Entries in wind farm lawsuit (39)
WIND COMPANY SUING BELLE CREEK TOWNSHIP
By Regan Carstensen
SOURCE: The Republican Eagle, www.republican-eagle.com
December 17 2011
Belle Creek Town Board Chair Chad Ryan was served papers Thursday night, informing him that AWA Goodhue was suing Belle Creek Township for “declaratory judgment” and “injunctive relief.”
The Belle Creek Town Board adopted a one-year moratorium in June 2010 to prevent any development, siting or construction of a wind project within the township while the board completed various planning activities. The moratorium was extended in May 2011 to last 120 days later than the date AWA Goodhue completed the permitting process for its 78-megawatt wind farm in Goodhue County — much of which lies in Belle Creek Township.
According to state statute 216F.07, the site permit that was issued for AWA Goodhue by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in June was the only approval the wind company needed to obtain for the location of its project.
AWA Goodhue attorneys argued in the summons served to Ryan that AWA Goodhue is entitled to a declaratory judgment that the permit pre-empts and supersedes the township’s effort to regulate the project with a moratorium.
The summons also says that AWA Goodhue “will potentially suffer irreparable harm” if Belle Creek is allowed to interfere with its rights under the site permit to proceed with developing the project, and attorneys argue that the wind company is entitled to an injunction preventing the township from any such interference.
Belle Creek Town Board has 20 days from the date papers were served to provide a written response to the compliant. If no response is filed in that time, the board will not get to explain its case to the court.
Ryan had no comment on behalf of the Belle Creek Town Board.
A call for comment was not returned by AWA Goodhue representatives.
SECOND STORY: SAME WIND DEVELOPER....
WIND FARM TENSIONS FLARE UP OVER EAGLE STUDY
By JOSEPHINE MARCOTTY ,
Source: Star Tribune, www.startribune.com
December 16, 2011
A large number of eagles are active around the footprint of a controversial wind farm under development in Goodhue County, according to a wildlife survey the developer conducted this fall under orders from state regulators.
But AWA Goodhue Wind said in filings with the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that the count has been inflated by project opponents who are purposely attracting birds by dumping animal carcasses on the site as part of an eagle-baiting campaign.
The charges have not been verified by state investigators. But true or not, they represent yet another escalation in a fight between the developer and local residents that has split the community and which is occurring at other sites around the country as the wind industry evolves.
The 50-turbine wind farm, approved this year by the PUC, will be located on 12,000 acres that are home to both bald and golden eagles, as well as other protected birds and bats.
Officials from Goodhue Wind, who did not return phone calls Friday, have made changes in the project’s design in response to concerns from state and federal wildlife officials. But there is a growing realization nationally that the clean energy from wind is having an impact on wildlife.
The Goodhue County Board and other local governments and some residents have fought the project for more than two years over concerns about setbacks, noise and movement from the massive blades. The fight over birds and bats emerged when residents began documenting eagle nests in the spring and dozens of migrating eagles that hung around the area this fall. Both bald and golden eagles are protected by federal law.
To date, there are only five known instances in North America of bald eagles killed by wind turbines, said Rich Davis, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who has been monitoring the project for two years. But the Goodhue project is the first to be constructed in an area widely used by both bald and golden eagles for nesting and migrating, he said.
“I’m confident that there are birds using the area whether there is baiting or not,” he said. “I would definitely say that there is risk at that site.”
Davis said he’s just as concerned with the number of bats that the survey turned up, including rare northern long-eared bats and little brown bats. The project, in short, is likely to be a large experiment in whether, and how, both species can accommodate turbines, he said.
Such concerns prompted the PUC to order Goodhue Wind to conduct a wildlife survey and develop a protection plan, which was filed on Thursday. The company has been working with both state and federal wildlife officials.
The document says collisions with eagles will be rare, but projections are uncertain because the surveys “have been seriously compromised by an active baiting program being conducted by project opponents.”
Two golden eagles, which are on the federal endangered species list, were spotted near the site of a future turbine, the report said. One was soaring, and the other was attracted to “an active baiting location.”
Opponents deny baiting
Opponents of the project said there is no baiting going on, and that the company is making the allegations to obscure the true number of eagles in the area.
“They think we are purposely taking dead animals and throwing them in our fields to feed the eagles,” said Ann Buck, who owns a nearby dairy farm.
Buck said an investigator from the State Board of Animal Health came by to check on a complaint from Goodhue Wind about a dead calf in her pasture. It had been stillborn by one of her cows, she said. If there are animal carcasses that have been dumped, she said, they are likely put out as coyote bait, not eagle bait.
That might be true, said Carl Denkinger, an agricultural consultant with the Board of Animal Health. He said he has received six complaints from the wind company about animal carcasses, but only two seemed suspicious. Piglet carcasses were dumped out in the field, he said.
“This was done for a purpose,” he said. “What that purpose is I’m not prepared to say.”
11/30/11 Buying silence: Wind company's out-of-court settlement comes with gag order AND Environmentalists are speaking out about the dark side of Big Wind
COUPLE SETTLE WITH WIND FARM OPERATORS OVER 'UNBEARABLE HUM'
SOURCE The Telegraph, www.telegraph.co.uk
November 29 2011
A couple have settled a High Court damages action against the owners and operators of a wind farm they say drove them from their farmhouse home with its ”unbearable” noise.
A judge was told today the terms of the settlement agreed by tenant farmers Sarah Jane and Julian Davis were strictly confidential.
The couple moved out of Grays Farm in Deeping St Nicholas, near Spalding, Lincolnshire, in December 2006 six months after the eight-turbine wind farm began operating about half a mile from their home.
They blamed the ”whoom whoom whoom” and the low frequency ”hum” of giant turbine blades for their exile in a case that was closely watched by the wind farm industry.
They said the ”intolerable” noise disrupted their sleep, made them feel ill and was so severe that it warranted a reduction in council tax and rendered the £2.5 million farmhouse no longer marketable as a family home.
Mr and Mrs Davis were accused of being ”over-sensitive” to the noise and ”exaggerating and overreacting”.
The couple launched a claim for damages and an injunction against defendants including Fenland Windfarms Ltd and Fenland Green Power Co-operative Ltd.
The long-running hearing was due to resume today, but trial judge Mr Justice Hickinbottom was told the case was settled.
Both sides said in a joint press release: ”The terms of that settlement are strictly confidential, and the parties will not be answering any questions about the terms of that agreement.”
The case was described as being of general importance because hundreds of other families say they have suffered similar disturbance from wind farms up and down the country.
The operators were accused at the start of the High Court hearing earlier this year of trying to impose “a code of silence” on those examining or recording the noise the turbines caused.
The terms of today’s settlement mean that details of the how the settlement was reached will remain secret.
The judge said he had been given a copy of the signed agreement – “nobody has seen it other than me, and I am giving it back to you”.
When the case was before the court in July, Peter Harrison QC, appearing for former nurse Mrs Davis, 55, and her husband, 46, told the judge: “Wind farms have emphatically not been the source of trouble-free, green renewable energy which the firms promoting and profiting from wind energy would have the general public believe.”
The court heard research suggested the complaints relate to the “amplitude modulation” (AM) of the aerodynamic noise from the turbine blades in certain conditions.
Mr and Mrs Davis, who have two grown-up children, were seeking an injunction to bring about modification of the operation of the wind farm, plus £400,000 damages to compensate them for the noise nuisance.
Mr Harrison said: “Their lives have been wholly disrupted by that noise.”
Alternatively the couple asked for damages plus a “like for like” replacement for their farm home they estimate is worth about £2.5 million.
Mrs Davis emphasised that her wish was to move back from rented accommodation into her home.
The couple said the “horrible” noise problem caused by the 320ft (100m) high turbines could be resolved by removing two of the turbines and limiting the hours of operation of a third.
Their QC told the court that, instead of experiencing trouble-free, green renewable energy when the wind farm started operations, Mr and Mrs Davis faced “an industry operator – a subsidiary of EDF – which has refused to acknowledge the noise their turbines make and the effect that has had on the lives of these claimants”.
Instead, the main operator “appears to have tried to impose a code of silence on those examining or recording the noise that these turbines in this location have caused”.
Mr Harrison added: “Further, at least until recently when their own recordings and monitoring have finally forced the defendants to acknowledge they are causing problems, their approach has been to try and shoot the messenger”.
BIRD SLAUGHTERHOUSE: REPOWERING ALTAMONT PASS WITH SMOKE AND MIRRORS
By Cathy Taibbi,
SOURCE Wildlife Conservation Examiner, www.examiner.com
November 29 2011
If you love eagles and hawks, bats or gulls, or desire truly eco-friendly energy, this is a must-read.
Is wind energy the safe, sustainable ‘green’ energy solution we’ve been lead to believe it is? Has the repowering (using new, ‘safer’, more bird-friendly turbines) at Atlamont Pass, really a step in the right direction – Or has it resulted in an even bigger ‘eagle slaughterhouse’ in the guise of eco-friendly technology? And how will this ‘new improved’ turbine design help – or decimate – wildlife populations?
This week we have a scathing report on the wind industry, well-known to be one of the LEAST ‘Earth-friendly’ of the so-called ’green’ energy technologies – and breathtakingly inefficient as an energy source, as well.
In an industry as corrupt and lucrative as Big Oil, it should come as no shock that wind-farms (industrial utility installations often owned by fossil-fuel utility companies) are routinely pushed through using falsified or rigged environmental impact studies and outright deceptive impact reporting.
These vast, deadly installations not only destroy hundreds of acres of sensitive and critical habitats for wildlife, but they guillotine birds by the millions, and the change in air-pressure around the whirling blades actually causes the lungs of bats to explode.
Leading authority on birds-of-prey and the wind farm industry, Jim Wiegand, is my guest columnist this week. Mr. Jim Wiegand is Vice President of Save The Eagles International. His meticulously researched report on the new “safer’ wind turbine installation at the infamous Altamont Pass in California is alarming. It is shared, verbatim, below.
Repowering Altamont Pass with Smoke and Mirrors
A few months back it was disclosed through the media that the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area was repowering with new safer turbines. With their new turbines Altamont was going to drastically reduce the bird mortality rate by 80 percent and raptors by 67 percent. We were led to believe that this major upgrade was going to drastically reduce the number of bird kills in the Altamont region while increasing energy production. This highly publicized move was received as good news across the world because thousands of eagles and tens of thousands of other raptors have been slaughtered at the wind turbines of Altamont Pass.
I began to think about it. The turbine designs haven’t really changed, they ‘re just bigger. I did not understand how this could be possible. So I set out on a journey to find out if the new turbines really are safer for birds and raptors.
Why is my opinion important? I am a wildlife biologist, an expert on birds of prey, and I tell it the way it is. I have even done my own research in the Altamont pass area before wind turbines were installed. The wind turbine issue has been of great concern to me because protected and rare species have been getting chopped up in great numbers at Altamont for over 30 years. Some will say this is not my business and they will be wrong. Dead eagles are my business.
Over the years I have seen the wind industry answer to this problem. Environmental laws have been changed in their favor, the industry has virtually no regulations, they have their own army (of) biologists, and as far as they are concerned, wind turbines belong just about everywhere the wind blows. Their money has always won and the golden eagles as well as all other raptors, have always lost.
I now have a different story to tell. It is important because the scientific studies that were used to bring us this good news are loaded with seriously flawed information. In addition, this false information is now being used to sell even more turbines to the ignorant across the world. Ignored is the fact that if something is not done, we are going see major population declines of nearly every raptor species across the world. This includes the extinction of several species. All caused by the uncontrolled installations of the propeller style wind turbine.
For this critique I have looked through decades of reports and studies on Altamont Pass. To sum it up, Altamont Pass is one big mess and mortality is really much worse than what is being reported. I will explain why and hope to bring some clarity to a very complex set of circumstances. Some of what I have to say is quite tedious but in the end I believe everyone that reads this, will never think of Altamont pass or any other wind farm, in the same light again.
The Golden Numbers
The industry numbers used to proclaim that the larger turbines used for the repowering of Altamont will be much safer, are presented in ratios comparing Fatalities/1 Megawatt /Per Year. Many charts and hundreds of ratios were used to compare the different species of birds killed at Altamont. I could tear apart any of these numbers but I will only illustrate and discuss a few of the key numbers. Those being the numbers used for the media reports, target species of raptors and those used for all native birds. The target raptors are those species killed in the greatest numbers every year at Altamont. They are the Golden Eagle, the Red-tailed hawk, the American kestrel, and the Burrowing Owl. The all native birds category, are all the many species of native birds killed at Altamont over the years.
The numbers from numerous studies show that raptor mortality since 2005 at Altamont has ranged from 4.035 fatalities per megawatt to .803 fatalities per megawatt per year according to the size class of turbine. The death rate for all native birds range from 11.00 fatalities per megawatt a year down to 2.389 for the newly repowered Buena Vista wind farm.
The higher mortality numbers were derived from the smallest 40-65 Kw class turbines in use at Altamont for over 20 years. The lower mortality figures were derived from studies conducted on much larger 1 MW turbines in the newer section of Altamont called Buena Vista. There were also comparisons to other progressively smaller turbine size categories as well. The categories shown below illustrate a progressive increase in mortality per megawatt. These numbers can be seen below.
40-65 KW 95-200 KW 250kw-400kw 660 KW 1MW
Wind Turbines Wind Turbines Wind Turbines Wind Turbines Wind Turbines
These are impressive numbers and it appears that Altamont is on its way to reducing yearly mortality and living up to the settlement agreement made with the Audubon society, Californians for Renewable Energy (“CARE”); and Attorney General ( People of the State of California), to reduce mortality. But there is a lot more to these numbers as I will illustrate and the agreement made to reduce mortality is not being met.
Rated Capacity and Actual Energy Production
Altamont pass has a rated capacity of 580 MW. This number represents the theoretical total energy output of their 5000 or so turbines under high wind conditions. Every turbine depending on its size also has an industry given “rated capacity”. These turbines are represented in the different categories seen above. For the sake of simplicity I will compare just two different wind turbines. One from the from the lowest 40-65 KW category and one from the 1 MW category,. those being an older Windmatic 65 KW will be compared with one of the new Mitsubishi 1 MW turbines that have been installed in the Buena vista section of Altamont. These can be seen in the images provided.
The average wind speed in the Altamont region is in the 12-16 mph range. At 12.5 mph the Windmatic wind turbine produces about 135,000 KWh per year. According to the manufacturer the 1 MW turbine at the same wind speed produces about 1,000,000 KWh. This comes out to a 7.4 to one ratio in energy production when compared to the smaller turbine. The “rated capacity” for the smaller turbine is 65 KW This industry rating when compared to the 1 MW Mitsubishi rating creates a ratio that is 15.4 to 1(65kw divided by1000kw). With this disparity between “rated capacity” and actual energy production it more than doubles the number of wind turbines used to compare fatalities for the much higher 40-65Kw mortality category. This type of comparison can be used with any of the turbines installed at Altamont.
All the mortality numbers from Altamont were derived by using comparisons to “rated capacity”. By using bird mortality and equating it to rated capacity, it creates a deception or trick of numbers because rated capacity is a subjective wind industry figure that refers to maximum energy potential of a turbine at a particular wind speed. The term rated capacity is so vague that it should NEVER be discussed in any mortality impact studies to protected species.
I know the State Of California is well aware of this as well because twenty years ago the California Energy Commission made the following statement about rated capacity….. “Because the wind industry does not yet employ a standardized turbine rating system, much of the data reported is not directly comparable. Turbines are tested under different conditions and rated at widely varying miles per hour specifications. Evidence of the problem is indicated by the lack of correlation between blade swept area and turbine KW specifications.” Yet the wind industry has created false correlations for their mortality studies.
Instead what should always be discussed in every scientific mortality study are total rotor sweep area, tip speed, and placement because these are the primary wind turbine factors that slaughter our birds.
Currently there is no data available from Altamont Pass or any other wind facility across America, equating actual energy production to raptor and bird mortality. If one understands the magnitude of what I have just presented, then it becomes obvious that that none of the wind industry mortality studies using rated capacity comparisons have credibility. Rated capacity, that vague term of potential, is also used in another deceptive manner, it is used to embellish the energy projections of wind farms.
In the end, with these new turbines going into Altamont, more energy will be produced and that is the real reason why they are repowering. It is not for the birds and never has been. More energy will be produced because at 300 feet up in the sky these turbines reach into stronger winds and far more rotor sweep will be put into Altamont. Likewise if the same old turbines now on 60- 80 foot towers were placed at the same level, they too would produce far more energy.
All things being equal, if we look at rotor sweep comparisons to produce the equal amounts of energy (135,000 kwh) it shows that at a 7.4 to 1 ratio Windmatic have a combined total rotor sweep of 1140 sq meters (7.4 x 154sq meters=1140). The new 1 MW Buena vista turbines reaching almost 300 feet into the air have a rotor sweep of 2959 square meters. Each of these turbines has a rotor sweep equal to the total sweep area of 19.2 of the smaller Windmatic turbines. They also a total rotor sweep of 2.6 times for the same energy production. But more importantly the mortality equivalent of 19.2 turbines in the numbers above, is being compared to just one 1 MW turbine when it should be compared to just 7.4 turbines. This creates a figure showing 2.6 times more fatalities for the smaller turbines. If this inflated 2.6 ratio is plugged into the industry numbers it drastically lowers the mortality numbers again for the smaller 40kw-65kw class of turbines.
Even so, there are far bigger problems with the wind industry mortality studies and their conclusions.
Proportional Rotor sweep and Search Areas
In order to get the mortality data, an area around each turbine must be searched. If we compare the areas searched between the different turbine types the results are shocking. Especially when comparing the search areas of the 1MW turbine to the smallest and supposedly most dangerous 40-65 KW turbines.
40-65 KW 95-200 KW 250kw-400kw 660 KW 1MW
Wind Turbines Wind Turbines Wind Turbines Wind Turbines Wind Turbines
rotor sweep area 154 sq meters 1658 square feetrotor sweep areaapp. 350 sq m app.1734 sq feetrotor sweep areaapp. 800 sq m app. 1734 sq feetrotor sweep area1734 sq meter s18,664 sq feetrotor sweep area2960 sq meter 31,860 sq feet50 meter search50 meter search50 meter search60 meter search75 meter search
Published Scientific reports claim declining fatalities in the new larger turbines installed at Altamont but the data also shows something else if you look close. The data shows that there a direct association between the number of fatalities found in relation to turbine size. It is an illusion because from the highest number of fatalities found in the studies down to the lowest shows progressively smaller search areas for each of the five larger wind turbines categories.
The area searched for each of the smaller Windmatic turbines is 50 meters out from the base of each turbine. The area searched looking for bodies around the 1 MW turbines at Buena Vista was 75 meters. Since the 1 MW turbines are actually 19.1 times bigger we can multiply the 7850 square meter Windmatic search areas by that amount for comparison. This will give us an area of 149,935 square meters that was searched for the fatalities listed for the smallest turbines. Now if we look at the total area searched for the much larger 1 MW turbines it is just 17662 square meters
A total single search of the so called safer 38 turbines installed in the Buena Vista wind project, covered 671175 square meters. The total search area of the same rotor sweep equivalent ( 726 40-65 Kw turbines) of the smaller turbines was 5,699,100 square meters. A difference of 5,028,735 square meters, or almost 2 square miles.
This is very important because wounded birds with severed limbs can travel for days before dying and smaller birds hit by blade tips can fly like a baseball upon impact.
The mortality figures given by the industry for the 1 MW turbines were derived from search area equivalents 8.5 times smaller. The new larger turbines with lower claimed fatalities had bird and bat mortality searches covering an area of over 26 million less square feet every time searchers looked through the turbines. What does this all really mean? That if you do not look, you will not see.
Now that the wind industry undersized search radius ploy has been exposed, an argument can also be made that comparison search areas should be derived from the equal angles created from the outside edge or the maximum height of the rotor sweep to the outside edge of the search radius. I have looked into this and depending on tower height, it still creates a search area radius in the 130-142 meter range that should have been done for each of the Buena Vista 1 MW turbines. This is still 3 – 3.6 times too small. But even if this had been done, the increased search areas would not account for the higher winds at the increased elevation of impact, nor the greater impact to birds generated from birds hitting blades with much faster tip speeds of the newly installed 1 MW turbines.
All Native Bird Comparisons
The new turbines were said to drastically reduce the bird mortality rate by 80 percent. This statement is not true. Not only are the all native bird figures wrong from the result of using distorted comparisons of rated capacity, rotor sweep, and search area sizes, but birds species that do not use the habitat, were used to create the low Buena Vista number of 2.389 bird fatalities/per MW/ per year.
Bird species that do not live in or use the habitat should not have ever been used. I’ve walked the Buena Vista habitat. The habitat where the Buena Vista wind turbines are placed, is a treeless semi desert grassland (see images). You will not see wild turkeys, flickers, scrub jays, pelicans and many of the other bird species that were used to build the 80 percent reduction number. This is another trick of numbers used to create the safer turbine myth.
Other problems with the Turbine comparisons
Hidden in the numbers are several other facts that completely change the widely published repowering conclusions. With the largest 1MW turbines, is the terrible news that the golden eagle death rate went up over all other wind turbine categories from .043 fatalities to .084 per MW /per year. Even with the many flawed comparisons and conclusions the death rate still nearly doubled when compared to the 40-65 kw turbines. When accounting for these flaws, the death rate for the golden eagle becomes even more alarming because it easily escalates mortality to over 4 times as many golden eagles killed with the so called safer turbines.
Another fact buried in the 67% lower raptor mortality numbers is the fact that with the burrowing owl mortality category, no mortalities were reported because they also do not live around the turbines in Buena Vista 1 MW turbine habitat. This lowered the overall raptor mortality of the raptor species. The closest and rare observations of this species were all about 1/2 mile away from the closest turbines.
Lastly it must be pointed out that the these same 1 MW Turbines put in other locations of Altamont pass with better habitat would kill far more raptors, birds, and bats. In other words the bird and raptor mortalities reported would have been higher in nearly every category except for those species like the Horned lark and Prairie falcon that prefer this semi desert habitat. The death list from the Buena Vista turbines shows that their mortality numbers went up.
The only reasonable conclusions that can be made from the Buena Vista Mortality studies is that the new larger turbines are far more dangerous to the golden eagle and wind turbines kill the indigenous species from the habitat where they are placed.
The Stark Reality
One of the reasons the new turbines are so dangerous to eagles is because the placement of the Buena Vista turbines now has the highest concentration of wind turbines in all of the Altamont region. In addition, for any bird species that pays a visit to the Buena Vista Wind farm, the chances of coming out alive are the worst in all of Altamont. Now within this .85 mile square mile area, anything that flies must face 1,205,132 square feet of air space with spinning turbine blades. Their blade tip speed is 210 mph when spinning at 19.8 rpm. The Buena Vista section of Altamont Pass now has more than three times the density of spinning blades (rotor sweep) found anywhere else in the entire Altamont wind resource area. In other words, the equivalent of 726 of the older Windmatic wind turbines have been crammed into one small area.
For the Buena Vista project 179 older turbines were taken out and this repowering project added 441,320 more square feet of rotor sweep to the previous total. When the original 179 turbines that were pulled out, they also did not sit on .85 square miles, they were spread out over an area of 3.9 square miles. The untold truth is that the Buena Vista wind farm is now the most dangerous installment of turbines in the entire region of Altamont Pass and it is going get worse.
Why Altamont Death Rate is Really Much Higher
When looking through the many studies conducted at Altamont over the years, I also saw mistakes researchers we were making with their the studies under the turbines. I can report that mortality is much worse than anything reported and much higher than any of previous of estimates. Especially for the smaller birds and bats. This is because all the previous studies were set up to see only the leftovers from scavenging. Unreported in the studies is the fact that Ravens, sea gulls, vultures are picking the search areas clean long before the searchers arrive. Over the years I have spent time studying each of these species and from what I have seen of their behavior I know that most of the smaller species killed by the turbines are carried off or eaten from the turbines in a day or two after they hit the ground.
In all the studies researchers have been coming back to the turbines checking for bodies two weeks, a month , or even 3 months later so they can tally up the fatalities. But its really old news and even if they checked everyday the ravens and gulls would make fools out of them.
A look at the many Altamont studies consistently shows that these species as a group are the most commonly seen birds in the Altamont Pass region. These species are tenacious scavengers equipped with very keen eyesight. Their eyesight may not equal that of an eagle’s, but it is not far off. In addition there is another very important characteristic about raven behavior that plays a part in all of this. That is, they stash food. Hiding it away even if they do not need it or can ever possibly eat it all, they will fly off and hide it. I have witnessed ravens carry off and hide a months worth of food in a few hours. But due to spoilage much of the food taken could never be consumed.
Scavenger studies by researchers have been set up to account for the disappearance of fatalities, but as I have seen, they too are flawed. For example with the Buena Vista scavenger studies, the dead quail used in the scavenger studies were too big for gulls to swallow whole or for the ravens to carry away.
There are other very serious problems with all the mortality studies. These problems arise from deliberate interference from those protecting the money. Lack of researcher access given by the wind companies, wind farm personnel picking up and hiding bodies, land owners with leases wanting to keep a lid on the bad publicity so their money will keep coming in. Then there are those endless studies generated from the wind industry experts. As anyone can see from the results of the Altamont repowering studies, none have these have much merit.
I have a lot more I could say about Altamont but I will save it for another day. Right now I want the people in the Bay Area, to understand the next ugly chapter of what is about to take place at Altamont Pass, more eagles will die.
The result of the repowering of Altamont will bring many more fatalities to the golden eagle and all raptors. Currently Altamont has a rated capacity of 580 Mw of which it has never come close to achieving. With the new turbines and by using the obscure meaning of “Rated Capacity”, I believe the industry is going to make it happen. In the process the total rotor swept area for Altamont will be increased by several million more square feet. For Altamont the blood bath will not only continue, it will get much worse. If this happens a mortality decline for raptors will never be reported until there is a decline in the overall raptor populations or the media grabs a hold of a cooked-up wind industry report.
The repowering of Altamont is in it early stages. I know that 100 much larger 2.3 MW turbines are scheduled to be put in at Altamont by NextEra. The total rotor sweep of these turbines will equal 4400 of the early turbines 65 KW turbines (see image). Combine these turbines with the 38 1 MW turbines installed at Buena vista, the 31 Diablo Winds 660 KW turbines and together they will total 5434 of the early 65KW turbines. I have been told that as many as 700 of these huge new generation wind turbines are planned for the repowering of Altamont.
So I ask, at what point if ever, does any of this ever sink into the consciousness of the Bay Area?
9/22/11 Noise Complaints? What noise complaints? AND Wind farm family files lawsuit AND More noise about the noise wind developers say is no problem AND Illinois Governor gets free trip to China, Lee county gets Chinese turbines and WOW--12 whole permanent jobs
WIND FARM HEALTH RISKS DOWNPLAYED: DOCUMENTS
By Dave Seglins and John Nicol,
SOURCE CBC News, www.cbc.ca
September 22 2011
“It was terrible—we’d go nights in a row with no sleep,” said Ashbee. “It was a combination of the loud noise—the decibel, audible noise—and also this vibration that was in the house that would go up and it would go down.”
Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment is logging hundreds of health complaints over the province’s 900 wind turbines but has downplayed the problem, according to internal ministry documents obtained by CBC News.
According to 1,000 pages of internal government emails, reports and memos released under Ontario’s Freedom of Information Act, the government scrambled to figure out how to monitor and control noise pollution.
The documents were released after a lengthy and costly battle waged by Barb Ashbee. Ashbee and her husband Dennis Lormand say they suffered a series of ailments after wind turbines began operating near their home in Amaranth, near Shelburne, northwest of Toronto. The area is now home to 133 wind turbines — the largest industrial wind farm in the province.
After being told theirs was the only complaint in the area, Ashbee and Lormond learned that MOE officials at the Guelph District Office had been tracking more than 200 complaints dating back to 2006 when the wind farm first started operating.
Their home was bought out by Canadian Hydro Developers (now Transalta) in June 2009, one of six homeowners who sold their houses to the utility company.
Each seller had to sign confidentiality agreements. But the Lormands have risked legal repercussions by breaking their silence and speaking exclusively to CBC News this week. They said they want to warn the public about what they claim are the dangers of living near wind turbines and the supposed breakdowns in government monitoring.
“We were silent. I wouldn’t say boo to anybody. But the longer this goes on, nobody’s doing anything! And now we have an (Ontario) election two weeks away. Nobody understands what’s going on out here.”
Sleepless nights sparked activism
“It was terrible—we’d go nights in a row with no sleep,” said Ashbee. “It was a combination of the loud noise—the decibel, audible noise—and also this vibration that was in the house that would go up and it would go down.”
The couple moved into their home in December 2008 just as the wind farm became operational. But they said they immediately noted a loud swooshing noise from nearby turbines and a persistent, unexplained hum resonating in their home.
Ashbee said she called the power company and the environment ministry night after night and was initially told by government enforcement officers that hers was the only complaint in the area.
“We were told [the wind company] was running in compliance, that there were no problems.
“We’d just have to get used to it.”
But she said the Ministry of Environment (MOE) was misleading her, and that there had been hundreds of complaints.
Ashbee launched a lengthy battle using Ontario’s Freedom of Information Act and eventually received more than 1,000 pages of internal MOE correspondence.
Acccording to the documents, government staff downplayed the problem while scrambling to understand and control wind turbine noise pollution.
MOE officers warn supervisor
According to the documents, MOE field officer Garry Tomlinson was slow to process Ashbee’s noise complaints. But he began trying to conduct his own noise monitoring tests when confronted with many more complaints and consultants reports by Canadian Hydro Developers that revealed noise violations.
Tomlinson consulted acoustics specialists at Ryerson University and within the MOE. He concluded and warned his supervisors that the ministry “currently has no approved methodology for field measurement of the noise emissions from multiple [turbines]. As such there is no way for MOE Field staff (and I would submit anyone else) to confirm compliance or lack thereof.”
Tomlinson also gave a tour to two assistant deputy ministers Paul Evans and Paul French on May 1, 2009, advising them of the problems they were encountering.
Ministry officials at the Guelph office, including manager Jane Glassco, attended community meetings in Melancthon and Amaranth townships in the summer of 2009, where Glassco acknowledged people were “suffering” and that many were claiming to have been forced out of their homes due to noise pollution.
By 2010, other staff at the Guelph office were warning officials at the ministry headquarters in Toronto that the computer modelling used to establish Ontario’s wind turbine noise limits and safe “set back distances” for wind turbines was flawed and inadequate.
Cameron Hall a fellow field officer at the MOE in Guelph wrote to his managers warning that the province was failing to properly account for the “swooshing sounds.”
CBC News presented some of the ministry documents to Ramani Ramakrishnan, a Ryerson University professor and acoustics specialist who has written several reports and conducts noise pollution training for MOE staff.
Ramakrishnan has recommended to the MOE that wind turbines in rural areas should have far stricter limits but says if the province enforced the regulations – it would have a major impact on wind farms around the province.
“First implication,” Ramakrishnan says, “is that the number of wind turbines in wind-farms would have to be reduced considerably and wind-farm developers would have to look for localities where they are not impacting the neighbourhood.
“A five-decibel reduction in acceptable noise is quite noticeable and perceptible” and the MOE field staff are recommending up to 10 decibel reductions in some cases.
Ashbee, who is returning to her old job as a real estate agent, said there are several people near turbines who won’t speak for fear that their land values will go down.
Her husband Dennis doesn’t blame the wind turbine company:
“It’s our government that backs it up. It’s the government that’s making people sick and forcing them out of their homes. And it’s all being suppressed.”
CBC News repeatedly requested an interview with Ontario’s Environment Minister John Wilkinson, who is also engaged in a provincial election campaign seeking re-election as MPP for the riding of Perth-Wellington. Those requests were denied.
Transalta, who took over the company that bought out the Ashbee-Lormand home, told CBC News in a statement that such confidentiality agreements are standard, designed to protect the privacy of both sides. Neither the company nor the couple would discuss the $300,000 price listed on local land registry records as being the amount for which the couple’s home was transferred to the power company.
Ashbee and Lormond learned that MOE officials at the Guelph District Office had been tracking more than 200 complaints dating back to 2006 when the wind farm first started operating.
MOE officials repeatedly told the couple in early 2009 that the power company (Canadian Hydro Developers) were in compliance with the law yet the company’s own consultants report sent to the MOE concluded noise pollution from the turbines was generally higher than Ontario’s limits.
MOE field officers in Guelph in 2009 scrambled to learn more about how to properly record and test audible noise levels and low frequency sound. They warned superiors that Ontario’s noise pollution models are filled with errors, that they lacked a proper methodology for monitoring (and thus enforcing) noise levels from turbines.
MOE field officers and the acoustics specialists they hired repeatedly warned the province in 2009 and 2010 that there needed to be stricter noise pollution limits in rural areas, and in wind turbine environments where there is cyclical or tonal “swooshing sounds.”
FAMILY SUES WIND FARM ALLEGING HEALTH DAMAGE, FALLING PROPERTY VALUES
By John Spears, Business Reporter,
SOURCE Toronto Star, www.thestar.com
September 21 2011
A rural family near Chatham have launched a lawsuit against a nearby wind farm, claiming it has damaged their health and devalued their property.
Lisa and Michel Michaud, and their adult children, have launched the lawsuit against the Kent Breeze wind farm, which was developed by a unit of Suncor Energy Services.
They are seeking an injunction that would shut down the operation, as well as damages totaling $1.5 million plus other costs.
Their statements have not been tested in court; they could be challenged by the defendants, and amended or deleted.
The lawsuit follows a decision earlier this summer from Ontario’s environmental review tribunal, which allowed the wind farm to proceed.
But the tribunal said its decision was not the last word on the controversy over wind farms.
“The debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans,” the two-member panel wrote in its decision.
“The evidence presented to the tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents,” it said.
“The question that should be asked is: What protections, such as permissible noise levels or setback distances, are appropriate to protect human health?”
The Michauds live on a 12.5 acre property near Thamesville, with a house and barn they built themselves. Michel Michaud runs a home renovation company. The couple and their children, in their 20s, also raise goats, chickens, turkeys peacocks and ducks. They plan to start a bed and breakfast.
But they say the wind farm, which started up in May with eight large turbines, has changed their lives.
The closest turbine is 1.1 kilometre away, but the Michauds say a “tunnel effect” from the row of turbines stretching into the distance compounds the impact on their property.
Current Ontario regulations allow turbines within 550 metres of a dwelling.
The Michauds say the wind farm exposes them to “audible and inaudible noise, low frequency noise and light flicker that negatively affect their health, cause vertigo, annoyance, sleep disturbance, despair and exhaustion.”
Michel Michaud says the turbines also affect his ability to concentrate, causing him to make mistakes at work.
“We want our lives back,” Lisa Michaud said in an interview.
TURBINE NOISE DESTROYING OUR LIVES
SOURCE North Devon Journal, www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk
September 22, 2011
“There is no option of keeping the window open any longer. It is just too noisy to sleep – we were told they would be silent.
People living near the new Fullabrook wind farm claim their lives are being “destroyed” by the noise generated from each of the 22 turbines.
The residents, some who live only 400m from the structures, say they can no longer sleep as a result of the intrusive sound.
But despite numerous registered complaints about the noise at Fullabrook, North Devon Council (NDC) is unable to act until the whole site is complete and commissioned, which may not be for another three weeks.
Once the site is commissioned officers from the council will visit Fullabrook to monitor the sound levels in order to ascertain whether they meet the requirements set out by the Secretary of State.
Jeremy Mann, head of environmental health and housing services at NDC said: “I can confirm that a number of the residents near to the wind farm have now expressed concern regarding the noise levels.
“The operator has strict noise limits imposed on their operation and is required to give evidence to the council of their compliance with these controls when the site is no longer working intermittently.”
In the meantime several residents feel they are trapped living with the noise because if they tried to move house few people would be interested in buying a property next to a wind turbine.
Nick Williams lives at Fullabrook itself with six of the turbines near his house. He claimed the wind farm had destroyed the area he lives in as well as his life.
He said: “It is like having tumble dryers in my bedroom and so I mostly have to sleep on the sofa in my front room – why should I be forced out of my bed?
“I can’t afford to double glaze the whole house – why can’t the people behind the turbines use this community fund to triple glaze all our houses? I have also had to buy a digital box for the television because the turbines interrupt the signal so badly it is impossible to watch.”
Another resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, has lived at Halsinger for over 23 years and can see three turbines from her kitchen window. She said: “I can feel the sensation from the blades turning through my pillow when I am trying to sleep at night.
“There is no option of keeping the window open any longer. It is just too noisy to sleep – we were told they would be silent.
“And I have some chickens, I can’t prove it is related, but they laid eggs everyday before July (when the turbines started to be tested) but since then we have had just two laid.”
Kim Parker owns a stables with 15 horses at Pippacott and she believes the noise is a problem because it is unpredictable.
She said: “Most of the horses have got used to it now but it is not a constant sound so often unnerves them. Then they are jumpy and constantly looking up to where the noise is coming from.”
A spokesman for ESB International, which owns the site, confirmed it was working closely with the district council and that remedial steps could be taken if, once tested, it was found noise levels exceeded the limit.
CHINA'S GOLDWIND PLANS $200 MILLION U.S. WIND FARM
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal
"If a Chinese wind developer sees an opportunity in Illinois, we're going to embrace them with open arms," Gov. Quinn, a Democrat, said in an interview on Monday.
BEIJING—Wind-turbine maker Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. plans to build a $200 million wind farm in Illinois—the latest attempt at clean-energy collaboration between China and the U.S. even as disputes over renewable-energy technology continue.
"The United States is a key component of Goldwind's international growth," Xinjiang Goldwind Chairman and Chief Executive Wu Gang said in a prepared in a statement. "Goldwind has generated a competitive global footprint, and we are focused on continuing that momentum, continuing to demonstrate our technology advantages and continuing to build out our global supply chain."
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama hopes it can reinvigorate the country's sluggish economy and spur job growth in part by bolstering the U.S. renewable-energy industry. But some people in the industry say Chinese companies undercut U.S. rivals on price because they get generous subsidies from the Chinese government. Under pressure from the Obama administration, China in June agreed to end many subsidies for its domestic wind-power-equipment manufacturers.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, on a trade mission to China, said criticisms of global expansion efforts by Chinese renewable companies were overstated. Just as the U.S. wants China to open its markets to foreign companies, Illinois shouldn't close its market to Chinese companies like Xinjiang Goldwind, he said.
"If a Chinese wind developer sees an opportunity in Illinois, we're going to embrace them with open arms," Gov. Quinn, a Democrat, said in an interview on Monday.
Xinjiang Goldwind spokesman Yao Yu said half of the parts and components for the Illinois wind farm would be supplied by U.S. manufacturers, such as Broadwind Energy Inc. of Naperville, Ill. The 109.5-megawatt wind farm will be located about 100 miles west of Chicago and is expected to be connected to the grid around June, Mr. Yao said.
The project will create a dozen permanent jobs and more than 100 construction jobs in the state, according to the governor's office.
Disputes over wind-power technology continue. U.S.-based American Superconductor Corp. said last week it filed suit against China's Sinovel Wind Group Co., the country's largest wind-turbine manufacturer. The suit relates to an American Semiconductor employee in Austria who is being held in that country and faces criminal charges that he stole American Semiconductor software that controls turbines and sold it to Sinovel. Sinovel has denied wrongdoing.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to participate Thursday in a Beijing round table on technology for capturing carbon dioxide.
7/811 Residents get ordinance, wind company takes ball, goes home ANDThe noise heard 'round the world: residents fight back
RIGA TOWNSHIP WIND TURBINE UNLIKELY
READ ENTIRE STORY AT SOURCE: WTOL, www.wtol.com
July 7, 2011
By Tim Miller,
Opponents of wind turbines in Lenawee Co. may have won a bigger victory then they realize.
Thursday, the developers announced they are backing down.
Wednesday night, hundreds of people against wind turbines cheered at a meeting when the Riga Township trustees approved a new zoning ordinance.
It allows wind turbines, but puts major restrictions on where they can go.
Developers must have setbacks from non-participating properties, of four times the height of the turbine. Noise generated by the turbines cannot exceed 45 decibels during the day, and 40 at night.
Because of the strong setbacks, Exelon Wind and Great Lakes Wind, partners in the so-called Blissfield Wind Project, say they cannot put one turbine in Riga Township, despite having more than 4,500 acres of land available under signed agreements with landowners.
Doug Duimering of Exelon Wind said, “We don’t have enough land to place turbines legally in Riga Township. Being compliant with the technical limits in this ordinance is impossible.”
Duimering said they’ve determined Exelon would have to get almost every landowner in the township to sign on.
“Frankly, they need to be sited in the west where there is a lot of open space,” Kevon Martis of the Informed Citizens Coalition said.
Martis says the Riga trustees sided with the citizens, over outside developers.
But many in his group at first saw it as a compromise, and not the total victory it appears to be.
“It took a little while on the phone and we will be handling out some mailers and stuff around the township to make people aware,” Martis said.
Exelon Wind will now turn its attention to neighboring Ogden and Palmyra Townships, hoping any ordinance they approve would have fewer restrictions. The Informed Citizens Coalition likely has more battles ahead.
Exelon Wind says it will have representatives at any future meetings in the other towns.
Another wind developer, Juwi Wind LLC, has been interested in Riga Township.
An official told WTOL 11 he can’t comment yet on their future plans.
But if the surrounding areas use the Riga ordinance as a model, the developers’ green energy dreams may drift away.
From the UK
WIND TURBINES HIGH COURT HEARING: DAVIS FAMILY FIND PLENTY OF SUPPORT
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE AT SOURCE: The Guardian
July 2011 09:00
A COUPLE who have been thrust into the national media spotlight with their High Court wind farm battle say everyone has been “very supportive” so far.
Television cameras, photographers and reporters have been following Jane and Julian Davis’s plight since the trial started on Monday.
The case will decide whether the sound produced by eight wind turbines near to their farm in Deeping St Nicholas – which they claim left them unable to sleep – is causing a noise nuisance.
The couple were joined by their daughter Emily (21) at the High Court to hear opening submissions on Monday.
Mrs Davis said: “The High Court is a wonderful old building. It’s very atmospheric. It’s quite amazing to be there.”
She added: “Everyone has been very supportive. People have seen the story and made their own minds up about whether there is an issue or not.
“I think it’s less about wind farms than a family where things have gone wrong.”
The judge, Mr Justice Hickinbottom, visited Deeping St Nicholas for several hours with legal teams on Tuesday.
Yesterday Mrs Davis was due to give evidence to the court, while her husband will appear in the witness box today. Two of the defendants – Nicholas Watts and RC Tinsley Ltd – are due to give their evidence on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Davis family are seeking an injunction for the alleged noise to be stopped by removing two turbines and modifying the operation of a third, and for their losses and damages of about £150,000 and legal costs to be paid.
Alternatively, they want the defendants to pay for a new three-bedroom house with the same acreage of land they had at the farm which is estimated to cost about £260,000, as well as losses, damages and legal costs.
Their story so far has appeared on the BBC, Daily Express, Daily Mail,
7/4/11 Wind developer brings the community a big surprise: and it's a very bad one AND Battle of Britain: residents driven from their home by turbine noise fight back AND Laying it out Hawaiian style: Why wind power has no Aloha Spirit AND Don't need it, can't use it, don't want it? Too bad, take it we'll sue you.
A TRANSMISSION PROBLEM
READ THE ENTIRE STORY AT THE SOURCE Salina Journal, www.salina.co
By MICHAEL STRAND
“Most of us found out about it when we started seeing stakes in our front yards,”
ELLSWORTH — The first time many property owners heard of plans to build a high-voltage transmission line along their street was when the marker flags and stakes showed up.
And by then, the decision had already been made.
“Most of us found out about it when we started seeing stakes in our front yards,” said Caleb Schultz, one of about 100 people who live along 10th and 11th roads in western Ellsworth County, where Wind Capital Group is planning to build a line to connect a wind farm in the northern part of the county to a power substation in Rice County. Construction is scheduled to start in September.
The 134 turbines will generate 201 megawatts of power, and “one of the necessary parts of the project is getting the power to market,” explained Dean Baumgardner, executive vice president of Wind Capital.
Baumgardner said the 31-mile route was chosen as the most direct route between the wind farm and the substation.
“Given federal regulatory agencies, environmental concerns and the effect on landowners, we want as direct a route as possible,” he said. “Fish and wildlife and the Corps of Engineers prefer we use areas that are already developed — rather than go through pristine areas.”
This doesn’t seem right
Kent Janssen said he first found out about the proposed transmission line by reading about it in the minutes of an Ellsworth County Commission meeting.
“But I had no clue about the size, that it was going to be a main transmission line, with 75-foot poles,” he said. “Just to have stakes start showing up, and being told this is going to happen just doesn’t seem right.”
Janssen said the line will run within 100 yards of some homes, and predicts the line will lower property values.
“There’s plenty of room to run this and not get within a quarter or a half-mile of a house,” he said, noting that such transmission lines usually cut cross country, rather than following a road.
Susan Thorton is also “disappointed” with both Wind Capital and the county commission.
“I really was disappointed that we found out through neighbors,” she said. “They should have gotten our opinions before decisions were made. We at least would have felt like we had our say — and if they’d listened to our concerns, it might not have turned out that way.”
It’s out of our hands
Ellsworth County Commissioner Kermit Rush said the discussion now needs to be between Wind Capital and people along the proposed route.
“It’s kind of out of our hands,” he said. “We have an agreement to let them use the right of way.”
Rush said that in the past, the county has worked with two other wind farm projects, “and those were never a problem.”
“As commissioners, we make a lot of decisions,” Rush said. “If we had to call the public each time, I’m not sure we’d get anything done.”
We all like wind power
None of those interviewed said they oppose wind power in general, or the Wind Capital project.
“I have no problem with wind power, or with transmission lines,” Thorton said. “Just not right on top of our homes.”
“I want to stress, I am for wind energy, and I’m for the transmission line,” Janssen said. “I’m happy for the guys up north that are getting the towers — we just want the line run in a responsible way.”
Janssen added that he’d been neutral on wind power up to 2006 — when the first wind company to build in Ellsworth County hosted a meeting with county commissioners to outline its plans to the public.
As for not talking to people along the route first, Baumgardner said he’s been involved in projects like this for years, and “No matter who you talk to first, the other one always thinks you should have talked with them first,” he said. “We approached the county and township people first. We’ve met with every landowner along the route, now — but hadn’t when we first met with the local governments.”
NOISY WIND FARM DROVE COUPLE OUT OF THEIR HOME
READ ENTIRE STORY AT THE SOURCE The Telegraph, www.telegraph.co.uk
July 4, 2011
A couple who say they were driven out of their family farm by the “nightmare” hum of wind turbines have mounted a ground-breaking £2.5 million compensation bid in London’s High Court.
Jane and Julian Davis, moved out of Grays Farm, Deeping St Nicholas, near Spalding, Lincs, four years ago because of the strain of living with the incessant noise.
And now they are taking on a local windfarm and other defendants in a pioneering case which will test the law on whether the sound created by the turbines amounts to a noise nuisance.
Mrs Davis, whose husband’s family cultivated Grays Farm for over 20 years before they were uprooted by the noise, said it had been a “nightmare living there”, and that they had no option but to leave.
Speaking before today’s High Court hearing, she added: “The noise is unpredictable and mainly occurs at night, you can never get to bed with the assurance that you will stay asleep.
“It’s incredibly unpredictable.”
In a bid to recreate the effect, she mimicked a sound she said was “something between a whirr and a hum”, adding that it was the peculiar, insidious “character” of the noise which made it so unsettling.
“You can’t even have a barbeque,” she said.
The couple are suing local landowners – RC Tinsley Ltd and Nicholas Watts, on whose land some of the turbines have been sited – as well as Fenland Windfarms Ltd and Fenland Green Power Cooperative Ltd, who own and operate the turbines.
Their lawyers are seeking either a permanent injunction to shut down the turbines or damages of up to £2.5 million to compensate the couple for the disruptive effects on their lives.
They have not returned to their home since 2007, and are now living in Spalding.
Mrs Davis said before the hearing she had no quarrel with the appearance of the turbines – only with the unsettling effects of the noise.
“We want them to stop the noise so we can move back in,” she said, adding: “We want them to recognise that the noise is a nuisance so we can go back and get some rest and sleep like we did five years ago. ”
The couple’s QC, Peter Harrison, said that, for his clients, windfarms “have emphatically not been the source of trouble-free, green and renewable energy which the firms promoting and profiting from wind energy would have the general public believe”.
The Davis’ had, instead, faced an operator which “has refused to acknowledge the noise their turbines make and the effect that that has had on the lives of these claimants”.
“Their lives have been wholly disrupted by that noise”, he told the court, also alleging that the main operator had tried to “impose a code of silence on those examining or recording the noise that these turbines in this location have caused”.
They had, he claimed, tried to “attack the credibility and reasonableness of the claimants rather than examine what they were actually being told”.
“From the defendants’ witness statements, and the material they wish to put before the court, it seems that those attempts to undermine the claimants, to say they are over-sensitive, that they are exaggerating and over-reacting, will continue during the trial,” the barrister added.
He claimed the defendants had been irked by Mrs Davis’ eagerness to “speak publicly about her experiences” and that she was being attacked for simply refusing to “put up with the noise”.
“To not quietly accept your fate, it appears, is the ultimate provocation,” he said.
The QC said the case was not a test of the Governement’s Green policies, but concerned the Davis’ wish to “get on with their lives and get back into their house”.
Although the case will hinge on technical arguments about measuring the “Amplitude Modulation” (AM) given off by the turbines, there are also vexed issues about the extent to which the defendants were given a fair opportunity to monitor the noise levels.
The hearing before Mr Justice Hickinbottom continues.
BIG WIND PROJECT HAS TO BE KILLED BEFORE IT KILLS OUR POCKETBOOKS
READ ENTIRE STORY AT THE SOURCE: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, www.staradvertiser.com
July 3, 2011
By Mike Bond,
Like some bizarre weapon of the former Soviet Union, Big Wind is finally being revealed for what it is: an engineering and financial tsunami that will enrich its backers and leave the rest of us far worse than before.
Its promised 400 mega-watts (MW), at the outrageous cost of $3 billion to $4 billion, makes no economic sense, but the full story is even worse.
Because wind is so inconsistent, Big Wind will produce only about 20 percent of that fictional 400 MW, or 80 MW (the Bonneville Power Administration, with 12 percent of America’s wind generation in one of its windiest locations, gets only 19 percent of its installed capacity).
And because most wind power is produced in non-peak hours when it can’t be used, turbines must then be shut down (curtailed). This “curtailment factor” lowers Big Wind’s potential 80 MW to about 48 MW. An additional 2-3 MW will be lost across the cable, bringing Big Wind down to 45 MW.
Moreover, wind requires backup fossil generation to run parallel offline for when the wind fluctuates or stops.
Called spinning reserve, this backup generation wastes millions of kilowatts and brings the Big Wind’s net generation down to about 40 MW.
And it’s why countries with extensive wind power like the United Kingdom, Denmark and Germany are finding wind power doesn’t reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.
Hawaiian Electric Co. could build a new 40 MW power plant on 30 acres of Oahu rather than 22,000 acres of Molokai and Lanai, and with no billion-dollar cable, for a fraction of Big Wind’s costs and carbon dioxide emissions. Or for Big Wind’s $3 billion, HECO could install rooftop solar on 165,000 homes, generate more power than Big Wind, and create 1,000 Hawaiian jobs, whereas Big Wind will create only a handful.
With rooftop solar, customers need only HECO for load-balancing and low-demand night use, thereby depriving HECO of its cash cow, the captive consumer. That’s why HECO has limited rooftop solar to 15 percent on its circuits. It’s as if we’re told we can’t grow vegetables in our own gardens; we have to buy Mexican vegetables from a supermarket chain.
Conservation is even easier, since 2008 state agencies have cut electricity use 8.6 percent at almost no cost. This could easily be implemented throughout Oahu, twice Big Wind’s net generation and saving $3 billion to $4 billion.
In fact, no developer will even touch Big Wind unless the entire $1 billion for the undersea cable can be charged to HECO customers, raising our electricity bills by 30 percent.
Contrary to the governor and HECO et al., Big Wind should be in public scrutiny. This is known as democracy.
And they should admit other potential tragic costs of this project, including the desecration of 35 square miles of beautiful coastal wilderness, possible damage to archaeological sites and endangered birds, a reduction in neighboring property values, and dynamiting in America’s finest coral reef and the Hawaiian National Whale Sanctuary.
No wonder that opposition to Big Wind is 98 percent on Molokai and nearly that on Lanai.
And when our nation is suffering the worst financial crisis in its history, a pork-barrel project adding billions more to our deficits seems nearly treasonous.
“The truth shall make us free” is a maxim of democracy. The opposite is also true: Cover-ups steal our freedom.
The governor, HECO et al. should realize that Maui, Lanai and Molokai are not colonies, nor part of the former Soviet Union. It’s time we were given the truth about Big Wind, so this ridiculous project can be quickly killed before it eats us all out of house and home.
Molokai resident Mike Bond is a former CEO of an international energy company, adviser to more than 70 utilities and energy companies, and author of studies on electricity transmission, cable operations and power generation alternatives.
When Water Overpowers, Wind Farms Get Steamed.
SOURCE: National Public Radio, www.npr.org
July 3, 2011
by Martin Kaste
The Pacific Northwest is suffering from too much of a good thing — electricity. It was a snowy winter and a wet spring, and there’s lots of water behind the dams on the Columbia River, creating an oversupply of hydropower. As a result, the region’s new wind farms are being ordered to throttle back — and they’re not happy.
It seems like a simple problem to fix: if there’s too much water behind the dams, why not just dump some of it? Just bypass the power generators and spill it? Would that we could, says Doug Johnson, spokesman for the Bonneville Power Authority. When you spill water over a dam, he says, it gets mixed with nitrogen from the air — and that’s not good for the salmon.
“What it can do is give the juvenile fish a condition similar to the bends, similar to what scuba divers experience,” he says.
So Bonneville — a federal agency that runs the power transmission system in the region — has been ordering wind farms offline, usually in the middle of the night when demand is lowest. Wind farm companies are crying foul.
“This is not about fish protection, this is strictly about economics,” says Jan Johnson, a spokeswoman for Iberdrola Renewables, which has 722 wind turbines in the Pacific Northwest.
“There’s options,” she says. “In other parts of the country — in fact in every other region — these types of transmission providers will just go into a negative pricing situation.”
Negative pricing means paying people to take your surplus power. The wind farm companies say the dams could run at full tilt and Bonneville could pay customers in other regions — like California or British Columbia — to take the surplus.
Five wind power companies have filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to force Bonneville to start doing so. Bonneville would prefer not to have to pay to get rid of power, Johnson says, because that cost would be a burden to power customers in the Northwest.
“What we’ve said is no. We’re willing to give away energy — we give away energy to a whole lot of people when we’re faced with the situation — but if we were going to just pay negative prices, and incorporate that into our wholesale power rate, and this is the only set of customers that are affected, we just aren’t prepared to do that,” he says.
A Challenge For Wind Power
Complicating matters is the fact that wind farm generators make much of their income from federal tax credits. The government pays them per megawatt hour, so they really don’t like it when those blades stop turning.
They also say Bonneville is forcing them to break contracts with utilities in places like California, which are required to buy a certain amount of renewable energy. Wind farms have encountered similar problems around the country. Mark Bolinger studies renewable energy markets for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
“Transmission is probably one of the largest issues facing wind development in the U.S.,” he says. “In 2010, roughly 5 percent of all wind generation that could have happened was actually curtailed due to transmission constraints.”
Sometimes the reason is infrastructure — lack of room in the grid — and sometimes it’s financial, as in the case of Bonneville’s reluctance to pay other regions to take the surplus. Finally, there’s the economy. Until customer demand for power picks up some more, the tricky problem of too much power isn’t likely to go away.