Icebreaker Wind must completely feather its turbines (stopping them from rotating) during nighttime hours from March 1 through November 1 as an initial bird and bat risk mitigation measure.
The extension of the PTC provides a stark reminder of how an influential industry can manipulate the Washington favor factory and in doing so, turn what were supposed to be temporary subsidies into permanent ones worth billions of dollars per year – and even more remarkably, get those subsidies extended without ever getting the money appropriated by Congress.
Bird migration is underway on the southern shore of Lake Erie. At the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO), a road through a remnant of the once-vast Great Lakes coastal marsh is filling up with cars driven by birders, clutching binoculars and eager for an early glimpse of migratory birds. Robert Sink comes a few times a week from Findlay, Ohio, about an hour away, with his tripod and telephoto camera lens. He posts daily on a Facebook group for Ohio bird photographers. “When the season becomes warmer, I’ll be up here every other day or so,” he tells me.
“What happened with the turbine blade killing that bald eagle over in Wood County — that just confirmed our worst fears,” he said. “That dead eagle is the reality of this issue, and it shows that this can happen right here in our backyard. It is awful, and you just hope you can find someone who is interested on the federal level and get them to take some kind of action.” Mark Shieldcastle, a retired avian biologist from the ODNR who is widely recognized as the region’s preeminent expert on birds and bald eagles, said the flying and hunting patterns of bald eagles put them in a very precarious position when wind turbines sprout in their habitat.
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.
But as the grassroots groups battling the Northwest Ohio wind farm projects continue to wade through a swamp of uncertainty as they deal with attorneys, politicians, lobbyists and the Ohio Power Siting Board, which regulates the siting of wind farms, their strongest ally might turn out to be a scavenger whose persona affords it an almost saintly aura — the bald eagle.
A project that would have placed up to 77 commercial-scale wind turbines in Seneca County near Tiffin has been placed on indefinite hold, the project’s backer announced Tuesday. ...The power producer said it planned to divert resources intended for the Seneca Wind project to sPower projects in other states.
An eyesore in Conneaut’s harbor is to be removed this year. ...The turbine was struck by lightning in Feb. 2017 and has not functioned since. One of the blades was destroyed by the strike.
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.
Two bird conservation groups sued the Energy Department and Army Corps of Engineers in an attempt to stop the development of a Lake Erie wind turbine farm about eight miles off the coast of Cleveland named “Icebreaker."
The measure would allow voters living in townships to petition to place a referendum on the ballot to undo wind farm site approvals by the Ohio Power Siting Board. ...The committee’s chairman, Rep. Nino Vitale (R., Urbana), noted that, as an energy source, wind farms take up thousands of more acres. ...“Maybe that is where some of the tension occurs in terms of why is this coming up.”
Under the current law, the authority to approve or deny wind energy projects belongs to the Ohio Power Siting Board. But Ohio Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, and Sen. Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, introduced companion bills Wednesday in the Ohio House and Senate that would give communities a chance to vote on the issue. The bill in the house has several cosponsors, including Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, who represents Erie and Ottawa counties.
“This bill is a result of many constituents reaching out to every single legislator on this stage here and asking them to do this because they’re seeing hundreds, in some case, of wind turbines around their dream homes they built,” said state Sen. Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, flanked by residents and other legislators from the region where the bulk of Ohio’s wind farms exist or have been proposed.
Building a wind farm in the midst of Lake Erie poses different engineering and technical challenges from the Atlantic Ocean. They include ensuring turbines can withstand the force of ice floes during winter. While huge cone-shaped turbine bases would be used to break the winter ice on Lake Erie, special "mono bucket" turbine foundations — mammoth steel suction cups that will be fixed to the floor of the lake — are meant to ensure the structures can handle subsurface ice keels.
sPower refiled its Seneca Wind 212-megawatt wind turbine project this week with the Ohio Power Siting Board ...In a pre-application notification letter to OPSB Monday, the company outlined a plan similar to the project sPower withdrew in August.
“At that time the Alternative Energy Zone will rescind to new applications, thus sunsetting the Alternative Energy Zone program in Seneca County. Although the Seneca Wind and Republic Wind projects are accepted under the 2011 AEZ Agreement, if they must resubmit their application they would no longer be grandfathered under the agreement, based on a determination by the Ohio Power Siting Board.”
A public hearing at Tiffin University’s Marion Center was hosted by the Ohio Power Siting Board Thursday afternoon to hear public testimony from area citizens about Republic Wind LLC’s application to develop a 200-megawatt wind turbine farm in Seneca and Sandusky counties.
“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.
After LEEDCo failed to pay the invoice before the Aug. 26 deadline, Judge Nicholas J. Walstra on Sept. 3 ordered the agency’s review work to be suspended, and set a new payment deadline for Friday, Sept. 13. If the developers fail to pay the bill before then, their application “will be considered before the board for potential dismissal,” according to the Sept. 3 ruling.