A letter written by Senator Cliff Hite tried to make the case for compromising rural private property rights in the name of forcing wind energy proliferation in NW Ohio. As an economist and consultant in the electricity generation sector, it is plain for me to see the flaws of his comparison — but maybe not obvious to many readers.
Natural gas recovery is a boon to southeastern Ohio because it is more plentiful and cheaper for everyone. That’s how competition is supposed to work and how wealth migrates ethically. Wind energy is a boon to host communities only because of government forced wealth transfers – aka “picking winners and losers.” The government force comes in many forms such as federal tax credits, local tax abatement and state renewable energy mandates. Even with unprecedented government giveaways, wind energy drives up the cost basis for electricity across the grid system.
Hite wants to impose uncompensated nuisance easements on private property and extort property value by reducing wind turbine setbacks. Together, these transfers of wealth and rights sum to more than half of the equivalent revenue accruing to (mostly foreign) wind investors. Wouldn’t you love to own a business that taxpayers and customers were forced by the government to make profitable? In the end that hurts all of us.
Hite is risking our grandchildren’s future through misspent tax dollars and higher national debt service far into the future. I love my sweet grandchildren. That’s why I feel compelled to rebuke Senator Hite’s wind energy charade that some call “Hite-Way Robbery.”
Tom Stacy, Ottawa
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