This is no way to run energy policy

Attending committee hearings at the State Capital on HB-6 is quite a learning experience on how energy policy is conducted in Ohio.

With all the discussion wind energy has brought to Seneca County we have heard the wind companies say countless times that we must cut our CO2 emissions and do it quickly or the planet is in extreme jeopardy. That they say is reason enough to turn our area into one big industrial power plant with 600 foot tall machines spinning all around us.

But in Columbus I heard these very same people make the case that there is NO good reason to keep Ohio’s two nuclear plants open. These two plants generate 90% of the carbon free and fossil fuel free electricity in the state and have have been certified to operate another couple decades. Did the wind people all of a sudden turn into climate deniers and decide this doesn’t matter? And if it doesn’t matter then why do we need to cover our county with wind turbines? It would take over three Ohio counties completely covered with wind turbines (1500+) to replace the two nuclear plants. And that just gets us back to where we are now. Is that what we want for Ohio?

One soon learns that the truth is there is big money to be made in renewable energy because of all the incentives, both state and federal. HB-6 would only remove a couple. On the other side of the equation there has been no growth in demand for electricity over the last decade. So the renewable industry fights hard to get other forms of generation shut down so they can expand their own market share and grab those incentives before they disappear.

When mega corporations come begging to the State for favors it’s a game of greed all around, but when wind plays it thousands of people end up having to live beside the monster machines and watching their beloved homeland change into a heavy industrial zone. That’s why wind development without the voice of the people involved is politically unsustainable The Reineke Referendum provision in HB-6 will fix that and give wind developers the guidance they need to work with the local citizens instead of against them.

The current policy of state backed corporations forcing wind projects onto people is hurting wind development. Wind will have a brighter future in Ohio when it is developed in a spirit of cooperation instead of confrontation as it is now. The wind industry is currently fighting the idea of a local referendum but will eventually learn it is best for their own future.

Let’s just hope this comes soon enough for Seneca County. If it does then maybe the possibility of getting voted down will convince Seneca Wind to remove those 5 turbines that are too close to our airport, and move those 12 turbines planned within a mile and a half of Seneca East K-12 a little farther back. As it is they stubbornly oppose any such modifications to their plans. And when we push back on the wind developers to make the plans better fit our area they accuse us of being paid by coal companies. Really? This is no way to run energy policy.

Jim Feasel

Eden Township