Entries in We Energies wind (5)
10/14/10 On being a red square in a yellow circle: A wind siting council member weighs in on the real cost of Wisconsin wind farms AND Wind Turbines Too Loud? Sorry Charlie, ain't a lot we can do for you now.
HOW MANY RESIDENTS WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE NEW WIND SITING RULES?
The red squares in the yellow circles on the map above represent non-participating homes in the WeEnergies Glacier Hills wind project currently under construction in Columbia County.
The larger red dots are the turbine locations. [Scroll down to see more detailed maps.]
The new wind rules adopted by the Public Service Commission have the same setbacks from homes as were used for this project.
One difference is the PSC required WeEnergies to offer to buy two homes in the project because seven turbines were to be located within half a mile.
The new rules do not include this sort of protection. Chairman Eric Callisto said by law homeowners have the right to sue the wind developer/owner and he felt that was all the protection they needed.
Although Wisconsin wind farm residents who have been forced to try to sell their homes because of turbine noise and shadow flicker have found no buyers, local wind developers say 400 to 500 foot tall wind turbines located less than 1500 feet a home have no impact on property values.
[CLICK HERE to watch Wisconsin Eye video: During the panel discussion, WPPI vice president Dan Ebert and WeEnergy's head of wind development Andy Hesselbach explain why turbines do not affect property value. ]
Developers also say Wind energy is the cheapest way to get renewable energy and cite surveys which indicate stong public support for wind power.
Wind siting council member and Wisconsin realtor Tom Meyer weighs in on the matter.
This is not a question of whether or not people like, or favor "wind" as the lobbyists try to argue. Everyone likes wind, sun, water, earth.
The issue is this: The total cost of generating energy by the use of 400 and 500 foot tall turbines in Wisconsin’s rural communities.
Developers admit that they cannot get investors, who are primarily foreign investors, to put their money up unless the costs of access to the land are depressed.
To get the biggest area to install the highest number of 400 to 500 foot tall turbines, the developer needs to have the greatest access to the most land and compensate the fewest people with the least dollars.
The developer does not need your land, he needs to get one foot [away] from your land.
Every foot the developer is made to move away from a landowner whom he does not have to compensate, adds cost to the developer and reduces the bottom line to investors.
Every dollar spent to gain access to the right to disturbing the peace of a landowner reduces the bottom line.
For wind turbines to be profitable, the industry could improve the technology or depress the cost of access to the land.
By their actions, they prove they believe depressing land costs is more favorable than investing in improving the technology.
Their answer to improved technology is taller and more intrusive. That's not a real solution.
If the turbine can't produce energy without imposing on neighbors, there is no reason to spoil the earth, and threaten the water, and block the sun, to catch the wind.
Wisconsin Wind Siting Council Member
NOTE: Tom Meyer was one of the authors of the minority report from the wind siting council. The report details why some council members strongly disagree with the recommendations sent forth to the Public Service Commission.
CLICK HERE to read about a Fond du Lac County home (pictured above) in the WeEnergies wind project that appraised for $320,000 just before the turbines went up. The owners were unable to sell the home and abandoned it because of turbine noise and vibration. It was auctioned at a sheriffs sale with an opening bid of $107,000. There were no takers. The home has been empty for nearly a year.
Below, detail maps of non-participating residences in WeEnergies Glacier Hills Project
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
The project mentioned below was sited with the same setbacks and noise limits used to site the We Energies Glacier Hills project. (Detail maps above)
NO EASY SOLUTION TO WIND TURBINE PROBLEM
The Associated Press
VINALHAVEN, Maine (AP) -- The CEO of the electric cooperative that installed wind turbines on Maine's Vinalhaven island says there's disagreement over data suggesting they're too noisy. Fox Island Wind CEO George Baker says his experts dispute the findings of a Department of Environmental Protection consultant who says the turbines violate nighttime noise limits. State law sets a 45-decibel limit. Baker says his experts believe it was ambient noise from wind rustling through trees that exceeded 45 decibels, not the turbines themselves. Baker says it'll be a difficult issue to resolve. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that slowing the turbine blades to lower the noise level by a couple of decibels may not make appease critics. And lowering it further could hurt the economic viability of the project.
VINALHAVEN, Maine (AP) -- The CEO of the electric cooperative that installed wind turbines on Maine's Vinalhaven island says there's disagreement over data suggesting they're too noisy.
Fox Island Wind CEO George Baker says his experts dispute the findings of a Department of Environmental Protection consultant who says the turbines violate nighttime noise limits.
State law sets a 45-decibel limit. Baker says his experts believe it was ambient noise from wind rustling through trees that exceeded 45 decibels, not the turbines themselves.
Baker says it'll be a difficult issue to resolve. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that slowing the turbine blades to lower the noise level by a couple of decibels may not make appease critics. And lowering it further could hurt the economic viability of the project.
8/24/10 TRIPLE FEATURE What the commissioners said at yesterday's PSC meeting and what the people are saying back AND Wisconsin resident walks us through a wind contract AND What made We Energies call the police?
Their Money or Your Life? PSC Commissioners weigh wind developers financial needs against residents health and safety
Better Plan, Wisconsin
August 24, 2010
MADISON- Although Public Service Commissioner Lauren Azar made it clear she believes a small number of Wisconsin wind farm residents are suffering from turbine noise related sleep deprivation and associated health impacts, in the end she seemed to go along with Chairman Eric Callisto and Commissioner Mark Meyer in sticking to the same noise limits residents have been complaining about: 50 decibels during the day and 45 decibels during the night.
At the previous meeting on Thursday, Azar had suggested a setback of 2200 feet and a nighttime noise limit of 40 decibels, which she referenced as the World Health Organization's nighttime noise standard. [Note: The World Health Organization's nighttime noise standard was recently lowered to 35 decibels.]
Azar said the basis for the 2200 foot setback was information given to her by PSC staff regarding the setback distance required to reach 45 decibels. Her proposal was for developers to use a 2200 foot setback unless they could prove they could come closer and still meet noise and shadow flicker standards.
Chairman Callisto made it clear he would not go along with this. Commissioner Meyer also indicated he rejected this idea.
Callisto recommended a setback of 3.1 times the blade tip height or about 1250 feet for a 400 foot tall turbine, although his basis for choosing the 3.1 figure was not stated and is unknown.
Callisto also said that should problems come up for residents, they have recourse though the legal system and can sue the developer.
Azar pointed out that bringing a lawsuit against a wind company would put an unrealistic financial burden on nearly any family. She estimated the cost of such a lawsuit as being at least $200,000, and stressed that the commission had the opportunity to build protection for residents into the rules.
Throughout the discussion all three commissioners expressed clear concern for wind developers needs, and repeatedly indicated distrust of local government.
Only Commissionar Azar expressed concern for impacts on residents. She also indicated concern about impacts on wildlife and domestic animals.
Commissioners agreed that shadow flicker impacts to non participating homes should be 30 hours per year. The basis for this number was not stated.
They agreed that non-participating homes with more than 20 hours of flicker per year should be eligible for 'mitigation' from the wind company. Usually this means window blinds.
What happens when shadow flicker lasts over 30 hours created a sticking point in the discussion.
Azar felt going over the 30 hour limit would require curtailment of the turbine. The possibility of required curtailment of a turbine-- which can mean anything from feathering the blades to stopping the turbine completely-- is a sore subject for wind developers.
Commissioner Meyer seemed troubled by the possibility of required curtailment for violating shadow flicker standards and asked the commissioners to think of another option.
The next meeting is scheduled for 8:00AM, Wednesday, August 25th, at the Public Service Commission.
Live audio of the meeting will be broadcast over the web. CLICK HERE to visit the PSC website, click on the button on the left that says "Live Broadcast" to listen. Sometimes the meetings don't begin right on time. The broadcasts begin when the meetings do so keep checking back if you don't hear anything at the appointed start time.
SECOND FEATURE: FROM THE PSC DOCKET: 1-AC-231
Wisconsin residents contact PSC about discussions on windsiting rules.
You made a comment at the end of your broadcast for us to call in our comments, well when I called the lady that answered said she thought you were joking.
... I did not think that was funny, so I emailed you a letter. I sure hope you read every one you get and share them with the other commissioners.
½ mile setbacks from nonparticipant'a property line and that’s not a joke. Take your time and think about what you’re doing and how many lives are depending on that all 3 of you to do the right thing for the state of Wisconsin.
From: Mike Winkler
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 8:49 AM
To: Heilman, Alice - PSC
Subject: tower setback
1000' is not enough setback from a home. My brother has a tower that was put (accidentally) 880' from his house. Although he is "gagged" from saying anything about it, I am not.
I can tell you that even at 1100' from the tower the noise is loud enough to be agitating during the day, and it downright impossible to sleep through it at night...
People's lives are being affected, and degraded in quality. Why don't the wind profiteers and the PSC care?
Isn't Wisconsin worthwhile enough to save these innocent people's way of life?
Fond du Lac
To the Public Service commission:
As a father of 2 boys, I am alarmed that instead of doing the necessary independent studies to determine the health risks of industrial wind turbines in close proximity to our homes, the suggestion was made to offer compensation to affected neighbors?
How could a parent take money when the health of their family is at risk?
How can the PSC even make this suggestion?
I commend Commissioner Azar for having the courage to recognize the need for "at least" a 2200 ft setback......Our families support for any industrial wind project that jeopardizes our health and safety is not dependent on any dollar amount.
It is time for the PSC to evaluate industrial wind projects based on the health and safety of our families, not political direction.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my concerns with the wind siting draft rules. I have been listening to every siting council meeting as well as the past two PSC meetings. I do have the following concerns.
1) 128.14 (4) Line 15-20. Compliance Page 18: I will feel better if noise testing is done by an independent 3rd party, NOT THE DEVELOPER/OWNER. What other industry is allowed to be its` own testing resource?
The draft also states that if the test shows compliance, another test can't be done for two years.
What if the test was not done on the night that the noise complaint was made or if the test was not accurate? A person should not have to continue to suffer for 2 more years.
The developer or owner should not be conducting the test. It should be a 3rd party. Otherwise who determines if the test was fair and accurate? The testing needs to be verified or done by more than one source to protect the landowner.
2)128.14 Noise Criteria. Page 16: I would like to ask if testing will be done at night and the specific night of the complaint?
I have serious concerns as to why low frequency noise and measurement has not been addressed. The 45dba limit will not cover this serious issue.
3) 128.14 (C) Compliance: Page 19 Pre and post construction testing must also be done by a 3rd party, not the developer or owner. This is to prevent any conflict or problems from happening in the first place to reduce the need for mitigation.
Basically any testing referenced in the draft should be done by a 3rd party, never the developer. Please keep in mind, they are not a utility and not regulated as the utility industry is.
4) Existing property uses: I feel strongly that vacant land zoned for residential building should be considered, not just those with building permits.
What if someone is planning to build a year or two down the road because they are just in the planning stages, which can take years? My husband and I worked on our home plans for 3-4 years after we purchased our property and then went for a building permit. Or if someone is planning a retirement home in 5 or 10 years?
Many, including my neighbor have every intention of building sometime in the near future. He specifically is waiting for his home to sell and will not get a permit until it does. We have friends that own land and will build when they are able to financially.
If a parcel is already zoned for building a home, accommodations should be made. Having setbacks from property lines rather than homes, would resolve this issue. This is what was done in Manitowoc County. Setbacks were made from property lines to prevent a "taking."
I agree with the fact that a developer should be required to purchase homes of non-participating landowners that are negatively affected. No one should have to be forced from their home and lose the value in their property.
If the developer feels the turbines do not affect property values, they can buy and sell the home. If a non-participant is going to be considered a participant for accepting a payment only a 1/3 of a participating landowner and not be able to have mitigation, no one will sign on for that.
Those fighting for their health and safety will not take money in lieu of their quality of life.
5) Residence: What about cottages/vacation homes. While they are not used year round, they are either used frequently and some people spend entire summers at these. Especially along the lakeshore area and Lake Winnebago, Door County etc.
I would like to suggest that "Occupied Community Building" include other things that are common in rural areas such as business`s, Sportsman's clubs, Town Halls, Golf Course Club Houses/Golf Course, some of these host weddings, Business's, i.e.: gas stations, restaurants, and other business's. All of these are located in rural areas and have people present at least as or more often than a church or place of worship.
This is also in Setback table, page 14. People that use these facilities, especially those that spend all day working at them, deserve the same protection as those that go to a church service.
6) Setback Table: What about "safety setbacks" to County, State, and Federal parks and campgrounds. People picnic and sleep in campgrounds which are located in many parks and there should be" safety setbacks" to those areas.
I feel safety setbacks should be to non participating property lines for noise and shadow flicker to prevent a takings.
I feel someone should be safe from harm anywhere on their property, not just in their home.
People in rural areas spend a lot of time outdoors. Vestas recommends a 1300ft safety setback in case of fire, but the siting council majority wants to stay with 1000ft. It what other industry do we disregard recommended safety protocol?
I agree with Commissioner Azar to set the 2200 ft setback for noise to help make sure the 45dba is met. If staff has found that is what is necessary, it will be a safety net and would be sensible to use that number for a noise setback.
We do not know how dependable the computer modeling is and if a developer can be trusted to be honest. I also feel any computer modeling should be verified by an independent 3rd party. If they can prove with verification that they can go less, then so be it.
The modeling used in Fond du lac County has proven to be completely inaccurate and that it can`t be depended on.
While I really feel a 5 over ambient is the fair way to go for a noise limit, because most rural areas where turbines will be located average 25-30 at night. If the World Health Organization recommends a general 40dba noise limit, why should there be a 45dba limit?
We listen to WHO for recommendations on other health recommendations ie:flu shots, so why are we not heading their recommendation here?
7) 128.16 line 18. Signal Interference: (b) Line 20-22, and line 2 of next page, line of sight. What width is the corridor? The following is from the Manitowoc County Ordinance: A large wind energy system or met tower may not be located within an emergency communication corridor, which is defined as the area within 500 feet of a line connecting a specified pair of communication towers. Each of the following pairs of communication towers, whose locations are described using Manitowoc County coordinates, delineate a protected emergency communication corridor. (3) A large wind energy system or met tower may not be located within one mile of any communication tower location identified in sub. (2).
The following is from the White Paper done for Manitowoc County, which was used to address the section in the ordinance. "I would not want a user to build a critical communications tower in a wind farm unless the windmills were at least ½ mile away--better yet a mile.
8) I feel that financial assurance should be provided at time of permit application, not when construction starts. You want to make sure a developer is financially capable upfront before agencies are required to do planning work at the taxpayer`s expense. If you are trying to take out a mortgage, the bank wants proof you can afford it before you move in not after. A credit check is done before anything else.
The developer should be required to give the municipalities at least 60 days notice prior to them selling or transferring a controlling interest to another entity. Municipalities should also be granted the authority to deny such a change in ownership if the developer is unable to provide proof of adequate financial resources in the new entity (e.g. for decommissioning). Developers can change ownerships to various LLCs, where they eventually are just shell corporations that have no assets, cannot be sued, and just fold.]
I agree with Commissioner Azar that decommissioning money should not be in the form of a letter of credit that can expire. If Navitas Energy, which was sold to Babcock and Brown would have built the wind farm in Manitowoc County, the county would now be up a creek because letters of credit must be renewed on a yearly basis, and Babcock and Brown went bankrupt.
I would also like the hosting landowner take some responsibility for what he is taking on. This is from the Manitowoc County ordinance: Statement signed by the landowner acknowledging that the landowner is financially responsible if the owner fails to reclaim the site as required by sec. 24.10(4) and that any removal and reclamation costs incurred by the county will become a lien on the property and may be collected from the landowner in the same manner as property taxes.
9) 128.13 (c) Siting Criteria Page 15: Who defines hardships?
10) Real Property Provisions, Page 9: I would like to suggest leaving this section in.
Unlike real estate agents, wind developers are not regulated by anyone. They have been known to lie to landowners to get them to sign up. They recently told a landowner in Sheboygan that no one in Fond du Lac is having problems with noise, etc. We know that is not true.
While common sense would tell you that you should have an attorney look at anything before you sign, these landowners are quite often older people who are used to taking care of business with a hand shake.
There should be someone overseeing the people that are signing up landowners that are not being told the whole truth. Again, these developers are not regulated and basically have no one looking over their shoulders to make sure they are doing things legally and morally. The consumer/landowner deserves some sort of protection from the developers.
There has to be some legal recourse, especially if they are being lied to, to get them to sign on the dotted line of a document they have no way out of. These landowners are being told there are no issues with the turbines, but yet the leases have gag orders stating if they have problems with noise or shadow flicker, they can`t tell anyone or can`t seek mitigation. Now does that seem right? Please talk to some people that turned down developers or are trying to get out of leases.
11) 128.33 (1) (2) Political Subdivision: Page 45 Require a developer or owner to cooperate with any study coordinated by the commission or the DNR of the effects of wind energy systems on wildlife populations and natural resources. Is there going to be any study on the effects on people?
We already know there are problems with negative effects in the existing wind farms. I would like to ask you to slow this process down and take the time you need to think this out as it sure seems to be rushed. Once these are up, it is not like a car that can be recalled and fixed. They are up for the next 30 years.
The best mitigation is done in the rule planning stages. Please err on the side of caution. If engineers need to design a bridge to carry 2 tons, they spec it to carry 3 or 4 tons. It seems we are setting limits here at the bare minimum rather than taking necessary precautions and that is asking for trouble. Please visit the homes of those that are being affected and speak to them personally to make sure this is done responsibly. Rather than guess as to what should be done, study the existing wind farms before allowing more to be constructed.
Mishicot, WI 54228
From: Diane Hoerth
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 7:35 AM
To: Heilman, Alice - PSC
Subject: Safe Setbacks
Please do not allow the construction of industrial wind turbines to be built any less than 2200 feet from homes, schools, business, churches or any building that people and also animals use. Even though it is far short of the recommended setbacks of; The United Kingdom Noise Association of 1 mile, France National Academy of Medicine for a minimum 1mile, Barbara J. Frey, BA, MA and Peter J. Hadden, BSc FRICS report, NOISE RADIATION FROM WIND TURBINES INSTALLED NEAR HOMES: EFFECTS ON HEALTH recommends setbacks of 1.25 miles, Dr. Amanda Harry a minimum of 1.5 miles, Dr. Nina Pierpont calls for a minimum of 1.5 miles.
At 2200 feet the problems that homes/families will experience with noise and vibration issues will still take place but not as frequently and hopefully not as strong or loud. That is why at one time, Renew Wisconsin stated, "Some individuals living within a one‐mile radius of large wind farms complain of headaches and sleeping problems, due to noise pollution. Wind turbines are mechanical devices that emit low‐frequency sound waves. Large wind farms should be appropriately sited for this reason."
The quiet country nights will still be affected at 2200 feet, a minimum distance of 2640 feet would maintain a safer environment of 40 dB, but the above paragraphs recommendations would allow families/residents, taxpayer of the State of Wisconsin to NOT lose their quality of life because it would reach the ambient levels closer to 35dB.
The PSC’s past decisions of setbacks of 1,000 and 1,200 feet from homes has caused problems
for families in our state. Your decision now will affect thousands more and if this decisions affects our health, our safety, our property value --we will not be silent.
Noise studies should NEVER be concluded by the wind industry or utilities. That is letting the fox guard the hen house. All noise studies MUST be done by an independent third parties. In the draft it states another test can‘t be done for two years, this must be removed. If there is a problem with noise a family should not have to wait two years for another test. Once again, using the setbacks in the first paragraph would decrease the problem of noise.
The PSC –THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISION must protect the public, the taxpayers of Wisconsin from any cost in decommissioning and not allow these massive machines to be abandoned.
We are writing in regards to the proposed wind siting rules to be determined by the PSC. Our main concern is the noise issues that may be caused by industrial wind turbines when built in close proximity to residential homes and businesses.
Therefore, we ask that you adopt the 2200 setback recommended by Commissioner Azar, which was based on findings of PSC staff which indicated a 45dba noise standard would be met at this
Additionally, if you chose to allow the developer to be given the opportunity to prove that the noise standard could be met at a closer distance, then we ask that the modeling to prove this be done by an independent 3rd party, rather than the developer themselves, since this type of testing should always be conducted by a party that does not have a financial interest in the outcome of the testing.
We are also very concerned if the PSC only requires a 1000 ft. safety setback, when Vestas recommends a 1300 ft. safety setback for their workers in case of a fire. I would ask that the PSC also provide Wisconsin residents and businesses the same 1300 ft. minimum safety setback that Vestas recommends for their own workers.
We appreciate your careful consideration of our concerns with regards to the health and safety of Wisconsin residents when determining wind siting regulations.
Gus & Nicole Garcia
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
From: Timothy J. Harmann
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 10:15 AM
To: Heilman, Alice - PSC
Subject: Draft Siting Rules - Comments
I testified in Fond Du Lac and now want to follow‐up and give input on yesterday's draft siting rules discussion:
I believe that yesterday there were some positive points being made in protection of the general public around the turbines. (It is refreshing compared to the heavily wind dominated 15 person panel. It was hard for me to watch this process because it directly impacted my family.)
I have 4 turbines planned around my home (within 1/2 mile) for the Ledge Wind Project by Invenergy.
1. My family needs protection from the very annoying turbine noise that would be keeping us awake at night. Our current ambient is 25 ‐ 30 dba at night. 40 dba is more than double the noise and anything higher should try to be avoided so we can have needed sleep in our own home. I cannot imagine living with an annoying noise that I cannot turn off for 30 years. 5 dba above ambient should be all that is asked of non‐participating homes and hopefully that will protect people against low frequency noise and infrasound too.
2. 2200 foot setback is the minimum that would protect us and most studies say 1/2 mile (2640 feet). We are very hilly in our beautiful setting so noise tends to travel farther and be louder especially at night when its calm at ground level and then wind cannot cover the turbine noise.
3. I am not looking to be compensated for living near a turbine. I wouldn't accept the money anyway because I know too many people that have to live in a wind project today. I interviewed 10 of them near Fond Du Lac in the Blue Sky Green Fields project and know 3 others personally. I need the ability to pursue the wind developer if they make my family's life miserable.
4. My home is a large part of my investment and life savings and I cannot afford to lose up to 40% or more and I don't really want my home bulldozed. Wind developers say turbines increase the property value and I'd like them to be held accountable with property value protection. They do not have eminent domain and they are affecting so many people with so many turbines. The playing field is not level and this is property value theft. Please consider property value protection based on similar homes at least 5 miles outside a wind project. Please consider using property lines so I can develop my own property as I see fit in the future instead of having this right taken from me.
5. Decommissioning needs to be guaranteed and money needs to be set aside upfront.
6. Some control needs to be available to the county and town boards who understand our local issues. Our well water is very vulnerable here and clean water is just as important as clean energy. Our town is actively pursuing alternate clean and renewable energy that re‐uses garbage and cow manure to help solve our unique problems. 81 miles of trenches will make the problem worse here. I already have occasional well problems.
Thank you for your time, efforts, and consideration!
Timothy J. Harmann
From: Ron Heuer
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2010 4:38 PM
To: Heilman, Alice - PSC
Subject: PSC Wind Energy System Rules
Commissioner Meyer offered to listen to comments on the Rules Discussions that have been underway. I would like to address three issues:
o Safety Setback- current recommendation is 1.1 times the maximum blade tip height. This is not a safe distance when the a Vestas manufacturer manual calls for a setback for safety of 1,300 feet. This setback should be from the property lines.
o Non-participating Residence Setback - The recommendation of 3.1 times the maximum blade tip height will not meet the for Commissioner Azar was on the right track of 2,200 feet for minimum setback from a home.
In countries where they have had Wind Turbines for a number of years, they learned from their mistakes and moved the setbacks to, in some cases a mile from homes. Most have moved the allowable setback of 1/2 mile, again from property lines.
o 50/45 (day/Night) will not work, you are putting individuals health at risk with this type of allowable noise. Once again, Commissioner Azar was on the right track with 50/40, closer to the
World Health Organizations rule. Your decision has to consider the residents of Wisconsin.
Why are you throwing this burden on them? They will be forced to sue these companies to get justice. We have experience here in Kewaunee County with the Lincoln Township fiasco.
We had people living within 1300 feet of these turbines and it ruined their lives. Having the Developer to measure these noise criteria is like having your 12 yr. old set their curfew times!
This testing has to be completed by a disinterested third party.
o Per Commissioner Azar, a LOC cannot be set for a period of 30 years. Perhaps she is right. If that is indeed true, then what should happen is the developer of the wind farm should have to put up a cash deposit that is updated annually by the COLA percentage. That way the county or township has some guarantee the turbines will be removed when these companies go bust (without federal funding) and / or abandon a project. Recent costs associated with dismantling a 400ft turbine in Texas was at the $300K level.
From: Travis Van Zeeland
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2010 6:06 PM
To: Heilman, Alice - PSC
Hello Ms. Heilman,
I am emailing you today about my concerns with the windmills to be cited in Southern Brown County. I believe that these windmills should be at least a 1/2 mile from any property dwelling and that there only be a 35-40 decible reading at night. Due to all the health risks that these windmills cause. It is our duty to protect the people that live in these areas.
Thank you for your time.
WADING INTO A WIND CONTRACT-- A resident lets the PSC know what is worrying him:
Source: Public Sevice Commission of Wisconsin, Docket 1-AC-231
Please consider the following Un-Ethical Practices by Wind Energy Cpmpanies.
This is a common thread throughout the industry and needs to be addressed in the new rules being proposed by the PSC.
[This is a] Summary of Element Power Contracts Element Power Worksheet
· Sidebar at the bottom of the page is a disclaimer that renders all of the terms "subject to change" at the sole discretion Element Power. Essentially, that statement makes the entire term sheet worthless.
· Uses vague terms such as "are deemed" for soil compaction (deemed by Element Power - are they soil compaction experts?) and "all necessary insurance" (necessary for what coverage and to protect whom?)
Element Power Agreement for Waiver of Setback Requirements
· 1. Waiver of Setback by Grantor - You are agreeing to ignore legal setback requirements!
· 3. Binding Effect - This section binds you into ignoring setback rules even when you are no longer under contract.
Element Power Renewable Energy Lease
1.3 Phase of Contract
- Phases shall be determined by [wind devloper/owner operator] in its reasonable discretion.
1.4 Development Period - Up to 10 years.
1.5 Operations Period - Up to 50 years - 30 years plus option of two 10-year extensions.
1.6 Commercial Operation Date - Don`t get paid until 95% of operation is installed and output is at 95% and reliable! That could be that 10 year development stage.
4.4 Tenant`s Right to Terminate - which refers to section 16.2. Summary of both sections - they (Element Power) can terminate the operation contract at any time with 30 days written notice, take 1 ½ years to remove the tower where the landowner gets paid squat and if they don`t "get around to removing the tower" the landowner "may" remove it at the landowner`s expense (there goes all of the profit) and try to get reimbursed back from Element Power.This is called a one - way clause (going one way towards Element Power and one - way against the landowner).
5.1.5 Generate electromagnetic, audio, flicker, visual, view, light, noise,Vibration, air turbulence, wake, electrical, radio interference, shadow or other effects attributable to the Facilities or any other operational or development activities If these turbines don`t produce these concerns why list them as possible effects?
5.2 Solar Development - Element Power has the right to use your land for solar development without paying you until you have an alternative 3rd party to offer you remuneration. Element Power could then match your offer from 3rd party or decline. Of course, that is providing that landowner meets all notification deadlines in writing!
5.3 Substations and O&M Buildings - In this section, they are setting the price of your land and can force you to sell your land to them, either by taking their offer or by way of arbitration.
5.6 Right of Access - Roads can go anywhere they choose, even on land not under contract.
6.5 Taxes and Assessments - Landowner does not submit tax bill to Element Power within 10 days, Element Power does not have to pay it
7.1 & 7.2 Liens against property - restrictive language including landowners responsibility to post notices in court and notify tenant within 10 days of discharging lien and then seek reimbursement from Element Energy. No notice within 10 days, no reimbursement.
7.3 Maintenance of Premises - Element Energy will restore to their liking (commercially reasonable, i.e., they determine).
7.4 Tranmission and Collection Lines - Any lines buries will remain buried in perpetuity (forever)!
7.5 Erosion and Weed Control - Landowner notifies Element Energy in 10 days or may not get reimbursed for costs.
7.7 Crop/Lifestock Damage - Maximum of $30/acre.
7.9 Drainage Tiles - Who determines if drainage tiles are damaged?
9.1 Insurance - $5,000,000 of "the right to use a qualified program of self insurance"... What is Element Energy goes bankrupt?
12.3.3 Defualt - This section deals with Element Power being in default (bankrupt). And if they`re bankrupt, sole responsibility of restoration of land (that includes the astronomical costs of removing turbines falls squarely on the shoulder of the landowner).
14.7 and 14.8 Takes away any right for the landowner to sue them for punitive damages. If landowner gets sued for having turbines on their land for any reason, the landowner cannot take Element Energy to court for punitive damages (which is the majority of lawsuits).
14.9 Arbitration - Does any landowner want to negotiate with a third party as to what their land is worth and once the negotiation is finished, the landowner must sell their land to Element Energy at that "arbitrated price"?
16.2 Restoration of Premises - Refer to Section 4.4. Also, under no conceivable circumstances will the landowner ever get "re-imbursed" if Element Energy goes bankrupt.
16.3 Removal Security - This section essentially states that unless mandated by Government, Element Energy does not have to post any bond or assurance that they will take down the turbines when they are done with them or have filed bankruptcy. The Net Removal costs will be the whole cost of removal, unless the whole turbine with tower is sold as a working unit.
There is little, if any, real salvage value with the cut up materials. It also says that after fifteen years, they will determine, at their sole discretion, what the cost is to remove the turbines and all its parts, connections, concreate foundation, etc., and then what the salvage value is. The landowner gets stuck to pay the difference.
17.15 Setback Waive - Refer to Element Energy Set - back Agreement addressed in beginning. Addendum to Element Power Contracts Tisch Mills project worksheet.
( If you based your decision to sign up on the preceding project worksheet. I would be very nervous about this statement at the bottom of that calculation!!)
1. The information contained herein is purely an estimation, based on several assumptions, all of which are believed to be reasonable as of the date hereof. When reviewing this information, please be reminded that it is preliminary and is subject to change based on any number of variables that may change or be introduced over time.
Such changes may be material and we cannot guarantee that the information contained herein will reflect the actual performance or financial terms of the project if and when it enters operation.
This is NOT an offer to purchase or a solicitation of an offer to purchase and any transaction will only be consummated upon execution of negotiated agreements between the parties. Agreement for waiver of setback requirements.
PAINTBALLS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS:
More patrols requested
August 24, 2010
The manager in charge of the WE Energies Wind Farm along County Trunk W in Malone is requesting extra patrols around the area after dark.
Arthur Ondrejka told the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department the wind farm at N8303 County W has become a gathering place for trespassers with paint balls, according to a sheriff's log.
6/14/10 Got trouble living in the Blue Sky/ Green Field wind project? We'll listen as long as you don't complain about the noise: A closer look at "successful" complaint resolution in the 88 turbine We Energies Blue Sky/ Green Fields wind project
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.
What Wind Siting Council Chairman Dan Ebert says about why there is no specific provision for complaint resolution in the draft rules he presented on June 9th, 2010
"Andy [Hesselbach] I think, I really in particular have valued your expertise and guidance throughout this process because I think that as a company and I think that other council members recognize that, you guys [We Energies] have done a pretty good job of striking this balance and so I was persuaded on the complaint resolution process that that is valuable but I'm also hesitant to prescribe a particular solution because I think every community is different, every developer is different, and it should really be, you know, an honest effort between the local government and the developers to set up that complaint resolution process.
So I think to have the rules say you guys should do this without prescribing a particular solution is the best way to proceed.
During Wind Siting Council Meetings, Chairman Dan Ebert has continually referred to the success of the complaint resolution process used by We Energies in the Blue Sky/ Green Field project.
While presenting the Siting Council's draft proposal, he uses this 'success' to justify not including provisions for complaint resolution in the draft rules beyond "work with the wind company and the local government".
Here are the minutes of the Wind Turbine Standing Committee which was formed to address the complaints of increasingly frustrated residents who were getting poor response from We Energies.
It's hard to see how this can be called a success. Residents of this project who have contacted Better Plan have made it clear nothing has changed.
The Blue Sky/Green Field project was sited with the almost the same guidelines being proposed by the Wind Siting Council.
"The Wind Turbines are here to stay. They will not be shut off. Noise and property values will not be addressed."
-From the minutes of Wind Turbine Standing Committee meeting
TOWN OF MARSHFIELD, FOND DU LAC COUNTY, WISCONSIN
Minutes of Wind Turbine Standing Committee, August 20, 2009, 7:00 pm
Presiding officer, John Bord called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Confirmation of publication is noted.
Those representing the Town of Marshfield were John Bord, Cathy Seibel, Dennis Stenz;
Concerned Citizens representatives include Larry Lamont, James Mueller, John Gierach, and Dick VanderVelde (tardy).
Others present: Tanya Holler-Muench, and Mark Noah representing We Energies
and Sue Schumacher, a biologist, to present information relating to the avian studies.
Also present was Jim Vollmer [resident] and Joe Bauer (tardy).
Jim Vollmer filed a ‘Concerned Citizen Form’ and expressed his concerns:
“Radio Reception, TV Reception, Flicker, Birds dying, Noise and extra cost of electric”.
He has contacted We Energies about these issues and states that We Energy has not made efforts to resolve these concerns.
Jim Vollmer stated that his problems are not adequately addressed. He still has issues
with TV and radio reception. He is not able to receive his usual radio station and even
though he purchased a new TV, it does not work all the time. The flickering is disrupting
his sleep. Blinds have been installed by We Energy.
Jim raises chickens. He states the birds are showing signs of stress. He has asked that
stray voltage to be tested. No one came.
Some birds have gotten Coccidiosis and have died. When sick birds were transferred to another environment away from the towers, they recovered.
The noise from the towers is very annoying especially when trying to sleep. He cannot open windows because of the sound and is forced to use the air conditioner.
Jim stated the solution to his problems is for We Energies to buy his property, “There is
no other way out for me.”
Tanya [From We Energies] stated, “We cannot buy property”. She related that
issues have been addressed. Dish network has been installed and working until Jim
purchased a “top of the line Sony TV”.
We have tried several different radios that are working for other residents. 13 window blinds have been installed.
We do not know that the birds are dying because of the towers. We can get a stray voltage meter and consult with an agricultural specialist. We Energies can enlist the expertise of technicians.
Before the September 17th, 2009 meeting, We Energies will:
1. Test for stray voltage (Jason)
2. Consult with a Farm Management Representative regarding the chickens
3. Consult directly with a Dish Network technician regarding the TV issue
including bring in a different TV set to test
4. Check further on the radio issues. Larry Lamont will also check his radio to
see if he has the capability of the station WIXX
5. Consult with experts regarding insulation for noise as suggested by Dick
Biologist, Sue Schumacher presented an interesting talk about avian studies.
The next meeting will be September 17, 2009 at 7:00 pm at the Marshfield Town Hall.
The meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM.
TOWN OF MARSHFIELD FOND DU LAC COUNTY, WISCONSIN
Minutes of Wind Turbine Standing Committee, September 17, 2009, 7:00 pm
Presiding officer, John Bord called the meeting to order leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Confirmation of ‘Publication’ was noted.
Town officials present: John Bord, Dennis Stenz, Ken Kraus, Cathy Seibel, Connie Pickart;
Concerned Citizen Committee: Jim Mueller, Larry Lamont, Dick VanderVelde. John Gierach was absent.
Tanya-Holler- Muench, Mark Noah and Bob Service represented We Energies.
Also present were Liz and Leander Ebertz, Joe Bauer, Jim Vollmer and Rose Petrie.
John stated that he and Jim Mueller met and agreed that after the last meeting, some
complaints were already being addressed. However, they disagreed regarding noise
John stated that ‘noise’ would no longer be addressed since We Energies is
following the guidelines of the JDA and the PSC.
Jim replied ‘noise’ issue needs to be addressed. A future noise-study may be initiated to determine if We Energies is complying with the 50dBls.
John noted that the Town taxes have been reduced 11.4%.
Property values are debatable. Recovery-wise, in the future, the towers will probably be
a “non-issue”. TV, radio, flicker are the main three topics.
Old Concerns-Jim Vollmer-Several solutions have been presented to Jim Vollmer regarding TV, radio and flicker problems. Jim states the problems are not resolved.
It is noted that after speaking with a DISH tech, it has been acknowledged that some issue are one with the DISH technology, not related to the turbines.
Regarding radio installation, Jim has indicated that the radio is performing better than the previous model but is still not acceptable. 18 window shades have been applied to Jim’s house.
Stray voltage tests show there is no unusual voltage activity in Jim’s chicken shed. We Energies Ag Representative has referred Jim to the WI DATCP’s Wisconsin Farm Center regarding coccidiosis in the chickens. Jim has not contacted DATCP thus far.
New Concerns-Joe Bauer-Joe has problems with radio and TV reception. Window shades have been applied to Joe’s house.
Shane Baganz- We Energies has contacted Shane and Shane will not pursue concerns at
Liz Ebertz-still has radio and TV problems.
Darlene Mueller- The Muellers continue to have TV and radio interference. Flickering also is a concern.
It is noted the above all have concerns with noise and noise interfering with sleep.
Also noted, most of the concerned citizens questioned why taxes have not been reduced. Cathy again stated the Town does not have jurisdiction over State, County or School Taxes.
“The Town portion went down by 11.4%.”
Bernie and Rose Petrie-The Petries are concerned with TV reception or lack thereof. They refuse DISH and want a TV antennae and tripod.
All parties were involved in the discussion that ensued and all were allowed to offer possible solutions to their own and others problems.
TOWN OF MARSHFIELDFOND DU LAC COUNTY, WISCONSIN
Minutes of Wind Turbine Standing Committee, September 17, 2009, 7:00 pm
We Energies has offered Jim Vollmer and Joe Bauer a new radio, one that is presently
being tested by Jim Mueller. If it solves Jim’s problems, they will receive that radio also.
Liz has asked for another weather radio for her lower level. We Energies will provide
one. We Energies offered to move her Direct TV monitor to another location. Liz
wishes to wait.
We Energies offered Jim Vollmer a Cirrus radio channel. Jim prefers a radio solution over increasing his TV package.
Jim Mueller would like a better explanation of decibels, and address all noise problems.
He wants long term satisfaction regarding TV issues. The present DISH package is
acceptable, but after the two years are up, We Energies will only provide Green Bay channels.
Jim stated, “That is not what we were told when coming into this.” “It’s not about getting ahead. “It’s about getting us back to where we were. It’s about replacing with equal kind and quality or close.”
Jim stated that “you need to take that back to We Energies and discuss it further because it’s not making us whole.”
Tanya [We Energies] stated they “will take it back.”
Dennis stated, “It’s only fair to replace what they had.”
Mark Noah [We Energies] stated, “We said we will reconsider it. We will reconsider it.”
Jim Mueller stated that Bruce Dalka would like to appear with his concerns, but works
later in the evening and would the committee be willing to meet on a Saturday morning.
After Bruce fills out a ‘Concerned Citizens Form’, a date and time will be set.
John noted the next meeting is Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 7:00 PM. Because the third Thursday in November is hunting season, would there be any objection to holding the meeting November 12, 2009 at 7:00 PM instead. None noted.
Jim Mueller suggested that a longer time frame be allowed after a ‘Concerned Citizen Form’ is received in order give We energies adequate time to address the concern before the citizen appears before the next meeting.
Jim Mueller moved to adjourn and Cathy seconded the motion. Motion carried. The meeting adjourned at 9:05 P.M.
Connie Pickart, recording secretary
TOWN OF MARSHFIELD FOND DU LAC COUNTY, WISCONSIN
Minutes of Wind Turbine Standing Committee, October 15, 7:00 pm
Presiding officer, John Bord, called the meeting to order leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Confirmation of Publication was noted.
Town officers present were John Bord, Ken Kraus, Cathy Seibel and Connie Pickart.
We Energies was represented by Tanya Holler Muench, Mark Noah and Bob Servais.
Representing the ‘Concerned Citizens’ were Jim Mueller, and Larry Lamont. John Geriach and Dick VanderVelde were absent.
Jim Vollmer and Joe Bauer were also present.
Connie noted additions/corrections to the September minutes:
We Energies would look into providing Jim Vollmer with a satellite radio. They did not offer Mr. Vollmer a Cirrus radio channel.
Also, Larry Lamont requested that a comment regarding whether the turbines could be turned off when they are not producing be included in the minutes.
Mark Noah [We Energies] replied, “No they could not be turned off.” “There is always power to them.”
Tanya [We Energies] provided a summary of follow-up activities from the September meeting:
1. Jim Vollmer received a new connector. Jim reports this worked. Stray voltage testing
showed no stray electrical activity. Bob Servias reported that audio-visual, lip sync, was off .1 of a second. “This happens in higher definition TV.” Tanya stated a ‘Receiver Switch Out’ may be an alternative. Bob offered to help Jim adjust his TV.
Tanya reported that We Energies will give the local channels including the ‘family package’ to all residents within the wind farm who experience problems with TV reception because of the wind turbines, beyond the contracted two year term. Jim Mueller stated, “We realize it is impossible to give us all we had. You are trying to make us whole and we thank you for that.”
Jim Vollmer stated that regarding radio reception, we’re “at a stand-still”. “Whatever, they have done, it’s been a waste of time.”
A satellite radio system will be installed at different sites to determine if satellite may be
a solution. Tanya stated that We Energies is not opposed to fixing the radio problem, but
“We cannot be taken advantage of. There needs to be justification. We need
2. We Energies has offered to install an antenna at the Rose Petrie residence per Petrie’s
request. If that does not fix their problem, We Energies has offered to install the Dish system.
3. Elizabeth Ebertz received the weather radio. She will contact We Energies if she wishes to pursue repositioning the satellite dish.
4. Joshua Tank received the DISH Network and reported it was working well.
There were no new Concerned Citizen Forms for the month of October. Bruce Dalka has
filed a form and will be addressed at the Thursday, November 12th meeting at 7:00 pm.
Jim Mueller asked if the turbines could be turned off when they are not active. Mark [We Energies] replied, “Our system does not have that capability, to sense and turn off automatically.
Cathy moved to adjourn and Larry Lamont seconded. The meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm.
Connie Pickart, recording clerk
TOWN OF MARSHFIELDFOND DU LAC COUNTY, WISCONSIN
Minutes of Wind Turbine Standing Committee, November 12, 2009 at 7:00 pm
Presiding Officer, John Bord, called the meeting to order. He led the Pledge of Allegiance. Confirmation of publication was noted.
Committee members, John Bord and Cathy Seibel were present from the Town Board. Town Officers Dennis Stenz and Ken Kraus were also present. ‘
Concerned Citizens’ were represented by Jim Mueller and Richard VanderVelde. Larry Lamont and John Gierach were absent.
We Energies representatives were Tanya Holler-Muench and Mark Noah and Bob Servias, We Energies technician, was also present.
Bruce Dalka was present to address his concerns.
There were approximately 24 members from the public, 8 from the Town of Marshfield.
Comments by Chairman Bord:
Comments from the public will be limited to 3 minutes each. The Wind Turbines
are here to stay. They will not be shut off. Noise and property values will not be
Bruce Dalka disagreed that “John Bord is limiting what people say and limiting time”.
Cathy stated some of these things are out of our control. This committee cannot change the JDA.
John Bord read an e-mail he received from [We Energies BS/GF]Project Manager, Walter (Doc) Musekamp. Doc states, ”We have a significant issue…that based on the testimony of Larry Lamont and Jim Mueller at Wednesday nights PSCW hearing…; it is clear from their comments that these monitoring committee meetings over the last four months have had no value in their opinion. I couldn’t get into the room because of the crowd, but Tanya was”.
John stated he had no problems with people speaking their opinions.
According to another source, not We Energies, “You did a pretty good job of ripping on
We Energies”. Tanya related she did not have problems with people stating their opinions, but “it seems the efforts we have taken up the last four months, seem to not make any difference.”
"There are so many people that don’t even want to come here any more because they have been beaten around so much that they have given up. They are not going to bother because it falls on deaf ears. There are still a lot more people out there than you know of.”
Jim replied, “I DID acknowledge that you were working on the satellite. I DID acknowledge that you were going to extend the contract on the family plan. You did not tell us how long.
There are so many people that don’t even want to come here any more because they have been beaten around so much that they have given up. They are not going to bother because it falls on deaf ears. There are still a lot more people out there than you know of.”
Discussions regarding wind Turbine ‘Concerned Citizens Form’-Bruce Dalka:
Bruce is still having TV reception problems. We Energies has contracted Ransom’s Audio Video to address the situation. Bruce notes that Dave Ransom is not reliable and is not allowed on his property. DISH Network has been called.
Bruce related that DISH stated there is absolutely nothing wrong with his system. Yet, DISH has told Tanya, that the Turbines are not causing Bruce’s TV problems. Tanya asked, “What would like us to do?” “My problem is other people are getting paid for it. I’m not. My
problem is, you know what, I could probably live with a glitch, now and again, …pay
Cathy related that she was having DISH problems and had a technician out. He did some adjusting. The problem was better but not completely resolved.
Per agreement of all parties, Bruce will contact Randy Wagner, a technician from St. Cloud,
who along with Bob Servias will meet at Bruce’s house to assess the situation and resolved the problems.
Bruce has concerns with radio reception. Jim Mueller reported that the Sirius radio provided to Jim Vollmer and Joe Bauer may be an option for Bruce also. Jim noted that Joe Bauer is satisfied with the satellite radio.
Jim Vollmer states he still has some interference. It was agreed to wait until the two parties are satisfied with Sirius radio, then set some guidelines for going further before providing other residents with the Sirius system as a solution.
Regarding noise, Bruce is asking for an independent noise study and asks that the Town contact Fond du Lac Co. Bruce noted that “whistling and screaming” was evident at one of the towers near him and that the problem had not been resolved for several months. Since then, that problem has been resolved.
Dennis asked Mark Noah to comment on the incident about the ‘whistling’ turbine in question. An abnormal sound was noted by residents and verified by repair technicians. The tower was shut down, a crane brought in and the turbine fixed. The sound level is now at an acceptable level.
Jim Mueller would like to see such issues addressed on a timelier basis. Mark noted, “It is not in our interest to have the turbines not working.”
Bruce noted there is health issues associated with the turbines. Bruce requested the Town Board to contact FdL Co Health Nurse, Diane Copazzio, to provide a health study.
Tanya related that We Energies has just went through a very lengthy, technical hearing in Madison, regarding FdL Co.; the epidemiology research and noise and everything that goes along with that as well. It has gone through the State and it is on the record.
Regarding safety issues, Bruce stated, “Three days and nights the wind turbines were shut down, the lights were not on.” Mark stated there was an incident at the substation. We Energies has an FAA permit which tells them which turbines need lighting and what type of light. If there is a problem, we need to send a notice to FAA that there is a problem. Then that notification goes out to all airports.
Bruce stated, “That wasn’t done though.” Mark replied , “Yes it was.” Tanya, “We filed the FAA report.” Bruce received a letter from the FAA stating that the report is on their website. However, the letter did not say FAA did not receive the report as alleged.
Bruce also has concerns about the diminishing bat population, ice slings, shadow flicker, declining property values. He states ‘Flight For Life, (FFL) will not land in the wind farm area. Cathy replied that she has contacted FFL. They stated they have predetermined landing sites and these sites were determined before the turbines were erected. They will not disclose these sites.
Bruce wants the Town to contact FFL and demand they reveal the location of these landing sites. It was suggested that Bruce contact the ambulance service so his unique family medical issues are on file if needed.Mt. Calvary Ambulance Service Director was present and she reported that FFL will land as long as the weather is working with them.
Liz Ebertz’s reported that noise in the middle of the night is like a jet that is circling and will not land. Her son has noticed this also. “So it’s not just me.”
Jim Vollmer continues to have problems with his new wide-screen HDTV. Tanya stated
they will continue to document and pursue a solution.
A Town of Empire resident stated that these problems are not problems in Marshfield Township alone.
The next meeting will be Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm.
Jim Mueller moved to adjourn and Denis seconded. The meeting adjourned at 9:21 pm.
Connie Pickart, Recording Secretary
TOWN OF MARSHFIELD JANUARY 21, 2010 WIND TURBINE STANDING COMMITTEE
Presiding Town Officer, John Bord called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm leading the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’. Other Town Officers present were Cathy Seibel, Connie Pickart.
Dennis Stenz was tardy.
Committee members present were Jim Mueller and Larry Lamont. Dick VanderVelde and John Gierach were absent.
John Board introduced members representing We Energies: Walter (Doc) Musekamp, Bob Servias and Dale Borusky. Mr. Musekamp and Mr. Borusky replaced Tanya Holler Muench and Mark Noak respectively.
Members from the public included: Leander and Liz Ebertz, Jim Vollmer, Bruce Dalka and Clarence Kraus(Taycheedah Town Board).
Review of Tanya Holler-Muench’s Follow Up of Nov. 12, 2009 Meeting
Tanya Holler Muench provided a 5-page ‘Follow-up” to the November meeting.
Doc Musekamp offered information regarding Bruce Dalka’s complaint. Bruce related to Bob Servias that when a tower (17A) was out of commission, He had no issues with TV
reception but when the turbine was restarted, the same issues with TV reception returned.
Since there may be a correlation between the shut-down of the tower and Bruce’s TV issues, Doc stated that We Energies will investigate this further to establish if there is a
Bob Servias followed up with Bill Neilson’s complaint regarding declining property values, noise, TV contract for DISH and radio interference. We Energy provided Mr. Nielson with two HD radios. The remaining radios in his home do not provide a consistent signal. Mr. Nielson was provided with an additional HD radio.
Mr. Nielson complained that he has the most trouble with TV reception when the turbines
face his home. Bob offered to have his system liked at, but Mr. Nielson declined at this time. Mr. Nielsen was satisfied with the radio and the timely response to his request.
John Bord contacted FdL County executive, Al Buechel, regarding an independent ‘sound study’. Jim Mueller related that a sound study needs to be honest and impartial.
Regarding Bruce Dalka’s issues: Bruce claimed that the FAA was not notified when the
turbine lights were not working during a site outage in June 2009. Tanya’s follow-up confirms that the FAA was properly notified.
A third party technician, Randy Wagner, inspected Bruce Dalka’s DISH Network system.
Some irregularities were noted. Bob offered to have a DISH Network technician perform
further testing. Bruce declined questioning why Wagner could not perform the tests. Wagner was not a DISH Network technician and Wagner did not have any testing equipment with him. Bruce has asked for Direct TV.
Jim Mueller interjected that perhaps We Energies could contact another source other than Ransom’s since Ransom does not seem to have the capabilities to solve the problems.
Doc stated that we need to focus on this” latest wrinkle”, that the turbine anomaly may be the cause of the problem.
Jim Mueller and Larry Lamont presented letters responding to a statement made by Doc
that was read at the November 2009 meeting. Doc and Tanya both were disappointed by
the speeches Jim and Larry made at the PSC hearing in Friesland, WI.
Doc related, “It is clear from their comments that “these monitoring committee meetings …have had no value in their opinion”. Jim and Larry maintain they have the right to free speech. The meetings are accomplishing things and they wish the meetings to continue. Larry stated, “We cannot go back to where we were, but we should not give up on our attempts to improve where we are.”
Citizen Concern Forms
Liz Ebertz is concerned that her police scanner is not working. Cathy reported that FdL
Co has changed frequency and that possibly is the cause. Bob Servias will be checking
Bruce Dalka is concerned that the turbines are causing interference with his cell phone
reception and has asked We Energies to install a personal cell phone tower mounted on
his home. We Energies also uses cell phones in the area with no problems. Bob Servias
stated, “From their technical consultants, cell phone signals are not interfered with”.
Doc related that in certain instances satellite radios do work and the committee will have
to set standards as to who should get a satellite radio. Jim Vollmer and Joe Bauer have
received the okay to have the satellite radio installed. At those sites, it has been verified
that the turbines have created signal interference. Eligibility needs to be verified in each
It was stressed that citizens should contact the ‘hotline’ number first, 1-877-380-0522.
Then, if We Energies does not respond, go to the committee and fill out a ‘Concerned
Dale Borusky asked how and why this committee was formed. John Bord related that the
committee was to address issues that weren’t being addressed by We Energies. There
was a need to seek legal counsel as to what the committee is able to do; whether the
Town Board has the authority to order the shut-down of the turbines and whether We
Energies is in compliance with the Joint Development Agreement (JDA).
Attorney John St. Peter was consulted and his memorandum was read by Cathy.
John St. Peter gave a background of the project and the JDA. He noted the formation and
role of the committee. He addressed the authority of the Town Board and the regulatory
power over We Energies.
In summary, Mr. St. Peter stated, “The complaints receive by the Committee would not
justify the Town in declaring We Energies to be in default of the Agreement. As for the
Committee itself, I continue to believe that it has a worthwhile role. However, it cannot
act as a forum to debate the existence of the Wind Farm. Nor can the Committee function as an arbitrator for the purpose of mandating specific remedies, particularly with regard to signal interference complaints.
The PSC is the one entity that has control of the situations. They have control over We Energies and the Town."
A verbal altercation occurred between Bruce Dalka and Dale Borusky. Dale stated he was willing to form a working relationship with Bruce but respect is needed from both
Jim Vollmer questioned if any procedure would be put in place before his poultry react to
the upcoming seasonal flickering and shadowing. He also noted that TV reception is not
completely resolved. He has filed a complaint with the PSC.
It was agreed that the Wind Turbine Standing Committee meetings should continue. An
educational session, entitled, ‘A General Overview’, will be presented by the We Energies team. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm at the Marshfield Town Hall. There are no Concerned Citizens Forms filed at this time. We Energies will continue to address the present issues and provide a ‘follow-up’ at the March 18th meeting.
There being no further business, John Bord moved to adjourn and Larry Lamont seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned at 9:35 pm.
TOWN OF MARSHFIELD MARCH 18, 2010 WIND TURBINE STANDING COMMITTEE
Presiding officer, John Bord called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm leading the Pledge of
Members of the committee present were Jim Mueller, Larry Lamont, Cathy Seibel and John Bord.
Other Town Officials present were Ken Kraus and Connie Pickart.
Dennis Stenz was tardy. Absent were alternates Dick VanderVelde and John Gierach.
Tanya Holler-Muench, Dale Borusky and Bob Servias represented We Energies.
Members from the public included, Richard and Dolli-Jo Jordan, Liz Ebertz, Jim Vollmer, Diane/Kim Kraus, Bruce Dalka and Chuck Kiefenheim. Also present was FdL County Executive, Allen Buechel, Gloria Smedema of FdL Co. Public Health Department, and Art Ondrejka operations manager from Vestes American Wind.
Review of January 21, 2010 meeting
Regarding Bruce Dalka’s situation-Dale Borusky stated that a letter has been sent to Bruce informing him that We Energies will hire COMSEARCH, an engineering consulting firm who has the expertise in areas of signal interference, to perform tests to evaluate wind turbine interference pertaining to his TV reception.
Bruce has 7-10 days to respond.
Tanya stated we have dealt with this problem for two years and it is time “to get to the bottom and move on”. “If the problem is related to the turbine, we will fix it.”
Dennis Stenz, will represent the Town in the evaluation process. Questions pertaining to
COMSEARCH’s credentials were directed to their website.
“They will give We Energies the answers they want. I don’t trust them”. Bruce has asked for an independent company. Bruce will respond to We Energies’ offer in a “timely manner”. We Energies replied, “If you don’t want to accept our offer, we are done”.
We Energies replied, “If you don’t want to accept our offer, we are done”.
Regarding Sirius satellite radio-Jim Mueller stated he received Sirius radio and “turned out well”. Larry Lamont still has problems with his and Joe Bauer’s works. Bruce stated We Energies promised him a Sirius radio. Bob Servias stated that if he did, he was wrong to do so at that time. Only three has been approved thus far. Protocol and eligibility issues need to be verified.
Concerned Citizens Form
Chuck Kiefenheim-Chuck is concerned about “noise, TV reception, environmental concerns and cell phone roaming”. He reported that “Ransom’s (TV) is unresponsive to his calls, do not return calls”. Chuck is concerned that if We Energies fixes his present concerns and he “signs off”, will We Energies be responsive to any future concerns.
Tanya responded, “We Energies will fix your problems for however long”.
Kris Meixensperger- has continuing concerns about “shadow flicker on my house/property”. Tanya reported that Kris refuses window treatments and wants the turbine shut down. “The Towers cannot be shut down.”
Rickard and Dolli-Jo Jordan-The Jordans are concerned about “health issues for humans
and animals, water contamination, fires because they attract lightening strikes”. They are
also concerned about shadow flickering, lowered property values, poor radio and TV reception, increased property taxes and increased electric bills. They do not want window treatments; property values can be directed to the assessors; We Energies will consult with them regarding radio;
Cathy explained property taxes in the Town of Marshfield have gone down, largely due to the shared revenue the Town has received because of the turbines.
Rickard asked why the towers were put up in any residential area. Tanya [We Energies] replied because of the “low density” and availability of wind. The Public Service Commission (PSC) has set the standards. We Energies is required by Wisconsin law to create green energy.
John Bord stated, “Probably the best thing in the long run, is to put all your issues together and go to your legislatures. They are the ones who forced power companies to go to ‘green power’.
Jim Vollmer-We energies has dealt with Jim’s concerns. Tanya stated, “We have addressed your issues and made recommendations. You have notified [The Public Service Commission], “mitigation is in the State’s hand”. Jim asked if the Town can help. The Town does not have the power to do anything, unless the conditions of the Amended Joint Development Agreement are not followed.
A five minute break followed. Bruce Dalka left and the Jordans left about half way through the presentation by Art Ondrejka.
Power Point by Dale Borusky and Art Ondrejka
Art Ondrejka introduced himself as operations manager for Vestes American Wind, manufacturer of the generator for the turbines. There was a concern of grease on the
outside of the turbines. This is due to a seal problem and it is fixed. The turbines will be
cleaned. The DNR has been notified and they are satisfied that there is no contamination
from the grease.
Art described the general construction and maintenance of the turbines. The turbines are
completely computer driven. Maintenance is performed on each turbine every six months minimum. “They run well. They run safe.” A “phenomenal” crew of 13, all local residents, is a top-rated team, no accidents and they keep the turbines running 99% of the time.
John introduced Allen Buechel, FdL Co. executive. Allen commented that a County funded ‘sound study’ was not feasible. There are approximately 200 turbines in FdL County. Health issues might be coordinated with the Public Health Department.
Gloria Smedema, FdL Co Public health office, nodded in agreement.
The next meeting will be May 20, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
Cathy Seibel moved to adjourn and Jim Mueller seconded. The meeting adjourned at
Connie Pickart, Town Clerk
Town of Marshfield Wind Turbines Standing Committee Citizen Concern Form
Meetings will be held the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM at the Marshfield Town Hall, 999 Fond du Lac St., Mt. Calvary, WI.
A completed copy of this form should be submitted 10 days prior to the meeting to:
Town of Marshfield Wind Turbines Standing Committee
c\o Jim Mueller
N8710 Pine Rd
St. Cloud, WI 53079.
Phone: __________________________ E-mail _________________________________
Please describe your concerns: (Use back of this form if more room is needed)
Have you contacted We Energies about this issue? Yes No
Has We Energies made efforts to resolve your concerns? Yes No
Please explain any details regarding efforts undertaken by We Energies to resolve this concern. Are
the steps being made in a timely manner?
What solutions are you seeking?
Have the concerns been resolved? Yes No
Please sign below. By signing this form you give the Committee permission to discuss this
information with We Energies regarding contacts and interactions with you and it gives We Energies
permission to release information regarding contacts with you and any efforts taken to mitigate your
Signature: _______________________________________ Date: __________________
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
RECEIVED: 06/01/10, 10:49:19 AM
3/26/10 DOUBLE FEATURE: We Energies picks builders for Glacier Hills AND First Open Meeting of Wind Siting Council Monday, March 29, 2010 AND today's homework assignment
We Energies picks builders for Glacier Hills
SOURCE: The Daily Reporter
March 25, 2010
We Energies has selected The Boldt Co., Appleton; Michels Corp., Brownsville; and Edgerton Contractors Inc., Oak Creek, to build the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County. (Photo by Joe Yovino)
We Energies has selected three Wisconsin contractors to build the Glacier Hills Wind Park.
The three contractors are The Boldt Co., Appleton; Michels Corp., Brownsville; and Edgerton Contractors Inc., Oak Creek. The project to build a wind farm in Columbia County is scheduled to begin in May or June.
VISIT THE DAILY REPORTER’S PROJECT PROFILE PAGE ON THE GLACIER HILLS WIND PARK <http://dailyreporter.com/glacier-hills-wind-park/>
The project’s construction budget will be between $335 million and $413.5 million, depending on which type of turbines is used and the number of turbines in the farm, said We Energies spokesman Brian Manthey.
In April, the utility will nail down the number of turbines and their locations, he said.
Docket # 1-AC-231
Wind Siting Council 1-AC-231
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
Pecatonica River Conference Room (Lower Floor)
Public Service Commission Building
610 North Whitney Way, Madison, Wisconsin
Monday, March 29, 2010, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Overview of process and expectations, time line
Introduction of Commission staff working with Council
Open meeting requirements
Administration of Oath
2) Self-introductions by members of Wind Siting Council
3) Election of officers: Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary
Reimbursement of expenses
Schedule of Future Meetings
Instructions regarding use/enrolling in Electronic Regulatory Filing System (ERF)
Overview of rule-making process and additional Act 40 requirements
5) Review of Draft Rules Outline/topics
Explain how developed
Topics/items that are unclear
Topics/items not in outline which council recommends for inclusion
6) Discussion of how to proceed with future work
7) Next steps/Adjourn
This meeting is open to the public.
If you have any questions or need special accommodations, please contact Deborah Erwin at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin by telephone at (608) 266-3905 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
Do Your Homework:
Visit the PSC docket for the siting council frequently to see the latest posts, and add comments of your own for PSC staff members to read and consider as they prepare summaries for the Commissioners.
If you want to be sure your comments are read by the commissioners themselves you'll have post your comments again during the later hearing phase so they will be considered testimony.
Visit the siting council docket by CLICKING HERE to get to the PSC website In the box that says "Link Directly to a Case", type in this docket number 1-AC-231
For those who are following the creation of the PSC siting guidelines, we'll be posting a series of documents and news stories for review.
Officials cover up wind farm noise report
OR on the links below to read the stories at their source
SOURCE: Nova Scotia News- The Chronicle Herald
"Extreme winds, along with cold temperatures and a buildup of ice, crashed three test towers and halted power production at RMSenergy’s wind farm in Pictou County, said company president Reuben Burge in an interview in Halifax on Wednesday.
The heavy ice conditions stopped the blades from turning, resulting in a 20 per cent loss of production in January and February, he said.
Disease and wind turbines menace bat populations
" A University of Calgary bat mortality study, conducted between 2006 and 2008, determined that the vast majority of bats found dead below turbines near Pincher Creek, Alberta, suffered severe injuries to their respiratory systems consistent with a sudden drop in air pressure – called barotrauma – that occurred when the animals got close to turbine blades.
The study showed that 90 per cent of the bats examined after death showed signs of internal hemorrhaging consistent with barotraumas, while only about half of the bats showed any evidence of direct contact with the blades."
2/25/10 Wind Project Picture of the day AND Knock Knock. Who's there? It's the same We Energies representative you've already said no to three times this week AND What about that meeting in Brown County?
Construction of Wisconsin's largest wind farm put on hold as WEPCO struggles to find willing landowners: use of eminent domain may be only option.
A resident in Columbia county has contacted Better Plan to say We Energies representatives are scrambling to find enough landowners willing to sign the easements needed to begin construction on the Glacier Hills wind project which is set to occupy the Columbia County Towns of Randolph and Scott. The 90 turbine project which was recently approved by the Public Service Commission, would be the largest in the state.
We Energies representatives are reportedly offering residents a signing bonus of $5000 for completion of contract paperwork by February 28th. The contracts offer landowners a yearly payment of $2,000 with a 2% annual increase. Residents report these numbers can vary widely depending on the importance of a particular easement to the project.
The easements would give We Energies permission to create turbine noise that will exceed the limits set for homes by the PSC. The easements would also allow such things as trenching for laying cables and transmission lines needed to connect the turbines along with other rights We Energies may need. The duration of a contract of this sort is usually a minimum of 40 years and runs with the land.
Some residents who have refused to sign contracts say they are still being hounded by We Energies representatives who won’t take no for an answer.
“They’ve tried to make contact with me three times already in the last several days” says Kristine Novak, whose home would be inside of the project. “They are going house to house.”
We Energies representatives may not find a lot of welcoming faces in a sharply divded community still reeling from the PSC’s decision to approve the project.
“I guess the best way to describe the feeling in the area is shock,” said the resident who wished to remain anonymous. “Hard feelings that developed earlier have now become worse.”
Those hard feelings may well extend to the We Energies Representatives who are now desperate to make deals. Says the resident, “Landowners are telling them to ‘get the hell off my property.”
He believes the tension in the community is so high that should We Energies decide to force the project through by use of eminent domain the consequences would be serious. “People around here will only take so much,” he said.
Better Plan invites residents affected by the Glacier Hills wind project to contact us with their stories.
We hope reporters in our state will follow up on this news-tip and find out more.
Public Airs Concerns and Support at Wind Energy Meeting
A Chicago company wants to build wind turbines on towers 400 feet tall in southern Brown County, using private land in Morrison, Hollandtown, Wrightstown, and Glenmore. If it's fully realized, it would become the largest wind farm in the state.
Those fighting the project held an informational meeting Thursday night, and hundreds showed up. Emotions ran high in the meeting.
"This is an industrial factory that's being dropped over some of the best farm land in Brown County," Sandra Johnson said.
"Wind is a good thing. I'm not against wind energy, we're just against the locations right now. We need to have some better setbacks and in a lot less-populated communities," David Vercauteren of Greenleaf said.
The Ledge Wind Energy Farm would be a 150-megawatt project with roughly 100 turbines.
Those backing it say it would give the county a big financial boost.
"This is a project that offers tremendous benefits in terms of new tax revenue to the county, helping farmers who were struggling, with jobs," Barnaby Dinges of Invenergy said.
Still, those who live nearby raised fears of stray voltage, shadow flicker, and noise issues.
Some say if it's built, they'll leave.
"If they go up as they're predicting, we very likely will move," Johnson said. "The problem is, land depreciates once you're in that turbine ghetto. People don't want to come. People aren't interested in buying it."
Right now the Wisconsin Public Service Commission is taking comments on the project. A public hearing will take place later this spring.
If approved, construction will likely start in 2011.