The WSJ reports Wind Project Sparks Battle in Rural Ohio
A fight over a big wind project in central Ohio has become so contentious that some neighbors, longtime friends and even family members have stopped talking to each other.
The 300-megawatt Apex Clean Energy project, which could cover a swath of the county with 50 to 60 wind turbines that reach up to 650 feet high, is being put to a vote in a referendum in November. The referendum is the first countywide vote related to wind or solar development in Ohio, where a total of 10 counties passed resolutions this year banning such projects.
Apex has leased land in Crawford County for the past several years. But an anti-wind group gained momentum this year, and in May county commissioners passed a resolution by 2-1 vote banning wind projects under a state law, passed last year, that allows counties to ban wind and solar projects.
The resolution nearly killed the project, known as Honey Creek Wind. But a political-action committee funded by Apex gathered enough signatures this summer to put the resolution itself to a countywide vote in November.
Honey Creek Project
Here's a link to the Honey Creek Wind Project, obviously through the eyes of the proponents.
- Planned to be located on open farmland in rural Crawford County
- Capable of producing up to 300 MW of clean, homegrown energy, enough to power approximately 85,000 U.S. homes each year
- Turbines will be spaced approximately 1/4 to 1/2 mile apart on active farmland
- Each wind turbine, including the access road, typically requires less than half an acre of land
- Existing high-voltage power lines and highways would limit the need for new infrastructure
- Farmers would continue farming their land with very limited disturbance
- Will represent a significant investment in the local economy, with revenues for farmers, local government, and schools
- Will create up to 100 jobs during construction
What About Birds?
I have no way to validate the above claim, made by the project.
Here is Audubon's statement "Audubon strongly supports properly sited wind power as a renewable energy source that helps reduce the threat posed to birds and people by climate change."
What About Subsidies?
Real Clear Energy reports Ohio County Veto of Wind Project Shows It’s Time to End Federal Wind Subsidies
Rural Americans keep rejecting wind projects. On May 5, commissioners in Crawford County, Ohio voted 2-1 in favor of a measure that prohibits the construction of wind projects in the county. The move halts a 300-megawatt project being promoted by Apex Clean Energy called Honey Creek Wind.
The Crawford County vote matters for several reasons. First, it provides yet another example of the backlash in rural America against the landscape-blighting encroachment of giant wind turbines; and those rejections are piling up. The vote in Crawford County marks the 330th time that government entities from Maine to Hawaii have rejected or restricted wind projects since 2015. (Details on those rejections can be found in the Renewable Rejection Database.)
The Crawford County vote also matters because it is happening at the same time that the Biden administration and renewable energy promoters in academia are pushing for yet another extension of the production tax credit, the federal subsidy that is the key driver of the wind sector. The PTC, which expired at the beginning of this year, is the single most-expensive energy-related provision in the federal tax code. Between 2020 and 2029, the PTC will cost the federal treasury some $34 billion. Big utilities like NextEra Energy and MidAmerican Energy, which are collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits, want even more federal tax gravy.
Tax Credits and Intimidation
Real Clear Energy had these interesting paragraphs on tax credits and intimidation.
NextEra sued the town of Hinton, Oklahoma -- in both state and federal court -- after the town of 3,200 passed an ordinance that labeled wind turbines a nuisance and restricted their construction. NextEra even sued a Canadian woman, Esther Wrightman, for calling the company “NextError” on the Internet.
MidAmerican, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, sued Madison County, Iowa, the province that’s famous for its covered wooden bridges, to force it to accept turbines the county voters did not want. In that litigation, MidAmerican effectively intimidated a county supervisor into switching her position on wind turbines. By prevailing in the litigation, the company won the right to add another 30 turbines in the county for which it could collect about $81 million in tax credits.
Proponents of the Honey Creek Wind project say it's their land and they should be able to do with it what they want.
But it's taxpayers across the country subsidizing these projects. If Honey Creek is not viable as a commercial entity without subsides, and tax credits, then it is not a viable project.
More subsidies will fuel more battles like these.
I have a simple proposal: End all the subsidies and all the tariffs and let these projects stand or fall on their own merits, not government handouts.
This post originated at MishTalk.Com.
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