10/5/10 Big Worries in St. Croix County about proposed project AND Chasing down the myth of the 'well funded' anti-wind groups AND Chapters 3,470 of "Wind Developers Behaving Badly" --Wind Goliath stomps on and laughs off local government law.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: The turbines mentioned in the story below will be close to 500 feet tall if blade tip length is included. The turbine height here is for hub height of the tower itself, minus the blades. Scroll down to the previous post to see a 500 foot turbine in a project now being constructed in the Town of Glenmore, Brown County by the same company proposing this project in St. Croix county.
RESIDENTS VOICING CONCERNS OVER WIND TURBINE PROJECT IN ST. CROIX COUNTY
SOURCE: WQOW TV, www.wqow.com
October 4 2010
Town of Forest (WQOW) – Much of our countryside is filled with cornfields and forests. Now, imagine the landscape dotted with wind turbines. That’s the picture being painted in one town and many people there are hot about it.
A Wisconsin energy company wants to build almost 40 wind turbines in the Town of Forest, that’s in St. Croix County. Each turbine would be more than 325 feet tall. Emerging Energy, LLC. has been exploring the idea for a few years and then in August, the town board approved the deal.
“We don’t feel there was a lot of information given at the township level to the citizens,” says Matt Radintz, a concerned resident.
That isn’t their only concern.
“We’re concerned about some of the effects of the wind turbines in our area,” says Radintz.
They’re talking about the shadows created – along with noise.
“We did hear the low frequency hum, it was a constant hum and with the turbines also a whoosh, it actually sounded like a jet plane going over head constantly, but you get the pulsating whoosh,” a woman who had recently visited a wind farm in Iowa told the crowd Sunday night.
The Town of Forest isn’t zoned, which is why residents feel their community was targeted for the project. The state is working on coming up with unified rules to address wind turbines, but because the project is already approved the town would be exempt.
“There are specific regulations right now that have yet to be determined at the state level, that will determine the setbacks and we feel that the reason this got pushed through is to get underneath those,” says Radintz.
Since the agreement was made, the group has held several meetings and hopes a petition can persuade the board to rethink the plan at least until there’s more information available.
“We want them to take a step back look at all the issues that we’re concerned about and put it on hold until we have some answers,” says Radintz.
WQOW News 18 spoke with an employee from Emerging Energy Monday. Bill Rakocy says the agreement in August was just the next step in getting the turbines built. The plan is to have them built no later than 2013. Rakocy says there were a couple of hearings held in 2008 and again this year about the project.
The project is part of an effort to have ten percent of the state’s energy come from renewable resources by 2015.
EXTRA CREDIT: Who is Bill Rakocy? He's developing the St. Croix project, but what else does he do?
From the TOWN OF MISHICOT
Office of the Town Clerk
618 Tisch Mills Road
Mishicot, WI 54228
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTED TO THE DOCKET ON JUNE 28, 2010
To whom it may concern:
At the annual meeting of the Town of Mishicot, on April 13th, 2010, it was brought to the attention of the people in attendance that the appointment of Bill Rakocy of Emerging Energies to the State Wind Siting Council should be terminated due to conflict of interest.
Emerging Energies has land under contract for seven wind turbines in the Town of Mishicot that has been denied by the Manitowoc County Wind Ordinance. By Bill Rakocy's own admission he has stated that he would benefit from a lesser setback on the standards. The standards of the PSC should be created to address health and safety with the back of engineering standards and not personal profit of wind developers.
This letter is sent in response to a majority vote of those in attendance at said annual meeting.
The Mishicot Town Board
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
At Wind Siting Council meetings, member Bill Rakocy has been vocal about wanting as few restrictions on his wind development business as possible.
Questions have been raised about wind siting concil members with financial interest in the outcome of the rules having a direct hand in creating them.
“We’re excited to develop as much wind [power] as we can in Wisconsin,” says partner Bill Rakocy."
“The permitting process is a rather long-term effort,” says Rakocy. “A conditional use permit is good for two years, typically, and it may take you all of that two years to get the balance of the project details put in place. And then there’s production tax credits available from the federal government, and if they expire in the midst of the project, all your work is for naught.”
SOURCE: "Wind Power's Wind Fall" Marketplace Magazine <http://www.marketplacemagazine.com/content/357_1.php>
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
In an Wisconsin State Journal article [8/15/10] regarding new wind rules, reporter Clay Barbour refers to 'well-funded anti-wind organizations' in Wisconsin.
Better Plan contacted Barbour several times to ask about his source for this statement, but received no reply.
Balbour's article also contains quotes from Barnaby Dinges, who furthers the myth of the well-funded anti wind organization with statements like this:
“This isn’t like any grass-roots opposition we have seen elsewhere,” he said. “These aren’t just concerned citizens going to meetings. These are mass mailings, billboards, full-page ads. It’s more professional and it costs a lot of money.”
Dinges, who is not identified in the article as the head of an Illinois public relations firm called "The Dinges Gang", has been hired by wind developer Invenergy to push its projects in Wisconsin. Dinges Gang clients also include Abbott Laboratories, Illinois Casino Gaming Association, Montsanto and Jim Beam.
In the same article, Jennifer Heinzen, who is identified as a wind siting council member, says, “I have my suspicions that they are getting help from some groups from outside the state, but that has never been confirmed,” she said, referencing persistent rumors of coal and natural gas companies helping to kill wind projects here.
Balbour's article fails to mention Heinzen is also president of RENEW Wisconsin, an organization which lobbies on behalf of wind development and accepts funding from 'tera watt' business sponsors' such as Alliant Energy, American Transmission Company, and We Energies. Like the Dinges Gang, RENEW also receives money from wind giant, Invenergy.
Why Balbour's article failed to identify Dinges and Heinzen's financial ties to Invernergy, and other corporate clients is unknown.
So how do local groups identified in Balbour's article as 'anti-wind' raise money?
Better Plan received this a few days ago.
Perhaps Clay Balbour will write a follow up story about how things are really done on a grass roots level in our state: old-fashioned community fund raisers and a lot of hard work by local residents.
FROM THE CALUMET COUNTY CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBLE ENERGY:
CCC4RE will be having our biggest fund raiser of the year in October: The Haunted Halloween Golf Cart Rides.
It's alot of work and many many people are involved to get this to work. Many volunteers will work all six nights and many work for days before getting it set up.
I'll be working all nights and will help set up on the 23rd. I work in the concession stand where we serve hot dogs, walking tacos, nachos, hot chocolate, apple cider and other goodies along with my husbands' outstanding chocolate chip cookies.
This helps to pay our bills. Let me know or if you have any other ideas.
Better Plan, Wisconsin hopes the event goes well and supports the true grass-roots efforts of the CCC4RE and all Badgers working to protect homes and families and wildlife and natural habitat from badly sited industrial scale wind turbines.
A bumper sticker we'd be glad to post on our car:
"I'd rather be riding a haunted golf cart in Calumet County in support of CCC4RE than living too close to a 500 foot wind turbine "
GOODHUE WIND SHRUGS OFF TOWNSHIP ORDER TO 'DESIST'
SOURCE: Finance & Commerce, finance-commerce.com
October 4, 2010
By Arundhati Parmar,
A proposed wind-energy project in southeastern Minnesota is pitting a local township’s board against the wind farm’s developers.
Last week, the Belle Creek Township board’s attorney sent a “cease and desist” letter to AWA Goodhue LLC, the developer of a 32,500-acre wind-turbine project in Goodhue County. The letter states that the developers have been doing construction work within the borders of the township in violation of an interim ordinance that the board approved earlier this summer.
On Friday, AWA Goodhue Wind’s attorney responded by essentially questioning whether the interim ordinance the board approved has any legal force under Minnesota law.
Minneapolis-based National Wind is the local developer of AWA Goodhue LLC, which is managing the project that aims to build 50 turbines. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) and Goodhue County board of commissioners approved the project earlier this year, but it ran into opposition from residents who live near the 32,700-acre site