Is the discredited coal industry behind the latest flurry of anti-wind activity in Champaign County? Likely so, according to an article printed December 17, 2017 in the Midwest Energy News, (http://midwestenergynews.com/2017/12/04/secrecy-surrounds-pro-coal-group-eyeing-ohio-wind-cases/ ). The article reports that a Columbus Law firm that serves the coal industry has formed a secretive non-profit organization (CAARE) and interjected itself in 10 Ohio wind energy cases before the Ohio Power Siting Board. Sometimes the organization has attempted to become an intervenor directly, but also by recruiting and representing local residents who serve as a proxy or patsy for the coal organization. Yes, this is the same law firm and attorney that is representing the new anti-wind group in Champaign County.
The law firm has declined to reveal the names of the companies or individuals funding and directing this organization. Interestingly, the article reports that the legally required non-profit disclosure documents and tax filings for the CAARE organization are not available.
The article raises many questions about this group regarding its transparency, credibility and motives and thereby the actions of the newest local anti-wind group.
I encourage everyone to access and read this article and then share the link and information through social media.
It is certainly ironic that the discredited coal industry that has defiled our land, air and water for the last century is underhandedly trying to delay and obstruct the wind industry. I believe that it is because the coal industry in addition to long ago losing the environmental argument, is now losing the economic argument to wind and other renewable energy. The energy industry is in a disruptive phase and the coal industry is dying a slow but certain death and can only resort to questionable legal tactics to filch the last few dollars from consumers.
Wind energy efficiency has increased 60 percent in just the past 6 years and today it is the low-cost source of new energy. Today wind energy is entering into long term (10 to 20 years) contracts to sell wind energy at 3 cents or less per kilowatt hour to today’s largest energy users such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and most recently Nestle. Coal-fired generators cannot compete with these terms and with new battery technology by Tesla and others being installed, renewable energy will soon qualify for “base Load” classification. New coal-fired plants have a cost structure of over 15 cents per kilowatt hour and older outdated and inefficient coal plants are being shut down. That is why the coal and nuclear generation companies in Ohio have asked the PUCO and Ohio legislature to approve large special consumer rate increases just to keep their uncompetitive plants operating.
Ask those local citizens displaying the yellow and black signs, if they know they are being used by the disgraced coal industry that still causes up to 50,000 premature deaths each year in the U.S. Ask them why they believe the coal industry’s tired old fear mongering and scientifically discredited complaints against wind turbines. Accusations that are not true of Ohio’s operating wind farms (I acknowledge that turbines are visible). Ask them why the coal industry is challenging the Buckeye Wind Farm that has undergone more oversight and examination than any other project in Ohio or perhaps even the U. S. This includes ten years of regulatory review costing millions with hundreds of hours of testimony, dozens of appeals, resolution with opponents and four failed Supreme Court Appeals.
It is appropriate that the anti-wind group has chosen yellow and black colors for their signs. Yellow for the cowardly and deceitful way that the coal industry is hiding behind a non-profit organization and gullible local citizens and black lettering for coal and the death and destruction it has perpetrated on our land, air and water for generations.
More to come.