Articles from Ohio
More than 30 state lawmakers on Wednesday urged the Ohio Power Siting Board to reconsider its approval of the Icebreaker wind-farm project 8 to 10 miles northwest of downtown Cleveland only on the condition that it not operate at night for 8 months of the year.
Four firms have submitted their proposals to transform Columbus’ electric supply into a 100% renewable market - but the city wants to keep a lid on them until after it selects a winner in about a week.
Massive construction cranes have taken over parts of southern Hardin County and northern Logan County. Once quiet, rural roads are now filled with trucks, some pulling long trailers with multiple axles that haul blades nearly 200 feet long, sections of towers and other parts for wind turbines. The trucks maneuver through narrow county and township roads on their way to concrete foundations already built in farm fields.
Testimony before the OPSB revealed that LEEDCo had not identified this monitoring equipment technology. Testimony also revealed that in the 10 years the project was under development, LEEDCo never took actual radar data from the proposed site. In light of this, in July 2018 the OPSB staff initially proposed that the turbines not operate from dusk until dawn from March 1 through Jan. 1 until the monitoring technology was installed and working. In its final decision, the OPSB implemented its staff's original recommendation, although narrowed the restriction to eight months.
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.
[The Ohio Power Siting] board unexpectedly imposed restrictions. It said Icebreaker must conduct radar studies of bird and bat traffic over the proposed site before and after construction. And nighttime operation of the turbines must be suspended during the months-long migration periods, unless and until studies conclude that is unnecessary. Opponents, some of whom have filed lawsuits to halt Icebreaker, consider the restrictions a victory.
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.