10/26/09 Got Turbine Problems? Who ya gonna call? WE Energies? Invenergy? or the PSC? And what does a Wisconsin dairy farmer have to say about it?
The PSC is now taking comments on the Glacier Hills Environmental Impact Statement. If you'd like to comment on the inadequacy of the 1000 foot setback built into this project, CLICK HERE.
To review the entire docket for this project CLICK HERE and enter docket number 6630-CE-302.
The following is a recent submission to the docket concerning setbacks.
To the Commission:
One thing that is not addressed in the EIS for the Glacier Hills project is what residents of the project can do when WE Energies does not respond to the inevitable complaints of noise, shadow flicker, leaking oil, and interrupted television and radio signals. Blue Sky/Green Field residents I have interviewed say the lack of complaint resolution has been a major problem which appears likely to continue if the PSC approves of the 1000 foot setbacks built into this project.
Residents who are desperate for help have approached WE Energies, local government, the county health department, legislators and the PSC with their complaints.
A few days ago a turbine located 1012 feet from the Dalka home near the Town of Malone was finally shut down after well over a year of persistent complaining about noise from a defective blade. WE Energies has denied the problem until just recently. My understanding is that it required PSC intervention to get WE Energies to act. One wonders if WE Energies would have acted at all if they weren't seeking approval from the PSC for this project.
(It's also my understanding that at least five turbines in the BS/GF project were leaking oil into the fields and there have been numerous complaints about this as well. Finally the DNR has come out to investigate.)
In the Oct. 26, 2008 edition of the Milwaukee Journal-Standard, [http://www.jsonline.com/business/65911402.html] Andy Hesselbach, the Glacier Hills project manager for We Energies says this:
“If "the sound or setback standards are modified in any material way, it is unlikely that this project will be developed, and moreover that any large-scale wind project will be built by any entity in the future in the state of Wisconsin," Hesselbach said. "The only option to utilize wind generation would be to develop projects in other states."
Mr. Hesselbach is also featured in a news segment speaking about the BS/GR project which ran on Milwaukees Channel Six. He says, "The very modest or meager impacts to the community of sound or shadow are insignificant in the grand scheme of the upside of the renewable technology" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiSpToi982A]
None of the families I've interviewed would say the impact of noise, shadow flicker and other turbine related problems has been modest, meager or insignificant. They feel the wind farm has had a negative impact on their quality of life. They say a larger setback would have made living in this wind farm more bearable. WE Energies 'grand scheme' of renewable technology in this case has resulted in a great deal of anger, frustration, and too many sleepless nights for residents of this wind farm.
I might add that the same complaints are coming from residents of Invenergy's "Forward Energy" wind farm.
Can the residents of Wisconsin rely on the PSC to put our health, safety and welfare first?
Will the PSC knowingly subject the residents of the proposed Glacier Hills wind farm to the same problems by approving this inadequate setback?
Or, now that the PSC is well aware of the problems caused by the 1000 foot setback and 50dbA noise limits (which I understand has been changed to a 50dbA "average" in the BS/GF joint development agreement--) will the commission act to prevent this damage from happening again in the Glacier Hills project?
Only a larger setback can mitigate turbine-related problems. That's the reality of the situation no matter what the 'grand scheme' may be.
Respectfully submitted by
(click on image below to see the news segment featuring Andy Hesselbach and residents of the BS/GF project)
PSC to Hold Public Hearings for Glacier Hills Wind Park
MADISON -- The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) will hold public hearings on Wisconsin Electric Power Company’s (WEPCO) application to construct The Glacier Hills Wind Park, a wind electric generation facility in the towns of Randolph and Scott in Columbia County.
The public hearings will be held Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Randolph Town Hall, 109 South Madison Street in Friesland with Administrative Law Judge Michael Newmark presiding.
WEPCO, doing business as We Energies, filed an application with the PSC on June 18, 2008, for approval to construct the electric generation facility. The project consists of 90 wind turbines with a total capacity of up to 207 megawatts (MW). The turbines would be located in a project area of approximately 17,300 acres and would be connected together by underground electrical cables. The wind farm would be connected to an existing 138 kilovolt (kV) electric transmission line that traverses the project area via a new interconnection substation.
Public comments on WEPCO’s application will be included in the record the Commission will review to make a decision. Citizens are encouraged to attend the public hearings. If you cannot attend the public hearings, but would like to provide comments, you can do so on the PSC’s website through October 28.
The following letter was written by Jerome Hlinak who is a Tisch Milles, Wisconsin, dairy farmer
23 October 2009
When reading articles from pro-wind people, you always find that wind energy is the solution to global warming, the energy crisis, job creation and financial problems for farmers that host the turbines.
Blinded by a feel-good solution for a problem that never existed, legislators are being misled into a belief that something like wind turbines will not have a negative effect on those who are left to live around them.
There is proof that the PSC standards are greatly flawed on wind projects already in operation, yet lawmakers had no problem taking away the power of local zoning on projects less than 100 MW of power.
To understand the problem you needed to be at the hearing in Madison on May 12, held by the Senate and Assembly Energy Committee.
If you were not there you were just like the majority of the committee members.
Out of 19 committee members, only four or five were there at any given time and most never showed up at all.
It was obvious that the pro-wind lobby, paid with your tax money from RENEW Wisconsin, had the minds of legislators on their side long before the hearing.
Several people that live near wind turbines gave first-hand testimony — to empty chairs of the committee — of the negative effects and problems they have. Some broke down in tears as they spoke of negative health effects on their families and their farm animals and that abandoning their homes was the only solution in the near future.
Because of financial situations, most are stuck living in a PSC-regulated hell with nowhere to turn and no one to listen.
There are those who think the PSC is not politically motivated.
With the governor appointing the three-member committee and Senate approving the confirmations, can anyone see no political motive?
The Energy Committee consists of mostly legislators that are from city districts and have no possibility of having turbines placed in their back yards.
Anyone want to bet that there will be no turbines located in lakes around the Capitol in Madison?
Who are the NIMBYs now?
Others will tell you that turbines create jobs and provide wealth for all involved. They don’t tell you that the cost of production of wind electricity will drive up electrical rates three to four times the current cost. How many businesses will be lost because of these added costs? Can our municipalities and homeowners afford these added costs?
I am tired of the false information given by LTC wind energy instructor Jenny Heinzen and Michael Vickerman of RENEW Wisconsin, and others in the wind industry.
Name-plate capacity is not actual generation.
Wind turbines are only 25 percent or lower in efficiency.
A household also uses four times more electricity than their calculations.
As a dairy farmer, I never claim my production is the gallons of capacity of my bulk tank, and that I can feed the world with that milk inside.
Millions of your tax dollars have been spent on the Farmland Preservation Program to preserve farmland from being developed.
The agricultural industry is the backbone of Wisconsin’s economic infrastructure. With the PSC in control of local zoning on wind energy, there will be no way for local governments to protect the land from destruction.
Legislators passed the Working Lands Proposal in the budget to penalize landowners who convert land out of the preservation program, but wind turbine developments are not included. I believe that eminent domain will be used by the PSC to place thousands of turbines.
I also believe funding of these turbines will be cut by lawmakers in future state and federal budgets, leaving those who have turbines on their land penniless and unable to farm.