2/3/11 POST UPDATED at 5:00pm WALKER'S WIND BILL IS DEAD and Hey Mister, you want to buy a Wisconsin wind project that isn't even finished yet? AND Wait a minute, how big are those turbines again? AND Tell it to the Judge: Wind lawsuit in Ontairo update
WALKER'S WIND BILL DEAD
February 3, 2010
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to toughen wind turbine regulations will not be taken up by the Legislature in a special session the governor called to pass that bill and others, the Associated Press was told Thursday by spokesman for legislative leaders.
The demise of the bill mark’s Walker’s first legislative defeat in an incredibly successful first month in office.
The bill was introduced at Walker’s request as part of a special session call he made to pass 10 bills he said will help spur job creation. The other nine have passed one or both houses of the Legislature and four have been signed into law.
But the wind bill never was even scheduled for a public hearing.
The bill is dead for now, but might be revived later in the session, said Chris Reader, chief of staff for Sen. Rich Zipperer, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that had the bill.
“It’s just an issue the Legislature wants to take a longer, more thoughtful look at,” said Andrew Welhouse, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. “We don’t have any immediate plans to move the special session bill, but the issue certainly isn’t going anywhere.”
Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Leaders in the Assembly also did not immediately return calls, but the bill has not been scheduled for a hearing there.
Walker, a Republican, has worked incredibly closely and well with the Republican-controlled Legislature.
But that strong relationship wasn’t enough to rescue the wind bill, which drew vociferous opposition from those in the industry who said it would constitute the greatest regulatory barrier in the country.
Currently, turbines must be built at least 1,250 feet from nearby homes. But under Walker’s plan, they would have to be built at least 1,800 feet away.
Renew Wisconsin, which has tracked the growth of the state’s renewable sector, had said as much as $1.8 billion in investment may be at stake if every state wind farm now in the planning stage is halted.
Denise Bode, of the American Wind Energy Association, said the requirement would have put a “closed for business” sign on Wisconsin for wind development.
Walker had argued his proposal would have benefited property owners. The idea had garnered support from the Wisconsin Realtors Association, which said it was needed to protect homeowners near wind turbines.
BROWN COUNTY WIND PROJECT ISN'T DONE YET, BUT IT'S ALREADY FOR SALE:
SHIRLEY 'UN-WINDS' ---SHIRLEY WIND PROJECT FOR SALE, DEVELOPERS STILL KEEN ON ADDRESSING RESIDENTS CONCERNS.
SOURCE: The Denmark News, thedenmarknews.com
February 3, 2010
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation (CHG&E) of Poughkieepsie, NY, which owns roughly ninety percent of the Shirley Wind Project, has begun the process of selling the 20 MW energy production facility.
The project has yet to even be completed and already the utility is courting buyers, although they say the move has more to do with a shift in corporate strategy versus the pros and cons of the Shirley installation itself.
John Maserjian, CHG&E spokesman for the Shirley WInd project confirms, "That is true. In October our Board of Directors announced a change in strategy for CH Energy Group and we're looking to refocus the company on our utility operations in New York and also our fuel distribution operations in the Mid-Atlantic area. So we're looking to 'unwind' our investments in renewable energies including the Shirley Wind investment. We're moving in that direction. We're not at the point where we can announce any prospects or interest, but we're taking the preliminary steps."
CHG&E also has minority investments of about $5 million in two other wind projects, a 7.5 MWt wind farm located in Atlantic City, NY and a 24 MW facility in Bear Creek, PA. Maserjian says CHG&E us 'unwinding' (a fancy term for selling) all of their investments in renewable, not just the Shirley project.
"There's a biomass plant in upstate New York that produces steam and electricity from wood products that located near a lumbering site that's for sale as well. We also have an interest in an ethanol plant in Nebraska that will be sold," he said.
In a press release dated October 28 2018, just under two weeks before the quiet ribbon cutting for the Shirley Wind facility, CHG&E Chairman of the Board, President and C.E.O. Steven V. Lant said "[W]e have concluded that we do not possess the same strong competencies and competitive advantages in renewable energy.
These investments do not typically display the risk and return profiles that are consistent with our financial objectives, requiring higher levels of leverage and more volatility than we are comfortable with. As we announced last quarter, we have discontinued development efforts in this area, and we will no begin to unwind the existing investment portfolio in an orderly manner."
The unexpected news will probably excite wind farm critics, who in addition to any number of personal concerns, have called wind turbine development a costly mistake. Many critics of the subsidized fledgling wind industry claim the costs associated with wind energy raise the flag of increased electricity prices as well as irrecoverable tax moneys used to spur development.
Bill Rakocy, one of the founders of the project developer Emerging Energies LLP, declined to comment on the impending sale, but the move appears to be somewhat unexpected.
Maserjian continues, "It was not our intention to sell the project when we first made the investment, but over the course of the year we re-evaluated our strategy and our operations and decided that it would be in the best interest of our investors to sell, or 'unwind' our renewable energy investments.
THESE ARE NOT YOUR GRANDMA'S WINDMILLS
SOURCE: Janesville Gazette, gazettextra.com
February 3, 2011
By DOUG ZWEIZIG,
Why does Gov. Scott Walker’s wind siting bill include a 1,800-foot setback between wind turbines and property lines? Because the newest industrial wind turbines in our state are 50 stories tall. It’s hard enough to imagine living next to a structure that big. Now add blades that weigh 18 tons with a span wider than a 747, a top speed of about 170 mph, spinning 24/7 just 1,250 feet from your door.
Imagine living with turbine noise that is twice as loud as the World Health Organization’s limit for healthful sleep. Imagine 700 feet of your land used by a wind company without your permission and without compensation. Imagine a loss of property value as high as 40 percent.
Unfortunately on March 1, unless Walker’s bill passes, this will become a reality. That’s when the new state Public Service Commission’s wind siting rules take effect.
I served as vice chairman of the PSC’s Wind Siting Council. The majority of the council had a direct financial interest in the outcome of the rules, resulting in guidelines that protect those interests instead of protecting Wisconsin residents. I helped author a minority report to the PSC, detailing how the majority’s guidelines fail to address the realities of the effects of large wind turbines on nearby populations.
Wisconsin residents have been living with turbines of the 400-foot to 500-foot variety for only a few years, but the problems with PSC setbacks once thought to be adequate have become very clear. Neighbors of wind projects traveled to Madison to give sworn testimony to the PSC and to our legislators, telling of turbine noise much louder than expected, of sleep deprivation and resulting deterioration of health, of headaches from shadow-flicker, loss of TV and radio reception, complaints to wind companies that are ignored, communities torn apart and homes that simply will not sell.
The PSC rules will allow wind companies to put a turbine 440 feet from your property line and claim about 700 feet of your land for use as their safety zone. It’s still your property, but you can’t build a structure or plant trees there without the wind company’s permission.
All of these problems can be avoided with greater setbacks.
Gov. Walker’s bill puts a setback of 1,800 feet between a turbine and your property line. If a company wants to put a turbine closer, it absolutely can. The difference is it will need your permission and might have to compensate you. The bill ensures that a wind company can’t take your property for its use unless you want it to.
Although the bill does not directly address the very real health concerns associated with living too close to wind turbines, it gives us increased protection from turbine noise and shadow flicker and protects our property. Most important, it gives us some choice.
I hope you’ll call your legislators and ask them to support Walker’s bill. If we put turbines where they do no harm, everyone will be happy.
Doug Zweizig of Evansville served as vice chairman of the state Public Service Commission’s Wind Siting Council.
TURBINES GET LOUDER AT NIGHT: ACOUSTICIAN
February 3, 2010
By Ellwood Shreve
CHATHAM - Wind turbines make more noise at night, according to acoustics expert Rick James.
James provided testimony during the second day of an Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal, held in the council chamber of the Chatham-Kent Civic Centre. He testified on behalf of appellants Katie Erickson and Chatham-Kent Wind Action Inc., who are opposed to the approval of the Kent Breeze Wind Farm in Thamesville, owned by Suncor.
An appeal has been launched against the wind farm project, which is the first to be approved under the Ontario Green Energy Act, on the basis it will cause harm to human health such as sleep disturbances, stress or psychological stress, headaches and loss of enjoyment of life.
James said he has measured differences in sound levels at night and the daytime at other wind farms as well as examined other studies on how the wind speed affects turbine blades at different levels in the rotation.
"It's not that the wind speed changes, it's that the difference in the wind speed at different points in the blade's rotation may be great enough that it's not possible to set that blade at an angle that is optimal for energy extraction," James said.
He said in engineering terms, noise is wasted energy.
"When we get to where the blade is in those positions where it's not at the optimum angle to extract energy we get a little extra noise off of it," James said. "The more out of alignment the more noise we get."
He said in the daytime a blade being out of alignment only increases noise by one, two or three extra decibels.
At night, when there are less sounds from other sources to mask the noise, the difference in wind speeds hitting different points in the blade's rotation can create a thump or a deep whoosh sound, much more intense than what is experienced in the daytime. He noted this could be a 10-to 14-decibel increase.
James studied the Kent Breeze Wind Farm area and figures more than 100 homes in the area of where the eight turbines are to be located will be above the 40-decibel at nighttime, if the increased noise level is factored in.
Albert Engel, lawyer for Suncor, said if the company or another proponent finds that a turbine is exceeding an acceptable noise level, action can be taken to reduce the noise.
James said he is not aware of any mitigation efforts that have reduced the increase in nighttime noise caused by wind turbines.
Andrea Huckins, co-counsel for the Ministry of Environment, pointed out James doesn't have the medical qualifications to make any conclusions that human health will be affected by the Kent Breeze Wind Farm.
James said he doesn't need a medical designation to know people who have been put in a similar situation have made health complaints.
Both Engel and Huckins tried unsuccessfully to convince the tribunal to not allow James to stand as an expert witness, claiming his bias as a board of director of the Society for Wind Vigilance, and the fact he has testified on behalf of several clients opposing wind farms.
The tribunal resumes Feb. 9-11 in Toronto, returning to Chatham Feb. 15-16. Sessions will be held in Toronto March 2, 4,11, 25, then in Chatham March 22, 23, 29-31.
Some appelants' witnesses will testify in-camera.
Eric Gillespie, lawyer representing the appellants said some information that certain witnesses would like to present is part of a study recently completed in Maine, which looked at the relationship between the location of industrial turbines and health effects on residents.
Noting it is believed to be a first of its kind, Gillespie said the authors of the study want it to try to have it published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. He added if the information is publicly disseminated through a legal proceeding or other mechanism it could hinder having it published, because it becomes "yesterday's news."