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IndyStar: Two responses to article “Wind turbines: Birds at Risk” January 25, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

In case you don’t remember the original article that spawned these two responses, you can go back and read it at http://wp.me/pMRZi-10a

In addition to these two responses published in the Indianapolis Star, I received this reponse on Facebook posted to the Indiana Beyond Coal Group. I thought I would also share.
Thomas Anderson You won’t see this on the front page: Wind turbines kill far fewer birds in general each year than do many other causes linked to humans, including domestic cats and collisions with glass windows. http://www.nature.com/news/the-trouble-with-turbines-an-ill-wind-1.10849

The debate goes on…but I think renewable energy is winning. 🙂 But if you want a different perspective read the 6 Comments.

Laura Ann Arnold

Our View: Clean wind power has clear net benefits

January 24th, 2013 |  6 Comments

By John Anderson, Sean Brady, Kevin E. Parzyck, Shanelle Montana, Jeffrey Nemeth

As Indiana continues its national leadership in pursuing a more diverse energy portfolio, we who support wind energy development applaud The Indianapolis Star for devoting resources to covering the renewable power sector.

Regarding a Jan. 13 article, “Wind turbines: Birds at Risk,” however, we must point out that the coverage is presented in an unbalanced manner. All forms of energy production come at some cost — whether environmental, financial or otherwise — but to fully understand wind energy’s environmental effects, they must be compared and viewed in context with other forms of energy generation. When viewed in this fashion, wind power is broadly recognized as having the lowest impact, and as being the one most compatible with the environment.

The overall picture reveals that wind energy has created thousands of jobs for Hoosiers; generated tens of millions of dollars of tax revenue for state, county and local communities; and provides steady and substantial supplemental income for Indiana farmers and other landowners.

With regard to the environment, wind power — renewable, clean energy — creates no greenhouse gas or other harmful air pollution. In fact, Indiana’s wind farms currently help the state avoid 2.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually that otherwise would be released by fossil-fuel generation sources. And wind power also saves invaluable natural resources, using virtually no water in the power generation process.

As with many other features of modern-day life — highways, radio towers, airplanes and tall buildings — wind turbines factor into bird fatalities. According to studies by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations, for example, hundreds of millions of birds each year die in collisions with buildings. It’s estimated that approximately 60 million annually are killed by vehicles. Further, a recent report estimates that cats kill at least 500 million birds each year.

By contrast, based on recent analysis of publicly available data from studies conducted at more than 100 wind farms around the nation, it’s estimated that fewer than 150,000 birds are killed annually by wind power generation.

In addition to presenting these facts, we write to emphasize that the wind energy sector has historically and continues to actively strive to mitigate wildlife impacts, working directly with regulatory agencies and the conservation community and often going beyond what is required by law.

In conclusion, no energy source, or human activity for that matter, is completely benign. Regardless of how we decide to power our society, some impact will result. However, different energy sources have different impacts and some have especially acute, negative impacts on the health of our children, the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and wildlife populations. Given that wind is clean and renewable, uses virtually no water, and creates no air or water pollution, its net health and environmental benefits are clear.

Anderson is director of Siting Policy with American Wind Energy Association; Brady is regional policy manager with Wind on the Wires; Parzyck is vice president of Development with Invenergy; Montana is an associate of Regulatory & Legislative Affairs with EDF Renewable Energy; Nemeth is project manager of EDPR Renewable.

Local wind turbine hasn’t killed a single bird

January 21st, 2013, Indianapolis Star Letter to the Editor

The state of Indiana and our power companies deserve a round of applause and praise for the wind farms that have been constructed in the last four years. God has blessed us with wind and the sun, and we need to do a better job capturing these resources as our primary source of electricity. It is unfortunate that The Star’s recent article (“Wind turbines: Birds at risk for from growing wind power in Indiana,” Jan. 13) took a negative position on wind energy by focusing on “estimates” of birds that are killed by turbines. As the owner of the largest wind turbine in Indianapolis (6355 Morenci Trail, near 62nd Street and Georgetown Road), I feel it important to educate others on wind turbines and bird kills. My turbine’s blades reach 125 feet into the air and spin 1,800 revolutions an hour.

After over four years of production, my turbine has not killed one bird. The residents of Pike Township opposed my turbine five years ago and stated it would kill birds. They were wrong. It is time we all admit global warming is real and we need to do everything we can to save our planet. Wind energy is a safe and natural way to produce electricity and I am proud of our state for all it has done. Carpe Vendus! (Seize the wind!)

Jim Purcell

Founder and CEO, TF PUBLISHING

Indianapolis

AWEA: Wind energy and the Production Tax Credit advance in elections November 8, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in 2012 General Election, Uncategorized.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 7, 2012

CONTACT Ellen Carey                 405-203-9535     ecarey@awea.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 7, 2012 – Wind energy fared well in yesterday’s elections, with voters returning wind champions in both parties to Congress, and allowing the current administration’s support for wind energy to continue uninterrupted.

“We’re pleased to see the popular support we’ve always seen in polling validated by the election of so many champions of wind energy who’ve stepped out on our behalf, Republicans and Democrats,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “We heard a lot about wind energy in this election, and it proved to be a winning issue because it is so popular with the American people. As just one measure, an overwhelming majority of the members supported by our political action committee, WindPAC, won their races.”

Among the dozens of Republican wind champions reelected to Congress yesterday, for example, were outspoken House supporters Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Steve King (R-IA) and Tom Latham (R-IA), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV).

Independent Angus King, a wind project developer since leaving the governorship in Maine, won his race for the open Senate seat there.

Overall, AWEA sees continued bipartisan support In Congress for extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to incentivize $15 billion a year in private investment in U.S. wind farms, with support steady in the Senate and a net increase in announced supporters in the U.S. House.

Swing states with numerous wind farms as well as wind factories were carried in the election by President Obama, whose campaign took the position that Congress should extend the wind energy Production Tax Credit.

They included Iowa and Colorado, where layoffs have struck wind energy factories because of uncertainty over when Congress will address the tax credit, which expires at the end of this year; and, Michigan and Ohio, important to the wind energy supply chain, and which have untapped wind resources under development.

One measure of support for wind this election: Of the 12 new Senators, seven received WindPAC backing this election cycle. Out of all the Senate candidates for this election cycle who were supported by WindPAC, 89 percent won their races.

In the House, there may be as many as 85 new House members and districts, once all races are decided. Of all the House candidates supported by WindPAC, 88 percent won as well.

Current House Members include 119 co-sponsors of H.R. 3307, introduced by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA-8) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), which would extend the PTC through 2016. Of those, 87 won reelection, including 14 Republicans, and three more won Senate seats, with three races undecided on Wednesday.

The Production Tax Credit for renewable energy (PTC) is an incentive in effect continuously since 2005. It drives $15 billion a year in private investment in wind farms by offering tax relief to their operators according to how much electricity they make. It also creates business for component manufacturers, suppliers, trucking companies and more. It is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress extends it first. A recent study by Navigant Consulting found that allowing it to expire would kill 37,000 jobs within a year, while extending the Production Tax Credit will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years.

The Hill in its election analysis this morning listed “wind energy tax credits” as one of the top three “energy winners” from the election, noting that it will free up more Republicans in Congress to back an extension.

The Des Moines Register’s “A Better Iowa” feature quoted two experts who named “continuing tax credits for Iowa’s wind energy industry” as one of the top five outcomes of the election for Iowa.

For more information, including bipartisan endorsements of the PTC’s extension, please see www.SaveUSAWindJobs.com.

AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, with 2,000 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show, the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Chicago, May 5-8, 2013. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA’s blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.

Gone with the wind? Messages mixed on nearby Lafayette, Indiana energy projects September 17, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Original article: http://t.co/fPnaNLkv9:38 PM, Sep 16, 2012
Wind turbines are silhouetted in the morning sun near Brookston. / By Michael Heinz/J&C
Written by  Hayleigh Colombo

Study: Wind could power the globe.

Renewable energy experts aren’t holding their breath as they try to nail down what the future holds for Indiana’s wind energy projects.

Between anxiety over the fate of an expiring production tax credit in the heat of a presidential election and uncertainty over the appetite for the power source, they said it’s anyone’s best guess whether the sector resumes growth with the gusto it had before the recession.

The wind farm projects historically have contributed to economic growth in the rural areas they enter, typically bringing an influx of temporary construction jobs and millions or billions in capital investment.

Messages about the status of known nearby projects are mixed.

Talks are starting to get serious again between players involved in the once-stalled wind energy park on Purdue University land, developer Performance Services said, but the Indianapolis firm still hasn’t nailed down a power purchase agreement with a utility company. The project was first planned to be up and running by this winter.

Expansions to the once rapidly growing 303-turbine, 500-megawatt capacity Meadow Lake Wind Farm in White County — and two smaller projects there — are stalled on a federal tax credit set to expire Dec. 31.

In Tipton and Madison counties, the first phase of a 200-megawatt and 125-turbine project is under construction and planned to be complete by the end of the year, but developer E-on Climate & Renewables said growth beyond that is uncertain.

“There’s such uncertainty in the market right now, it just causes these people to go berserk,” said Laura Arnold, who is on the board of directors of the Indiana Renewable Energy Association. “Uncertainty is not a positive stimulus for the growth of the industry.”

Indiana once was one of the fastest growing states for wind energy. In 2009, Indiana added the second highest power capacity for new wind of any state, according to the American Wind Energy Association. But that hit a snag when the recession blew in.

There are 799 turbines producing 1,339.2 megawatts of power in the state, according to the Indiana Office of Energy Development.

“We had projects hit the ground very quickly, but the economy stalled and that’s been the reason we’ve had some stalling out of the projects,” said Purdue Extension renewable energy expert Chris Martin.

Indiana is comparatively soft on its renewable energy portfolio policy. Most of the state’s energy comes from coal, and in 2010 it was second to Texas in coal consumption for electric power, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

But Indiana in 2011 enacted a voluntary clean energy goal of 10 percent by 2025. By 2009, it was one of three Midwestern states lacking a renewable portfolio standard requirement or goal, according to the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy.

“Indiana is more or less operating with a carrot as opposed to a stick compared with other states around us,” Martin said. “Now that Indiana has a clean energy goal, it’s going to incentivize projects to move forward, but we haven’t seen any indication that we’ll be going to a mandate, so it may not happen as quickly.”

One fact that Arnold is sure won’t speed up the process: The federal tax credit’s expiration date falls during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress.

She said she doubts the matter will be taken up before the election. The credit, which is worth 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour produced or a payment of 30 percent of the project’s eligible costs, became a hotbed issue on the campaign trail this summer.

Both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressed the issue on their Iowa campaign stops in August. The expiration threatens 37,000 jobs nationally.

During a three-day bus tour through Iowa, Obama went out of his way to highlight Romney’s opposition to the renewal of the credits, which have been in place for 20 years.

“My opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers. He’s said that new sources of energy like wind are ‘imaginary,’ ” Obama said. “His running mate calls them a ‘fad.’ ”

In Des Moines, Romney promoted “renewables, wind, solar, ethanol — you name it; we’ve got to take advantage of all of them.” But he stayed away from discussing the wind energy tax credits during the trip, the Associated Press reported.

Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in August that the former Massachusetts governor would help wind production by “promoting policies that remove regulatory barriers, support free enterprise and market-based competition and reward technological innovation.”

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said Friday at the fourth annual Collegiate Energy Summit at Purdue University that he supports the extension of the credit but recognized that wind farms “are not everyone’s cup of tea.”

If the tax credit goes away, Arnold said the sector likely will cool off.

“It’s not completely over, but it’s going to be on life support until we have another policy in its place to give the right inducement to the industry,” she said. “If our goal is to eventually remove (the tax credit), we need a gradual phase-out so the industry can adjust.”

E-on Climate & Renewables product manager Andy Melka said the tax credit’s expiration could hinder Tipton and Madison county E-on Wind Farm’s growth. Construction on its first phase started this summer.

“The expiring tax credit does not affect phase one, but it could affect the expansion phases we had planned,” Melka said.

Indianapolis-based Performance Services, the developer on the Purdue wind farm project, said his project will move forward without a tax credit.

“That’s clearly out of our control so if it happens, it happens,” said Scott Zigmond, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We’ve invested a great amount of money and time. We’re not going anywhere. We’re still trying to find a way to make this project happen.”

However, he said it’s hard to get much done without a power purchase agreement from a utility company, which the project is still awaiting.

At an update meeting on the park last year, Zigmond pushed for about a dozen of Greater Lafayette’s largest energy users to ask their energy suppliers to buy in. At that time, he said, the company wanted “four or five companies to take 25 or 30 watts each.”

He said there have been a handful of promising recent talks with one company.

“We’re in a better position today than we were six months ago because we’re starting to have more serious talks now, and they seem to be more serious about getting involved,” Zigmond said. “I think the utility company is starting to realize this is a fantastic project.”

Zigmond said if the agreement is made soon, construction could be finished by the end of 2013.

Ken Sandel, Purdue’s director of physical and capital planning, said the university is interested in the project as the landowner. Its students and faculty would conduct research on commercial wind farm activity. The university has interest in adding some of the power produced into its portfolio, but “it would have to make sense from an economic standpoint.”

“It’s a great test bed for us, but the economics of it is really out of our control,” Sandel said. “The bottom line is wind blows here.”

While things seem to be looking up for the Purdue farm, the future of a project on Tippecanoe County’s southside still is in question. In April, the Journal & Courier reported the county had not heard from project developer Invenergy Wind LLC of Chicago for several months.

Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh said he still has not heard about the 133 turbines proposed for Tippecanoe, Montgomery and Fountain counties.

Despite the uncertainty, Martin, the Purdue Extension renewable energy expert, said interest remains across the state.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to have a demand for power and electricity, and the way things are headed, there’s likely a chance that increased power capacity will come from clean resources like wind energy,” Martin said. “We feel like there’s a good chance we’ll have more in the future.”

AWEA Wind Transmission Seminar Hosted in Indianapolis; Are you attending? Tell us about it March 22, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Uncategorized.
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Dear Blog Readers:

Are any of you attending this seminar and want to submit a report or summary of this event to be posted to this blog? Please contact me at laura.arnold@indianadg.net.

Laura Ann Arnold

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

 American Wind Energy Association Director of Industry Data Elizabeth Salerno says Indiana is a rising star in the wind power industry.

The Wind Power Transmission Seminar in Indianapolis is underway. The two-day event focuses on growing wind energy use and production. The American Wind Energy Association, which is hosting the event, says wind manufacturing is responsible for up to 2,000 Indiana jobs. says Indiana is one of only 14 states that produces more than 1,000 megawatts of wind power.

March 21, 2012

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — Today, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) kicked off its Wind Power Transmission Seminar in Indianapolis, Ind. at the hub of one of America’s fastest growing states for wind power. Indiana increased its installed wind power ten fold in 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, wind manufacturing is powering as many as 2,000 Indiana jobs in at least 14 different Indiana factories including companies like Brevini, a major gearbox manufacturer in Muncie, Ind.

Over the next two days, attendees at the Westin Indianapolis will hear about the issues that are impacting transmission the most. The AWEA Wind Power Transmission Seminar is the leading U.S. transmission event dedicated solely to addressing the challenges and identifying the solutions to transmission and wind energy. The workshop brings together top experts from the wind industry, transmission sector, utilities, consulting, and policymaking worlds to discuss the progress being made, difficulties that remain, paths forward and lessons learned on wind energy transmission.

Attendees will also hear keynote addresses from AWEA’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Rob Gramlich, Commissioner John Norris of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and John Bear, President and CEO of the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO).

“With roughly 35 percent annual growth in the U.S. wind industry over the past five years, and almost 200,000 megawatts of proposed wind projects waiting to be connected to the power grid, the development of new transmission lines is vital to the continued growth of the wind industry,” said AWEA’s Gramlich. “This conference will explore solutions to transmission bottlenecks that can help get more clean, affordable and homegrown wind energy to market and create tens of thousands of new jobs.”

The Midwest wind power market continues to be a vital center for the U.S. wind power industry. The Midwest was home to almost a third of all new American wind megawatts installed last year.

The tremendous growth in wind energy installations and Midwestern manufacturing jobs in recent years is being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit for wind. But with the PTC expiration looming at year-end, the stakes for Indiana, the Midwest and the nation could not be clearer. Economic studies have shown that Congressional inaction on the PTC could eliminate 37,000 American jobs, shutter plants and cancel billions of dollars in private investment.

“Wind power and the federal Production Tax Credit for wind are driving a midwestern manufacturing success story,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “That is why extending this one crucial tax credit for wind power production is our top national policy objective. And why we are leaving no stone unturned in our drive to get the PTC extended now, before it is too late for tens of thousands of good midwestern jobs.”

AWEA will hold its Wind Finance and Investment Seminar in New York on April 12-13, 2012, while its major annual conference and exhibition, WINDPOWER 2012, will hit Atlanta, Ga. on June 3-6.

AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, with more than 2,500 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show, the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Atlanta, June 2-6, 2012. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America.

Source: American Wind Energy Association

Want to know more about wind production in Indiana? Please see https://indianadg.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/q-where-does-power-from-indiana-wind-farms-go-a-only-26-going-to-indiana-utilities/

NE Indiana Enters Local Debate Over Wind Energy; Whitley County Concerned Citizens Oppose Proposed Wind Project November 8, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Last updated: November 7, 2011 11:41 a.m.

State enters debate over wind energy

Original article: http://www.journalgazette.net/article/2011311069930
Angela Mapes Turner | The Journal Gazette

The flat farmlands of northeast Indiana aren’t as vast as the sweeping plains of Texas, the state that leads the nation in wind power.

Developers say there’s plenty of energy to be harnessed in the region’s wind, but how – and if – that happens depends not only on government incentives to big wind developers but home rule in the region’s rural counties.

David Sewell, Whitley County’s executive director of planning and building, describes himself as an “eternal optimist.” He’s been a public planner for 35 years, nearly half that time in Whitley County, and he’s seen his share of land-use battles – landfills, major industrial sites, large farming operations.

The protracted fight over wind energy trumps them all.

“These issues, these structures, they go a little beyond what we normally deal with, as far as land-use jurisdiction goes,” Sewell said. “This one is definitely unique.”

Whitley County leaders, responding to interest by an American wind-energy company hoping to locate in the county, began working on an ordinance last year that would regulate the permitting process for wind turbines – how tall they could be, how far they would be set back from property lines, how they would be maintained.

The draft ordinance was scrapped when it was disclosed the plan commission’s president, David Schilling, had signed paperwork months earlier, in the midst of crafting the ordinance, that indicated he would be willing to lease his land to a wind farm.

Sewell said the plan commission decided to begin the process anew. A committee was created to study the issue and create a report. The committee is made up of three members of the plan commission, three wind farm supporters and three opponents.

The committee’s report will be taken into consideration by the plan commission in a few weeks, along with input from a consultant who was hired after the original draft ordinance had to be rejected.

Sewell sat in on all the committee’s meetings, and he said he’s worked hard to remain neutral on the issue, as he does with any divisive issue in his line of work. The meetings have been cordial, Sewell said, but even the eternal optimist has doubts the committee will reach any sort of consensus.

“The issue appears to come down to, ‘What do you believe?’ ” Sewell said. “There is not one set of facts as far as the impact of any potential wind turbine or farm.”

The newness of the technology, at least in the U.S., plays largely into the division.

A decade ago, Indiana was a literal blank slate on the U.S. Department of Energy’s map of wind-power capacity, or how much power the turbines can produce under ideal weather conditions. It was the same in 2005, even as surrounding states showed small gains.

A lot changed in the second half of the decade. By the end of 2010, Indiana had 1.34 gigawatts of wind-power capacity, more than the 1.21 gigawatts needed to power the fictional DeLorean time machine in the movie “Back to the Future.”

Indiana’s capacity could power between 300,000 to 400,000 homes, based on calculations by the American Wind Energy Association. The organization says that because the wind does not blow all the time, it cannot be the only power source for that many households without some form of storage system.

The state has outpaced all its neighbors except Illinois, which had 2 gigawatts capacity, according to the Department of Energy’s data.

It’s been left to individual municipalities to handle how and where wind companies can locate. Indiana’s first commercial-scale wind farm opened in Benton County, northwest of Lafayette, in 2008. Allen County currently does not have an ordinance regulating wind-energy systems.

Whitley County’s Sewell said having such a short time period to reflect on how the wind farms are affecting rural residents makes it difficult to make an educated decision.

“The issues are so new,” he said. “The people who say, ‘We don’t know’ – they probably don’t.”

Multiple concerns

Members of Whitley County’s wind-energy study committee have agreed not to speak with media to further their cause before presenting their report this month, member Joan Null said.

Null is a member of Whitley County Concerned Citizens, the group opposed to the proposed wind development in that county.

The organization was formed by residents and property owners after Wind Capital Group proposed building its 100-megawatt wind farm (1 gigawatt equals 1,000 megawatts) in southern Whitley County.

“Industrial wind turbines are exactly that – utility-scale industrial power plants – turbines that generate electricity,” the group says on its website. “As such, they should be sited in the appropriate locations, with setbacks sufficient to have no impact on residential areas.”

The group cites multiple concerns about living near industrial wind farms, such as loss of sleep from noise and vibrations, declining property values and an effect called “shadow flicker” – the strobe-like flashing made when massive twirling blades cross the sun and create shadows.

Along the way, Whitley County opponents have gained support from tea party-affiliated groups that oppose wind-energy development from an economic standpoint. The grass-roots group Whitley County Patriots, which has urged its members to make a stand at plan commission meetings, says wind energy is ineffective and a bad value for taxpayers, echoing an argument being made around the country.

Cutting through the noise has been difficult for planners, said Clinton Knauer, DeKalb County zoning administrator.

DeKalb County last week released a draft of a wind-energy ordinance, even though Knauer said he is not aware of any imminent development in the county. Some residents have mentioned interest in lease options from energy companies, Knauer said, and that was enough for the county to take up the issue rather than wait for a Whitley County-style showdown.

“That’s why we got in front with the public and said we want public input first,” Knauer said.

DeKalb’s draft will be available for public comment through the end of this month, and it incorporates input from two public meetings. Knauer also met privately with local groups with concerns and traveled to a large wind farm to get a better sense of how the turbines look and sound up close.

Some of the meetings got heated, he said, and he was surprised at where the opposition came from – not only tea party-affiliated groups but also some environmentalists.

Most environmental groups, including the Hoosier Environmental Council, have spoken in favor of wind-energy development and said the environmental effects on land and wildlife are negligible.

Some environmentalists, however, contend wind turbines are killers of birds and bats; the U.S. Department of Energy offers research that shows more birds are killed by flying into buildings, cars, high-tension lines or communication towers – even by house cats – than by wind turbines.

Knauer said the hardest thing about crafting DeKalb County’s ordinance has been figuring out what research to rely on.

Not knowing whether research has been influenced by pro- or anti-wind lobbies, and not having historical references for how wind energy could play out in a community like DeKalb County, has made crafting an ordinance to suit DeKalb’s needs a challenge. Knauer said the DeKalb plan calls for board approval for special exceptions of tall structures, which he believes will be a saving grace for anything the ordinance might have missed.

“There’s not a lot of information out there that’s unbiased,” he said. “There’s not a lot of apples-to-apples comparisons.”

To the north, Steuben County, which passed a wind-energy ordinance in 2008, has several small-scale turbines. Building and zoning administrator Frank Charlton, who joined the planning department after the wind-energy ordinance was created, said he bought a $25 permit with the intention of looking into wind energy at his home.

For him, it wasn’t feasible; his calculations showed it would take him 37 years just to break even. But he’s glad the county already has a wind-energy ordinance in place.

“It’s coming,” he said.

Northeast Indiana residents have only to look to the east to see what the future could look like. In 2008, Ohio signed a renewable-energy policy said to be the third-most aggressive in the country, according to the Ohio Department of Development’s Energy Resources Division.

The standard translates into at least 6 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity, enough to power 1.8 million homes, the agency said.

Indiana’s renewable-energy standards, by comparison, have been called passive by some environmental groups, including the Hoosier Environmental Council.

At the end of 2010, Ohio rated a trifling 10 megawatts on the American Wind Energy Association’s wind-capacity map. So far this year, its capacity has grown to 112 megawatts, much of that from a development in Van Wert and Paulding counties in northwest Ohio.

That ongoing project, Blue Creek Wind Farm, calls for 175 turbines, installed by Iberdrola Renewables Inc., the U.S. division of a Spanish company that is the world’s largest wind-power provider.

Iberdrola Renewables said they provide northwest Ohio residents with about $1.1 million in annual lease payments to local landowners.

aturner@jg.net

AWEA applauds bipartisan 62-34 vote on amended SB 251 April 24, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in 2011 Indiana General Assembly, Uncategorized, Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program.
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Jeff Anthony 
 
Editor’s Note: This news release was posted by Jeff Anthony, AWEA Director of Business Development, to the Wind Energy Manufacturers Association (WEMA) Linked-In Group. I am posting this news release in an effort to indicate that everyone is not on the same page about SB 251 (and HB 1128). What we really need is for all the business organizations supporting renewable energy and distributed generation to work together. This is not happening right now. As a result, I believe that some are willing to settle for the crumbs dropped on the floor under the table plus look the other way on some really bad utility policy in these bills.
 
Tell me what you think? Laura Ann Arnold
 
AWEA: Indiana House passes Clean Energy Portfolio Standard, spurring Hoosier job creation

Washington, DC (April 22, 2011) – The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today expressed support for a bill passed by the Indiana House of Representatives containing the state’s first voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard (CPS). The CPS would set a voluntary goal for 10 percent of Indiana’s electric generation to come from clean energy resources by 2025.

“I applaud the Indiana House, under the leadership of Speaker Brian Bosma and Representative David Frizzell, for their efforts on SB 251,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “This action is about creating affordable, homegrown energy for Indiana. With SB 251, the Indiana House has set in motion the ability to create thousands of wind industry jobs for Hoosiers—life-long careers in manufacturing, construction, operations and maintenance.”

Included in the voluntary CPS of SB 251 is an amendment offered by Representative Frizzell (R-Indianapolis), ensuring that at least half of the energy produced by Indiana utilities participating in the 10% voluntary CPS will be met with clean energy resources from within Indiana. The amendment passed unanimously by a voice vote on Tuesday, April 21.

The House passed the amended bill with a bipartisan vote of 62-34. The amended bill, which originated in the Senate, now moves back to that chamber for a vote. The Indiana General Assembly must complete this year’s legislative session by April 29.

AWEA: Indiana poll finds overwhelming bipartisan support for wind energy, as Legislature weighs 10% requirement March 1, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in 2011 Indiana General Assembly, Uncategorized.
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Results of an Indiana poll released today show strong and deep bipartisan public support for increasing wind farm development in the state through the passage of legislation calling for 10 percent of electricity sold in Indiana to come from renewable energy by 2020.

The results of the poll, conducted by research firm Public Opinion Strategies, come as the Indiana House and Senate prepare to take up energy legislation, Senate Bill 251, which currently does not create any market for renewable energy. After passing in the Senate, the bill now heads to the House, where it can be amended to establish a renewable energy requirement for which so many Hoosiers are showing strong support.

The poll found that 77 percent of Indiana voters support legislation creating a requirement for 10 percent renewable energy by the year 2020. An impressive 47 percent of voters “strongly” support such legislation, and just 16 percent oppose it. The results signal support among Hoosiers for harnessing the economic-development benefits of wind power and diversifying the state’s energy mix in a way that can save consumers money. A 10 percent renewable energy requirement would spur construction of approximately six new wind farms and create thousands of jobs.

“Indiana voters clearly speak with one voice on this issue,” said Neil Newhouse, Public Opinion Strategies pollster and co-founder. “Nearly 80 percent of voters interviewed say they support legislation requiring 10 percent of the electricity sold in the state to come from renewable energy such as wind and solar.

“Support is not only deep (47 percent strongly support such legislation), but also broad, as voters across party lines support the proposal by at least a three-to-one margin. Clearly this is a win-win issue for lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.”

The poll reflects recent national polls showing that as much as 89 percent of Americans want more renewable energy.

Key findings of the Indiana poll include: 

  •  77 percent of Indiana voters support legislation requiring that 10 percent of electricity sold in the state come from renewable energy by 2020. Fully 47 percent of voters “strongly” support such legislation, while just 16 percent oppose it (9 percent strongly opposing it). 
  • A strong 66 percent of Republicans statewide support a 10-percent renewable energy requirement.
  • Overall support for this legislation was above 70 percent in all regions of Indiana and between 77 percent and 79 percent in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the state.
  • Statewide voter support rose to 84 percent when told that a 10 percent requirement would spur construction on six new wind farms in the next two years, creating thousands of new jobs.
  • Support for legislation rose to 85 percent when voters were told that Indiana’s neighbors have secured long-term electricity contracts from wind power that costs significantly less than the average per kilowatt-hour price Hoosiers currently pay. 
  • Voter support for legislation rose to 83 percent when voters were informed that more than half of the wind energy generated in the state is currently used to deliver power to neighboring states with renewable energy requirements.“The voice of Indiana and the voice of America are one,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “Hoosiers clearly want to embrace the economic-development engine that is wind power, and the industry stands ready to do its part here in America’s heartland.

    “Twenty-nine other states already require their utilities to provide renewable energy. Our job now is to make sure that Indiana’s leaders take to heart the overwhelming support for a 10 percent renewable energy requirement as demonstrated in this poll. We appreciate Indiana voters’ support, and we will work with a bipartisan group of policymakers to provide the clean, affordable and homegrown energy they want.”

Public Opinion Strategies conducted the poll by contacting 600 registered voters in Indiana by telephone on February 16-17. The margin of error of the poll is plus or minus 4.0 percent in 95 out of 100 cases. The partisan composition of the sample was 36 percent Republicans, 28 percent Democrats and 34 percent “Lean/Independent.”

Readying to Hit the Ground Running After Recess, Reid Says RES Alive September 5, 2010

Posted by Laura Arnold in Renewable Electricity Standard (RES).
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Energy legislation that would include a renewable electricity standard (RES) “absolutely” remains a possibility for this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), said this week.

The statements, coming as the Senator turned his attention to his annual energy conference in his home state of Nevada next week, were welcomed by the wind energy industry and its advocates, which prior to the August recess reached a far different conclusion from Reid about the ability of an RES to pass. Reid contended that an RES does not have the necessary 60 votes to avoid a filibuster, but wind energy advocates insisted that it does.

However, any gap between vote tallies appears to be narrowing. In his comments to reporters this week, Reid said two Republicans have expressed interest in an RES. While Reid did not name those Senators, Sam Brownback (Kan.) is one Republican who has publicly endorsed a 15% RES in recent weeks.

In a statement in early August, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Denise Bode said, “There is tremendous bipartisan support for the renewable electricity standard, and we’re encouraged that Senate leadership is open to revisiting the bill in September. In recent days several Senators, including Republicans, made strong arguments for new policy to bring stability and continued growth to the American wind energy industry. That should come as no surprise. The RES has the greatest job-creation and job-protection potential of any energy policy Congress can consider this year. We are advancing our discussions with RES supporters in both parties to keep our industry competitive and to build a thriving clean energy manufacturing industry.”

This week, AWEA issued the following statement from Bode in response to Reid voicing confidence on the Senate energy bill:

“Today’s statement by Senator Reid that he sees more bipartisan support for a renewable electricity standard is a sure sign energy legislation is still very much in play. A recent Op-Ed by Senator Mark Udall and letter signed by labor, leading utilities, renewable energy trade associations, and most of the environmental community shows momentum is building throughout the nation. There is every reason the Senate can pass energy legislation with an RES.”

Congress returns to Washington, D.C., on September 13, but its working days are fewer this fall because of the election year.

25% RES: Senators Unveil Solid Energy Legislation July 18, 2010

Posted by Laura Arnold in Federal energy legislation.
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This information from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Energy Weekly 1394 (16 July 2010).

AWEA expressed support for legislation unveiled this week by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) that includes a renewable electricity standard (RES) requiring 25% of the nation’s electricity to be generated from renewable resources by 2025.

The “Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies Act,” dubbed SAFEST, also would establish an energy efficiency resource standard of 1% per year, a long-term extension of ethanol and biodiesel tax credits, incentives for biofuel infrastructure and deployment, and targets for the availability of advanced vehicle technologies.

“The strength of our nation is tied to the strength of our energy economy,” Klobuchar said. “Not only are we still dependent on foreign oil, other countries are making great strides in developing clean energy technologies. With the ingenuity of American farmers and manufacturers, we have the ability to be the global leader in energy. This bill will provide incentives that can boost our economy and help us secure our energy future.”

The legislation comes as pressure builds for the Senate to act on clean energy legislation before it leaves for August recess.

Johnson added, “This bill will boost the economy by replacing imported oil with homegrown biofuels and renewable energy. Jobs will be created across the entire economy to produce parts and components for wind farms and by manufacturing vehicles that can run on higher blends of renewable fuels. It’s a win for energy security and economic security.”

AWEA, which has urged Congress to pass a strong RES so that the nation can reap the economic benefits of wind energy—benefits that studies have shown include thousands of jobs created—was clear in its support for the bill. “The provisions of this bill are essential to getting America on the road to a clean energy future and to creating American jobs,” AWEA CEO Denise Bode said in a statement. “AWEA supports the proposed legislation, which may be combined with other legislation expected to be introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“We applaud Senator Klobuchar for her leadership and diligence in proposing this bill: it would establish a renewable electricity standard (RES) of 25% by 2025 which sends a strong global signal that the U.S. is committed to new domestic manufacturing. The legislation also extends eligibility for the Recovery Act’s 1603 program, which has been very successful.

“As Senator Klobuchar knows, now is the time to act on energy policy. We call on her colleagues in the Senate to seize this moment to set America on the right course toward energy independence, increased national security, reducing carbon, and the creation of thousands of clean energy jobs.”