Wind News – The Circus Comes to Columbus and Barks About Setbacks

Pacific Hydro Crowlands Wind Farm project near Ararat will ...

Yesterday and today, the Ohio House Subcommittee on Energy Generation is hearing interested party and opponent testimony on HB 6 – the Ohio Clean Air Program.  As expected, a conga line of anti-nuclear/pro-renewable witnesses took the stand.   The Tuesday proceedings can be viewed at http://ohiochannel.org/collections/ohio-house-energy-and-natural-resources-subcommittee-on-energy-generation.  What should be lost on no one is that many witnesses used the opportunity to testify to call for a change in wind turbine setbacks. We suspect that the wind lobby wants to include a revision to setbacks in HB 6 as a bargaining chip to gain votes.  To date, Speaker Householder has not seemed receptive to addressing setbacks  in HB 6. 

Today’s report excerpts statements about Ohio setbacks from the April 23 testimony.  In addition we provide various articles from around the state reporting on the hearings.  We believe the media are uninformed and/or – to use a popular term – colluding with the green crowd to report much fake news critical of HB 6.  

Today, Michael Shellenberger of Environmental Progress will testify before the Subcommittee.  We will report on Michael’s testimony tomorrow.  In the meantime, we urge you to read his article below from Forbes  concerning nuclear energy and Ohio energy policy.

Ohio House Subcommittee on Energy Generation Testimony April 23,  2019:

We should instead be investing in Ohio’s growing renewable and energy efficiency sectors by fixing the laws that are holding back renewable energy development in our state, such as our restrictive wind setback law, and continuing to push for stronger renewable and energy efficiency standards. But instead, we’re discussing a bill that would strip money from those programs.

Anastazia Vanisko Recent college grad looking for a job in a state with energy policies that comport to her values

Finally, it is important to note that any serious review of Ohio’s renewable energy policies must include reconsideration of the draconian setback rules imposed as an amendment to budget legislation in 2014. These rules have significantly impeded the development of new wind resources in the state of Ohio and sent developers looking elsewhere to create jobs and economic development. Ohio can benefit enormously from reforming these problematic setback rules to allow Ohio to be a leader in deployment of new wind projects again.

Andrew Gohn, and I am Eastern Region Director for the American Wind Energy Association.

 Rather than propping up nuclear power, I ask you to continue Ohio’s progress towards renewable energy by sustaining the renewable energy standards passed by the Legislature a decade ago and removing unnecessary barriers to expansion of wind farms. I visited a wind farm in Van Wert County last spring and was delighted to hear from a local farmer that the revenue from the turbines was a great source of stability to her family’s business, and that property taxes on the turbines were generating over $800,000 a year in new revenue for her children’s elementary school, which is now excellent.

Ariel Miller, volunteer, Ohio Interfaith Power and Light

 I can testify to the fact that Ohio’s leaders commitment to cautiously diversify Ohio’s electricity supply was a success, but it could have been a much bigger one. The legislature started backing away from this commitment in 2014 with the freeze to Ohio’s Alternative Energy Standard and a dramatic increase in the distance that a wind turbine has to be setback from an adjacent property line. …Now we encourage you to consider building an even bigger future for Ohio by backing the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard and reducing the setbacks for wind turbines to a reasonable and safe standard.

Testimony of Erin Bowser EDP Renewables North America

 Remarkably, while House Bill 6 concentrates benefits, it increases economic damage across the state by pulling the legs out from under Ohio’s existing renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, as well as by failing to correct the job-killing wind energy setback mandate.

Testimony of Frank Szollosi  Great Lakes Climate Policy Director, National Wildlife Federation

 We urge the General Assembly to postpone action on HB 6 to carefully address related issues such as the currently prohibitive wind energy setback rules, grid modernization, utility business models, electric vehicle infrastructure, and on-bill financing as part of a comprehensive energy bill.

Leo Almeida, The Nature Conservancy in Ohio

 SB 310, enacted in 2014, froze the renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for two years while gutting many of their key provisions, including the requirement that a portion of the renewable energy purchased by utilities come from sources inside Ohio. In separate legislation that year, the General Assembly also enacted punitive wind turbine setback standards that brought most new wind development to a standstill in Ohio, leaving over $4 billion in capital investment and thousands of jobs on the sideline. In the years since 2014, some in the General Assembly have repeatedly sought to undermine and effectively repeal the RPS, creating uncertainty that has, in turn, suppressed private sector investment in renewables in Ohio.

Testimony of Ted Ford President, Ohio Advanced energy Economy

 HB 6 stops short of taking advantage of an opportunity to remove government regulations that are blocking the development of new sources of generation and the opportunities to create jobs, spur economic development, and increase revenue for local schools and communities. Ohio’s energy portfolio should not be focused on creating new, government-run, tax and spend programs, but rather on trimming back existing government regulation – such as the current wind setback.

Tyler Duvelius Executive Director, Ohio Conservative Energy Forum

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