5/31/11 Wind Farm Strong Arm Chapter 4,358: From Ontario: Message to wind company AND Columbia county towers going up.
“You’re fighting a losing battle, just get out,” one resident shouted.
The company has received approval from the city to build eight turbines on the mountain range, after threatening a $126-million lawsuit when city officials in October rejected the location of several turbines.
Instead, community members lined up to voice their opposition to the project. Some told stories about what the mountain meant to them and others gave promises to stand against Horizon no matter what.
“You’re fighting a losing battle, just get out,” one resident shouted.
Jordan Morriseau, 30, usually hunts in the fall and said the turbines would impact his traditional hunting grounds and cause damage to endangered species that live on and around the mountain. He’s fighting against the project for environmental and cultural reasons, he said.
“That’s prime moose habitat up there,” Morriseau said. “We live off moose, it’s one of our main foods. The wind farm would be detrimental to our way of life.”
The company has received approval from the city to build eight turbines on the mountain range, after threatening a $126-million lawsuit when city officials in October rejected the location of several turbines. The project must still meet the standards set out by the province, through a renewable energy approval application. The province has already rejected Horizon’s REA application once.
Alex Legarde shared Morriseau’s concerns about the project. Legarde said he had questions he wanted answered, wondering if building the turbines would destroy hunting grounds. He’s concerned because hunting and trapping are his livelihood, he said.
Legarde hoped the project wouldn’t go through, he said.
Shane Wells, 31, went to the mic to speak a few times. He said he doesn’t know much about wind turbines, but he does know his community doesn’t want them and felt the two spokespersons for the company didn’t care what the community had to say.
“They could have put an audio recorder down and said see you all tomorrow and I`ll take that back to my boss,” Wells said. “I`ll give them the recorder of what was said. Oh they don’t like it, well just throw it away.”
Wyatt Bannon, one of organizers of the meeting, said he’s just one voice of many representing people who oppose the project. Horizon Wind is trying to build in an area that is sacred to the community and that development has to stop, he said.
No matter Horizon decides, the community is prepared to do to stop them, he said.
“We`ll do whatever it takes,” Bannon said. “We will not let it happen. Anybody to even consider putting those things up in such a pristine area are ignorant to everything people have worked. You don’t go into a watershed. That’s a no-brainer. It’s to protect the water. For these guys its money but for us it’s a lot more. It’s life.”
Following the meeting, officials with Horizon Wind weren’t available for comment.
From Columbia County
WIND FARM TOWER SEGMENTS READY TO GO UP
May 31, 2011
By Lyn Jerde
“We’re building a project that not everybody wants in the community,”
TOWN OF SCOTT — How’s this for irony? The construction of the state’s largest wind energy facility is on hold, on account of wind.
The towers - the lower two components of them, anyway - were supposed to start piercing the skyline of northeastern Columbia County this week.
Instead, the components were, as of Thursday morning, lying on their sides, while the anemometers at the top of the cranes clocked wind speeds at about 40 mph. That’s about 15 mph too brisk for the safe construction of the towers.
It’s no surprise to Mike Strader of We Energies that breezes can get a tad gusty in these parts. That’s a key reason why We Energies is building the 90 turbine towers that will comprise Glacier Hills Wind Park on about farmland occupying about 17,300 acres in Columbia County’s towns of Randolph and Scott.
But, if the wind gusts to 25 mph or more, as it has all week, it’s not safe to erect the towers.
“What we can’t do is what we would love to do - put up those towers,” Strader said.
Starting Monday, plans had called for the arrival of the components of eight towers per day. The four segments of each tower would arrive, one at a time, from Manitowoc on trucks with about eight axles to distribute the weight evenly.
Many of the turbine blades have already arrived by rail from Colorado. Most are being stored, for now, on a town of Courtland parcel approved by Columbia County’s planning and zoning committee as a temporary staging area for the Glacier Hills project.
We Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze said that, for the most part, gawking at the construction will be discouraged, for the safety of the public and the workers, and because much of the technology is proprietary.
But the curiosity is understandable, she said, and an open house Wednesday is intended to satisfy that curiosity.
“A lot of people want to see these things,” she said. “This is a very good way let people get up close, without jeopardizing themselves and others.”
Strader said it had been hoped that at least the bottom two sections of a tower located near the construction office on Highway H, in the town of Scott, would have already been up by the time open house guests arrive Wednesday.
That doesn’t seem likely, given recent windy conditions, but it’s possible that people could see the components hoisted up Thursday.
Starting in the southeast quadrant of the construction area, Strader said, the base and “lower mid” segments of towers will be put up first.
The base component can be identified by a flange that sticks out around its bottom circumference. That’s the part that will be in contact with the ground, and held in place by grouting.
About six weeks after the bottom two segments of a tower go in, the top two segments will be installed. Also installed will be the nacelle (an enclosure at the top of each tower that contains the generator and transformer), the hub and the three blades.
The project is due to be finished in December, Strader said. He added that the wind delays so far have not put the project too far behind schedule - though there may be times when weather-delayed weekday work might have to be made up on Saturdays.
And yes, he said, some area people have let Glacier Hills construction workers know - sometimes by honked vehicle horns or shouts from vehicle windows - that they’re not happy about having 90 400-foot towers going up near where they live.
At the public hearings held before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin authorized the project - with conditions - residents raised health-related concerns. Concerns include low-level noise and shadow flicker, as well as loss of TV reception, dangers to birds and bats and challenges for landing helicopter ambulances in the project’s vicinity.
“We’re building a project that not everybody wants in the community,” Strader said. “But, if alternative energy is to be produced in Wisconsin, then wind is one of the most viable resources.”
Want a closer look? Open house set Wednesday
The public is invited to take a closer look Wednesday at the construction of Glacier Hills Wind Park - including the big components of the 90 wind turbine towers that are going up in the towns of Scott and Randolph.
We Energies will have an open house from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Glacier Hills construction office, N7844 Highway H, about a half-mile south of Highway 33 in the town of Scott.
In addition to viewing components and construction equipment, participants may sign their names to a turbine blade.
Officials of We Energies will be there to answer questions about the Glacier Hills project.
By the numbers
14: The approximate diameter, in feet, of the hollow space inside one of the Glacier Hills Wind Park towers, where there’s a ladder by which maintenance workers can access the towers.
138: The weight, in tons, of each completed tower.
148: The length, in feet, of each of the three turbine blades on each tower.
410: The height, in feet, from the ground to the top of the highest-reaching blade.
3: The number of quality checks that each turbine must pass before it’s operational. The turbines also will be inspected for safety periodically once they start generating electricity.
4: The number of sections in each tower.
56: The number of miles of underground trenching for the electrical distribution system within Glacier Hills. A lot of that is along Highway 33 just west of Cambria.
8: The number of axles on a truck that hauls a single segment of a turbine tower.
100 to 105: The number of feet high that the bottom two components of a tower - the base and the “lower mid” - stand once they’re assembled.
2: The number of towers per day that We Energies had hoped to build, starting Monday.
0: The number of towers that have been built as of Thursday.