A Free-Market Energy Blog

Ohio Eviscerates Preferred Siting, Accelerated Permission for Wind/Solar Developers (communities win!)

By Sherri Lange -- July 22, 2021

Many will accurately argue that if Ohio’s SB 52 were in place in their localities, they would currently be turbine free.

As Congresswoman and people’s politician, Shirley Chisholm wrote: “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” Seneca Anti Wind Union, bravo.

Ohio’s Senate Bill 52 is a game changer. Without comment or fanfare, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law a requirement that significantly raises the bar for new wind and solar projects, effective October 9, 2021.

More good news for community cohesion and property values. The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) killed the Republic Wind proposal. Heavy lifting by Seneca Anti-Wind Union Officers/members, Julie Johnson, Linda Hughes, Deb Hay, Chris Aicholz, to name a few, won the day for consumers, taxpayers, landowners.

Quote from the Toledo Blade:

 Not to sound overly caustic here, but government permitting authorities don’t always listen to critics of major development projects. They can’t, from a legal standpoint. It’s not a popularity contest.

Not quite. Industrial wind turbines and solar arrays are not just another development project. The W/S Bullies, whose bad economics is rescued by special subsidies, have long captured the legal system at the expense of the rest of us. Wind and solar have created their own legal framework, “popularity” through influence and coopting of approval agencies, spreading the (ill-gotten) profits by signing up impoverished farmers for about $8-10K per turbine per year, and neutralizing adjoining landowners with “good neighbor agreements.”

And at root, it’s all part of Al Gore’s “central organizing principle” of taking over the consumer-driven affordable, reliable energy system in the name of “rescuing” the climate.

Thank You, Bill 52

What proves exceptional, aside from the fact that Bill 52 provides for layers of consumer protection?

Foremost, the regular pattern of approvals is significantly jarred. Should we say, split open. Widely. This bill allows county commissioners to designate “restricted areas,” within the unincorporated parts of the county, “where economically significant wind farms, large wind farms, and large solar facilities may not be constructed.” 

We might summarize Senate Bill 52:

  • further review for future projects
  • public consultation
  • restrictions and areas restricted, can be PROHIBITIONS
  • plans subject to referendum, requiring approval from elected officers
  • Decommissioning plans required, before submitting an application to OPSB
  • Adds two more voting members to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) to now include county and township government representatives or designees on solar and wind projects.

For a short synopsis of the Bill and its implications see here. Excerpts below.

On June 28, 2021, the Ohio General Assembly passed Substitute Senate Bill 52, a significant revision to Ohio’s power siting approval process for utility-scale solar and wind projects. Governor Mike DeWine is expected to sign the bill into law, with an expected effective date in early October 2021.

Sponsored by Senators Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), S.B. 52 aims to increase local awareness and input from property owners – and to require approval from local county officials.

In short, the law requires a new upfront approval from the County Commission prior to the developer moving forward with the state siting process for certification of utility-scale solar and wind projects. This legislation has five major components:

Grandfathers certain wind and solar projects already in development, not subjecting them to local approval mechanisms in S.B. 52.

Subjects future projects to review by County Commissioners before developer submitting application to the Ohio Power Siting Board.

– Allows County Commissioners to establish restricted areas where wind and solar projects are prohibited, subject to referendum.

 – Adds two more voting members to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) to now include county and township government representatives or designees on solar and wind projects.

 – Requires developers to submit decommissioning plans when applying to OPSB.

Past Mistakes Can Be Avoided

In many places, opponents spar and spend millions, in cases, to fight wind projects that they KNOW will be harmful to people and wildlife, well water, the fabric of their lives. These projects, they know, will leave a lifetime of misery and energy poverty.

Ontario Canada is a case in point. Community groups never could muster denial of a wind approval, over 40 huge and expensive legal fights, on the matter of human health. Only TWO ERTs (Environmental Review Tribunals) were successfully fought, one on the concern for the Blanding’s Turtle, the other due to concerns over human health but only as related to airport safety. Given the long-recorded 30-plus year history, anecdotal and data based, of harm to human health, the obvious misdemeanors in judgement are egregious. Matters not what quality of experts were called.  (Other denials of egregious and certain harm at these hearings were evident severally, and critics called these decisions whimsical and taxing, frivolous and vexatious.)

Many will accurately argue that if SB 52 were in place in THEIR communities, they would currently be turbine free. They could have preserved their families and community cohesiveness, their historical land uses, and ultimately, their health and economies too.

Conclusion

For a wind industry that has been overriding, even bull dozing, unwilling host communities, this new legal framework will be a significant brake. Some say, it is a death knell for Ohio’s “renewables.”  

Let the full implications gestate.  (We add that the LEEDCo, Fred Olsen proposal for offshore of Cleveland, under these prescriptions, still would not have a permit or application, since a decommissioning plan is not even yet in place. Among many omissions.)

This is, after all, a greed machine, where developers routinely put the cart of profit taking in front of the horse, the hobbling horse that only operates with massive subsidies, and tax relief.

Ohio’s motto is: “With God all things are possible.” The state argues that this is beyond a Christian expression and is an expression of hope, inspiration, and stick-to-it-iveness.  Works for me. On all fronts.

If you can hear the decanters crying about Ohio’s lack of “renewables” vision, you won’t hear the “whimper” long. Outperforming, is the universal “Congregational” song from wind warriors worldwide, and it’s voice is increasingly  powerful.

As Congresswoman and people’s politician, Shirley Chisholm wrote: “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” Seneca Anti Wind Union, bravo.

FURTHER READING

https://www.thenews-messenger.com/story/news/local/2021/06/30/sb-52-giving-counties-more-input-energy-projects-goes-governor/7809178002/

https://www.wtol.com/article/news/politics/state-politics/ohio-gov-mike-dewine-signs-bill-wind-solar-projects/512-643ddb27-ce1e-410d-9a52-8774b768f2a9

https://www.cleveland.com/news/2021/07/gov-dewine-signs-senate-bill-52-giving-counties-control-over-large-wind-and-solar-projects.html

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ohio-legislature-adopts-new-wind-and-2878693/

11 Comments


  1. Bonnie Brady  

    This is amazing! To have leadership from representatives and a Governor who understands the will of the people matters. I only wish we had something similar in New York.
    Great job!

    Reply

  2. Sherri Lange  

    Thanks, Bonnie Brady. It truly is remarkable, and as you note, responsible caring representatives who drove this legislation to its approval, deserve mention also: Senator Bill Reineke for one, a big one.

    Praying for a good meeting with Michael Shellenberger in Edgartown this evening.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Reply

  3. Jon Boone  

    Brava, Sherri. Nicely done. Love your distillation of the wind mess: “… it’s all part of Al Gore’s ‘central organizing principle’ of taking over the consumer-driven affordable, reliable energy system in the name of ‘rescuing’ the climate.”‘ I would add that the renewables ploy has been, from the getgo, about the business of plundering both the federal treasury and the trove of guaranteed rate-payer dollars that derive from the acquisition of essential electricity services, which dollars were once sheltered from such manipulation by public service regulators who took to heart their primary mission of protecting consumers while assuring the lowest price and most reliable, secure production. Let’s hear it for those bygone days of yore….

    Wind energy particularly has never been about providing functional electricity. Instead, it’s a celebrity famous for being famous, kept at the cultural forefront by a nimbus of economists, engineers, politicians, and media nimrods dedicated to profiteering from selling delusion at exorbitant prices. All this has been sustained by a ruthlessly sinister collaboration between energy regulators and a judicial system that couldn’t hit water with an informed decision if it fell out of a @#$% boat. The corruption is ubiquitous.

    Don’t be surprised when the windsuits appeal the “hardships” this new law presents to them, seeking to overturn it as a bad precedent that would prevent the industry from saving the world from catastrophe. What jurist, in this Orwellian climate, wouldn’t acquiesce? Isn’t this what the term “climate change” really means.

    Reply

  4. Suzanne Albright  

    First, much thanks to Sherri Lange for acknowledging the importance of the passage (finally!) of SB 52! Ohio has finally placed value on the will of its citizens, their right to protect their properties, their health, and their local economies from these harmful, basically valueless (other than financially to the developers!) projects. Here in NY, the only communities with the right of self protection are those where Cuomo and his cronies live.

    That brings me to the rights of waterfront communities. The ones facing the ocean where offshore wind turbines have been proposed screamed about their view shed, off of Long Island. Cuomo heard their whining, but here along the shore of Lakes Ontario and Erie, we are ignored by the ORES, Offshore Renewable Energy Siting Board, who don’t seemingly think we have the same rights. But WORSE than that, the push for these Great Lakes offshore wind power facilities disregards the fact that these lakes are the greatest fresh water system on earth, supply drinking water to many MILLIONS of people, are supposedly protected from commercial industrialization, “held in trust” for citizens by the Public Trust Doctrine, are home to precious wildlife, are economic drivers of fishing and tourism, and contain deeply buried (encapsulated) toxic sediment from past decades of uncontrolled pollution by onshore industries which would likely be disrupted and recirculated with placement of underwater transmission cables.

    Further, these turbines are short lived, cannot be contained during fires and explosions, leak and spill hundreds of gallons of oil (into our Greta Lakes? Really?), result in blade explosion and blade throw when turbines catch fire (from lightening strikes, for example), blasting carbon fiber composite (fiberglass, basically) into the lakes and sky, and on and on! Heard enough?

    So, where is the “bill” to give shoreline residents the right to decline these filthy monstrosities from our watery communities? Senator George Borrello has introduced a moratorium proposal to keep this junk out of the Great Lakes. PLEASE, New Yorkers, demand your legislators to get behind this. Our Great Lakes and adjacent communities deserve the same protection (and more) that SB 52 has awarded Ohioans. And as Ms. Lange points out, it should apply to Lake Erie as well.

    Reply

  5. Sherri Lange  

    Thanks, Jon Boone, for your ever cogent and meaningful commentary. Plundering, is exactly the word. Yes, a “celebrity famous for being famous.” I am hoping this example will be a way forward for other Senates, legislatures, because it is truly reasonable to expect communities to have a place at the table in decisions of such massive importance. A “ruthlessly sinister collaboration”: Again, perfectly said. Regulatory capture for most communities, under the umbrella of self-righteous mantras: doing this for your own good, for the good of the planet, and again as you note, for the “climate.”

    People are waking. Legislators are waking. Time to topple the topiary (as in architecture) of greed.

    Many thanks, Jon.

    Reply

  6. Sherri Lange  

    Thank you Suzanne Albright. Right on the mark. You make so many good comments, I hardly know where to begin. You really don’t need my additional comments, but will add that the word “whining” as I intended it, and as quoted in the words of famous Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, refers to the windies, whose lack of sincere ideation and adherence to the truth, whizzes in our ears like a buzz saw, completely a negative whining, and a drone of repeated lies, and when they are not successful, the whining becomes a cacophony of vindictive ad hominems and spiritual emptiness. I was referring also to the whining of wind developers as compared with the whack on the side of the head, truth-saying by wind warriors, everywhere. I called it Congregational, because the flood of ideas is universal and rings of salvation. It’s a “church” I belong to willingly, and with humble respect.

    Thanks for pointing out again, the possible harm to 20% of the world’ fresh water reserves, and the proposed hideous project now called Fred Olsen Renewables, at least at last blush. I don’t think many know about the fragmentation and erosion of the blade tips, and what masses of particulate are released, of course eventually to enter water sources, on land or at sea. Please see:

    https://greatlakeswindtruth.org/newsworthy/obstruction-of-assistance-measures-testimony-and-claim-of-french-lawyer-monsieur-di-vizio-the-values-%e2%80%8b%e2%80%8bof-many-metals-such-as-mercury-cerium-dysprosium-gadolinium-lanthanum/

    Let’s applaud Senator Borrello of NYS as well, because he gets it. This is a moratorium that needs to land!

    Thanks again Suzanne. Superb comments.

    Reply

  7. Michael Spencley  

    Sponsoring Senators Rob McColley and Bill Reineke, as well as Governor Mike DeWine, need to be heartily congratulated on crafting this important legislation for Ohio; in fact the rest of the USA should pass similar legislation. Well done gentlemen!

    This Ohio Senate Bill 52 demonstrates their support of democracy at the grass-roots level for it gives each community a clear choice to cancel these harmful intermitant outdated technologies’ a choice that they did not have previously. The tables were stacked against communities in favour of both domestic and international developers who are nothing more than subsidy sucking carpetbaggers filling their pockets with USA taxpayers’ dollars, while leaving a trail of human miseryand wildlife destruction.

    Many thanks to Sherri Lange and Master Resources for staying on top of this file.

    Reply

  8. Sherri Lange  

    Thank you, Michael. It is so refreshing to have this balanced protective legislation. As you note, the tables were stacked. Are stacked everywhere, but at least OHIO has now a chance for thoughtful and measured and consultative energy process selection for wind and solar. I hope folks and legislators everywhere will note the language of SB 52 and use it as a guiding framework. Given the massive numbers of dissenting communities, everywhere, it seems to me that there is the much needed “correction needle” in permitting.

    As Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program, noted, the Bill took a winding road to the Governor’s desk, and many hundreds of opinions, and six hearings, and a major revision, but the “tedious to read” Bill ends with a possibility for residents and communities to actually REJECT projects, protecting their land, homes, and lives, really.

    Thank you again for commenting.

    Reply

  9. Richard Greene  

    Good news
    Good article
    Good author

    I read about 10 to 15 climate science and energy articles every day.

    At the end of the week, I like to thank the authors of the best articles that week. This was the best article of last week
    although maybe I’m a little biased by the good news.

    Unfortunately there is no gold medal, or monetary prize, just a thank you.

    I have a list of must read authors in my mind, and remembered Sherri Lange as the author of a series of good articles on offshore wind power early this year. I remember the author responding in detail to many of the comments, which is very rare. That seems to be a pattern here.

    There’s no need to respond to this comment.
    Get back to work, writing another good article!
    Write more often, so I don’t forget your name.

    I’ll sit back and scratch my head, wondering why the top priority of the electric grid is reliability … but wind energy
    is the least reliable source of energy … where a whole state can have very low, or near zero, wind energy for an hour or two every week of the year
    … and to get that poor performance, you have to spend a lot of money and kill a lot of birds and bats.

    Some days it seems like lunatics are in charge of the country.

    Reply

  10. Sherri Lange  

    I have to comment, Richard Greene. Thank you for your ongoing support, and your watchful eye on the pitfalls of wind so called “power.” Very much appreciated. Yes, lunatics in charge. No question. It is impossible after the hideous experiments in Europe, that North American continues blundering through falsehood after falsehood, and failure upon failure. Block Island, look at that mistake! It is currently not connected I guess as we all know now, cables are lifting, will take another 100 million dollars to rebury. Lunacy. Cost, $300 million and counting, six turbines. Add the technical costs now.

    You may be interested in the next comment, which was given to me by Joanne Levesque on decommissioning. Very interesting. A pitfall of enormous scope.

    Thank you again, Richard. It’s great to hear from you.

    Reply

  11. Sherri Lange  

    This comment was offered to us, for posting, by Joanne Levesque, a wind warrior of excellence fighting offshore wind especially, and now especially especially, Nantucket’s proposed Vineyard
    Wind.

    Quote: I recently sat through a local Board of Selectmen’s meeting in Kingston, Ma. A wind developer out of Rhode Island was offering to decommission a wind turbine which has been offline since 2019. Note: the developer of the defunct wind turbine had filed for bankruptcy and walked away from their lease agreement with the Town …having never paid a decommissioning bond leaving the town exposed to the decommissioning costs etc.

    The developer, during their presentation, made all manner of assurances that they’d be funding:
    – the decommissioning of the defunct Hyundai wind turbine,
    – local scholarships,
    – funding grants to be awarded to local homeowners for upgrading windows / doors etc…

    The cost of said “goodies” (I’d wager they could be called bribes) were, of course, built into the rate that the developer was quoting to the Town (15.8 cents per kilowatt hour). As you can see, the cost of all of the “goodies” (bribes) would be borne by the Town and the electric ratepayers.

    Setting that aside – the “goodies” or enticements, if you will, were singularly intended to sway Town officials into agreeing to sign a contract…thankfully Town officials had already been educated on the fuzzy math which would have had them paying significantly higher per kilowatt hour than they would have IF all the “goodies” were stripped out of the “deal”.

    This is not to mention the overriding issue that the former wind turbine had degraded the health and well-being of neighbors living TOO CLOSE to this industrial wind facility (740′ – 2,800′). Town officials, in their unanimous decision to oppose the “offer”, made note that the “monster” should not be replaced and that no longer should the nearby residents “bear the true costs of wind turbine operations.”

    ….

    As to the Town’s failure to abide by their wind energy by-law which required a decommissioning bond prior to construction – that is only one of many mistakes made by Town officials in the run up to permitting this facility.

    Another “decommissioning” issue – which is not unique to the Kingston, Ma wind turbine I speak of – is that local Ma communities… which have permitted industrial wind facilities in the past… ALL seem to have agreed to dollar amounts which do not at all reflect the true “cost” of decommissioning a wind turbine facility.

    Example: Scituate, Ma – single 1.5 MW turbine – the Town collected $150,000. surety which it is holding in an escrow account. Of course the developer, as an LLC, could walk away leaving the Town exposed to the true cost which is upwards I believe of $900,000. per turbine. I fear for the OFFshore wind facilities a similarly inconsequential decommissioning amount will be agreed to by corrupted bureaucrats who find these boondoggles to be the fulfillment of their virtuous desire to support “clean energy” — sigh!

    Another example, again in Kingston, Ma – 3 No Fossil Fuel LLC wind turbine were installed and commissioned back in early 2012 – again the Town did not collect a decommissioning bond until just this year and the sum agreed to is far below the actual cost to decommission 3, 2MW turbines – the agreed to decommissioning amount? $150,000. So if and when this facility goes into bankruptcy THEN there will not be anywhere near the amount needed to decommission the facility. The developer claims since the turbines are on her private land (this is unique as most turbines in Ma are on Town owned land leased to developers…some of whom have walked away as was the case with the Kingston turbine I wrote about) – that she did not need to pay a bond at all…though her property abuts a public train station facility and residential neighborhoods, so the turbines do pose a public safety threat …UNQUOTE

    These tangled decommissioning events are about to become the monster that ate itself. The end game left to hapless communities, left to repair and bear the cost.

    “Erisychton (Er-is-ya-thon), according to Ovid’s tales from Greek mythology was a wealthy timber merchant and Thessalian King. He was a greedy man who thought only about profit,” eventually destroying his family, the sacred grove of trees, eating everything, all his stores; a curse is put on him for insatiable hunger. The grove was sacred and housed the prayers of the faithful.

    He ends up consuming his wife and children, and in the end, with nothing else left he consumes his own flesh.

    Thank you, Joanne!

    Reply

Leave a Reply