“Lake Erie is the Saudi Arabia of wind … represent[ing] 20 percent of the United States’ total offshore wind energy capacity.” (Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, May 18, 2016)
As we fear for the countless flying animals facing massive slaughter, we are equally fearful that this “demonstration project” is the beginning of the end of the Great Lakes for any other purpose than an industrial power facility spanning multiple states and two countries. (Suzanne Albright, letter of May 31, 2020, below)
One of the most carefully crafted [OPSB] stipulations [requires] the developer to curtail, or “feather” turbines at “night” for eight months of the year. The developer calls this a financial “poison pill.” (below)
On May 21, 2020, the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) unanimously granted a certificate of approval to LEEDCo/Icebreaker, a 6-turbine, 20.7 MW (3.45 MW per turbine) “demonstration” project eight miles offshore Cleveland. With Lake Erie called “the Saudi Arabia of wind,” as many as one thousand turbines have been mentioned for this freshwater.
Government dependent-and-enabled from start to finish, the project received a $40 million DOE grant in 2016 and is keyed to the federal Production Tax Credit. Construction and completion is proposed for 2022.
Accompanying OPSB’s decision is a 111-page staff report/opinion. One of the most carefully crafted stipulations involves requiring the developer to curtail, or “feather” turbines at “night” for eight months of the year. The developer calls this a financial “poison pill.”
Pro-wind groups registered dismay at the possibility of the project not proceeding. The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Miranda Leppla, Vice President of Energy for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC):
While the Ohio Power Siting Board’s approval of LEEDCo’s Icebreaker Wind project application today may seem like something for clean energy advocates to celebrate, the OEC and Sierra Club are extremely disappointed because the revised condition imposed by the OPSB means the project may not be able to move forward.
Cleveland Media responded by asking the chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, Sam Randazzo, to modify this condition in order to allow the project to proceed. Some referred to the appeal opinion as “Anti Cleveland.”
Others protesting the project for nearly a decade are writing the media and the Chair, as well as to Governor DeWine, demanding that not only the “feathering” condition stick like glue to protect birds and bats, but also to facilitate petitions for appeals to rehear the decision.
Here are three yet-to-be-published letters that are now on the record.
Suzanne Albright (Great Lakes Wind Truth): Letter to PUCO Chair Randazzo, et al. of May 31, 2020
Good Morning Chairman Randazzo,
Having been an active opponent of the Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. project since it was introduced about a decade ago, I sometimes review past information pertaining to the project to see what has changed over time. The comments below were in response to an article, and posted four years ago today. The only significant change since then is that the OPSB unanimously issued a permit for construction of the project, albeit with restrictions, on May 21, 2020.
As I reviewed my comments, it immediately occurred to me that nothing I wrote has changed. It saddens me, and thousands- if not millions- of others to think that there is forward movement for this heinous project. Although some are saying that the condition in the permit that requires feathering, or shutting down, of the turbines at night during migration will render the project nonviable, others are saying the condition will be removed from the permit, allowing the turbines to rotate at night. Thus, our angst continues and worsens.
As we fear for the countless flying animals facing massive slaughter, we are equally fearful that this “demonstration project” is the beginning of the end of the Great Lakes for any other purpose than an industrial power facility spanning multiple states and two countries. Without the protection and preservation of these precious lakes for our drinking water, there is virtually little left for human need and consumption in a large region of both countries.
We are hoping the appeal process for the Icebreaker project will result in the reversal of the permit decision, and ultimately a strengthened movement to clean up and protect the Great Lakes, starting with Lake Erie.
I live on the shore of Lake Ontario, the shoreline facing northeast. Twenty nautical miles east of here is Ginna Nuclear Power Plant, also bordering the shore. Every night as I close the blinds, I look out at the parking lot lights, yes, 20 nautical miles away. Food for thought.
On to avian issues. On 3/14/2011, Jeff Schmidt, Director, PA Chapter, Sierra Club, testified the following before the PA State Legislature: “Lake Erie is unique among the Great Lakes because its shallow depth provides forage grounds for ducks, loons, horned grebes, and other waterfowl across its entire surface. Shorebirds, songbirds and raptors all cross Lake Erie at varying altitude and locations. Migratory birds are already highly stressed…”, but then goes on to say how placement of offshore turbines is critical (Placement or siting? REALLY??).
He further states, “Many raptors inhabit the Lake Erie environs and the US Fish & Wildlife Service has observed the migration of five raptor species across Lake Erie: peregrine falcons, short eared owls, osprey, bald eagles and harriers.”
Let’s be honest here. Wind turbines in Lake Erie will become avian slaughtering machines. LEEDCo can talk about siting and mitigation all day, but it is no more than meaningless garble. If the reader cares little or nothing about the painful, horrific, bloody killing of these avian creatures, that speaks volumes about their character. Keep in mind that birds, primarily raptors, are indicator species.
That is one of the main reasons we count them during spring migration. Decreasing numbers of them are an early indicator of harm in the ecosystem, harm that will impact humans. So, if there is no regard for the protection of these defenseless (against human activity) marvels, at least consider their value to the ecosystem and human health. We need them, but they don’t need us!
Further, looking at the picture of that couple enjoying the beach (or not, as they stare at industrial turbines), visualize them sitting there with bloody bird carcasses washing up on shore. Lovely. Or, on windy days with 6-foot waves, the bird parts being flung through the air.
It is appalling to me (and countless others, but primarily average citizens who are not in control of federal tax dollars and who lack the power and resources to make these decisions) that projects like LEEDCo could possibly move forward. Until we all become educated regarding this filthy hoax called industrial wind energy, the desecration of our country sides, mountains, and now even our fresh waters, will be allowed to continue. And we will pay for it, financially and in every other way.
Respectfully Submitted, Suzanne Albright (Great Lakes Wind Truth)
Sherri Lange (Great Lakes Wind Truth) to Crain’s Business: Letter of May 31, 2020
Dear Editor, Ms McIntyre, Crain’s Business:
Please accept our comments re the editorial “Gov. DeWine needs to direct energy panel he appointed to reconsider its anti-Cleveland wind energy ruling”
It appears that one editorial board in Cleveland is calling on the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) to alter its path of action regarding the conditions for the operation of six turbine LEEDCo/Icebreaker project. Although it is no secret that our organizations have long been opposed to any industrialization of the Lakes, I have no doubt that these stipulations include a challenge to the developer intended to take him at his word, allowing him to show that he cares about the environment. In this instance the requirements are also a “test case.”
How sincere is the developer about the environmental espousals of his project? If he is indeed confident that he can operate without killing endangered species, some deeply at risk at a planetary level, he should be willing and able to “prove” it. The OPSB seems to be offering something of a chance. (Unfortunately, we have zero doubt that endangered species will be harmed, killed, even with these conditions.) We also recollect that this developer has insisted for an exceptionally long time, that birds do not fly over the Lake. (Historically, it is clear that wind developers do not routinely monitor in a remotely honest fashion, their outrageous kill rates, their accidents and fires, and other industrial failures such as oil spills or Liberated Components.)
Under the leadership of former Chair Todd Snitchler 2014, LEEDCo was required to undertake a laundry list of to dos: thirteen I believe, omissions, errors, and incompletes, that to this day, in our view, are not undertaken or corrected.
Some media outlets continue to express that this project will provide meaningful long-lasting jobs, a manufacturing chain, and that the ultimate cost is worth it. Block Island has now cost about $300,000,000 (Three Hundred Million), for five turbines. There are between 6 and 9 permanent jobs, depending on which outlet is reporting. There are cable problems that persist, cables rising and floating dangerously, which now need to be reburied: again, at a mounting cost. (The turbines will be shut off from September 2020 to Memorial Day 2021 in order to facilitate the geo tech corrections.)
Additionally, the LEEDCo/Icebreaker project’s mono bucket design has failed in testing in Europe recently, and been recalled, rejected at this time. Is this the kind of technology experiment we wish for Lake Erie?
The myths of CO2 and cleaner air, and job chains, are extremely dangerous giving everyone a flight of fancy that ends in ruin. (More expensive Power deeply impacts the less advantaged.)
Consider the disaster of wind in Ontario Canada, which has lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs in eight years. Look at the disastrous Green experiment of Europe. In Germany that is called, a technological failure, a complete insanity of blackouts, load shedding, and vaulting power prices. The environmental cost in both places, no one will be able to “count” ever. It is too large. (While the world appears to be cutting advantages to wind developers, Ohio must not lag in diligence and scrutiny of the biggest fraud of the modern age.)
With conditions as they are, with additional conditions, with or without an EIS, this misconceived LEEDCo/Icebreaker project must never see the light of day. It is founded on dissembling, and profit taking, all the way to Norway.Those groups also bring in large annual revenues. The Nature Conservancy took in nearly $860 million in the filing period ending June 30, 2013, largely through contributions and grants, down from the $950 million it earned the previous year. Its net assets as of June 2013 totaled $5.4 billionGreenpeace has been on the lower end of the pay scale among big-name environmental groups, where former Executive Director Phil Radford earned $180,789 in 2013, up from $173,673 in 2012. Radford, who stepped down in April, was replaced by Annie Leonard, a former Greenpeace organizer and the founder of the environmental group Story of Stuff Project (E&ENews PM, May 6).
LETTER TO MS SULLIVAN, CLEVELAND DOT COM, CORRECTIONS TO THE EDITORIAL
Subject: A few errors
Dear Ms. Sullivan
We submitted an op ed, or letter to the editor, in response to the editorial today: Please confirm receipt of the Fax.
We faxed a letter in reply, which partially outlines some of the errors in this piece.
Firstly: It is unfair to the people of Cleveland and OHIO to be given the same fairy tales about this project creating meaningful jobs or welcoming a “chain” of turbines and parts, that will provide even more cash flows. As noted in my letter, this will never materialize. Spain lost 2.2 net jobs per so called “green” job; Italy lost 5.4 and UK lost 4. The high cost of power sends manufacturing reeling and drags populations into energy poverty.
“Backers of the Lake Erie Icebreaker project have spent years raising money and perfecting engineering plans–– with support from the U.S. Department of Energy, Case Western Reserve University, an early NASA wind-energy scientist, environmentalists and overseas investors, along with the city of Cleveland. Aim: to test the economic potential of wind power in Lake Erie and the Great Lakes as a whole.
Greater Cleveland’s leaders understand the economic and job-creating potential and the care with which this project was designed, eight to ten miles offshore of Cleveland, to minimize disruptions for boaters, birders and others.”
Please note that the “engineering plans,” will need intense scrutiny immediately, as noted in my letter, a similar mono bucket design being tested for a demonstration project of two turbines in an array in Europe, has been rejected as technically not sound. It would be a complete shame to blindly go ahead with the same design for a similar “demonstration” project in Lake Erie. It would actually be a travesty.
“Testing the economic potential” is an oxymoron, for wind anywhere, as noted again in my letter to Cleveland dot com. Even Warren Buffet knows the only reason to support wind development is for the subsidies.
“Icebreaker’s fans are many. “
The piece fails to mention the numerous objectors to the project, in the millions of persons represented.
Your article also supports the positions of what you consider key environmental stewards, “exacting” stewards. (Please see the Postscript)
“Three major environmental groups in Ohio — the Ohio Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund, all exacting stewards of Ohio’s natural world — support the project.”
Respectfully, these are wind promoters, all under a shadow of receiving funds for “green” initiatives from various filaments of wind pushing organizations. In 1991 a group of advocates for wind met to consolidate plans to influence policy and create a clean energy network to fund and support those initiatives. Some of those groups are: Sierra, AWEA, Environmental Defense Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists, to name a few. These continue to this day to infiltrate and influence and “harm” or negatively impact common sense energy decisions. This “Energy Foundation,” as it was called, tiered its efforts into: Pillars, Specialists, and Local Groups. To this day, these groups and others have been effective in influencing. In 1998 the groups wanted to focus on: Voluntary Green Power Purchasing, a Systems Benefit Charge, and a focus on RPS, Renewable Portfolio Standards. You can see where I am going. These are hardly groups one would wish for in decision-making for placing industrial wind in 20% of the world’s remaining freshwater reserves. Yet, these same voices and mantras are in play in Cleveland at this very time, when energy affordability coupled with cleanest available, are crucial to the financial and environmental health of OH.
You fail to mention objections of “conflict free” Lake Erie Foundation Cleveland, Save Our Beautiful Lake, Great Lakes Wind Truth bi national organization, No Lake Erie Wind Farm, as well as legal challenges from American Bird Conservancy and Black Swamp Bird Observatory, some fighting this for nine years or more. You fail to mention Dr Scott Petrie of Delta Waterfowl, or Keith Stelling, or HMANA (Hawk Migration Association of North America). To mention only a few.
“Unfortunately, words such as “first,” “innovative” and “new,” when applied to electricity production, seem to alarm rather than please Ohio regulators.”
I don’t believe anyone is alarmed by words like “first,” innovative”, but that given the mounting evidence of harm of every single kind from industrial wind worldwide, new scrutiny MUST be applied for industrializing fresh water. This is CRUCIAL.
It is our view that Chair Randazzo and the voting members are merely applying common sense to the endeavor, should it ever take place, because truly every single wind developer should have this kind of scrutiny and bench-marking, and control by an outside authority. And more. Of course, more scrutiny would translate to fewer if any, turbines. The developer should embrace the chance to DEMONSTRATE that the turbines are environmentally friendly, and not destroying crucial key species.
Wind with all its flaws and nothing to redeem it, has zero place in Lake Erie.
Thank you kindly for consideration of these points. Corrections would be useful.
Great Lakes Wind Truth
GREEN BOSSES RAKE IN GREEN (Our note: What kind of unholy alliance is made between wind turbine advocates, and these enviros?)
Among the biggest earners: Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy, and Carter Roberts, head of the World Wildlife Fund. Tercek earned $646,821 in 2012, including salary, benefits and other compensation. Roberts, meanwhile, took home a total of $638,541. Both CEOs had received raises since the previous year.
Those groups also bring in large annual revenues. The Nature Conservancy took in nearly $860 million in the filing period ending June 30, 2013, largely through contributions and grants, down from the $950 million it earned the previous year. Its net assets as of June 2013 totaled $5.4 billion.
The World Wildlife Fund’s revenue during the 2012 filing period was about $230 million, an uptick from $208 million the previous year. The group had $319 million in assets in June of last year.
Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp and National Audubon Society CEO David Yarnold were also among the top earners at green groups. Krupp made $541,836 in salary and benefits in 2012; Yarnold earned $504,288.
Audubon spokeswoman Agatha Szczepaniak said, “The National Audubon Society’s revenues have increased under David Yarnold’s leadership as we increase our focus and conservation work.”
Yarnold took the helm of Audubon in 2010 and has since been credited with slashing expenses and helping to balance the group’s budget for the first time in more than a decade, according to Crain’s New York Business.
Former green execs cashed in
Many bosses at green groups have headed for the exits lately as a new generation of younger — and sometimes less expensive — leaders has taken over.
At the Natural Resources Defense Council, outgoing boss Frances Beinecke earned $435,732 in 2012, up from $427,688 the previous year. She’ll be replaced in January by Rhea Suh, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, NRDC announced earlier this month (E&ENews PM, Sept. 17).
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune earned $229,400 in 2012, a bump from the $208,066 he made in 2011. But he still wasn’t earning as much as former Chairman Carl Pope, who earned $282,588 from the group in 2012. Pope stepped down as chairman in late 2011 but stayed on into 2012 as a senior strategic adviser (E&ENews PM, Nov. 18, 2011).
Pope’s 2012 pay included a severance agreement and unused vacation in addition to his salary. “He had a long career here, so it was substantial,” Sierra Club spokeswoman Maggie Kao said. He was a 30-year veteran of the Sierra Club, including 17 years as the group’s executive director.
As chairman, Pope earned $238,757 in 2011.
Former Wilderness Society President Bill Meadows earned $308,645 from the group in 2012. He was replaced in May 2012 by Jamie Williams but stayed on as a salaried counselor to Williams and the group’s governing council until April 2013. Meadows now serves as pro-bono counselor and honorary member of the group’s governing council. Williams, meanwhile, earned $204,942 from May 2012 until the end of that year.
Greenpeace has been on the lower end of the pay scale among big-name environmental groups, where former Executive Director Phil Radford earned $180,789 in 2013, up from $173,673 in 2012. Radford, who stepped down in April, was replaced by Annie Leonard, a former Greenpeace organizer and the founder of the environmental group Story of Stuff Project (E&ENews PM, May 6).
At the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, Chairman John Podesta earned $244,874 in salary and benefits last year before he left his post to join the White House as President Obama’s counselor. Podesta’s pay took a hit when he moved to the government gig; he’s now making $172,200 per year, according to White House records.
CAP President Neera Tanden, meanwhile, earned $316,346 in 2013, a boost from the $287,671 she received in 2012.
National Wildlife Federation
The National Wildlife Federation has faced some financial difficulties, according to the group’s tax filings. As of August 2013, the group reported having -$8.4 million in assets, an improvement over the -$14.7 million in assets it had reported a year earlier. The group reported revenues of $82.8 million in its most recent filing, compared to $84.8 million the previous year, largely from contributions and grants.
The Internal Revenue Service Form 990 doesn’t provide the full picture of NWF’s finances because the group has a separate endowment that offers funding for the organization, according to a spokesman for the group. That endowment had $59.4 million in net assets in August 2013.
Earlier this year, the group’s new CEO, Collin O’Mara, laid off several high-level and highly paid officials in what was seen as an effort to cut costs. Those layoffs reportedly included John Kostyack, vice president of wildlife conservation, and Felice Stadler, director of operations for global warming solutions (Greenwire, July 29).
Neither Kostyack nor Stadler was listed as part of NWF’s disclosure of its highest-paid employees in 2012. The reported salaries — including benefits and other compensation — ranged from $152,935 to $365,908. The group’s highest-paid employee, former CEO Larry Schweiger, earned $365,908 in 2012, his last full year on the job — a slight boost from the $362,839 he received in 2011.
O’Mara’s salary hasn’t yet been publicly reported by the group. He stepped down as Delaware’s top environmental official to replace Schweiger earlier this year (E&ENews PM, May 1).
“We’re on solid financial footing thanks to a strong revitalization and restructuring effort being led by our new president and CEO, Collin O’Mara,” NWF spokesman Miles Grant said. “As America’s largest conservation organization, we’re fortunate to have a large endowment that helped us weather a couple of lean years and come out strong here on the other side.”