Entries in wind farm bats (31)
6/30/10 Final Wind Siting Hearing in Madison AND Ramming it through: Is the PSC even listening? AND Brown County Towns asks that more time and care be taken in creating guidelines. Will the PSC's reply be "LOL!" ?
WIND SITING HEARING NOTICE
WEDNESDAY June 30, 2010, beginning at 1:00 p.m and 6:00 p.m.
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
First Floor, Amnicon Falls Room
610 North Whitney Way, Madison, Wisconsin
Audio and video of the meeting will be broadcast from the PSC Website beginning at 1:00.
CLICK HERE to visit the PSC website, click on the button on the left that says "Live Broadcast". 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.
WIND TURBINE DEBATE SPINS TOWARD SEPTEMBER 1 DEADLINE
SOURCE: The Daily Reporter, dailyreporter.com
June 29 2010
By Paul Snyder,
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is sticking to a firm Sept. 1 deadline to propose wind turbine placement rules despite calls from local governments to wait.
“We had a very clear mandate to get work done quickly,” PSC Chairman Eric Callisto said Tuesday.
“Expediency is important in order to have uniformity and ground rules in place for future wind development.”
Callisto and other PSC staff members this week are traveling throughout the state to hold public hearings on wind turbine placement draft rules based on recommendations from the state’s Wind Siting Council. The council’s goal is to recommend rules for turbine placement on wind farms that generate less than 100 megawatts of electricity. Wind farms that generate more than 100 megawatts are subject to PSC approval.
The council first met in March, and Callisto said then he expected recommendations by July. The PSC will then use those recommendations to make rules by Sept. 1 for review and approval by state lawmakers.
Still, local governments argue the process is moving too fast.
Representatives from the towns of Morrison, Wrightstown and Glenmore in Brown County last week requested the Wind Siting Council first consider a March report by the World Health Organization relating to health problems caused by wind turbines.
Glen Schwalbach, who submitted the request on behalf of the towns, said further review is more important than a year or two delay in setting the turbine placement rules.
“The fact is: We have newer information now that says there are more health implications than some people have believed relating to noise effects,” said Schwalbach, the town supervisor in Rockland, which neighbors the three towns requesting the review. “It’s not just a case of whining or people imagining things.”
Doug Zweizig, the siting council’s co-chairman, said council members do not know why they have to meet the Sept. 1 deadline. He said he thinks itís a mistake to rush a set of recommendations to the PSC.
Zweizig, a Plan Commission member in the town of Union, said his town took about a year and a half to develop a wind farm ordinance.
“It’s clear that they’re trying to pass something as quickly as possible,” he said. “I think the council could have had a much better process, but it went almost immediately to looking at positions of the various members.”
The majority of the 15-member council, Zweizig said, favors wind development, and members who have experience living on wind farms are not being heard.
Callisto said he wants consensus recommendations but will take the majority’s vote if that’s the best he can get.
“It would hold more weight if it was consensus, but I realize how difficult this is,” he said. “It was not unanimous legislation, either.”
The reason for the Sept. 1 deadline, Callisto said, is so Senate and Assembly committees can review and approve the rules before the legislative session ends. Because the turbine placement recommendations would represent rule changes, they would need to be submitted by Sept. 1 during an election year and only would require approval from legislative committees rather than the full Legislature, Callisto said.
He said he wants the same group of lawmakers that formed the council to review the rule change proposals.
If new wind farm studies come along, Callisto said, and groups such as the Brown County towns want more review, there is room for change.
“I think they’re going to be flexible to accommodate new studies,” he said. “Rules get modified all the time. Nothing’s written in stone.”
TO: Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
Docket No. 1-AC-231 Draft Chapter 128--Wind Energy Systems
Request by the Towns of Morrison, Wrightstown and Glenmore
Brown County, Wisconsin
June 23, 2010
Issue: Request to delay issuing the PSCW wind siting standards until epidemiological studies of health complaints from Wisconsin`s current wind farms are thoroughly completed.
The towns of Morrison, Wrightstown, and Glenmore in Brown County are very concerned about the mounting evidence that there are serious negative impacts on human and animal health caused by wind turbines. It appears it is not only reasonable to delay the issuance of wind siting standards but it would be irresponsible to not do so in light of new studies and ongoing complaints of residents in and near Wisconsin`s existing wind farms.
In general, scientifically and statistically relevant studies have been limited. But, a very important report was published March 2010 by the World Health Organization (WHO) entitled "Night Noise Guidelines for Europe" (available at euro.who.int/en/what-we-publish/abstracts/night-noise-guidelines-for-europe).
The report is based on a six-year evaluation of scientific evidence by thirty-five scientists from medical and acoustical disciplines. WHO indicated that now governments have justifications to regulate noise exposure at night. WHO sets the limit for annual average exposure to not exceed 40 decibels (dB) outside of a residence.
WHO stated, "Recent research clearly links exposure to night noise with harm to health. Sleep disturbance and annoyance are the first effects of night noise and can lead to mental disorders. Just like air pollution and toxic chemicals, noise is an environmental hazard to health". WHO stated that they hope their new report will prompt governments to invest effort and money in protecting health from this growing hazard.
Our towns ask the PSCW to acquire the WHO report and evaluate its application to setting appropriate sound levels for wind turbines.
The PSCW`s draft rules do not address low frequency noise levels. It is not known whether the WHO report addresses this issue but other studies have described the likely effects. This is another area where epidemiological studies are needed before wind turbine setbacks can be reasonably proposed.
Besides sleep disturbance, there are complaints of other physiological problems. It is not acceptable to ignore or minimize the significance of these impacts as just quirks of human imagination.
Also, there is evidence that existing wind farms in Wisconsin are negatively affecting farm animals. Whether it is noise or some other physical phenomena, studies and testing should be done before setting siting standards.
At a public meeting of the Brown County Health Department and the Brown County Human Services Committee, reputable medical and health experts stressed the importance of epidemiological studies to determine the true nature of health impacts of wind turbines.
The State Board of Health pointed out that the lack of funding is a hurdle. But a conviction to do the right thing should prompt the PSCW to make a case to pursue the money issue with state legislators as well as our U.S. senators and representatives. Certainly, our towns would help in this endeavor. That said, it is even more appropriate for the wind developers and their associations to offer funding for independent studies since such studies should reduce future litigation. Electric utilities should have a stake in this effort as well. This is an opportunity to involve the University of Wisconsin research capabilities in both human health and animal health.
It appears that Act 40 does not set a deadline for completing the siting rules. This week a state senator who was one of the leaders in passing the wind siting law agreed that studies should be done to be sure the rules are adequate. If one or two years were used to study the existing wind farms while delaying any new installations, the developers would still have time to help utilities meet their 15% RPS by 2015. Again, if needed, our towns would help in getting the support of legislators.
Our towns implore the PSCW and the Wind Siting Council to not ignore the evidence of potentially serious health impacts and to not set standards until they have done the obvious and reasonable step of studying the health impacts of existing wind turbine installations in Wisconsin. Professional ethics demands no less. We believe our request aligns with the PSCW`s responsibility to protect the citizens of Wisconsin.
Submitted for the towns by Glen R. Schwalbach, P.E.
6/29/10 In the News: Their money or your life? Wind Goliaths and Local Davids testify at wind siting hearings. Who will the PSC listen to? AND Who are you, Barnaby Dinges? Now Don't tell us a FIB! AND what's on the docket?
Landowners, engineers, wind energy advocates, elected officials and others turned out for two public hearings in Fond du Lac Monday on proposed uniform wind siting regulations. Among the speakers was Michael Hutter of Michels Corporation, which has worked on wind farm projects in Calumet, Columbia, Dodge, and Fond du Lac counties. His company believes uniform regulations will “facilitate the responsible development and construction projects in Wisconsin.”
Barnaby Dinges, a member of the American Wind Energy Association, is concerned the rules may be too restrictive and counterproductive to rural development.
The rights of landowners were raised including use of eminent domain. “It is just plain immoral for you to allow this plundering and endangerment of Wisconsin for the greedy gain of a few.” These concerns were echoed by a Town of Wrightstown Supervisor, “Grown men will have tears in their eyes as they sense in effect the taking of their property without due process,” said Jesse Juedes.
The state’s Public Service Commission will use information from the hearings and other public comment before making a final determination on the regulations. The PSC will hold two public hearings in Tomah today and two more in Madison tomorrow.
WIND FARM SITING HEARINGS A BIG DRAW
SOURCE Beaver Dam Daily Citizen, www.wiscnews.com
June 29, 2010
By MEGAN SHERIDAN, Staff Reporter,
FOND DU LAC – Monday was the first day of three in Wisconsin that allowed for the public to make statements to the Public Service Commission regarding rules for the siting of wind farms throughout the state.
Fond du Lac City Hall hosted the first round of open hearings at 1 and 6 p.m. The siting rules pertain to the of turbines and will cover issues from resident’s health and safety to developer requirements. The rules are required through Act 40, created in October 2009.
“We are not here today because of some fantastic new technology that has been developed to produce cheap electricity,” said Jarret Treu of Morrison in Brown County. “We are not here today because of the free market. We are here today because of government fiat and misleading propaganda.”
Treu said wind farms, of which there are nine in the state producing a total of 449 megawatts of electricity on average, will never be able to support the entire state with electricity.
“Wind power can never be the backbone of any modern electrical grid or replace thermo generation plants in any large number,” Treu said. “Wind power fails in fulfilling the two main needs of a modern electrical system. It fails in providing both a continuous base load 24/7 stream of electricity and it can’t be ramped up or down to meet demand.”
Others criticized the lack of protection for Wisconsin citizens from wind farm corporations.
“We want you to stand up and protect the citizens of Wisconsin against big wind industry companies coming here and harming us instead of acting in such a way as to protect wind companies from Wisconsin citizens trying to protect themselves,” said Barbara Vanden Boogart, another Brown County resident.
Industry in general was a concern on many fronts for people speaking to the commission.
“We’re going to wipe out the dairy industry and hurt people,” said Jerome Hlinak, a town of Carlton resident. “Government has to screw up before they fix the problem.”
Hlinak raised the concern of stray voltage from the turbines, stating that such an issue can kill livestock and had taken a number of his cows.
The proposed rules in the siting of wind energy systems would require testing before and after completion of the turbines to determine if stray voltage is present due to the turbines.
Mark Hutter, Vice president of the Michaels Corp. based in Brownsville, said through his knowledge of constructing turbines that he supports a statewide siting rule and that built properly, turbines would not cause stray voltage.
“A properly constructed wind energy project will not produce stray voltage in a rural setting as is common around projects in Wisconsin. The more likely source of stray voltage is from the adjacent properties themselves,” Hutter said.
There were some that lauded the wind farm industry stating that it brings money and jobs into Wisconsin.
“Michaels has 4,000 employees many of whom live in Wisconsin or work across North America,” Hutter said. “We have constructed 3,350 megawatts of wind energy projects in 12 states. Michaels Corporation is in favor of energy independence. We believe this proposed rule will facilitate the responsible development and construction of wind energy projects in Wisconsin.”
Elizabeth Ebertz, a Fond du Lac county woman shared her personal experience of living within the Blue Sky Green Field wind farm. She said she heard a constant hum as if an airplane was constantly flying over the house causing her to lose sleep. Her son also spent a few nights at the home finding the same problem.
“It’s not just me, my whole family is affected,” Ebertz said. “I just want my life back and some sleep.”
The remaining public hearings will be held today at 1 and 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn 1017 E. McCoy Boulevard in Tomah and Wednesday at 1 and 6 p.m. at 610 N. Whitney Way in Madison.
The PSC is also taking written statements either at the public hearings or online at psc.wi.gov/apps/dockets/comment.aspx docket number 1-AC-231.
Both spoken and written statements hold the same amount of weight to the commission. Written comments will be accepted until noon on July 7. The proposed rules will then be finalized over the summer and sent to the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly where they will be discussed in two separate committees before they become rules.
To view the proposed rules, visit psc.wi.gov/apps/erf_share/view/viewdoc.aspx?docid=131628.
HEARING ON WIND SITING DRAWS A CROWD
SOURCE: Fond du Lac Reporter, www.fdlreporter.com
June 29, 2010
By Colleen Kottke,
They came from near and far, packing Legislative Chambers at the City County Government Center in Fond du Lac Monday to voice their opinions about proposed wind farm siting rules to be crafted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
The proposed rules would ultimately result in uniform wind farm siting standards for local units of government, replacing a patchwork of different rules and moratoriums that have been imposed by counties and towns around the state in relation to small wind power projects.
The public hearings, scheduled around the state this week, were launched by the state Legislature after it passed a uniform siting law in October.
Using citizen input, the PSC will draft legislation touching on controversial issues such as maximum sound levels and setback requirements. Once passed, municipalities considering ordinances for wind farms would not be allowed to make their local ordinance more restrictive than the state model.
Act 40 requires the PSC to conduct the rulemaking with the advice of the Wind Siting Council, an advisory body. The PSC is expected to announce the new guidelines by July.
“Right now the proposed rules are just a draft; that’s why the public comments are very important. There are a lot of interested parties and we want to make sure this is a balanced process,” said Deborah Erwin, renewable energy policy analyst for the PSC.
Barnaby Dinges, owner of a public relations firm and member of the American Wind Energy Association, warned that more restrictive rules for siting wind farms would further harm the state’s quest to build its alternative energy portfolio.
“Wisconsin is already an energy slacker. We’re the only Midwest state that doesn’t currently have a major wind energy project under construction,” Dinges said. “New restrictions will make the state even less desirable for development of wind projects.”
He pointed out that the Wisconsin PSC already has a rigorous wind farm approval process in place for wind farms over 100 mega watts.
“New regulations will only make it more extremely unlikely that Wisconsin will come anywhere close to meeting its legislative goal of reaching 10 percent of renewable energy by 2015. It’s currently less than 5 percent,” Dinges said. “The unnecessary costs and uncertainties of proposed harsh new restrictions on turbine setbacks, sound levels and shadow flicker will create too much risk for developers, who will likely build elsewhere.”
In an industry that has felt the soft economy the most, jobs stemming from the construction of wind farms are welcomed by members of the union Travis Martzahl represents.
“Without the legislators setting up reasonable local regulations, it’s our fear that these construction jobs would be lost to our neighbors in Iowa and Minnesota. Keeping jobs here is vital to our membership of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139, which represents thousands of workers,” Martzahl said.
Without the uniform rules in place, Martzahl fears that townships and counties would work to block development of wind farms.
“While building wind farms isn’t as good of work as building coal-fired plants, it’s still good paying work that supports families,” Martzahl said.
Michels Corporation of Brownsville has profited from the green energy boom, constructing more than 3,350 megawatts of wind energy projects in 12 states, including work on the Forward Wind Energy Center and the Blue Sky Green Field projects in Fond du Lac and Dodge counties.
“We believe the proposed rule will facilitate responsible construction of wind energy projects in Wisconsin. If the state is mandating that renewable energy be part of the energy mix…then it’s important to get this rule right,” said Mark Hutter, vice president at Michels Corporation.
Ledge Wind opponents
Many of those in attendance at the hearing in Fond du Lac hailed from the four townships in Brown County where citizen groups are rallying against Invenergy’s proposed 100-turbine Ledge Wind Energy Project. The project is spread across four townships, including Morrison, Wrightstown, Glenmore and Holland.
Wrightstown Supervisor Ronald Diny said town officials have worked together diligently to craft an ordinance to protect citizens.
“There is no effective process in (Act 40) to ensure proper installation and operation of wind turbines after the approval process. (Currently) when towns recognize potential problems, they can act and stop a bad project,” Diny said.
“On one hand, standard state rules will help, but they also set the stage for some bad projects since the (proposed) requirements to stop a bad project before construction are more restrictive and complicated,” Diny added.
Former dairy farmer Jerome Hlinak of Two Rivers said the PSC is slow to react when problems arise from utility projects. By wresting the control away from the local level, Hlinak said the PSC is taking away the municipalities’ rights to protect its citizens.
“There are problems at the national and state level, and even at the local level. But at least at the town level we can fix things quickly because it’s a neighbor. Here, nobody listens,” Hlinak said.
Want my life back
Barbara VandenBoogart and her husband searched for years to find a home in the rolling hills near Greenleaf in Brown County. Today, they spend their time and money speaking out against the Ledge Wind Energy Project.
“Everyone tells us that you’re (PSC) the one that will make a difference because you’re the ones that make the rules. We want you to stand up and protect the citizens of Wisconsin against big wind industry companies coming here and harming us, instead of acting in a way to protect those companies from us who are trying to protect ourselves,” VandenBoogart said.
While VandenBoogart can only imagine the impact a wind farm would have on her life, Fond du Lac County resident Elizabeth Ewerdt has lived with the reality of wind turbines towering over her home for the past few years. The noise from the turning blades from the We Energy turbines has robbed her of countless nights of sleep, she said.
“Can’t we hold these companies somewhat responsible for what they have taken from us?” she testified. “I don’t want any money. I just want my life back.”
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
WHO ARE YOU, BARNABY DINGES?
Now don't us tell a FIB!
Dinges, who calls Wisconsin an "Energy Slacker" in the previous article lives in Illinois and is running for mayor of Evanston, a city located just north of Chicago on Lake Michigan.
He runs a Public Relations firm called "The Dinges Gang" and has been hired by wind developer giant, Invenergy, to smooth the way for the Ledge wind project in Brown County.
From "THE DINGES GANG" website: "If your company, group or government agency is facing a challenging issue or project, call in The Dinges Gang."
Who else does the "Dinges Gang" represent?
- Abbott Laboratories
- Chicago Bears
- The Chicago Network
- Chicago Park District
- Draper and Kramer
- Illinois Department of Transportation
- Illinois Department of Public Aid
- Illinois Sports Facilities Authority
- Kraft Foods
- PLS Landscape Architects
Public Relations Team Projects for...
- DTE Energy
- Gateway 2000
- Ghirardelli Chocolate
- Illinois Casino Gaming Association
- Jim Beam
- Lernout & Hauspie Speech Recognition Products
- Trizec Hahn Properties
WHAT HAS THE DINGES GANG DONE FOR WISCONSIN?
From the DINGES GANG website:ADVOCACYCase Study: Forward Energy Windmill Farm
Generating Green Energy and Public Support
Invenergy developed plans to build Wisconsin’s largest wind farm, a 200-MW project within miles of the Horicon Marsh, a migratory destination for millions of birds and the area’s largest tourist attraction. The wind farm would provide enough power for 70,000 homes and help Wisconsin reach its goal of generating 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015.
In a classic case of NIMBY obstructionism, a local group used $50,000 in public funding to organize a group to oppose the project and encourage the Public Service Commission to vote against the project. The opposition group, Horicon Marsh System Advocates, created an opposition web site, and used its 300 members to write letters to regulators and media, and to attend public meetings to rail against the project. The opposition group claimed the wind farm would kill birds, destroy the area’s landscape, endanger local pilots, and harm local tourism.
[NOTE FROM THE NERD: The advocacy group he mentions here turned out to be right about wildlife impact. Initial post construction mortality studies show the Forward project turbine related bat deaths are among the highest in north america.
The national figure is about 4 bat kills per turbine per year. In the project advocated by the Dinges Gang the rate is 41.5 bat kills per turbine per year, or over ten times the national average.
In a little more than two years, this project along side the Horicon Marsh is estimated to have killed over 3,500 bats. The bird kill rates for this project are also much higher than the national average]
Partnering with local farmers who would host wind turbines on their land, The Dinges Gang educated the group to communicate with local officials and the media.
We placed “Wind Yes!” signs in front of their farmhouses. The group of supporters also included Wisconsin environmental groups and local labor and construction groups.
The Forward Energy team testified at public meetings and emailed letters of support to the Public Service Commission.
Supporters also wrote letters to and conducted interviews with media to underscore the broad benefits of the project (keeps farmers farming, provides $1-million annually in new local taxes for government, creates 250 construction jobs, etc.).
We also refuted each of the opposition’s arguments, showing them to be wild exaggerations and desperate attempts by a NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) group to impede progress that will benefit the entire region.
On July 8, 2005, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted to support the $250-million project, which will erect 133 wind turbines on the Niagara Escarpment, within two miles of the Horicon Marsh.
- About me
My name is Barnaby Dinges. I am a teacher and issue advocate with more than 25 years of experience in politics, public relations, and community activism.
I own a small business in Evanston – The Dinges Gang – an issue advocacy consultancy.
Among my clients is Invenergy, a Chicago wind developer building wind farms throughout Central Illinois.
I am an adjunct professor of marketing at Columbia College in downtown Chicago.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO WATCH A VIDEO ABOUT THE INVENERGY WIND PROJECT ALONGSIDE THE HORICON MARSH
ELECTRIC DEBATE ABOUT WIND TURBINES BEFORE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
June 28 2010
FOND DU LAC – Dozens spoke their minds before the Wisconsin Public Service Commission on proposed rules on wind turbines in Fond du Lac.
Opinions on the controversial topic varied. Many don’t want wind turbines near their homes, saying their property values will go down and their health will decline.
“Someone who doesn’t sign a contract for those wind turbines shouldn’t have their lifestyle changed,” said Jarret Treu of Morrison.
The Public Service Commission created a draft of the rules last month. From now until July 7, it is asking for public comment on the proposed rules. While some side with the state creating laws, others think municipalities should be in charge of rules.
“The state has taken control over these large impact projects from the towns that our homes reside in and basically negating any unique characteristics of the communities,” said Steve Deslauriers of Holland.
People in favor of the growing wind energy say Wisconsin needs wind power to create jobs and expand renewable energy sources.
“If Wisconsin opts out of this industry, it will be conceding billions in economic benefits to neighboring Midwest states,” said Barnaby Dinges, a wind energy advocate.
The state wants ten percent of all energy produced in Wisconsin to be renewable by 2015. Many believe wind energy doesn’t actually save money. Contractors say people need to realize alternatives.
“Unless people are willing to make a conscious decision that they’re going to use a lot less power, we need that energy from somewhere,” said Mark Hutter, Vice President of Michels Coproration.
The Public Service Commission says it has received an outpouring of public comment on the issue.
“We will be redrafting these rules into a final version and there definitely will be changes so public comments are important,” said Deborah Erwin.
The Public Service Commission expects to finalize the rules by the end of the summer.
For more on the Public Service Commission and the wind turbine rules, click here .
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'S ON THE DOCKET?
Today we're posting recent selected documents from the wind siting council docket beginning with this post from the Town of Mishicot concerning wind siting council member Bill Rakocy.
There have been serious questions raised about the make-up of the council. Of the 15 members, at least eight of them have direct or indirect financial interest in the outcome of the rules.
From the TOWN OF MISHICOT
Office of the Town Clerk
618 Tisch Mills Road
Mishicot, WI 54228
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTED TO THE DOCKET ON JUNE 28, 2010
To whom it may concern:
At the annual meeting of the Town of Mishicot, on April 13th, 2010, it was brought to the attention of the people in attendance that the appointment of Bill Rakocy of Emerging Energies to the State Wind Siting Council should be terminated due to conflict of interest.
Emerging Energies has land under contract for seven wind turbines in the Town of Mishicot that has been denied by the Manitowoc County Wind Ordinance. By Bill Rakocy's own admission he has stated that he would benefit from a lesser setback on the standards. The standards of the PSC should be created to address health and safety with the back of engineering standards and not personal profit of wind developers.
This letter is sent in response to a majority vote of those in attendance at said annual meeting.
The Mishicot Town Board
NOTE FROM THE PBWI RESEARCH NERD:
At WSC meetings, Bill Rakocy has been vocal about wanting as few restrictions on his wind development business as possible.
“We’re excited to develop as much wind [power] as we can in Wisconsin,” says partner Bill Rakocy."
“The permitting process is a rather long-term effort,” says Rakocy. “A conditional use permit is good for two years, typically, and it may take you all of that two years to get the balance of the project details put in place. And then there’s production tax credits available from the federal government, and if they expire in the midst of the project, all your work is for naught.”
SOURCE: "Wind Power's Wind Fall" Marketplace Magazine <http://www.marketplacemagazine.com/content/357_1.php>
WHAT ARE OTHER COUNCIL MEMBERS WITH FINANCIAL INTEREST IN THE OUTCOME OF THE SITING RULES SAYING?
From Wind Siting Council Member Tom Green, Wind Developer, Wind Capitol Group:
"But whether the wind farm goes in, [Tom Green] said, will depend on what the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin decides, as it sets parameters for wind farms - including setback from neighboring properties - that will apply throughout Wisconsin, and which cannot be made stricter by local authorities.
"You can't have a patchwork of rules throughout the state," Green said...
The rules, when they are adopted, will apply to wind farms such as the one proposed by Wind Capital Group - operations that generate less than 100 megawatts."
SOURCE: Portage Daily Register, January 28, 2010 <http://www.wiscnews.com/portagedailyregister/news/article_d4c01888-2c92-5efe-8e73-136809126a79.html>
From Wind Siting Council Member Andy Hesselbach, wind project developer for WE Energies:
"Hesselbach said he's concerned about proposals to move turbines farther from people's homes, given the need for Wisconsin to add more renewable power to comply with the state's renewable portfolio standard.
If "the sound or setback standards are modified in any material way, it is unlikely that this project will be developed, and moreover that any large-scale wind project will be built by any entity in the future in the state of Wisconsin," Hesselbach said. "The only option to utilize wind generation would be to develop projects in other states."
SOURCE "Winds of Change are Blowing" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 24th 2009 <http://www.jsonline.com/business/65911402.html>
From Council member Michael Vickerman, registered lobbyist and Executive director of RENEW Wisconsin
“You can’t stop a project in Wisconsin based on the appearance of these turbines,” [Vickerman] says, “so over the past seven years the opposition has refined its arguments and framed them in the realm of protecting public health and safety.
Here, as far as I’m concerned, is where they reveal their antiwind bias. They allege that they can’t sleep, they suffer from nausea—they express their discomfort in the most hysterical terms, and I think they basically work themselves into a very visceral hatred for wind.
I don’t even know if they have a philosophical objection to wind. They’re maybe congenitally unhappy people and they needed to project their fears and anxieties and resentments onto something new that comes into the neighborhood and disrupts things.”
SOURCE: The Chicago Reader: "There Will Be Wind" May 14, 2009 <http://www1.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/theseparts09/wisconsin-wind-turbines/>
From council member Jenny Heinzen, President of RENEW Wisconsin
"I have spent many hours on and underneath wind turbines of all sizes, and have never felt sick.
Nor have any of the systems’ owners/hosts that I’ve met.
What makes me sick is the profound hatred these near-sided [sic] selfish, wind opponents have towards change and progress."
Source: Letter from Heinzen to the Editor of Isthmus, Posted on RENEW Website September 29, 2009 <http://renewwisconsinblog.org/2009/09/29/isthmus-article-should-have-been-labeled-opinon/>
PUBLIC COMMENT FROM A RESIDENT OF THE CEDAR RIDGE WIND PROJECT IN FOND DU LAC COUNTY:
I live in the middle of Alliant Energy's Cedar Ridge wind farm in Fond Du Lac, WI. I have lived in this location for over 20 years. I feel the turbines were placed to close to mine and my neighbors houses.
I live in a valley and the turbines were placed all around me on the highest hills. So a 400' wind tower now became a 500' tower which seems like they are on top of me standing on my own lawn.
I emailed the town to complain and asked what ordinance the wind mills had to operate under and what was the setback requirements and noise levels they had to abide by. I was told there wasn't an ordinance and therefore no setbacks and noise restrictions.
We never were notified about any town meetings or where the turbines were to be located until after they were approved to be installed. As a result we are paying the price.
The noise and vibrations they make has taken the quiet country my house used to be located in and turned it into an industrial park setting with noise that is never ending.
The vibrations they create get you sick to your stomach and keep us awake at night.
There isn't any quiet get togethers outside on our deck and patio anymore. We have been forced to keep the windows closed and the air conditioner on which increases our electric bill and security.
At certain times of the year the flicker they create turns my family room and bed room into a disco. They have ruined our over the air television and Radio reception with the promise that they would fix the problem.
It has almost been 1 1/2 years now and my over the air antenna still gets no signal when they are turning.
Our property values have been decimated. I have been told that my property is probably unsellable now. We have to put up with all this without any mention of any compensation that I feel Alliant should owe us.
I have called Allient on numerous occasions to complain, but just get a run around. I was told that the wind turbines aren't going anywhere so I just better get used to it!
The turbines should not be placed near homes unless owners of the surrounding land all agree to their placement. They should respect the property line and have the set back from that and not the house.
I feel a 1 mile setback from any inhabited house would eliminate a lot of problems with noise and flicker and TV reception. Please contact me if you would like more comments.
I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Town of Eden, Wisconsin
FROM A RESIDENT IN INVENERGY'S PROPOSED LEDGE WIND PROJECT IN BROWN COUNTY
Hello, I am writing about an issue I have with the siting of wind turbine #21.
It is currently drafted as being located about 1.1 times the height or about 500 feet from my property line.
I have been raising alternative livestock (Elk) for the past 11-12 years and I am very concerned for the health, safety and welfare of my animals. With them being in pens and unable to leave the area, there is a great concern how the turbine will affect them.
I have talked with people from the FonDuLac area that have had problems with their animals after the wind turbines in their area started up. One family had all of their Alpaca's abort their young within 1 month of the turbines starting up.
After hearing of different problems with animals and wind turbines, I called and spoke with Invenergy engineer Matt Thornton. I told him of my concerns and asked if they would consider moving the turbine further up the hill and away from my animals.
He said they would be unlikely to move the turbine because their are 3 more of them located over the hill and they didn't want the air flow to affect the other turbines.
Now mind you that those turbines are located 10 rotor diameters (over 2000 feet) upwind and that the wind blows from the Southwest on a very limited time frame.
I asked why they would put that ahead of my animals health and well being, but all he would say is that it is the most effecient design from a wind perspective.
I am a mechanical engineer by trade and have designed many air systems and of all the training I have had has taught me that 3 to 5 duct diameters is usually very adequate to get back to laminar air flow, but yet he feels they would like to have 10 diameters over the health and well fare of my animals.
This response does not sit well with me and I would like the PSC to please consider this case as it makes it's final wind siting rules.
Please consider making the set backs of a minimum of 2000 feet from any property lines, not 1250 feet from a residence. It is my property and my right to raise animals and that right shouldn't be taken from me.
I am commencing a campaign for mayor of Evanston and I will update residents on the progress of the campaign, both here and on my blog at www.dingesgang.com.
6/17/10 When there is so much money to be made, who cares about the neighbors? Who wants to listen to the Brown County Board of Health?
HEALTH OFFICIALS WEIGH IN ON WIND FARM
June 16, 2010
By Becky DeVries
BROWN COUNTY – A Brown County committee makes a recommendation against an area wind farm because of worries it may be unhealthy for people nearby.
Brown County’s Board of Health says it believes the risk is too high, and is recommending a proposed wind farm not be built.
Invenergy is the Chicago-based company, planning to build 100 wind turbines in southern Brown County. The wind farm is not a done deal yet. The state Public Service Commission is still taking public comments on the topic, and has yet to give final approval.
“Behind me there would be at least three of them I believe, possibly more, and there will be some on this side also,” Jeff VanRossum explained near his Town of Wrightstown home.
The view from VanRossum’s front yard could soon change if plans are approved to put up 100 wind turbines in southern Brown County.
“There’s too many variables, too many health issues,” said VanRossum.
VanRossum does not want the wind farm in the area, his main concern is health.
“We’re saying that this is not a safe place to cite a wind farm,” said Audrey Murphy, chair of the Brown County Board of Health.
The board is formally recommending the wind farm not be built. Murphy says the main concern is the risk of water contamination that could happen as a result of an underground system that would connect the windmills.
“The greatest threat to this wind farm is the ground water situation,” said Murphy. “This is an area that has a historical record of having ground contamination.”
However, Invenergy, the company proposing the project, says it has addressed ground water contamination concerns in the past, and has not had problems.
“We’re confident that it will be shown that our project is a safe and reliable facility that is going to generate great economic benefits,” said Kevin Parzyck, development manager for Invenergy.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission says its three commissioners will review all the information regarding the wind farm and make a decision based on that. The recommendation from the Brown County Board of Health is just one piece of information the commission will review. It doesn’t necessarily hold any more or less weight than any other piece of information.
“We have to start making a step toward cleaner air,” said Dave Bining.
Bining lives just down the street from Jeff VanRossum, and welcomes the windmills.
“I’m for it,” said Bining. “We can’t keep pumping pollution into the air. At some point there’s got to be an alternative. Wind mills may not be the answer, but right now they’re available.”
Just which neighbor gets his way remains to be seen.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission is still accepting public comments. It will review them, and other information and then make a decision, on allowing the plans to go forward. Invenergy hopes to start construction on the Brown County wind farm next year.
BROWN COUNTY BOARD OF HEALTH OPPOSES WIND TURBINE PROJECT
June 17 2010
By Marcie Kobriger
Plans in motion to build a 100-wind turbine farm in southern Brown County will be at a standstill if the Public Service Commission accepts a recommendation from the county board of health.
The board says digging in to put up the turbines could put the public’s health at risk.
Whether the complaints are that they’re noisy, ugly, or emit stray voltage, the arguments against building wind turbines in Brown County have been stacked high.
But it’s what’s beneath the ground that’s convinced the Brown County Board of Health that this type of green energy is not the way to go in the southern part of the county.
Well water in the Town of Morrison and other southern Brown County communities has been plagued for years.
“Over 30 percent of our wells in the Town of Morrison right now are over the drinking water standard for nitrates,” Bill Hafs of the Brown County Land and Water Conservation Department said.
E. coli and other bacteria have also been found in the wells.
The project would require digging 81 miles of trenches to bury cable to carry power from the wind turbines to the electrical grid.
With farms as far as the eye can see — providing plenty of manure to spread– conservation experts say the Town of Morrison, with less than one foot of top soil above bedrock in places, is susceptible to well contamination.
“Once you’ve disturbed that and hit the bedrock, then if you land apply any waste over the top it’ll hit that cable and go down into the bedrock and cause a ground water contamination,” Hafs said. “We’ve created a conduit to bedrock, a conduit to ground water.”
But the board of health’s recommendation has done little to reconcile friends and families who’ve been at odds over the issue of wind turbines since the wind farm was first proposed.
“We till fields, we till swamp holes, we till sink holes, we till frog holes, and none if it affects the ground water. How could a wire?” neighbor Harvey Hafeman responds. “How could that affect groundwater? That’s a myth.
Hafeman believes the recommendation has less to do with water concerns than the concerns of his neighbors who oppose wind turbines.
“It’s all because these people don’t want a tower in their back yards.”
Hafeman says he has the acreage to put many wind turbines on his property.
He doesn’t believe the four-foot cable trenches would pose any additional threat of well contamination.
“If they did go nine feet, the basement of this house is nine feet deep and they don’t go that far even if they don’t have to,” Hafeman said.
“You typically don’t spread animal waste or industrial waste close to buildings,” Hafs responded.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: To read more about Wisconsin wind issues and the latest on what is happening in Brown County, visit the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy (BCCRWE) website by CLICKING HERE
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.
SAVE THE DATE: The PSC will be holding public hearings for the wind sitting rules on
Monday, June 28 @ 1PM & 6PM in Fond Du Lac at the City Hall on 160 S. Macy Street
Tuesday, June 29 @ 1PM & 6PM at Holiday Inn in Tomah on 1017 E. McCoy Blvd.
Wednesday, June 30 at the PSC in Madison on 610 North Whitney Way, 1pm and 6pm
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has scheduled several hearings throughout the state regarding the creation of statewide wind turbine regulations.
The new regulations apply to wind farms that will generate less than 100 Megawatts of power. Specifics about turbine height, noise and distance setbacks, shadow flicker, signal interference and when residents and government agencies must be notified about proposed projects are included in the 53-page document.
To view the document, go to www.psc.wi.gov, enter docket number 1-AC-231 into the case search bar and download the document titled “Notice of Hearings” with the Public Service Commission reference number 131882.
Comments are due on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at noon and must be mailed to: Sandra J. Paske, Secretary to the Commission, Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 7854, Madison, Wis., 53707-7854.
Comments can also be faxed to (608) 266-3957 and are due by Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at noon.
Online comments can be submitted at http://psc.wi.gov using docket number 1-AC-231.
6/8/10 Wednesday's wind siting council meeting and what's on the docket? What's the difference between what the wind developer tells you and what the easement you signed says? It's not a good surprise. AND a Rock County prairie conservationist weighs in on the draft siting rules.
WIND SITING COUNCIL MEETING TOMORROW
Wednesday, June 9, 2010, at starting at 9AM
Public Service Commission Building
610 North Whitney Way
Audio or video of the meeting will be broadcast from the PSC Website beginning at 9:00. CLICK HERE to visit the PSC website, click on the button on the left that says "Live Broadcast". 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.
WHAT'S ON THE AGENDA?
1) Welcome/Review of today’s agenda
2) Review and adoption of meeting minutes of June 2, 2010
3) Presentations: Property Values
a. Kurt Kielisch, Appraisal Group One
b. Eric Corroy, Zoning Administrator, Red River Township
c. Joe Jerabek, Zoning Administrator & Assessor, Lincoln Township (invited)
d. Representative, Action Appraisers (invited)
4) Background information on questions raised by Council regarding the draft rules
a. Statutory interpretation
c. Commission rulemaking authority
d. Notice requirements
e. Emergency services
f. Vestas manual reference
h. Stray voltage
i. Complaint resolution
j. Commission noise measurement protocol
5) Discuss Council’s recommendations on topics covered by the draft rules
6) Next steps/Discussion of next meeting’s time, place and agenda
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 email@example.com.
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'S ON THE DOCKET?
This from a resident of Brown County
I do completely agree with the realtors on the counsel that the developers need to be licensed and there needs to be a "truth in wind development" requirement.
We agreed to run a buried cable, not a turbine. It was never disclosed that by signing a cable easement we were also allowing a turbine to be placed right up to our property line, and that a turbine could be placed 500 feet from our home.
We would have never agreed to this if it was truthfully disclosed.
-- Curt Hilgenberg, Greenleaf Wisconsin
Dear PSC Commissioners and Wind Siting Counsel members;
I`d like to share my experience with a wind developer in hopes of helping future land owners.
My wife and I looked into small wind turbines for several years, but could never cost justify buying one. The payback period was always longer that the life expectancy of the turbines. When I read about a proposed wind project in my area, I called the developer to find out about hosting a turbine on our land. I though, this is great, I can do my part for renewable energy.
When we learned about the size of the turbines, we realized that there was no where on our 35 acres where I could host a turbine and not impact my neighbors, so we decided against it. We also were worried about how a 400 foot turbine would negatively affect property values and the ability to sell our home if needed.
After over a year of hearing almost nothing about the project we got a call about running a buried collector cable through our land. We again decided against it. After several more phone calls, we reluctantly agreed to sign a buried cable easement.
We were given the pitch that they are going to be built with or without our participation so we may as well benefit financially from it. We were promised that the cable would be run along the lot line where it would have minimal impact.
Again we did this to help the project and to do our part for renewable energy.
After another year hearing nothing from the developer (we did attend the only public information session hosted by the developer but were told everything is still being designed yet, they have don`t have any details) we learned what the plan was for our property.
We found out about it on the PSC application, the developer never discussed anything with us. The plan was to run a high voltage cable through our front yard between our house and barn which are about 100 feet apart. This high voltage line was going to run right through our electric supply line, our well water line and our septic system.
It was going to cross 3 fence lines, take a right turn in the middle of our horse pasture and then cross another fence line. Hardly the low impact we were promised.
The really baffling part of this is that there was an alternate path between the 2 turbines they are trying to connect that was almost a straight line on vacant land. This path was not through our property, but was through other properties already under easement. Instead the developer chose a path that was about twice as long and had much more negative impact.
Once you sign an easement agreement, the developer holds all the cards.
They can legally place turbines, collector lines, and access roads anywhere on the property under easement.
I would like to see the process changed to require landowner approval after the land usage is determined. The contract agreement should be a separate event from the easement filing with the county.
If the developer`s plan is materially different from what was discussed and promised, the easement could not be filed and the contract would be voided. This would ensure that the developer would keep their promises and keep the land owner involved in any changes, or the land owner could opt out.
In our case, the developer did not do what was promised. They have since verbally said they would move the line, but we have seen no evidence of it.
We have become so disgusted at the misstatements, omissions, and lack of communication that we no longer want to be part of the project. We returned our un-cashed easement check (we were waiting to cash it until we saw that the plan for our land was acceptable and as discussed) to the developer and asked to be released from the contract and easement.
They simply said no.
We hired an attorney to work out a release. They again said no and reminded us of that our contract had a confidentiality clause.
I`m not implying that all wind developers will look you in the eye and lie to you. I`m sure that some work with the landowners for the benefit of both parties. These reputable developers should not have an issue with a 2 step easement because they are treating the land owner as a partner.
I do completely agree with the realtors on the counsel that the developers need to be licensed and there needs to be a "truth in wind development" requirement. We agreed to run a buried cable, not a turbine.
It was never disclosed that by signing a cable easement we were also allowing a turbine to be placed right up to our property line, and that a turbine could be placed 500 feet from our home. We would have never agreed to this if it was truthfully disclosed. This is plain and simply WRONG!
A developer has an unfair advantage. They work with these contracts on a regular basis. The land owner, probably only once in a lifetime.
The process is broken. It needs to be fixed and regulated.
This from Kevin Kawula, a prairie conservationist from Rock County, Wisconsin
To the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Commission Staff, and Wind Siting Council Members,
I ask that no CPCN be granted by the PSCW for any Industrial Wind Facility, or Industrial Wind Project, until health and safety standards for people and wildlife can be established by the Wind Siting Council, and a more responsible, ethical, and equitable joint development model can be created for a state natural resource, the wind.
The Commission`s draft safety setback of 1,250 feet, from a non-participating residence, and a nighttime noise level of 45 Dba, are insufficient to protect Wisconsin citizens` health. These setbacks put rural Wisconsin citizens at risk from unsafe industrial wind development.
Wind developers are in Wisconsin to do business, and make money. They are offering the minimum in cooperation, compassion, and compensation, and are expecting the greatest of windfalls. The electric utilities by law are guaranteed a profit.
The question is how much are the utilities allowed to profit over a community's health and safety from a "free" resource. A "greater benefit" to society, the state, is often the justification. The wind developers hope it is so. It is the PSCW`s responsibility to prove the case for such a takings from the commons.
I, as a tax-paying citizen, am asking the PSCW, as an appointed government body, to tell wind developers and the utilities, that Wisconsin and its citizens deserve better. Better safety setbacks, better operating parameters, and better cost and profit sharing for the exploitation of a state natural resource.
It is alarming that the PSCW would consider and approve a CPCN for WEPCO`s Glacier Hills with the same inadequate safety setbacks, before it has established the rules for siting wind facilities in Wisconsin through the Wind Siting Council, as required by the recently passed Wind Siting Reform Law.
There are known and admitted problems with industrial scale wind turbines. Nighttime noise and sleep deprivation are the prime concerns for Wisconsin`s rural residents.
The need for nighttime industrial wind generation profits, over a citizens right to healthful sleep, needs to be addressed by the PSCW prior to granting of any CPCN any industrial wind facility.
Bat deaths and wildlife displacement also need to be addressed responsibly.
Wind developers and utilities are trying to side-step the very real health concerns (Dr. McFadden`s `partial overview` presentation to the Wind Siting Council fits in here!), community, and environmental impacts of industrial wind facilities by dazzling the Wind Siting Council, Commission, and citizenry with RPS claims, shared revenue numbers, and promised jobs.
Wind developers and utilities can assure the PSCW of an industrial wind facility`s RPS qualifications when it resolves to close down an appropriate coal burning facility.
The PSCW can determine the value of an industrial wind facility either through the CPCN permit (x amount MW coal facility), the installed nameplate capacity of an industrial wind facility (1-200 MW, as proposed, of coal generation), or actual industrial wind facility generation.
(The Governor`s Task Force on Global Warming is hoping that Wisconsin wind facilities will achieve 29% of their nameplate capacity, but numbers in Wisconsin wind facilities are currently lower at 25% of nameplate capacity) This would help the PSCW achieve true RPS goals of reduced fossil fuel CO2 emissions.
If the inclusion of industrial wind nameplate capacity is allowed by the PSCW factoring towards achieving Wisconsin`s utilities RPS goals without tying that industrial wind nameplate to the equivalent reduction of coal generation, then the RPS is hollow and without value.
All understand the intermittency of industrial wind generation. All understand the responsibilities of base load generation towards the dependability of a transmission/distribution electrical grid.
If industrial wind facilities do not reduce the need for nighttime base load generation, due to their intermittency or lack of need for additional generation, then are industrial wind facilities reducing CO2 emissions?
The answer is no.
If the economic benefits of nighttime generation are necessary to the wind industry, despite the lack of emission reductions, then why is the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) so intent on building additional transmission lines up to Manitoba Hydro reservoirs north of Winnipeg Canada?
According to Roy Thilly (WPPI), the Co-Chairperson of The Governor`s Task Force on Global Warming, transmission lines built up to Manitoba Hydro reservoirs would allow WPS to store the nighttime wind generation it currently has to sell at a loss to get it on the grid at night.
Manitoba Hydro would charge for this service, but it would prevent WPS from having to sell nighttime wind generation at a loss.
Lets look at some of the revenue numbers surrounding the WEPCO, Glacier Hills Wind Facility.
WEPCO plans to construct 90 1.8MW wind turbines for an installed capacity of 162MW of renewable energy, Columbia County would receive $378,000 per year, the Town of Scott $108,000, and the Town of Randolph $180,000, for a total of $666,000 per year, or $4,111 per MW of installed nameplate capacity.
Not bad? What is the source of these shared revenues? WEPCO income, profits, or a rate tax mechanism?
How much profit does WEPCO hope to make? A bunch.
In July 2009, the U.S. Treasury Department began to accept applications for renewable energy projects cash grants of up to 30% in lieu of Investment Tax Credits (ITCs).
Regardless of the price tag WEPCO is certain to write off the cost of the project against its earnings over the next 5 to 6 years. So the cost, $335 million to $413 million, is shouldered by the taxpayers.
Up to 30% up front, the remainder through annual depreciation written off against WEPCO Glacier Hill earnings, and any depreciation balance transferable to other WEPCO earnings.
WEPCO potential earnings at Glacier Hills can be calculated as follows: Each 1.8MW wind turbine, generating at 29% efficiency, and selling the generation at 7 cents a kilowatt hour (kwh), would earn WEPCO $365,400 per turbine per year.
Green tags/Green credits, sold at 2 cents a kwh, would generate an additional $104,400 per turbine per year. There is also the Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), at 2 cents per kwh that would also be worth $104,400 per turbine per year in additional write offs.
The 90 turbines of Glacier Hills together could earn $42,282,000 per year, with a PTC worth $9,396,000.
So to recap WEPCO through Glacier Hills could see $42,282,000 in gross income per year, while Columbia County, and the Towns of Randolph and Scott could see $666,000 per year. Fair? Just? Equitable?
How much will the State of Wisconsin generate in tax revenues from Glacier Hills?
Another case study of industrial wind facility shared revenues can be found with MG&E and Wave Wind LLC. Wave Wind LLC was recently in the papers seeking 8 cents per kwh for it`s proposed industrial wind project`s generation, but MG&E was only offering 2.9 cents per kwh, due to having met it`s RPS requirements.
If Wave Wind LLC were to get 8 cents per kwh along with green credits at 2 cents per kwh, that means a 1.5 MW wind turbine operating at 29% efficiency would generate $435,000, $375,000 at 25% efficiency, while the county would receive $4,000 and township $2,000.
We as a state or nation can subsidize any industry we choose. For an industry to try to hold a community, state, or country hostage over the promise of `JOBS` is ridiculous in this day and age. We see it all the time however, as community`s vie for the worse business deal to lure a temporary industry. Choose any green industry and the `Jobs` argument fades quickly.
STATE NATURAL RESOURCE ALLOCATION REQUIREMENT FOR CPCN
Since we, Wisconsin citizens, are paying for these industrial wind projects, and that profits made from our shared natural resources must be distributed equitably, wind project developers need to be more open and generous with its profit sharing potential of our shared natural resources.
The PSCW needs to provide improved oversight so that the industrial wind industry`s business drive does not jeopardize any Wisconsin citizens` quality of life.
Wind proponents like to stress that the wind is "free". Utilities, like WEPCO, MG&E, etc. stand to profit exorbitantly from a "free" Wisconsin natural resource ($42,282,000 with Glacier Hills at 29% efficiency, $36,450,000 at 25% efficiency vs. $666,000 for Columbia County and the towns of Randolph and Scott regardless of generation efficiency) if our appointed government bodies, like the PSCW, do not allocate the natural resource, and its benefits, more equitably.
The primary PSCW CPCN reallocation requirement, for any industrial scale wind project, is the nighttime curtailment of industrial scale wind turbine operations, when the demand for electrical generation is low and covered by base load operations, and human health and safety impacts are high.
Nighttime curtailment will also eliminate unnecessary bat, and nocturnal migrating bird mortalities.
Industrial scale wind developers, in the Glacier Hills case WEPCO, often make payments in lieu of taxes, to communities and governments. Nighttime curtailment, as a CPCN required reallocation of a state natural resource, is an improvement on this model, and would benefit the hosting communities by removing an unnecessary health impact at no expense to WEPCO.
If the wind is truly free then the PSCW should not hold Wisconsin communities, homes, and citizens accountable for profit forecasts made to WEPCO shareholders for a natural resource they do not own.
This is much more equitable than a response to non-hosting residents found in a partial review of the PSCW`s EIS on Glacier Hills states in, Property Values, 5.10.2, p.85, "Another method that could mitigate potential impacts to non-host residences is a property value protection plan.
This type of a plan provides property owners with certain assurance that they will receive "fair market value" for their eligible properties upon sale. Since 1997, this type of agreement has been implemented between the Onyx Glacier Ridge Landfill and the town of Williamstown, city of Mayville, and Dodge County. Fair market value is determined by a state-licensed appraiser. The plan identifies the properties covered by the agreement, the party responsible for paying for the property appraisals, and the method for compensating affected property owners."
The fact that the PSCW uses landfill mitigation as a way of addressing wind project impacts, should raise concerns with every rural land owner, and state politician.
Wind Turbine Projects = Sanitary Landfills ...as far as home and property values are concerned.
The PSCW can correct these errors. Wisconsin deserves responsible policy makers who care about all of Wisconsin`s citizens, not just those who are paid to shape public policy, and create short sighted legislation.
Kevin A. Kawula,
5/11/10 TRIPLE FEATURE: Bye-Bye Brown County, Hello Invenergy AND Bye-Bye Birdie, Hello Wind Industry AND Bye-Bye Bat Population, Hello Post Construction bat mortality numbers showing Wisconsin wind turbine related bat kills among the highest in North America at ten times the national average
“The notion that the wind industry is predominantly made up of small, environmentally conscious operations is one that must be quickly dispelled.
These are large, corporate-scale utility companies, not unlike coal and oil conglomerates … with a checkered environmental track record to date.
Voluntary guidelines will not change that paradigm, and will work about as well as voluntary taxes.”
President, American Bird Conservancy
May 11, 2010
INVENERGY TRIES TO WOO BROWN COUNTY FOR WIND FARM PROJECT
SOURCE Green Bay Press-Gazette, www.greenbaypressgazette.com
May 11, 2010
By Tony Walter,
Invenergy LLC officials say they have a track record of profitable projects and satisfied customers to support their efforts to bring a wind farm to Brown County.
“If one looks overall at this, they’ll see there’s a high level of comfort,” said Kevin Parzyck, project manager for the proposed 100-turbine Ledge Wind Energy Project in four towns in southern Brown County. “Our feeling is that it’s a benefit to the community.”
Invenergy, one of the six largest wind energy companies in the country, according to the American Wind Energy Association, wants the local project to become its 23rd wind farm in the United States.
It awaits siting guidelines from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission as it fends off opposition from a citizens group that is protesting the location in Morrison, Wrightstown, Glenmore and Holland.
The PSC is expected to announce the guidelines by July, and Invenergy plans to resubmit its proposal based on those rules.
Many property owners in Brown County have signed contracts with Invenergy to permit wind turbines on their land in exchange for annual payments of approximately $8,000. Other property owners insist that the wind turbines will have negative health and safety impacts and will reduce property values.
But Invenergy officials say they have public opinion on their side.
The Wisconsin Legislature has been debating a bill that would require one-fourth of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2025. And a poll commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association claims that 89 percent of American voters believe that increasing reliance on wind energy is a good idea.
Parzyck said the proposed wind farm in Brown County is not a reckless plan and has the potential of being a $300 million project when completed.
“There has to be a rock solid plan in place if you’re going to have a huge upfront investment,” he said.
The opposition group, Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy, is misinforming the public, he said.
“The one thing I would say is this group is extremely well-funded and well connected statewide,” he said.
“They have said they do not believe renewable energy makes sense in Wisconsin, but that flies in the face of what the Legislature and electorate has asked for. And they haven’t offered any alternatives.”
The citizens group has said it doesn’t oppose wind turbines but objects to their locations. The decisions on where to locate the turbines were based on the towns’ zoning ordinances at the time, Parzyck said.
Bill Hafs, the county’s land and water conservation director, said he has been in contact with Invenergy officials to discuss the possible impact of wind turbine construction on groundwater. But he said the county has no say on the wind farm issue.
Invenergy’s financial worth isn’t disclosed because it is a privately owned company. It has wind farms in 14 states and one in Canada.
FEDERAL WIND FARM RULES MAY NOT SAVE BIRDS
United Press International, www.upi.com
May 10, 2010
The American Bird Conservancy says it fears proposed voluntary guidelines for wind farms will not prevent the deaths of birds by the turbines.
ABC President George Fenwick said Monday he sent letters to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey identifying key shortcomings in recent federal plans to address the affects of wind farms on birds.
“I find it ironic that the Interior Department is asking us to believe that the wind industry will follow voluntary guidelines when their own land management agency is not even doing so,” Fenwick said.
Fenwick said the Fish and Wildlife Wind Advisory Committee has made excellent recommendations for the generation of wind power that the conservancy wants adopted throughout the federal government. But Fenwick said the major shortcoming in the recommendations is that they are proposed as voluntary, rather than mandatory, and as such will do little to curb unacceptable levels of bird mortality and habitat loss at wind farms.
“The notion that the wind industry is predominantly made up of small, environmentally conscious operations is one that must be quickly dispelled,” Fenwick said. “These are large, corporate-scale utility companies, not unlike coal and oil conglomerates … with a checkered environmental track record to date. Voluntary guidelines will not change that paradigm, and will work about as well as voluntary taxes.”
THIRD FEATURE: A letter from a bat and a Wisconsin conservationist
The Bat in the Wind Turbine Facility… Today’s Canary in the Coal Mine
By Kevin Kawula
May 11, 2010
Things are going badly for our wildlife populations in and around the operating industrial scale wind projects in Wisconsin.
Anecdotal reports from people living in Wisconsin wind projects report an absence of normal wildlife, i.e. no turkey, no deer, fewer or no songbirds, and no bats. Relatives and friends outside the wind facility report greater numbers of deer and turkey.
The birds and deer are leaving the area, but the bats are as likely to be dieing, as leaving.
A recent post-construction bird and bat mortality report, conducted by We Energies (WEPCO) CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD as part of receiving approval for it’s Blue Sky Green Field project, shows that the bird deaths were 11 to 12 bird deaths/per turbine/per year. This is four times higher than the national average of 3 bird kills/per turbine/per year.
Even more alarming are the bat kill rates of 40.54 to 41/per turbine/per year This is more than ten times the reported national average of less than 4 per turbine per year.
Wisconsin's turbine related bat deaths are among the highest in North America, and equal to the bat mortality numbers from Pennsylvania/Appalachia area which stunned conservationists across the nation.
The total number of bats killed by the 88 turbine Blue Sky Green Field project is estimated to be between 3,500 to 3,600 per year.
Two additional post construction reports show the same bat kill rates at the Cedar Ridge project, and slightly higher kill rates at Invenergy Forward Energy project near the Horicon Marsh.
These three projects alone have resulted in an estimated 8,000 bat deaths per year.
That's 16,000 dead bats for the two years these projects have been in operation.
According to page 66 and 67 of the Public Service Commission's Environmental Impact Statement, the bat kill numbers for the pending Glacier Hills wind project are expected to be equally as high, adding at least another 3500 turbine related bat deaths per year.
Can Wisconsin bat populations sustain this kind of impact?
Bats are not being struck by the blades (135 feet long with tip speeds of 180mph), but are suffering catastrophic damage to their lungs as they fly into the low-pressure zone that is created behind the rotating blades.
This drop in pressure causes their lungs to expand rapidly, burst, fill with fluid and blood, and they drown. It is called barotrauma – deep-sea divers get a version of it called the bends, when raised too quickly from the depths.
Birds have different lung structures, so they are not as readily affected, but bats are mammals and have lungs much more similar to ours, so take a deep breath, and imagine you can’t stop inhaling until your lungs burst.
Bats live up to thirty years, reproduce slowly, maybe one pup a year, and and because they maintain tight family groups, the loss of a single bat can have a significant impact.
Bats are a vital link in the natural balance of Wisconsin’s wild and not so wild areas.
I cannot think of a time in human history that bats have not been flying over Wisconsin, but the loss of our bat population could happen in our lifetimes.
White nose syndrome, a nasal/respiratory fungus, is threatening cave roosting/hibernating species of bats, in the eastern United States into extinction, but has not yet reached Wisconsin.
Industrial wind turbines kill all species of bats, even the tree roosting/migrating species we hoped might be spared from the white nose blight.
If the state continues to follow its plan to add 200 to 300 new industrial turbines each year until 2025, turbine related bat deaths could be as high as 131,200 to 192,700 bats per year.
This total annual mortality number is unlikely, because the remaining bat populations would likely crash from mounting annual losses before then.
I am asking that we, as conservationists, help stop this needless slaughter.
Contact the Department of Natural Resources and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin with your concerns.
Shari Koslowsky, Conservation Biologist with the DNR, has been very helpful in explaining the post construction mortality numbers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , (608) 261- 4382.
My main concern is that there is no representative of any organization with expertise in wildlife and natural habitat protection on the Wind Siting Council. The Wind Siting Council is a 15 member organization currently working on creating guidelines for siting wind turbines in our state.
I am asking that the DNR require the PSC to stop the operation of industrial scale wind turbine facilities at night (curtailment) when electrical demand is low and easily met by existing base load generation which cannot be shut off.
The period from dusk until dawn must be reserved for migrating and feeding wildlife as an equitable distribution of a state (“free wind”) natural resource, for the greater good of the whole rural community, human and animal. Night time curtailment would ensure safe passage for bats and night migrating birds, and provide a reliable period of quiet for the undisturbed sleep that is vital to any being's health.
CLICK HERE to leave a comment on the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin’s Wind Siting Council’s docket.
Thank you all for your time and consideration on this issue. Energy independence will eventually mean grid independence, but until then the decision makers need to face the facts and take responsibility for the harm caused by their decisions, and remedy the problem.
Board member of the Rock County Conservationists, TPE Member, Spring Valley Planning and Zoning board member, Owner and operator of Lone Rock Prairie Nursery, and Rock County Parks Volunteer.
WHAT WIND TURBINES MEAN CAN MEAN FOR BIRDS: