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Not so clean wind energy and House Bill 6

Ohio’s best wind resources are Iowa’s worst. So why build thousands of massive 600- to 650-foot wind turbines in northwest Ohio? It’s all about the subsidies.

Wind turbines aren’t green by any stretch of the imagination, although corporations have spent millions in Ohio to convince the public otherwise. Wind turbines produce energy that is intermittent and unpredictable. They must be backed up by fossil fuels in new “peaker plants” which produce at least 25 percent more pollutants than the baseload facilities and cost at least 25 percent more to operate than baseload plants.

Why would Ohio build inefficiency and extra air pollution into our grid? Follow the money in renewable energy subsidies. Turbines require hundreds of gallons of oil laden with PCB’s. Do these turbines leak oil or crash to the ground? Absolutely! Do these turbines ever catch on fire? Yes, and the PCB laden oil burns with the neodymium magnets to release a highly cancerous toxic cloud.

Estimates put the tear-down cost of a single modern wind turbine at over $200,000. The blades are a fiberglass composite, those are not recyclable and they can’t be sold. Consequently, 47 million tons of unsustainable blade waste could be added to the world’s landfills within the next few decades. Some landfills refuse to take the biohazardous components of wind turbines. Will Ohio have to build more landfills to accommodate turbine trash? Time will tell.

The turbines proposed for the Firelands region of Ohio have blade tip speeds of 180 mph and a blade span which would can engulf a Boeing 747. There are a total of 8 known wind projects in various planning stages in the four-county area of the Firelands. An area known to be riddled with sinkholes, caves and Karst formations with a water table that is very close to the surface at times throughout the year. This water in northern Ohio flows through underground rivers to feed the cold trout streams in Erie County and eventually to the lake. Just one oil spill into these precious aquifers could have devastating environmental impacts.

Ohio’s two nuclear facilities provide 90 percent of the emission free energy in that state. Even if we buried an area of Ohio about the size of Rhode Island in industrial wind generators, they still would not produce the consistent, robust energy that our two nuclear facilities provide. In 2013, Ohio had an extended polar vortex in which natural gas pipelines could not keep up. What saved the day in 2013 and kept us all from freezing in northern Ohio? It was our two nuclear plants.

Call Senators Burke 614-466-8049 and Gavarone 614-466-8060. Tell them to do the right thing for Northern Ohio and pass HB 6 to save our nuclear facilities, give local communities a voice in allowing destructive wind energy development and level the playing field of subsidies for wind and nuclear. Protect the most vulnerable Ohioans on fixed incomes who deserve low cost, reliable and clean energy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Deb Hay is a Bellevue resident.