We are Shelby Neighbors United

The mission of Shelby Neighbors United is to inform the citizens of Shelby County of the proposed windfarm in this area and to provide education on the effects and realities of similar installations. Our aim is to preserve and protect this rural agricultural area in a manner that will pass it to future generations in the pristine condition in which we received it from our parents and grandparents.


A Farmer's Real Experience with Mainstream Renewable Power

To To the editor:

To any landowner considering signing a lease agreement with a wind power company to host wind turbines on your land, do you really know what you're getting yourself into? Instead of listening to promises by salesmen, look at the mess in Lee County, Ill., for a glimpse of the reality that may be heading your way.

I'm a farmer, township trustee and participating landowner in the Shady Oaks Wind Farm where I have four turbines on my land within a half mile of my home. When I signed up, corn was a third of today's price, and there are other things I wish I would've known before signing.

First, the company's business strategy is to name and sell the idea of a wind development to another company for construction once it's approved. After securing acreage for Shady Oaks, they sold the project to a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer and partner of theirs. The original company disappeared after the project changed hands, and the number of turbines grew from 30 to 72.

Now nine months after construction, the township is still waiting for $800,000 to fix the roads. Second, they destroy crops and roads with no regard to landowners. They used nonparticipating farm fields as driveways, tile was crushed, and no one would listen to our complaints. There's still damage to roads that trucks weren't supposed to use but did anyway.

To avoid road repair costs, roads were made through fields to transport heavy equipment. They blacktopped over a concrete bridge and later removed the blacktop but created big grooves in the concrete, leaving spaces for ice to enter. Residents resorted to calling the county sheriff's office to report some of the issues, but that's not good use of taxpayers' money.

As for my farm, I now have a considerable amount of land permanently taken out of production, and the few aerial applicators that are willing to spray among turbines charge significantly more. Finally, the noise is awful and we currently have shadow flicker from east and west. There is nothing serene left to this area with the noise, moving blades, flashing lights, and bickering neighbors. The extra income is not worth the problems they produce.

By now in Shelby County, chances are that the wind power company's promises have secured the support of some community leaders and schools. Do your homework. Don't be fooled.

Wesley Englchart


What are those who live among industrial wind turbines saying?

These testimonies are compiled from responses submitted by respondents residing in the vicinity of industrial wind turbines, which were installed in 2007/2008.

Respondent No. 1

54 years old


2600 feet from turbines

30.5 years at site

The noise of the turbines is what bothers me. On a windy day, they can sound like a jet is coming right at you. They are much louder than we were led to believe they could be. In the summer when we have the windows open we have to sleep with the fans running to drown out the constant pulse of the windmills. In the winter, when it is windy, you can still hear, and sometimes feel the pulsing of the windmills right through the walls. More research into the effects of windmills should definitely be undertaken. We don't need neighborhoods of people who have to vacate their homes because we have allowed turbines and their owners to take over.

Respondent No. 2

56 years old


2600 feet from turbines

31 years at site

---Had to move out of my home, just come home now to feed the cattle.

---Our home can't be sold due to the problem, per real estate agent.

---Family events can't take place at home.

---Financial problems due to keeping two homes.

---Always sick, depressed, and bad tempered when at home, but when away for a short time feel much better.   (Much better in the second house which I had to buy.)

---Had family problems until we moved out.

---Feel no (one) cares or believes us.

Bottom line:

They took life away as we knew it before the wind farm, sick all the time, financial stress now, world turned upside down.

Respondent No. 14

45-60 years old


1600 feet from turbine

20 years at site

We lived in this house for twenty years with the plan that we would pay it off, borrow money to purchase our retirement home, and then sell the house to pay for the retirement home. We put the house up for sale the year before the turbines were built and real estate agents told us people were worried about where the turbines would be placed and the house did not sell. Now the turbines are up and I can count 30 of them from my property. My wife can hear them when we are outside and we experience flicker when we are inside. We can see them through every window in the house in the daytime, and we see the sea of red flashing lights every night. We live in a school house we took from being vacant for twenty years to a beautiful open concept home in a quiet country setting. Our friends and family have loved our home for years, but now just shake their heads when the see what has happened here. Don't know what is going to happen to me in five years when I'm ready to retire if I can't sell my house.

Respondent No. 17

36 years old


1500 feet from turbine

5 years at site

We bought this property to be away from the noise of the city and road traffic. Now all I hear is the windmills. I love to be outside, walking, hunting in our bush. Now all I hear is the windmills. Peace and quiet no longer exists. The rear of our house is all windows, at night all you see is the warning lights. It is driving me crazy. We had no say in the windmills because we weren't getting one. The persons that got them get paid and don't live near them. I'm sure our property value has went down because of them.

Respondent No. 29

69 years old


1500 feet to turbine

20 years at site

People who were good neighbors are now looking away and don't want to talk anymore if they have windmills or are in favor. Our beautiful view is now gone, as from my deck I can count 72 windmills. My property values have gone down the drain by around $100,000. Most of the owners of the landowners with turbines on the farm do not live around here. They live many miles away.

Click here to read more.



A Chinese Company May Aquire Broad Rights to Your Land, If Leased

Mainstream Renewable has sold at least one project to China's Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. who now has full ownership of it. Mainstream has also made a large purchase of turbines from this Chinese company, supporting jobs in China. Read more here.



Opponents cite problems with wind turbines

By Kathy Leese, Sidney Daily News

BOTKINS - Approximately 50 people attended an informational meeting Saturday at Botkins High School Saturday morning in opposition to wind turbines that may be locating in Shelby County in the future.

The session was sponsored by Shelby Neighbors United, which opposes the so-called wind farms. The group has launched an effort to prevent the developer, Mainstream Renewable Energy (MRE) of Dublin, Ireland, from locating the massive structures in Shelby County.

Residents from the surrounding area attended the meeting to learn about the wind turbines and their potential impact on local residents, farms and possibly even health. Aaron Sargeant and Don Rosenbeck, of Jackson Center, led the program, and Milo Schaffner, a farmer and township trustee from Van Wert County, spoke about his experiences with wind turbines already operating in his area. Scott Gaier, Shelby Neighbors United president and founder, was unable to be at the meeting due to farming obligations.

Rosenbeck began the meeting by saying that organizers "feel it's important" that people become educated about problems associated with the turbines. "This is the fourth event we've sponsored," Rosenbeck said.

Obtaining land

Sargeant, a veterinarian and pathologist, spoke about the local project, known as the Montra Hills Wind Project. According to Sargeant, MRE has a goal of obtaining 10,000 acres of Shelby County land on which to place turbines. That area includes from Southland Road to the north, the Logan County line to the east, Fort Loramie-Swanders Road to the south and Sidney-Freyburg Road to the west. MRE reportedly wants to install from 100 to 150 turbines in that area

The wind turbines range from 450 to 550 feet in height and weigh approximately 400 tons, according to local organizers. The turbines generate approximately 160 to 240 megawatts (mwh) of electric capacity. More than 100 local landowners have already said they are not interested in the project, Sargeant stated. The project would bring approximately 10 full-time jobs to the county.

Meeting a goal

The wind turbines are reportedly part of an effort to meet Ohio's goal of having 25 percent of the state's power come from alternative energy sources by 2025. Some 12.9 percent of the 25 percent must be produced by renewable sources such as wind or solar power. The alternative energy sources would reportedly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants.

Among issues facing Shelby County residents if the turbines are installed are reduced property values, energy issues and health and safety concerns, which Sargeant said is an issue with "a lot of documented risk," and the lack of local control, including zoning.

Economically, Sargeant said, areas with wind turbines actually see their utility rates increase. Additionally, Sargeant showed a graphic illustrating the size of the turbines,comparing them to a utility pole that is traditionally 30 feet tall, a church steeple at 205 feet, a forest tree at 60 feet and a transmission tower at 125 feet. The blades of a turbine are 130 feet long and can move up to 200 mph.

Whistling noise

Sargeant told the crowd the turbines can create a whistling noise and in winter ice can fly off the blades, posing a danger. While Sargeant said carbon dioxide emissions are supposed to be reduced with use of turbines, he noted that delivering the concrete base for the turbines increases such emissions.

"This was supposed to save the world" from global warming, Sargeant said, but it "does very little." Power lines must also be larger for wind turbines, which Sargeant said, "increases electro magnetic fields" believed to have potential health risks. While Sargeant said the risk of cancer from the magnetic fields is questionable, he noted there is "nothing that says (there is) no risk of cancer." Local residents could face a "significant loss" of property value (20 to 40 percent) if they live within two to three miles of turbines, Sargeant said.

Wind energy is not a technically sound solution to provide power or reduce global warming, he stated, noting that a wind map from the U.S. Department. of Energy shows that "Ohio has very little wind."

Sargeant discussed the environmental impact of wind turbines, stating that carbon dioxide emissions are reduced only 1.3 percent with their use. He said local residents need to use a scientific method to determine the truth about the use of wind turbines.

Local residents also heard about potential health and safety concerns of wind turbines. Sargeant said there are 80 people per square mile in Shelby County, which exceeds the 20 to 40 people per square mile in Iowa where there are wind farms. With a larger population, there would be a greater risk, he said.

Among the risks he cited, local residents might have to deal with odors and with "shadow flicker." In the latter case, the turbine's blades turning creates a shadow with a flicker effect that can be seen both outdoors and in a person's home. It is similar to turning a light off and on in a house repeatedly.

The location of turbines is also an issue. From a property line, turbines must be set back 1.1 times the total height of the turbine structure as measured from the tower base to the tip of the highest blade. An example would be a setback of 495 feet. for a 450-foot turbine.

It was reported that in Van Wert on April 24 there was an accident involving a turbine, in which the blades fell apart. Reportedly, nobody was hurt.

The sound of the turbines was described as "annoying" by Sargeant , who said it makes more noise than a train. An estimated 25 percent of people living within 1.5 miles of turbines have disruptions in their lives, including sleep disturbances, Sargeant said. The windier it is outside, the louder the turbines are, he said.

Rescue flights

Another concern cited is that CareFlight rescue helicopter reportedly will not land in the area of a wind farm. It will have to fly 1,000 feet higher than the turbines and needs to know how the turbines are marked.

Wind turbines can also result in disruption of communication, Sargeant said. That can include television, radio and cell phones. Local television station WATCH TV reportedly said turbines will impact the station.

Wildlife may also be affected. Migrating bats have increased mortality around turbines, since they can fly into the blades. Since bats eat insects, their loss can have a negative impact on farmers, Sargeant stated.

There is also concern that there could be problems since MRE reportedly wants to place the turbines in the area known as the Anna fault line, which is an earthquake zone. Rosenbeck told the crowd it is not true that wind energy can provide a large amount of electricity. "Not as much as a coal station," he said. If the wind doesn't blow, electricity is not generated and does not provide reliable, predictable energy, he stated.

Wind energy also cannot provide electric on demand, Rosenbeck said. He noted that with a grid demand for electric, a base load of electricity is supplied, which is the amount people need 24 hours per day. There is also the peak load which provides energy for unexpected surges. With wind turbines, all electricity must be used "immediately," since there is no way to store it, Rosenbeck said.

He also said wind turbines do not provide an economical source of energy when compared to conventional sources. He noted that onshore and offshore wind are the most expensive sources of electricity.

Test tower installed

In the winter of 2011-12, a test wind tower was installed in Shelby County and individual landowners began to be contacted about one year ago.

Rosenbeck said approximately $3,568,000 in revenue would come into the county as a result of the wind turbines.

Schaffner, a farmer with 640 acres in the Van Wert area, is a township trustee and owner of Schaffner Tool and Die. He said he originally favored turbines but he no longer supports that form of energy.

He showed photos of damaged roads in Van Wert where trucks have carried heavy turbine parts. While MRE patched the roads, Schaffner said they did not repair them as they should have. "You have to stand up for yourself," Schaffner said about his fight to get the roads repaired. Schaffner said farmers in the Van Wert area have also had to deal with MRE building roads through their farmland to reach locations where turbines would be built. Another problem he cited is debris. He said he found debris from a turbine lying 1,158 feet away from the turbine. "How far would that have been if it had been a 50 mph wind?" he asked.

"They (MRE) destroyed our roads, they patched them ... they tell you they don't make any more noise than a refrigerator," Schaffner said. He noted he lives a mile from a turbine and his family can "hear it in the house" and "heard the turbine over a tractor engine. There are times they are very loud, other times you don't hear them." Schaffner said the Farm Bureau "will tell you they don't take a stand ... well, they are talking for you."

Senate Bill 232 has put county commissioners in a "very difficult" position of having to provide tax abatements for wind turbines, Schaffner said. He noted that MRE pays "no taxes. They make a payment in lieu of taxes." He said the company will keep making the same fixed payment while local residents watch their taxes increase.

Removing a turbine

Schaffner said removing a wind turbine is not easy and costs approximately $5,000 to do so. In fact, he said, one person who wanted a wind turbine removed "took their checkbook" and went to MRE but were unsuccessful. Schaffner told local residents to read Ohio Revised Code 5727.75 regarding the issue. "Educate yourselves ... don't believe what they (proponents) tell you."

Sargeant told the crowd there are things they can do. He encouraged local residents to contact the Shelby County Commissioners and express their concern; sign a petition available from Shelby Neighbors United, which currently has 183 signatures; put out yard signs available from Shelby Neighbors United opposing the wind turbines; attend public informational meetings; write letters to Gov. John Kasich; and let legislators know they need to pass S.B. 315, which expands the definition of renewable energy, including wasted energy.

More programs set

Two more educational programs regarding wind turbines are scheduled for Anna and Jackson Center. Anyone interested in attending can go to the organization's website to learn when those meetings will be held. The website is www.shelbyneighborsunited.org. Local residents interested in signing the petition or who want more information on the organization can contact them at their email address at shelbyneighbors@gmail.com and those wanting to make a donation to help the organization can do so by contacting them at Shelby Neighbors United, P.O. Box 343, Botkins, Ohio 45306


A word from WATCH TV:

May 9, 2012

Re: Proposed Shelby County Wind Farm

To the residents of Shelby County:

My name is Mike Birkemeier. I am the Chief Engineer for WATCH TV Co. in Lima, Ohio. Recently, I attended a citizens-group meeting at Botkins School regarding the wind farm that Mainstream Renewable Power is planning to build in Shelby County.

WATCH TV owns the 1100 ft. radio tower on State Route 501, north of Wapakoneta. From this tower we provide wireless video and internet service throughout Shelby and the surrounding counties using FCC licensed channels. We have over 690 customers in Shelby County.

WATCH TV's signals are transmitted from antennas at the top of this tower to small receiver antennas located on the customer premises. The customer antenna also transmits back to the main tower (for two-way internet communication). Recently, a completely new internet system was installed on our main tower at 280 ft above ground to provide improved service for our customers as well as for adding new customers.

At the citizens-group meeting, a map of the general location of Mainstream Renewable Power's proposed wind farm was shown. These turbines will be over 450 ft tall and will have a significant impact on the ability of WATCH TV to deliver its services. I have taken measurements and made observations at the Blue Creek Wind farm north of Van Wert. When a turbine in that wind farm is located in the signal path between the main tower and the customer the signal is degraded, with impairments in the form of video tiles / picture breakup and slow / intermittent internet connections.

The Ohio Power Siting Board, the regulating authority for the State of Ohio only requires that the developer mitigate any interference they cause to the affected customer. This could mean paying to relocate the customer antenna, if possible, or paying to switch the customer to an alternate provider, if one can be found.

But for WATCH TV this could result in a loss of the customer and a loss of future revenue. Furthermore, the area in the vicinity of the turbine becomes what I would term “scorched earth”, as WATCH TV is unlikely to be able to serve any future customer that moves into the affected area. My company is very concerned as there are 10 active or planned wind farm projects inside the WATCH service areas that I am currently tracking.

Please take this into consideration before lending your support to this wind farm project. We are a locally-owned company and we value the relationship we have with our customers and the community. WATCH TV Co. has a long history serving the residents of Shelby County going back to 1992 when we first started with video service (in the days before DirectTV and DishNetwork).

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Mike Birkemeier

Chief Engineer

WATCH TV Co. / WATCH Communications



NEWS: Damaged Turbine Suspends Wind Energy Production

Paulding County, Ohio (Indiana's NewsCenter) - An Ohio wind farm is temporarily shut down following severe damage to one of the turbines.

The wind farm, Timber Road II, sits in Ohio just beyond the Indiana state line between Edgerton, Indiana, and Payne, Ohio.

Around 12:45 Tuesday afternoon, two blades on a turbine were damaged so severely that debris was sent raining down on the field below. No one was injured.

The owners, EDP Renewables, say while the investigation into what damaged the blades is ongoing, at this point it doesn't appear that strong winds were a factor.

A spokesperson for EDP tells Indiana's NewsCenter that all 55 of the wind farm's turbines were immediately shut down following the incident. Some were turned back on Wednesday as part of the investigation, but officials say it's unclear how long that investigation will take.

Robert Silliman of Antwerp, Ohio, was out taking pictures of the broken turbine on Wednesday. He says,"I saw this wreckage scattered quite a ways across the field and I was very surprised that it had gone that far. Of course, we had high winds yesterday."

EDP officials say each turbine is roughly worth $3million, but this turbine is still under warranty by the manufacturer, Vestas. They say Vestas is conducting their own root cause analysis, and is taking every step necessary to make sure similar problems don't arise in the future.

Wind energy is a booming business in some parts of the country, and EDP manages more than two dozen projects in the U.S. The turbines themselves, however, are a source of controversy for some.

Silliman says, "I think it's definitely going to fuel the debate issue and it's going to happen very soon too. When they get more facts I think it's going to make quite a difference as to how people are really going to look at this. I think there are some concerns about safety, because of the distance this wreckage was carried."

Meanwhile, EDP officials say they are committed to finding out what damaged the turbine and will utilize whatever amount of time and resources necessary.

At least one wind turbine is damaged in Ohio. Officials say they don't know the cause.

Could the wind be causing problems for wind turbines? Wind turbines are a big controversy around the Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio areas, and one of the biggest issues people have with them is the fear of things like ice flying off the blades, or worse, the blades falling off.

Indiana's NewsCenter got a call to our news room Tuesday night about turbines with broken blades.

Our crews found the damaged turbine, and people inspecting it near Payne, Ohio. There were several large pieces of the blades on the ground in a field.

One official says only one of the 55 turbines in the county is damaged. They say two of the blades broke off, but they're not sure what caused the damage or if any damage was caused by the blades.

INC is told that all 55 wind turbines have been turned off, and the damaged turbine has been blocked off. Maintenance crews are still looking into the issue. We'll have more details as they become available. For news source click here.


A word from Midwest Electric:

January 2011

For the past couple of weeks, we've received a number of phone calls seeking information and our opinion on area wind farms. So I would like to take this opportunity to share where Midwest Electric stands.

First, it is important to note that we truly are an unbiased entity in this debate. We are a distribution company, so we would not be competing against the wind farm. Nobody can claim, "Midwest Electric is against the wind farm because they're afraid of the competition." The wind farm is a generating company, not a distribution company; and we would continue to distribute the electricity regardless of the generating source.

Also, we are not-for-profit and customer-owned. So in one sense, we really don't care whether our power comes from a wind farm or a coal power plant. We simply want to get power from the most reliable and most economical electric generating source.  

Wind power does not meet either of those requirements.

Our concern is not so much with any specific development in Mercer County, or Van Wert County, or wherever. Our concern is with a misguided state and national energy policy that is forcing these unreliable and uneconomic systems on the backs of taxpayers and utility customers. So my comments here are not specifically addressed to the proposed local development.

Make no mistake, you will pay for these wind farms many times over. Quite simply, nobody is putting up a wind turbine with their own money. Local, state and federal governments are providing significant tax credits and subsidies in order to artificially support wind power. And we all know government money actually comes from you, the taxpayer.

Additionally, many state governments (including Ohio) are requiring electric utilities to generate or purchase a certain percentage of their power from renewable sources such as wind. So utilities have no choice but are forced to subsidize wind power; which means utility customers actually are the ones who are forced to buy wind power. Because of the high cost relative to the low output of electricity, the per unit cost (kilowatt hour) is three to four times higher than electricity from a standard power plant. Those higher costs will be reflected in energy rates.

The renewable energy standards, or government mandates, are arbitrary and are not based on science or economics but rather on a cute slogan. For example, 20 by 20, or 25 by 25, are common mandates; meaning a utility must get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2020 (or 25 percent by the year 2025). A state or national energy policy should not be based on a bumper sticker slogan.

The other myth - green jobs. Where are they? Have you seen a green job? And when your economic resources, and government's resources, and businesses' resources are transferred in order to artificially support renewable energy developers, will our economy see a net gain in employment? Spain, for example, is a leader in government transfer of wealth towards renewable energy, and electric rates are 55 percent higher than here and unemployment is 20 percent in Spain.

The other myth - saving the planet. As America becomes more dependent on wind farms (due to government subsidies and mandates) we will need additional fossil fuel generating capacity to "back-up" the wind farms due to their unreliable nature. People need electricity to be available at a moment's notice, at the flick of a switch. But we cannot count on wind farms to always be operating the way we can count on our traditional power plants. So we will need additional fossil fuel power plants to be up and running, so they're on-line in an instant when the wind farm fails. Not only is this an unnecessary duplication of cost, it also actually increases carbon emissions.

For example, Denmark is considered the world's most wind-intensive nation with 6,000 wind turbines generating 19% of its electricity. According to Flemming Nissen, a Danish energy executive, the country hasn't closed a single fossil-fuel plant. Plus, they have required 50 percent more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power's unpredictability. Pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone). "Wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions," Nissen said.  

In Germany, "CO2 emissions haven't been reduced by even a single gram," and additional coal- and gas- fired plants have been built to ensure reliability - Der Spiegel.

We cannot depend on wind farms to generate power when we need it. Story County Wind Energy Center, in Iowa, produced no electricity during the peak hours on July 21, 2011, which was the highest electric demand day in the history of the PJM transmission system. The lack of production highlights a major concern about wind turbines. Their electricity production typically falls during extreme heat - when utilities need it most. Also, their production is highest overnight and during months when electric demand is low.

From about 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., July 21, Story County produced zero kilowatt hours. The PJM transmission system peaked at 158,000 megaWatts between 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. that day. (PJM is the 13- state regional transmission network that Buckeye belongs to. Our wholesale power costs are set by the PJM market.) Located in central Iowa among the nation's best wind production areas , the wind farm has 100 commercial wind turbines.  

Midwest Electric supports reasonable research and development of alternative energy sources, and we have invested in some wind, solar and bio-mass projects. But electriciity - its cost and its availability - is too critical to your family, your community, your business and your livelihood to throw caution to the wind.

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