Wind Turbine Public Hearing for Iberdrola Renewables in Ohio — Pros and Cons

July 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm

On July 8, 2010, approximately 120 attended a public hearing for Heartland Wind Energy project in rural Van Wert County.  This was a legal hearing, and anyone wishing to give testimony had to raise their right hand and swear that the testimony given will be the truth. Prior to giving testimony, individuals also had to state whether there residence is or is not in the project area.
Iberdrola Renewables
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According to Iberdrola Renewables, the company financing this wind project, the project in Van Wert and Paulding County has a scope of 159 wind turbines, which will provide about 80,000 houses with electricity.

Iberdrola Renewables public hearing

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According to the official records on file with the Ohio Siting Board:

Heartland Wind, LLC is proposing to construct, own and operate up to 350 MW of wind-powered electric generation in Van Wert and Paulding counties.  Heartland Wind, LLC is managed by Iberdrola renewable, Inc.  The facility would require up to 175 wind turbine generators that would be located within a 40,500-acre project area.  Approximately 140 participating landowners would provide about 17,000 acres of leased land.  The application was filed on December 21, 2009.

All the official documents are available at http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=09-1066

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Why wind energy? Well, one reason is that Ohio has a mandate (ORC 4928.64):

  • 25% of electricity shall be provided from Alternative Energy Resources by 2025
  • Half of the 25% may be advanced energy resources (improved process or equipment, or clean coal technology)
  • At least half of the 25% renewable energy resources including 0.5% solar
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Random fact: In Ohio, the wind turbine must be a minimum 750 feet from horizontal extended blade tip to nearest residence.
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Testimony was polarized, and fell into two categories. The numbers I present below aren’t official; they may or may not be accurate (they should be fairly close, though). The bullet points below are recorded as I recall from the given testimony.
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Pro testimony (n = 10):

8- residence NOT in wind project zone

2- residence IN wind project zone

  • economic development
  • job creation
  • progress and new industry
  • will benefit county coffers, townships, state
  • environmental impacts negligible
  • stop sending energy dollars overseas (reduce reliance on foreign energy)
  • supports green, clean, renewable energy
  • benefits far outweigh any negative impacts
  • $1.5 million per year to farmers in annual payments
  • can help preserve agricultural ground for agricultural use
  • 215 new construction jobs
  • 20 permanent high paying maintenance jobs created
  • local career center has a wind energy education program
  • our power needs are increasing, wind turbines help meet that power need

Con testimony (n = 8):

3- residence NOT in wind project zone

5- residence IN wind project zone

  • degradation of quality of life
  • obstructed views
  • disruption of bird life, bird migratory patterns
  • several references to scientific studies on the negative health effects (sorry, I don’t have the references — my fingers are too slow)
  • the project was referred to as ‘industrial’, ‘commercial’
  • sleep disturbance
  • shadow flicker, strobing
  • property value declination
  • wind project is highly subsidized
  • local contractors won’t be used
  • poor television reception
  • health effects on children
  • infrasound (below limit of hearing) has a human health effect
  • noise sounds like jet engines
  • ice throw
  • blade shear
  • we’re not reducing foreign energy
  • very inefficient source of energy
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