Beware of what you read.
Well, the wind is beginning to blow into Erie and Huron counties in the form of up to 655-foot tall industrial wind turbines (IWT).
Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville, Va., has just announced its Emerson Creek Wind project, which could number up to 84 IWTs, according to its “public” informational meeting at Norwalk on Nov. 15. I emphasize the word “public” since one of our group members got escorted out by Huron County Sheriff’s Office deputies after an Apex representative noticed her talking with people and handing out information.
In no way was she being belligerent or demanding, but rather discussing with people what Apex did not want them to hear. This tends to be typical in nature as everything “Big Wind” does is either in the “cloak of darkness” or in the form of “private” meetings. Furthermore, while this meeting was required by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) in its application proceedings for wind energy, Apex still found a way to “pick and choose” whom they wanted to attend. Shame on them.
Going forward, both Erie and Huron county residents need to be aware of what too expect, as should local and community leaders. The “sales” pitch and various pieces of propaganda published by the wind industry, in particular Apex, tries to mislead and downplay inheritable issues with wind energy. For example, the use of the new term “tax or taxes” which is used in lieu of the word “payments” in their marketing fliers. Everyone knows that taxes can fluctuate while a payment is usually a fixed sum of money as in a car loan. However, Apex, in its infinite wisdom, is using the word “tax” in order to mislead the public so that people may think that they will get a much larger sum of money than what a payment may provide. However, the so-called tax that Apex is paying, at least in Huron County, is fixed at $9,000 per Mega-Watt (MW) thanks to a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes or PILOT set up by the Huron County commissioners. If that's the case, then I would like that sort of tax to apply to my property taxes.
This “tax” is unique as its not subject to inflation, improvements or even devaluation like an actual property tax is. Apex or any other developer, however, will argue taxes can be devalued based on age of the turbines. I am here to tell you that re-powering is a current trend in the wind industry and Apex cannot deny that. So, if and when these turbines do get re-powered, then if they were taxed like real property taxes are, then the taxable value of these turbines would increase. The other little interesting points mentioned by Apex to promote its product and downplay the arguments against wind energy is the comment that cats kill more birds than wind turbines. Seriously. How hypocritical can that statement be? A green energy company is basically condoning the killing of birds by saying a natural animal that fits into the food chain kills more birds than a man-made 655-foot tall IWT.
Really. So should I shoot my cat now to save birds? One final fun fact is that turbines are loud. Yes, Apex admitted that they are more than 50 decibels while your bedroom is 30. Mind you, that distance according to Apex was at 1,000 feet in an open field. But think about it for a moment, if the wind industry gets its way and changes the property line setbacks to the nearest occupied structure, then that 50 decibels could be as close as 1,225 feet plus blade length to your home. Need I say more?
Residents need to be aware of what is coming down the pipe, do nothing and you will get IWTs in your back yard that will most likely be standing for more than 30 years. The other option is engage with your local community and public leaders and stand up for your community. Otherwise, the fate of your quiet rural backyard will be diminished into an industrial wasteland while in a classic twist of irony the name “Firelands” may very well apply someplace else.