6/22/10 When the majority of the Wind Siting Council Members have a direct or indirect financial interest in as few regulations as possible, money talks, direct experience, health, safety and property values walk AND Have your say: PSC schedules hearings on the new draft rules for siting wind turbines.... which look an awful lot like the old rules that have caused so much trouble.
Click on the images above to hear nighttime turbine noise and see what shadow flicker looks like. The Wind Siting Council draft rules say 20-25 hours of this each year is permissible on non-participating homes. If there is more than this, the developer or operator will give you window blinds.
Dissent delays wind council’s progress
June 22, 2010
Deadline pressure and 100 amendments are cracking the unity of the state‘s Wind Siting Council as it strives to agree on turbine placement standards.
Even the definition of agreement is a point of contention among the 15 members. The state law that formed the council requires only that the panel make recommendations that will go to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and, ultimately, the state Legislature.
But some council members insist they will testify against recommendations not based on a consensus vote.
“I told them they can come in with studies and articles and hearsay,” said Larry Wunsch, a Brownsville resident and council member. “I come in with experience. I live in a wind farm, and I can tell you what it looks like and how it sounds.
“But if they’re going to go with majority rule, then, yeah, I would argue against it at future hearings.”
The council is designed to establish turbine placement standards for wind farms that generate less than 100 megawatts of electricity. The PSC already reviews wind farms that generate more than 100 megawatts.
The PSC intends to finalize rules based on the council’s recommendations by Sept. 1, PSC spokeswoman Teresa Weidemann-Smith said.
Public hearings on draft rules begin next week, and the public comment period for recommendations ends July 7.
That puts the council on a tight timeline to finish its work, said Michael Vickerman, a member of the council and executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization focused on clean energy.
The council also is working through 100 amendments members proposed for the draft rules. But George Krause Jr., a council member, said the panel is moving through those amendments too fast.
“If we’re going to put something together, we need the proper time to get something done,” he said. “This is a very challenging process, and I’ve found this to be a very, very challenging council to sit on.”
But disagreement over amendments such as setbacks from property lines — rather than from buildings — is slowing the council’s progress. Although some members on Monday argued for property lines, the majority sided with setbacks from buildings.
Wunsch, who wanted setbacks from property lines, said similar divisions are forming around many council discussions. The final product, he said, could be based on the majority’s opinion rather than the full council’s.
“When it comes to property values, setback, sound and shadow flicker, I don’t think there’s going to be consensus,” Wunsch said. “I think it’s a pro-wind heavy council. I’m not there to say I’m anti-wind. I think we’ve had some good dialogue. But we have to address every issue.”
Tom Meyer, another commission member, said he too would oppose a final rule based on majority rather than consensus.
“I don’t think our role is to make turbine business easier in Wisconsin,” he said. “It’s to make rules. This isn’t a matter of compromise; it’s a matter of science.”
Vickerman said he doubts there will be consensus. But, he said, the council represents a wide array of experience and interest, and the PSC and Legislature must take that into account when approving rules for wind turbine placement.
“Those who oppose wind have already made their minds up,” Vickerman said. “We can have a dialogue with them, but I don’t think we can have a meeting of the minds.”
HEARINGS SET ON WIND PROJECT SITING RULES
SOURCE: Journal Sentinel, www.jsonline.com
June 22, 2010
By Thomas Content
Public hearings are planned next week on a proposal aimed at adopting uniform siting rules for wind power projects in the state.
The public hearings and a rulemaking are part of a process launched by the state Legislature when it passed a uniform siting law last year. The legislation essentially delegated to the Public Service Commission decisions on the thorny and controversial questions raised by supporters and opponents of wind power projects at hearings in the Legislature last year.
Questions that must be resolved include how far a wind turbine must be placed from a nearby property or home, and what maximum noise standards should be. The PSC has released an initial proposal for public comment, and an advisory council created by the legislation is also studying the issue.
Public hearings will take place Monday in Fond du Lac, Tuesday, June 29 in Tomah and Wednesday in Madison. Hearings will begin at 1 and 6 p.m. each day. More details about the hearings can be found here.
The legislation was aimed at replacing a patchwork of different rules and moratoriums that have been imposed by counties and towns around the state for small wind power projects.
HAVE YOU REACHED OUT AND TOUCHED YOUR PSC TODAY?
The PSC is asking for public comment on the recently approved draft siting rules. The deadline for comment is July 7th, 2010.
The setback recommended in this draft is 1250 feet from non-participating homes, 500 feet from property lines.