Energy / Freeze on Clean Energy / Renewable Energy / Wind Energy

Wind turbine setback reform gets mixed reaction, potentially pitting wind against clean energy advocates

A proposal from Ohio Senate GOP leaders to redraw rules determining how far wind turbines can be from adjacent properties is expected to attract billions of dollars in new wind farm investments — and pit clean energy groups against the wind industry. And it would tinker with laws requiring utilities to offer energy efficiency programs to customers.

CLEVELAND — “…other clean energy groups are not so sure they can support the Senate’s redraft because, while it does not eliminate the state’s renewable and efficiency mandates, it does water them down significantly.

Neil Waggoner, spokesman for the Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club, said the bill as written poses problems.

“We are pleased to see them making changes to fix the wind setbacks, but we are concerned about weakening the efficiency programs that are saving energy and money. And we are concerned about further rollbacks of [renewable] standards,” he said in an interview.

Ted Ford, president and CEO of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, also did not try to hide his concerns about the bill.

“We applaud the proposed changes in the wind setbacks but have deep concerns about the impact of the [business and industry] opt-out on energy efficiency programs,” he wrote in response to an emailed question.

“Reducing the energy efficiency requirements, as the bill does, while making participation optional for a large percentage of energy users, undercuts the benefits for all consumers.”

— John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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