Articles from Ohio
Richland County Commissioners say developers of the proposed Black Fork Wind Farm still need a road agreement before they can begin construction of their wind turbine project west of Shelby.
The 2012 approval of the Black Fork Wind Farm by the Ohio Power Siting Board was affirmed in a decision handed down Wednesday by the Ohio Supreme Court. Opponents of the planned wind-turbine project, to be constructed in northern Richland and Crawford counties, included a handful of residents in Shelby, Crestline and Tiro. They had appealed the siting board’s approval.
Representatives from the Buckeye Wind farm said they are backing out of a controversial proposal that would have relocated a temporary construction yard outside Urbana. Buckeye Wind LLC had planned to use the staging area during construction of two phases of the wind farm, which would build about 100 turbines across several townships in Champaign County.
But plans for wind turbines at Camp Perry and the Lake Erie Business Park that will stand in the path of important bird migration areas in Ottawa County alarm birders who say the turbines are likely to kill many birds. They’ve erected a billboard on Ohio 2 near the planned wind turbine sites to display their concern.
Champaign County prosecutors listed several concerns in their appeal of the second phase of the project. They include arguments that the state did not allow the county and townships a meaningful chance to cross-examine experts who testified about parts of the project’s application. Prosecutors also raised concerns that the state board should have required the wind company to meet manufacturer’s recommendations for setbacks from homes and property lines.
A state board made three key errors when it approved a plan for nearly 50 wind turbines in eastern Champaign County, according to an appeal county officials filed with the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday.
AEP’s endorsement comes as Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, lead sponsor of the bill making the changes, says he is about to release a new version that would delay one of the most controversial provisions. He hopes to amend the legislation, Senate Bill 58, and for it to come up for a vote in the next two weeks. The current version would repeal a rule that says electric utilities must purchase half of their renewable energy from sources within Ohio. Seitz’s rewrite will delay that provision for several years.
At least three sets of major amendments were submitted late Friday to the Public Utilities Committee of the Ohio Senate, where Chairman William Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, has been holding hearings on his bill, a proposal that opponents say would effectively abolish the five-year-old regulations.
Long-stalled wind-energy projects off Long Island's shores could get a second wind if LIPA backs a new proposal and another 5-year-old project wins federal approval, advocates said Wednesday.
The measure would create a series of exceptions to the state’s energy-efficiency standards and remove a requirement that utilities purchase half of their renewable energy from in-state sources. It would do so by changing provisions of a 2008 law that says electric utilities have to meet an escalating series of benchmarks for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The Champaign County commissioners will appeal a recent state decision to approve the Buckeye Wind Project, saying the county will contest parts of the decision, including setbacks, use of roads and bridges and decommissioning.
Developers of a Champaign County wind farm said they’re preparing to seek a special tax treatment from the state and county commissioners ...But some local officials said unanswered questions remain, and opponents argued the tax treatment is more about maximizing profits for the company than it is about making the project feasible.
Northwest Ohio has had wind farms in operation for about three years. Some are not happy with the wind farms, while others think the arrival of alternative-energy companies is the best thing that could happen to the region. ..."We were told that the noise was minimal and that light flickers are only noticeable at 1,000 meters and only for a few minutes," Schaffner said. "That simply is not true."
Jack Van Kley, an attorney for Union Neighbors United, said despite the revenue, taxpayers would be providing a tax break to a private company if the PILOT payment is approved. UNU is made up of a group of residents who are opposed to the project. “Certainly, if this project were to stand on its own without taxpayer assistance, it would not be profitable,” Van Kley said.
[Senator] Seitz believes the economics that convinced lawmakers to approve the legislation five years ago have proved incorrect. Seitz argued that shale gas has not only lowered the cost of electricity but also has persuaded utilities not to build any more coal-fired power plants, which would require costly emission controls. He also noted that demand has not increased as most predicted. "In short the assumptions upon which Senate Bill 221 (the 2008 law) were based have all turned out to be false," he wrote, "and it would be the height of foolishness to fail to account for these changed circumstances."
Much of the opposition to the legislation is from developers who are essentially receiving a subsidy because of the requirement to produce much of that energy in Ohio, Seitz said. He argued his proposal would help the environment but create more competition to produce that energy. “Cry me a river,” Seitz said of critics. “Is it about being green or making people money?”
Union Neighbors United, a group of residents opposed to the project, will have to evaluate the case further and decide on the best option, said Chris Walker, an attorney for the group. Robert McConnell, a member of UNU, said he wants to take the fight as far as it can go. “We’re in it for the long haul, and the next step is the Supreme Court, and that’s where we’ll be going,” McConnell said.
Mr. Seitz noted that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down, as a violation of the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause, a provision in Oklahoma that had a buy-Oklahoma provision for coal. A federal appeals-court ruling also has shed doubt on an in-state mandate included in Michigan’s renewable-energy standards. So far, Ohio’s standard has not been legally challenged. Ohio Environmental Council spokesman Jack Shaner said the proposed changes would send the wrong message to wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers that their market here is not as assured.
Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, is about to release a wide-ranging energy proposal altering renewable-energy requirements. He hopes the General Assembly will pass the bill this year. ...If there is no requirement that utilities buy from within the state, then developers might pull back on projects that are in the planning stages, said a lobbyist for the group.
A long-simmering proposal to overhaul Ohio's energy policy is to be released this week. It would throw out the requirement that utilities buy half of their renewable energy from in-state sources, and it would change the way the state encourages energy efficiency.