Attached below please find the HardinWind/RWE and MAREC comments filed with the OPSB on issues related to proposed rules for incident reporting. Objections are raised to having third parties certify turbines are safe to restart after an incident. More troubling, however, is HardinWInd’s argument that making previously certificated projects subject to new rules is unlawful. HardinWind maintains that being subject to new rules constitutes imposing new conditions on certificate. They suggest that any rules be applied only to future certificates even if those rules address the safety of the community. It appears that the developer is concerned about setting a precedent enabling a new rule to apply to an operating project. If an issue arises that demonstrates the ineffectiveness of a previous condition placed on a certificate of approval, the developer wants to be assured they are immune from OPSB corrective action. In such cases it would likely fall to communities to spend the money on lawyers to address a potentially harmful situation. Could this carry over to setbacks?
More Ohio news…
DISCHARGE PETITION – Rep. Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Rep. O’Brien (D-Warren) have announced their intention to file a “discharge petition” on Monday to bring to the floor their bill, HB 738, to repeal HB 6. A discharge petition, if signed by a majority of the members of the House of Representatives, would allow HB 738 to be brought to the floor for a vote. This provision of the House rules can be used if no action has been taken on a bill in committee after 30 days. Many members of the House on both sides of the aisle are trying to distance themselves from the alleged corruption surrounding HB 6 and may feel pressured to make a statement by signing the petition.
RENEWABLE ACTIVITY – The Ohio Power Siting Board was briefed this past week on the level of activity being seen in renewable power generation. OPSB Executive Director Theresa White highlighted a “substantial shift” in the mix of generation sources within Ohio. The total of currently operating economically significant wind facilities total 795 MW. These projects are Blue Creek, Hog Creek I and II, Northwest Ohio, and Timber Road I, II, III and IV in Hardin, Paulding and Van Wert counties.
There are another 591 MW under construction in Hardin and Huron counties. During the overview, Chairman Sam Randazzo noted that a single natural gas plant can generate 1,000 MW on less land. He also noted that the height of turbines is growing up to 600 feet in some instances.
With respect to solar, it was noted that there is no utility-scale generation in Ohio yet. White showed charts illustrating projects under development in Brown and Hardin counties for 520 MW on 6,500 acres of land. Another 1,695 MW have been approved on 21,000 acres in Highland, Brown and Vinton counties while yet another 1,360 MW on 10,300 acres have been filed at OPSB for Fulton, Preble, Madison, Pickaway and Ross counties.
These numbers should be ample evidence that no renewable mandates are necessary in any legislation that might replace HB 6. An article below indicates the phony Ohio Consumers Power Alliance has based attacks on Chairman Randazzo saying he has undermined the growth of renewables in Ohio. These figures show the lie of OCPA smears.
AEP & CITY OF COLUMBUS PREDATORY PLANS – Columbus media reported this week that “If voters sign off in November, AEP Energy plans to construct or contract to create enough brand-new “direct production” solar and wind electric generation in Ohio to power all of Columbus’ electric needs by as early as 2022 “ “The proposal would call for over $1 billion in new investment in Ohio, and hundreds of construction jobs, dozens of permanent jobs and millions of dollars in land leases and property taxes, Slisher said. “These are new facilities,” he said, pledging that existing solar and wind farms wouldn’t simply be redesignated as providing their power to Columbus, while taking it away from their former customers.” The most horrifying statement was that the new generating facilities would be constructed as close to central Ohio as pragmatic. It appears that AEP is looking for 700MW of capacity as opposed to nameplate. Given the grid operator, PJM, considers about half of solar nameplate and maybe 30% of wind nameplate as “capacity”, the AEP proposal will require central Ohio to be carpet bombed by more than 1,400 MW of renewables, more than all the wind that has been built in Ohio to date. The objective of building close to Columbus serves only AEP’s interests. Central Ohio communities are on a trajectory to grow with the influx of more than 1 million people in the Columbus area. Making our communitiesundesirable places to live will deny our ability to benefit from planned growth.
WIND SETBACKS – Gage County, Nebraska conducted its “final public hearing for a highly-contested proposal to change Gage County’s wind regulations, effectively ending plans for a wind farm in the northern portion of the county.
The proposed amendment would increase setback requirements for commercial wind turbines from nonparticipating residences from 3/8 of a mile to one mile. Nonparticipating residents are those who do not have contracts in place with a wind company.” The increasing size of industrial wind turbines motivated the County to increase setbacks.
SAVING NUCLEAR PLANTS IN ILLINOIS – The Chicago SunTimes Editorial Board issued a warning against closing the state’s nuclear plants. “No one wants to provide a blank check to Exelon to keep the plants open. But there is no way Illinois can achieve 100% clean energy as fast as necessary if the two downstate plants are closed. Polluting fossil fuels would be given an edge, and thousands of good paying union jobs would be lost. Although Exelon is a profitable company, a company spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times it plans to close the money-losing Byron Generating Station near downstate Byron and Dresden Generating Station in downstate Dresden in November 2021. Together, the plants generate 30% of the state’s carbon-free energy. Together, they’re also losing hundreds of millions of dollars, the company says.” Attention Ohio lawmakers! Wake Up – Save the nuclear plants!
FIRE “INCIDENT” AT A SOLAR FARM – We remain unclear where the rules for utility solar projects stand but, like wind, there should be incident reporting rules that include avian incidents. The sooner the better according to the Los Angeles Time. “A June 5 fire at a California solar farm that scorched 1,127 acres started when a bird flew into a pair of wires, creating an electric circuit and a shower of sparks, a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection official said. It didn’t end well for the power plant — or the bird. “One wing touches each of the conductors, and they turn into a light bulb,” said Zach Nichols, a Cal Fire battalion chief. “Happens all the time.” The company that owns the California Valley Solar Ranch solar farm, Clearway Energy Inc., had blamed the fire on an “avian incident” without saying what exactly happened at the remote facility in the arid grasslands between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The blaze damaged power poles and wires at the 250-megawatt plant and knocked out 84% of its generating capacity, causing an estimated $8 million to $9 million in losses, the company said.”
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ASSOCIATION OF OHIO SOLAR INITIATIVE – Last February the CCAO launched the Solar Power Initiative with Palmer Energy. Palmer maintained Ohio-based large scale solar utility projects could create a program to supply low cost fixed priced electrical power to both county government and to all county residents. Participating counties could retain their Renewable Energy Credits or sell them in the open market. This past week, Jefferson County announced its decision to decline participation in the program. We know very little about this program and its status in other counties but we will endeavor to learn more.
UTILITY SOLAR ISSUES WEIGHED IN INDIANA – A 4,500 acre solar array in Pulaski County, Indiana was approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals after a delay to study four issues of concern Those four topics included solar panel end-of-life management, environmental impact of the project, agricultural and residential property values, and health and safety of the solar installation. Unfortunately, it does not appear that any independent research was undertaken but that the Board relied on the presentations of experts provided by the developer.
SIEMENS GAMESA ELECTS TO SEEK PROFITABILITY – “Gamesa’s onshore unit will stick strictly to profitability policies rather than chasing growth “at any price or any risk”, said group CEO Andreas Nauen as he insisted it’s possible to revive the fortunes of the troubled division. Nauen said that the onshore business will in future prioritize profitability over volume, and emerge from a corporate turnaround strategy as a smaller, less complex organization with a tighter technology portfolio suitable for an evolving market. Speaking to financial analysts, he added that he had already taken urgent action to address issues in the onshore business, where “we cannot continue the way we’ve done it in the last few years”. Hmmmm…….will they say so long to Ohio?