Entries in wind farm lawsuit (39)
CONTROVERSIAL SHIRLEY WIND FARM BEING TESTED
GLENMORE, Wis. (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s tallest wind energy turbines are being tested this week.
Eight windmills at the Shirley Wind facility south of Green Bay are expected to start making electricity soon. They could power 8,000 homes if they had to. But the state government is buying the electricity, to help reach a goal of having 20 percent of its power from renewable sources.
State official Dave Helbach says they’ll need just 4 percent more once the Shirley Wind project goes online.
The turbines stretch up to 500 feet in the air. And the developers, Emerging Energies of Hubertus, say they’ll harness more wind and create more electricity than conventional-sized turbines.
They’re the largest windmills ever made by Tower Tech of Manitowoc. And the group Renew Wisconsin says they would never have been allowed under the proposed new locating requirements proposed by the state Public Service Commission.
Michael Vickerman said the distance limits between the towers, farm houses, and fields would have put the Shirley Wind site off limits.
A state Senate committee recently reviewed the proposed limits, and told the PSC to come back with something different. That didn’t sit well with residents near the site in the town of Glenmore near Green Bay. They say they’ll hurt by the turbines’ noise and flickering shadows.
They put up a sign near one of the turbines which says, “Welcome to the Glenmore Wind Ghetto.”
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Clarification: According to this press release [CLICK HERE] The turbines for this project were made by a company in Germany called NORDEX and shipped to the US.
Better Plan is currently investigating allegations of conflict of interest between Glenmore Town officials and wind developer Emerging Energies. Public documents indicate that several of the hosts of the turbines may have had their mortgages paid off by Emerging Energies and that at least one Town official may have been given a free trip to Germany to visit the Nordex plant.
The Public Service Commission's proposed wind siting rules do not address the troublesome issue of conflict of interest. It is a common practice among wind developers to offer lucrative contracts to members of local government who have the land to host turbines, and who also have the power to push a project through.
Better Plan also has questions about the production capacity claimed for this project. Under favorable conditions, wind turbines are about 30% efficient. In the state of Wisconsin, that number is closer to 20-25%.
If one follows the numbers presented here by Emerging Energies, the turbines in Glenmore will have a 40% generating capacity.
Better Plan is unaware of any turbines in our state which have exceed 30% efficiency.
EXTRA CREDIT: One of the founders of "Emerging Energies is Bill Rackocy, who also sat on the Wind Siting Council and helped determine the siting guidelines for our state.
10/24/10 They've known about the trouble since 2004: why is the Public Service Commission still pushing for short setbacks between turbines and homes?
SAVE THE DATE!!!
On Tuesday, November 9th the Assembly Committee on Commerce, Utilites, Energy and Rail will hold a full public hearing at the capitol because of questions raised regarding the Public Service Commission's new wind siting rules for the state of Wisconsin.
The public is encouraged to attend and to provide testimony regarding specific concerns about the rules.
Tuesday, November 9th at 10:30 a.m. in Room 417 North at the State Capitol Building: Hearing relating to Clearinghouse Rule 10-057
TESTIMONY PRESENTED AT THE SENATE HEARING ON WIND RULES CREATED BY THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
In 2004 the Energy Center of Wisconsin published a report for the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration Division of Energy entitled, “A Study of Wind Development in Wisconsin, A Collaborative Report”. On page 48, under “Turbine Placement” it states:
The first generation of wind power projects in Wisconsin (particularly in Kewaunee County) showed that unless developers pay attention to the placement of turbines, noise and blade flicker could become significant issues for nearby residences.
The importance of turbine placement and wind farm design cannot be overemphasized. Developers need to make use of visual rendering tools to ensure their project explicitly evaluates the potential effect of noise levels and blade flicker on host landowners and adjacent property owners.
The proposed Wind Siting Rules do very little to ensure the fulfillment of this industry supported recommendation.
Wind development stakeholders will testify that these rules are the strictest wind siting rules in the nation.
Last week, Goodhue County became the second county in Minnesota in the last year to adopt wind siting rules which included a key provision that would impose a wind turbine setback of 10 “rotor-diameters” or about 1/2mile, from homeowners not participating in a commercial wind project — unless those homeowners agree to less stringent standards.
Some wind siting council members were prepared to discuss other ordinances in the U.S. and internationally as provided in Act 40. The subject wasn’t opened for discussion. In fact, Wisconsin is breaking ground by taking away all local control in the development of wind projects.
Shadow flicker modeling and noise modeling standards are left to the discretion of each wind developer. This is one area that should have more uniformity set by the PSC for input parameters. Wind developers are not vetted by the state. There are no consequences for bad actors or modeling errors.
Impacts should be mitigated with proper siting. There is too much emphasis on band-aid methods to comply and mitigate after the turbine installation instead of being confident that the PSC has put forth accurate siting rules.
Having a rule for notice of process for making complaints sent to all residents within a ½ mile before construction just signals the community that problems are most certainly expected.
Under the complaint process in the wind siting rules, the rule states that a complaint shall be made first to the owner of the wind energy system pursuant to a complaint resolution process developed by the owner.
It further states that after 45 days the complainant may then petition the local government for review of a complaint.
The permitting authority is the local government. Complaint resolution should be administered by them.
Unlike a wind turbine owner, the town or county boards are elected officials who have the intrinsic responsibility to protect the health and safety and welfare of their constituents even if the rules remind them that they are restricted by statute 66.0401.
The rules should be clear on what procedural methods and tools the local governments have to investigate complaints.
For example how do they determine if noise limits are exceeded? What is the definition of “curtailment” and how shall that be measured?
There should be a stipulation for funds to be collected before project construction, and held in escrow to address investigation of complaints after the project is operational, as provided for in the permitting and construction process. In addition there should be a clear procedure for an appeal process to the PSC if the wind turbine owner determines the complaint resolution is unreasonable and refuses to comply.
The rules are silent on mechanisms of enforcement. Local governments need to know what their enforcement authority is. Most towns do not have authority to issue citations for non-compliance in operations in their towns. What tools does a local government have to ensure that the siting standards are met without burdening the community with litigation costs for 25 years?
A wind project may be the single most intrusive development that engulfs a community.
Have the Wisconsin legislators carefully reviewed the evidence that wind energy will live up to the marketing rhetoric; reduce our dependency on foreign oil, reduce C02 emissions and reduce imports of fossil fuels?
If so, then more lessons need to be learned from our existing installed wind projects to make continuing development sustainable. Accepting the same methods of planning developments as in the past has done nothing but fuel opposition. The wind siting rules as written have done nothing to minimize this.
Evansville, WI 53536
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
Better Plan would like to thank Cathy Bembinster for providing us with a copy of their testimony so we can share it here.
CLICK HERE to watch Wisconsin Eye video of the Senate Committee wind rules hearing. After you click on the link, click "Watch" under 10.13.10 Senate committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail.
Better Plan would also like to thank Wisconsin Eye for making this video available to the public.
10/23/10 Here Comes the Judge: 20 wind project residents could get their day in court AND State of Oregon decides to take wind project residents complaints seriously AND Like a bad neighbor, Acciona is there
BAD AXE — Dates have been set for a case evaluation and jury trial for the lawsuit filed by 20 Huron County residents claiming the Ubly area Michigan Wind I development has harmed their quality of life and lowered property values.
Huron County Circuit Court officials said a case evaluation will be conducted July 21, 2011 and a jury trial has been scheduled for Oct. 4, 2011. The dates were set after a pretrial hearing that was held Thursday.
The case evaluation consists of a panel of three attorneys who will review the case and recommend a case outcome. The plaintiffs and defendants then will have 28 days to either accept or reject the results of the case evaluation. If both accept the recommendation, an order closing the case will be drafted. If one or both parties reject the recommendation, the case goes to a jury trial.
In the lawsuit, which was filed May 11 in Huron County Circuit Court against John Deere Renewables, Deere & Company (John Deere), Noble Environmental Power, LLC, Michigan Wind I, LLC (Noble Thumb Windpark I) and RMT, Inc., the plaintiffs are seeking in excess of $25,000 and an injunctive relief ordering the companies to cease and desist their activities.
The lawsuit consists of four counts: Private nuisance (Count I), public nuisance (Count II), negligent design of a wind farm (Count III) and negligent misrepresentation (Count IV). While the lawsuit names John Deere Renewables, John Deere, Michigan Wind I, LLC and Noble Environmental Power, LLC in all four counts, RMT, Inc. is named only in Count III.
In August, Huron County Circuit Court Judge M. Richard Knoblock dismissed two of four counts against John Deere Renewables, LLC, Deere & Company and Michigan Wind 1, LLC, and one of four counts against Noble Environmental Power, LLC
Knoblock’s ruling left John Deere, John Deere Renewables, Michigan Wind I LLC facing two counts: Count I of private nuisance and Count II of public nuisance. Noble Environmental Power, LLC is left with three counts: Count I of private nuisance, Count II of public nuisance and Count III of negligent design of a wind farm. RMT, Inc. still faces the one count of negligent design of a wind park.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege the actions of the wind companies and Michigan Wind 1 wind farm have caused the plaintiffs substantial damage, including, but not limited to, physical harm and adverse health effects, including the inability to sleep and repeated awakening during sleep, headaches, dizziness, stress and tension, extreme fatigue, diminished ability to concentrate, nausea and other physiological cognitive effects.
According to the answer attorneys for RMT, Inc. filed in response to the plaintiffs’ lawsuit, RMT denies it is liable to the plaintiffs in any amount of money whatsoever, and is asking the court to dismiss the complaint and grant RMT, Inc. its costs, attorney fees and whatever other relief the court deems appropriate.
Answers filed by attorneys for John Deere, Deere Renewables and Michigan Wind I LLC, and by attorneys for Noble Environmental Power, LLC, also deny the allegations in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs in the case are David Peplinski, Marilyn Peplinski, Frank Peplinski, Georgia Peplinski, Terry Peplinski, Christine Peplinski, Curtis Watchowski, Lynda Watchowski, James Czewski, Delphine Czewski, Dennis Mausolf, Darcy Mausolf, Dale Laming, Elaine Laming, Lynn Sweeney, Pam Sweeney, Alger Nowak, Mary Nowak, Randy Weber and Angela Weber, according to court documents from the Huron County Clerk’s Office.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege the actions of the wind companies and Michigan Wind 1 wind farm have caused the plaintiffs substantial damage, including, but not limited to, physical harm and adverse health effects, including the inability to sleep and repeated awakening during sleep, headaches, dizziness, stress and tension, extreme fatigue, diminished ability to concentrate, nausea and other physiological cognitive effects.
The lawsuit attributes the adverse health effects to low frequency and sub-audible infrasound and/or impulse noise created by and emitted from turbines in the Ubly area wind park.
Noise and setback issues included in the lawsuit are what many opponents to local wind energy development say are the most contentious issues surrounding the Nov. 2 county Proposals 1 & 2. They believe the county’s standards are too lax and put the public health, safety and welfare at risk.
County officials and wind proponents have countered efforts urging people to vote “No” on the two proposals by noting the two proposals are not about noise and setbacks. The proposals are to amend the county’s wind ordinance to change two areas of the county — McKinley Township and portions of Rubicon, Sigel and Bloomfield townships — from a zoning classification of agriculture to a zoning classification of agriculture with a wind overlay district.
The proposals do not seek to change any of the ordinance’s language or existing noise and setback standards for wind energy developments.
With that said, opponents to wind developments say readers should be informed about these issues from Dr. Malcolm Swinbanks, the expert who wind opponents repeatedly have referenced in literature and public meetings.
Some key points of opponents and proponents in this debate will be featured in Tuesday’s edition of the Huron Daily Tribune.
OREGON PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICE DECIDES IT'S TIME TO STUDY HEALTH EFFECTS OF WIND TURBINES
By Scott Learn, The Oregonian, www.oregonlive.com 21 October 2010
Oregon has boosted wind energy projects with a vengeance in recent years, adopting a renewable power standard and tax breaks that have helped spread wind farms across the state’s northern reaches and into eastern Oregon.
Now comes the Oregon Public Health office, which announced Thursday that it’s embarking on a public health assessment of wind farms, kicking off with three “listening sessions” next month in LaGrande, Pendleton and Arlington to hear residents’ health concerns tied to the spinning blades.
The health issues are part of a broader backlash in Oregon and nationwide from critics who complain of negative impacts on scenery, property values, wildlife and tourism.
The growing number of wind farms has led to more complaints about their health effects, said Sujata Joshi, an epidemiologist in the environmental public health office. Health concerns raised to date focus on noise and vibration generated by the huge turbines.
The assessment will start with the listening sessions, but also include a review of health studies and talks with a steering committee that will include wind farm developers, community members, the state Department of Energy and Oregon’s energy facility siting council, which oversees new wind farm locations.
“With any development, you start learning more about potential concerns as more people start experiencing it,” Joshi said. “Our goal now is to hear what people have to say, and see if we can find solutions that work for communities and for the state’s goals.”
Wind farm critics cite work done by New York physician Nina Pierpoint who coined the term “wind turbine syndrome” to describe effects — such as headaches, dizziness and memory loss — of living near the machines. Industry representatives say they haven’t seen solid research linking wind turbines and negative health effects.
In May, Morrow County’s planning commission voted to give owners of the 72-megawatt Willow Creek farm six months to comply with state noise regulations. In November, Union County voters will vote thumbs up or down on the proposed Antelope Ridge Wind farm, though the vote is only advisory to the county commission. Supporters say the projects bring jobs, healthy lease payments to land owners who host the turbines and carbon-free electricity.
Oregon’s renewable power standard requires Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp to obtain 25 percent of their energy from new renewable sources by 2025. A more aggressive standard in California has also driven fast-paced wind farm development in Oregon.
Joshi said she’s not sure yet when the health office will complete its work. Updates will be posted at www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/hia/windenergy.shtml, which also includes details of the sessions on Nov. 3 and 4.
PANEL: SPREAD WIND'S REWARDS
MAKE UP FOR LOSSES: Cape Vincent team says property value, tourism are at risk
CAPE VINCENT — The town's wind economics committee, finding risks and rewards of wind farm development, has offered bold recommendations to spread rewards around and compensate nonparticipating landowners for any losses they incur.
The committee, which released its report Oct. 7, saw risks to property values, school district aid and tourism. On the other hand, wind power projects would have payments for landowners and for taxing jurisdictions through payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements.
The report also briefly pointed to other financial risks, including the failure of the developer to pay agreed payments, the owner terminating operation and the owner not saving enough money for decommissioning costs. The town and residents could incur legal fees from disagreements or disputes.
To limit the possibility of economic harm, the committee recommended that the town:
■ Adopt a zoning law that considers all effects of wind power development.
■ Create a planned development district in the town for turbines.
■ Negotiate PILOT agreements that "fairly and fully compensate" the town.
■ Require compensation to individuals for effects that can't be mitigated.
■ Require property value protection assurance.
■ Require a buyout plan for properties negatively affected.
■ Require bonding to ensure compliance.
■ Establish a reserve fund to cover any town-incurred project costs.
■ Establish a decommissioning plan.
The committee was composed of Assessor Robert V.R. Barnard; Zoning Board of Appeals member Robert S. Brown; Rockne E. Burns, owner of Willow Shores Mobile Home Park and past Planning Board member, and Cyril C. Cullen, past chairman of the Planning Board. Joseph A. Menard, superintendent of Thousand Islands Central School District, advised the committee on school-related issues.
"During this study it has become apparent that the Town and School may well see a financial gain through PILOT payments," the report said. "In addition to the Town and School, participating lease holders, who comprise only 3.9% of the property owners, in the Town are the only citizens that will benefit directly."
The report described the town's land value and compared the participating and nonparticipating land areas.
The total assessed value in the town, including tax-exempt properties, is $310.7 million. Property owned by participating landowners comprises 13,679 acres totaling $9.2 million in assessments. Property owned by nonparticipating landowners comprises 22,267 acres with a value of $301 million. While the participating landowners' property covers 38 percent of the town's area, it includes only 2.9 percent of the assessed value.
Contrary to assertions by St. Lawrence Wind Farm's developer, Acciona Wind Energy USA, in the final environmental impact statement, the report said, "Indications are there will be an overall decrease in property values with the potential for significant negative impact on assessments and related factors such as tax rates and the ability to market property at a fair price."
For example, nonparticipating property owners in the project areas could lose 20 percent to 40 percent of their properties' value, while others within 1,000 feet of turbine sites could lose 15 percent to 25 percent of their value.
One of the effects for lower assessments is the town and school district could raise tax rates to collect the same amount in property taxes, the report said.
On revenue for those in the town, the report recognizes that participating property owners could see more than $4,000 per year per turbine. The town and school district also would receive revenue, but through a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement instead of full property taxes.
"Town income would be whatever the Town negotiates for a PILOT agreement," the report said. "The Town's share of the PILOT agreement could be as much as $8,000 to $8,300 per turbine annually."
The school district's share now is extra income, but that situation could change if the state decides to include it as income.
"Although, there have not been official discussions at the State level that this practice is going to change, it should be noted that school districts across New York State have seen reductions in State Aid and it is possible that at some point PILOT revenues may affect school districts' State Aid," the report said.
If property values decline, the district may see more state aid through the wealth ratio, the report said.
The report also finds that tourism likely would be hurt by wind turbines. Those who come to Cape Vincent to see turbines "may slow down when they first go past a wind turbine, but do not spend any significant amount of time looking at them," it said.
For visitors who come to spend time on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, turbines "will not help promote the benefits of Cape Vincent that have drawn so many people to our town for decades," the report said. "It is felt that the negative effect of this industrial complex can be moderated by careful placement of the individual turbines so as to minimize their impact on the positive aspects of the town."
ON THE NET
Cape Vincent Wind Economic Impact Committee report:
10/11/10 UPDATE: Come to Madison for the wind siting hearing on Wednesday AND Lawsuit filed against PSC regarding wind rules AND a closer look at the thought processes behind the wind siting rules AND what a doctor is saying about people living near turbines
SAVE THE DATE:
Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy, and Rail
The Senate Committee on Utilities, Energy and Rail will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 11:00 AM, 411 South at the State Capitol in Madison relating to Clearinghouse Rule 10-057 siting of wind energy systems.
Senator Jeffry Plale, Chair
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: The public is encouraged to attend and and speak at the hearing regarding the PSC's wind siting rules. Get there early to get a good seat!
ARCADIA COUPLE SUING OVER WIND ENERGY RULES
McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Joe Knight The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.
October 9, 2010
An Eau Claire attorney is suing the Wisconsin Public Service Commission on behalf of a rural Arcadia family for failing to conduct an environmental review of proposed wind energy siting rules.
Attorney Glen Stoddard said the rules favor the wind energy industry at the expense of property owners living near wind turbines. He is representing David and Delores Vind, who own a farm near Arcadia. It's an area, they say, that has been considered for wind energy development.
"My wife and I decided to file the lawsuit after the PSC adopted the rules in their current form without doing an environmental assessment on the rules or evaluating the adverse environmental impacts of wind energy projects," David Vind said in a news release.
Stoddard said the commission violated the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act and the state's smart growth law by not conducting an environmental analysis.
Earlier this year the Legislature passed a law to establish uniform statewide rules for wind turbine siting. It was an attempt to simplify the current patchwork of local wind turbine rules.
The regulations, adopted by the PSC in late August, set specific requirements for wind turbine siting, including restrictions on noise, setbacks and "shadow flicker" -- a strobe light-like effect caused by rotating turbines. The rules also would allow local governments to require "good neighbor payments" to residents who live within a half-mile of wind turbines.
The state Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail has scheduled a public hearing for next week about the issue.
PSC spokeswoman Lori Sakk said the organization stands by the existing rule.
"The commission has approved this rule consistent with it's statutory obligations," she said. "It will vigorously defend it against this lawsuit."
The rule was based largely on recommendations from the state Wind Siting Advisory Committee. The committee, as required by the Legislature, was comprised of two wind energy developers, one town representative, one county representative, two representatives from utilities, two environmentalists, two real estate agents, two landowners living near wind turbines who have not received compensation for the turbines, two public members and one UW System faculty member with expertise regarding the health impacts of wind energy systems.
Ryan Schryver of the environmental group Clean Wisconsin, an advisory committee member, said the panel presented the PSC a good set of recommendations that were reached through compromise and public input. However, the commissioners made the siting rules more restrictive, getting away from the Legislature's intent, he said.
"We're hoping that after the hearings the PSC gets the message that they're not following the intent of the law," Schryver said. "The intent of the law, it was pretty clear, was to open up the door for renewable energy, not shut it."
An Assembly committee is likely to hold a hearing on the siting rules after the elections, he said.
Stoddard said he hopes the combined result of the lawsuit and the upcoming Senate hearing would result in changes to the rules establishing longer setbacks, stronger noise restrictions and better protection of property rights.
CLICK ON THE VIDEOS BELOW TO SEE HOW THE RULES WERE CREATED
Dr. Michael Nissenbaum reports on
Wind Turbines, Health, Ridgelines, and Valleys
Montpelier, VT, May 7 2010
It is a medical fact that sleep disturbance and perceived stress result in ill effects, including and especially cardiovascular disease, but also chronic feelings of depression, anger, helplessness, and, in the aggregate, the banishment of happiness and reduced quality of life.
Cardiovascular disease, as we all now, leads to reduced life expectancy. Try and get reasonably priced life insurance if you are hypertensive or have suffered a heart attack.
If industrial wind turbines installed in close proximity to human habitation result in sleep disturbance and stress, then it follows as surely as day follows night that wind turbines will, over the long term, result in these serious health effects and reduced quality of life.
The question is, then, do they?
In my investigation of Mars Hill, Maine, 22 out of about 30 adults (‘exposed’) who live within 3500 feet of a ridgeline arrangement of 28 1.5 MW wind turbines were evaluated to date, and compared with 27 people of otherwise similar age and occupation living about 3 miles away (Not Exposed).
Here is what was found:
82% (18/22) of exposed subjects reported new or worsened chronic sleep deprivation, versus 4% (1 person) in the non-exposed group.
41% of exposed people reported new chronic headaches vs 4% in the control group.
59% (13/22) of the exposed reported ‘stress’ versus none in the control group, and 77% (17/22) persistent anger versus none in the people living 3 miles away.
More than a third of the study subjects had new or worsened depression, with none in the control group.
95% (21/22) of the exposed subjects perceived reduced quality of life, versus 0% in the control group.
Underlining these findings, there were 26 new prescription medications offered to the exposed subjects, of which 15 were accepted, compared to 4 new or increased prescriptions in the control group.
The prescriptions ranged from anti-hypertensives and antidepressants to anti migraine medications among the exposed.
The new medications for the non exposed group were anti-hypertensives and anti-arthritics.
The Mars Hill study will soon be completed and is being prepared for publication. Preliminary findings have been presented to the Chief Medical Officer for Ontario, and have been presented to Health Canada, by invitation.
Earlier partial results were presented to the Maine Medical Association, which passed a Resolution calling for caution, further study, and appropriate modification of siting regulations, at its annual meeting in 2009.
There is absolutely no doubt that people living within 3500 feet of a ridgeline arrangement of turbines 1.5 MW or larger turbines in a rural environment will suffer negative effects.
The study was undertaken as a pilot project to evaluate for a cluster of symptoms after numerous media reports, in order to present data to the Maine Medical Association, after the Maine CDC failed to more fully investigate.
While the study is not perfect, it does suggest a real problem that warrants not only further more detailed investigation, but the tenderest caution, in the meantime, when decisions on how to site industrial wind turbines are made.
What is it about northeast USA ridgelines that contribute to these ill effects, and how can they be avoided?
Consider, the Northeast is prone to icing conditions. Icing will increase the sound coming off of turbines by up to 6 dbA. As the icing occurs symmetrically on all blades, imbalance detectors do not kick on, and the blades keep turning, contrary to wind industry claims.
Sound is amplified coming off of ridgelines into valleys. This is because the background noise in rural valleys is low to begin with, increasing the sensitivity to changes, particularly the beating, pulsatile nature of wind turbine noise, and sound sources at elevation do not undergo the same attenuation that occurs from groundcover when noise sources are at ground level.
The noise travels farther and hits homes and people at greater amplitude that it would from a lower elevation. Even though this is not rocket science, it was conclusively proven in a NASA funded study in 1990.
Snow pack and ice contribute to increased noise transmission. Vermont valleys have both, I believe.
Preconstruction sound modeling fails to take the tendency of the homes that people live in to respond and vibrate perceptibly to sound at frequencies that the occupants of the dwellings cannot necessarily hear. They hear, and feel, the walls and windows rattle, and the floors vibrate, in a pulsing manner at a frequency or the turbine rpm.
When pre construction modeling fails to take the pulsatile nature, propensity for icing, and ridgeline elevation into account, as well as a linear as opposed to point source of noise, problems can be expected.
What distance is safe? It depends on the terrain, the climate, the size of the project and the turbines themselves. Accurate preconstruction modeling with safe targets in mind is critical.
The WHO says that 30dbA is ideal, and noise levels of above 40dbA have definite health consequences.
At Mars Hill, where affected homes are present at 3500 feet, sound levels have been measured at over 52.5dbA. The fiasco there has been acknowledged by the local wind energy company, and by a former Maine governor.
Vermont would do well to learn from the affected people in Mars Hill.
I have seen the preliminary plans for the planned Deerfield Wind Facility, and have particular concerns regarding the dwellings to the north and northeast of the northernmost extension of the turbine layout.
These homes are well within a mile, generally downwind, and downhill from what I am told may well be 2 MW turbines (or larger?), in a snowy and icy part of the Northeast.
The parallels to Mars Hill are striking.
We know that preconstruction sound modeling failed at Mars Hill. No matter what the preconstruction modeling at Deerfield shows, the real world experiment at Mars Hill suggests that there will be problems for homes at the setbacks that seem to be planned for Deerfield on the attached image.
The people who live within 3500 feet at Mars Hill are truly suffering. Learn from Mars Hill. It is not a matter of not having wind turbines. It is a matter of putting them where they will not affect people’s health.
Newer technology to accurately measure sound at a quantum level improvement in temporal, frequency and amplitude resolution over commonly used acoustician’s equipment now exists, though it is costly and not readily available.
But it will be widespread, soon, well within the tenure of the individuals responsible for making siting decisions today.
Avail yourselves of these findings and familiarize yourselves with the new technologies. You will not only be future proofing your current decisions, you will also be helping people who would otherwise end up too close to industrial wind turbines escape the fate of the exposed residents of Mars Hill, and many other sites in North America (Mars Hill, Maine, merely represents the first small ‘controlled’ study).
I have seen the results of this cutting edge equipment, and how it has revealed drastic short duration excesses over allowed sound levels, levels that set homes vibrating and rendering them unlivable, but also levels of lower frequency transient noise at the audible level, that demonstrates not only failure of preconstruction sound modeling as currently practiced, but also the inadequacy of the measuring tools in the toolkit of the everyday practicing acoustician-consultant who generates reports for industry and local government.
Michael A. Nissenbaum, MD
University of Toronto (MD), McGill University (Specialty Diagnostic Imaging),
University of California (Fellowship)
Harvard University Medical School (junior faculty, Associate Director of MRI, BIH)
Currently, Radiologist, NMMC, Ft. Kent, Maine
8/25/10 Wind siting rule talks resume at PSC AND Why is this Canadian doctor recommending longer setbacks? AND what Wisconsin residents are saying about the wind siting rules.
WIND SITING RULE TO BE DISCUSSED BY PSC COMMISSIONERS AT TODAY'S OPEN MEETING
Beginning at 8:00AM
610 North Whitney Way, Madison, Wisconsin
Live audio of the meeting will be broadcast over the web. CLICK HERE to visit the PSC website, click on the button on the left that says "Live Broadcast". 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.
MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH BELIEVES WIND TURBINE SETBACKS SHOULD BE LONGER
SOURCE: Lucknow Sentinel, www.lucknowsentinel.com
August 25, 2010
By Sara Bender,
The Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health believes the setbacks for wind turbines should be longer.
Dr. Hazel Lynn told Huron-Kinloss Twp. council at the Aug. 16 township meeting that she would recommend longer setbacks for wind turbines. She said she thinks it’s wrong that municipal councils are unable to determine the setbacks.
Lynn said that, within buildings, Low Frequency Noise (LFN) which comes from wind turbines, could cause health affects, such as inner-ear problems. She said those affects would be less if the setbacks were longer than the provincial setback of 550 metres. She added that symptoms are the same around the world but the problem is that not much is known about wind turbines.
“I think we should stop putting (wind turbines) in until we know more about them,” said Lynn, at the council meeting.
The following day, Lynn told an Owen Sound Sun Times reporter that her comments were misquoted from the council meeting on a local radio station. “What I probably said is we should have longer setbacks, and if you can’t have longer setbacks, well, then maybe we shouldn’t be having them (more wind turbine developments) right now.”
She said European research is ahead of that being done in Canada and minimum setbacks there are between 1.2 and 1.5 kilometers. Europeans are concerned about low frequency sound waves, which are amplified in hilly terrain.
“Basically at this point in Canada, we’re not measuring those things. To say that they can’t hear it so it doesn’t affect you isn’t quite true, probably,” she said. “I suggested to Huron-Kinloss that if I was making the decision — which I’m not — and if I was putting in more wind turbines, I’d want them at least a kilometre or a kilometre and a half distance.”
Also, Huron-Kinloss council was asked to participate in a joint meeting with the Municipality of Huron East and any other municipalities affected by proposed wind farms.
Huron East Council received a request to pass regulations controlling development of wind farms and Huron East was asked to create a bylaw regulating LFN. The Huron East Council is hoping to discuss the feasibility of investigating a LFN bylaw or some other forms of regulations with other municipalities.
Coun. Don Murray said Huron East would take the “test” LFN bylaw to a judge to see if it would stand up in court. He added his support to participate in a joint meeting with other municipalities.
“I agree, we should be participating in these meeting. A low frequency noise bylaw could be a benefit to us,” said Coun. Jim Hanna.
Murray agreed to take part in the meetings. He is also representing the municipality on a Windmill Working Group with Arran-Elderslie. At the July council meeting, Murray and Coun. Anne Eadie was appointed as representatives on the working group. However, since that time, Eadie has indicated she can no longer sit on the committee. Mayor Mitch Twolan agreed to sit on the committee in her place.
Meanwhile, township residents continue to express their concern to council with letters about the Bluewater Wind Power Project that could see 50 wind turbines located between Hwy. 21 and Lake Range Drive.
SECOND FEATURE: STRAIGHT FROM THE DOCKET 1-AC-231
Wisconsin residents respond to PSC wind siting rule talks
FROM FOND DU LAC COUNTY:
I have three wind turbines on my property and get $4,000 for each one.
It`s been 2 years now with the turbines and everyone in the community is irritable and short, they snap back. The best of friends for 35 years, but everyone just snaps.
People are not really mad directly at the wind turbines or even know what they are mad about, they`re just mad, aggressive.
The closest one to my house is 3,000 feet away - way too close.
You don't get sleep at night because they roar like at an airport. I get shadow flicker in my house, but down in the village of Johnsburg where those are about another 1,500 feet away from the turbines - oh probably 4,500 feet total those blades are throwing shadows right over all the house roof tops in entire village .....that`s really bad.
All of our tv's got knocked out too. I can only get local channels when the turbine is turned in a certain direction. 97% of the time, we got no reception. There is no mitigation either.
I go to the doctor and now I`m on a lot of different medications. I`ve been to the hospital a couple of times in the past two years with chest pains. And they just can't figure out what it is, but now we`re all being diagnosed with wind turbine syndrome.
And I sure got it.. It definitely causes depression. Memory loss is the worse issue. I see it so bad in myself and especially my parents who are older. But they at the point where they just don`t care anymore because there`s nothing they can do anyhow.
My dad is a totally different person since these things went up. He stays in bed all day now. Even if he does get up to eat, he just goes back to bed. There is no will anymore. I ask the doctor- how are they doing this to us? He just says he doesn't know..
WE energies called today and they are going to be spraying for weeds, so I asked if there were any more plans for windmills? They said, they don't know. I told em... "This area is completely destroyed, it would make more sense to just put a few up around here as opposed to destroying the rest of the state."
I got turbines and the money doesn't pay off in the end. I`ve gotta spend more on cutting around those things and all them cables. It has destroyed my farmland.
I feel really bad for the folks who don`t have contracts cause they`re still all stuck. Even if a realtor wants to sell a place, the first question a buyer asks is if there are windmills in the area. They just hang up.
They should be paying everyone around who is affected, that way - everyone who wants to move could get out and move. So many want to move and leave, but they can't sell their property. The developers deny devaluation, but it`s real... the ones without contracts lost half the value of their property and can't move because they have no money, still tryin to pay off their homes. At least if you got contracts and enough windmills, you can move out.
It turned out to be a real shocker. This whole thing is not right, it should not be done in small communities, but you know, these are just simple country folk who do just don`t say anything. Even if it`s bad, they just go along with it cause what else are they supposed to do?
If I could write out a check from all the money they gave me and give it back, wake up tomorrow morning and all the turbines be gone, that'd be the best thing that ever happened to me.
I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
[We Energies "Blue Sky/Green Field" wind project]
FROM BROWN COUNTY:
To the PSC commissioners,
I think that having a separate day and night noise standard is a mistake and discriminatory.
I have had to work a 3rd shift job during the past two years, and I know a few of my neighbors that have also had to work this shift or a swing shift.
The stated reason that I have seen in the draft for this different day and night standard is that turbine noise may impair the ability of some people to sleep.
Those of us who work during the night and sleep during the day deserve the same stated sleeping protection.
How can a different night and day standard exist if Wisconsin's laws of non-discrimination are to be upheld in your draft rules? I will ask the same question to my representatives at the state level if this is not corrected.
I also would ask that a 3rd party conduct extensive sound studies before and after the installation of a wind farm. What industry conducts its own tests to be in compliance with state laws?
This should not be allowed to take place and invites questionable bias into the sound studies.
I also would like to know the scientific reason for only allowing one sound study to be done every two years if a complaint is made. What is the basis of this rule?
I sincerely hope that commissioners read though the online comments that have been submitted in regards to the rules that you are considering.
After reading the minority report on the submitted draft rules, I have very little faith in the PSC to render a set of rules that is based on current science and the protection of the health and safety of rural tax payers.
Please prove me wrong by considering setbacks that are based on providing safe sitting of wind turbines, and not the monetary concerns of turbine operators.
If fully half of the wind sitting council had a direct financial stake in drafting rules, what else is someone supposed to think of this process. Would the oil companies be allowed to write their own rules?
Please consider a setback distance of at least 2400 feet from people who have not signed contracts for turbines. Let the people who want turbines have them next to their houses with the setbacks that you propose, but please don't risk my sleep, well being, or the ability to sell my home if I have not signed up for a turbine.
I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
FROM TOWN OF GREENLEAF:
Thank you for the opportunity to allow me to voice my concerns regarding wind farms in Wisconsin.
I respectfully ask the Commissioners...Do you live in a wind farm? Again, I invite you to take a month retreat to a wind farm and find out first hand what people live with...EVERYDAY and EVERY NIGHT! Research shows a lack of sleep contribrutes to many health risk.
In fact, just a few weeks ago Bellin Health in Green Bay ran a radio campaign promoting their sleep center... the commercial said this... (source bellin.org)
" What`s the price of not sleeping? An extra cup of coffee in the morning to get
going? An occasional night on the couch to give your spouse a break from the snoring? Wrong.
The price of not sleeping is an increased risk of:
Headaches and forgetfulness
Decreased interest in sex
A higher risk to be in an auto accident
9 health issues are listed in this commercial. How many health issues does the PSC need to see in order to WAKE UP and make sure Wisconsin tax payers are protected by wind developers?
Wind development in populated areas is NOT a good idea!
Thank you for your time.
FROM TOWN OF MORRISON:
We are residents in the town of Morrison and in the boundaries of the proposed Ledge Wind Project.
We were offered a contract to host up to 3 turbines for this project and we initially thought that it was a great idea. We decided to research this more.
The information we found was too disturbing to proceed with the contract.
If the Ledge Wind project proceeds as it is currently proposed, we will live near 4 turbines.
Below is a list of comments and concerns we have relating to your current discussion on wind energy development. Some of these concerns were also expressed by us when we testified at the Fond du Lac hearings in June.
1. There is no doubt that wind turbines can be noisy. At the very minimum noise limits should be 40 dba from any occupied structure at any time. People don`t sleep only during the night time hours. Practically speaking, we would want no more than 5 dba over ambient. Low frequency noise should also be addressed as that is reported to be even more disturbing.
2. Non-participating landowners should not have to experience any shadow flicker anywhere on their property. Landowners use their land in a variety of ways and at special seasonal times. One should not have to consider if the flicker is present or not to use their property.
3. Due to noise and shadow flicker, setbacks should be at a minimum of 2640 feet, and should be from property lines for non-participating landowners. Most complaints would be eliminated at this distance, thus preventing countless hours of work and expense trying to mitigate and litigate future problems.
4. Land zoned for building homes needs to be considered when setbacks are determined.
5. For our business and personal use, we rely on wireless technology for our Internet; this should be addressed in the signal interference section. Also, we reserve the right to fully use any future technology which may be interfered by the turbines.
6. Wind developers must be required to prove financial assurance at the time of application. In addition, an appropriate renewal bond and/or escrow should be established before construction starts, in the amount equal to the cost of decommissioning each turbine. This must also be able to be levied against the property if need be.
7. It has been proven that the value of property near wind turbines decline. It is common sense that a property with a wind turbine near it will be worth less than the exact same property without a wind turbine. A property value protection clause for non-participating landowners should be signed by the developer at the time of application. Adjacent land owners` investments must be considered and maintained in every instance.
8. Any study done to research the impacts on wildlife, domestic animals, and human health, along with assessing and/or monitoring noise and shadow flicker, must be done by an independent 3rd party who does not have any financial connection with the developer. It is not acceptable for an industry to be allowed to regulate themselves in any way.
9. What is going to happen to all the people currently being negatively impacted by wind turbines? These concerns need to be addressed too. If you look across Europe and now in our country, it is played out similarly in every community where people are within a mile of turbines. Why are we continuing to make the same stupid mistakes as others?
10. Between our son and ourselves, we have investigated 12 different wind turbine companies. Not one of them could show a positive cash flow, even with the heavy subsidies. The most recent conversation we had with a wind turbine developer stated that the "break even" point was at 17 years. However, this did not consider any return investment, return to the landowners or maintenance and decommissioning costs. Wind is not the answer to our energy problems. It will just put us more financially in the hole as a country with only the developers raking off huge profits and minimal compensation to even hosting landowners.
11. We have planning and zoning committees established for years. These are local people who know the community, the lands and the appropriate uses. Our planning and zoning committee, and our town board have adopted 1) a moratorium on industrial wind turbines 2) a setback of 2640 feet and 3) a sound impact of a maximum of 5 dba over ambient. How can you, the PSC, tell us that our desires, needs and requirements are not as valued as what you think? We know what is best for where we live!
There are simply too many variables relating to wind energy in Wisconsin. Instead of moving ahead blindly, proper, independent studies need to be completed to determine the impacts of wind turbines.
Jon and Lori Morehouse
FROM CALUMET COUNTY
As a member of the Calumet County Ad Hoc Committee and the Townships of Chilton's Wind Advisory Committee I feel it is very important the the PSC makes sure it does things correctly.
I spent over 6 months in study while working on these committees as well as over 4 years on the issue at hand.
The other main issue that we tried to work with is the issue of shadow flicker.
Sound was the Major issue but in many cases the issue of Shadow Flicker caused as much or more problems for people who lived near the Industrial Wind Turbine sites.
In my studies the shadow flicker caused head aches and health problems due to the constant flickering that could not and can not be blocked out with shades or plantings.
A time period of 40 hrs per year is way too much time and often the modeling that the Wind Industry uses in incorrect and once the Turbine is built they do not move it they only have to mitigate or reduce the problem.
What does that [mean for] me? It means only [they only have to ]try and make it less bad! The problem still exists. So shadow Flicker should not be allowed for a period of greater than 90 seconds of any day within a hundred feet of a sensitive receptor not just on the sensitive receptor ['s home]. People work in their yards etc. So they should be protected there also. The shadow flicker causes nausea and dizziness -my own family has had the experience.
So make them place the turbines correctly the first time they do not move them once they are up. If the setback of 2,200 feet is used for sound this will also reduce the issue of the shadow flicker.
I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Daniel W Hedrich
FROM MANITOWOC COUNTY:
I am a Supervisor with the Town of Mishicot, in Manitowoc County. I have a few comments for you to consider while drafting wind turbine rules.
We need to protect residents from negative issues connected with wind turbines. We have to develop a process that gives residents the upper hand to resolve legitimate complaints from windturbines quickly. Wind farm owners should in no way be handling the enforcement of regulations or be in charge of the resolution process.
Having proper setbacks from turbines for things such as noise would adress issues up front, making enforcement and problem resolution a far less common situation in a wind farm.
Low frequency noise has to be addressed.
Places where farm animals as well as humans habitate need to be protected.
We should not be taking property rights of non-participating land owners.
TV and radio signal interference problems need to be resolved quickly, fully, and without cost to residents.
Emergency signals and corridors need to be protected.
Towns need the ability to protect their roads and have damage repaired by the developer with no cost to the Town.
I've been following this issue for 6 years and at times have been fully disgusted at the way the State of Wisconsin has handled things.
From taking away local control, to setting up a heavily weighted pro wind committee to establish guidelines for turbines.
Myself and others see our property and wind rights over our lands being taken, allowing windfarm developers to dictate to us what we can do with our lands and casting unsafe zones over our properties limiting how we can develop it.
We are losing rights we currently have and the State seems all so happy to do it. We are promoting something that will never provide economical baseload power, and in my area, where there are nuclear plants, the proposed wind farm may very well use up the remaining capacity of the local grid (even though much of the time turbines won't be producing electricity) thus eliminating the addition of new reactors without spending millions of dollars to upgrade the grid.
I expect the health and safety and rights of residents to be protected. I ask that you take the time to create a set of rules that properly address the issues.
MORE FROM MANITOWOC COUNTY
I would like to address a few additional concerns with the wind siting rules.
1) It was my understanding the siting council was supposed to review the existing wind energy ordinances in the state. This was never discussed at the meetings.
Towns and Counties spent years working on these ordinances, which is far more than the 5 months the siting council was allowed. These ordinances were written after doing a great amount of research without allowing influence by the financially motivated.
2) Act 40 and statute 66.0401 clearly state that rules can be set to protect health and safety regardless if those rules increase the cost of the system, yet when the council discussed setbacks and noise limits, the discussion always led to the increased cost of the system.
Health and safety must be considered before profits and politics.
3) Turbine companies recommend using relative rather than fixed noise limits, the majority of the council voted against this. I believe 5dba over ambient is the fair way to go. There was a great amount of research submitted to the docket that supports this limit.
I also feel a ½ mile setback would be more appropriate. Many documents submitted to the docket support this, and even greater setbacks, up to 1-2 miles. Other countries have started with shorter setbacks and have realized they are not adequate and are now using much larger ones. Please, use their mistakes as a learning curve and do not repeat them.
4) Please use a 3rd party for all testing required as well as the computer modeling for siting purposes. Wind energy reps are still lying to landowners, telling them that there are no negative health effects from the turbines.
As members of the PSC, you have acknowledged that there are negative health effects and are struggling with how to write rules to deal with these issues.
If the developers are lying to landowners when trying to get them to host turbines, and then including gag orders in the lease contracts preventing them from complaining about any negative effects that they say do not exist, what else are they lying about?
We can’t allow this industry to self-test in any way. The wind industry is not regulated and must be overseen, especially when their actions can have such a serious negative effect on health and safety of our good Wisconsin families.
We already have too many non-participating families that are suffering and have no recourse because the developer is “within” the limits that were set by the PSC or they signed away their rights in a contract with a gag order.
Act 40 clearly states, “The subject matter of these rules shall include setback requirements that provide reasonable protection from any health effects, including health effects from noise and shadow flicker, associated with wind energy systems”.
Two years ago, energy committees in the house and the senate listened to testimony related to Senate Bill 185. The proposed bill was asking that the PSC be given state wide control to promulgate rules establishing common standards for political subdivisions to regulate the construction and operation of wind energy systems.
While the proposed bill stated “rules must specify the restrictions a political subdivision may impose on the installation or use of such a system, and may include subjects such as visual appearance, setback distances, decommissioning, shadow flicker, electrical connections to the power grid, and interference with radio telephone, or television signals”,
Act 40, the passed bill, clearly has changed may to shall and added “The subject matter of these rules shall include setback requirements that provide reasonable protection from any health effects, including health effects from noise and shadow flicker, associated with wind energy systems”.
It is clear the original intent of the bill was to take away the “patchwork” effect of local control, and the legislature did make the decision to do so. But they also clearly chose to add amendments to the original bill, and made it clear in ACT 40 that the siting council and the PSC shall create rules for reasonable protection from any health effects, including those from noise and shadow flicker.
It seems, according to state statute, that our legislators have already determined that health effects from noise and shadow flicker do exist and are directing this council and the PSC to set reasonable rules to protect the public.
Dr. McFadden has determined that after reviewing the information that there is not sufficient evidence showing there are negative health effects directly related to wind turbines. Chairman Ebert also stated according to his beliefs and feelings, he agrees with Dr. McFadden.
It appears that it is not the decision of this council or the PSC to make whether or not there are health effects but to determine what rules are reasonable to protect against them.
The energy committees and the legislature would not have added that specific element to the statute unless they determined, after public hearings in 2008, that the existing rules were insufficient to address the health and safety concerns brought forth by the public.
Act 40 also states: “The wind siting council shall survey the peer−reviewed scientific research regarding the health impacts of wind energy systems and study state and national regulatory developments regarding the siting of wind energy systems.
No later than the first day of the 60th month beginning after the effective date of this paragraph ....[LRB inserts date], and every 5 years thereafter, the wind siting council shall submit a report to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature, for distribution to the appropriate standing committees under s. 13.172 (3), describing the research and regulatory developments and including any recommendations of the council for legislation that is based on the research and regulatory developments”.
I do not see anywhere that it directs these bodies to look at only peer-reviewed research. It states that they shall survey the peer-reviewed scientific research, but nowhere does it limit us or prohibit from looking at other material, including surveying those already self-reporting the negative health effects of living in a wind farm.
I suggest that we conduct an independent survey of those people that are already suffering the negative effects before this council proceeds any further. We need to figure out what was done wrong with the existing wind farms before we go installing more and allowing more families to become collateral damage. This is something that should have been done the day the turbines began spinning in the existing wind farms. There would have been actual data to study.
Act 40 also does not direct us to set rules to make sure wind turbines are sited in the state. It does however distinctly direct this council to set rules that provides reasonable protection from any health effects. It does not state unless those restrictions eliminate some wind turbine sites.
State statute clearly states that only one of the following be met: To preserve or protect the public health or safety, or where the restriction does not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency, or where the locality allows for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency.
One thing that has been lacking in the debate is what to do with those poor families already suffering.
Consider it a “recall” on a bad product. The State of Wisconsin needs to do two things. Prevent this debacle from ever happening to anyone else residing in the State of Wisconsin and they seriously look at what they need to do to assist and compensate those families already suffering from the negligent siting of industrial wind turbines.
The way their lives have been ruined is a travesty. Common Sense tells us that reasonable protection would not be using the same standards as were used in the existing wind farms, which was recommended by the financially motivated majority of the wind siting council.
Please be reasonable and set rules that will protect us as your mission statements expresses; We consider and balance diverse perspectives and we endeavor to protect the environment, and the public interest and the public health and welfare.
As Act 40 clearly does not designate to the PSC a time frame for promulgating the rules, so we definitely have more than enough time to give this the attention it distinctly deserves.
The following is transcribed from Dr. McFadden’s (who also suggested a 40dba limit) comments at the June 2nd meeting and I feel is quite important to address:
“From a health stand point we can’t come up with a figure that is in the best interest of the people of Wisconsin, unfortunately the legislature singled out health and safety.
At least based on the admittedly not great literature that’s available on this issue, health and safety are not a primary concern with the setbacks we have been using.
However, there are many other issues which are reasonable concerns. Issues of annoyance are things that we have to take into account. Such as WHO defines annoyance as an adverse health effect, but at the CDC and our health department that’s not something we use as our threshold for when we intervene. But I do think we have to take that into account.
So the only thing I have to go on, I reviewed the literature, the only number that jumps out and the studies of the Swedish and the Netherlands, they did show a statistically significant increase in self reported sleep disturbance beginning at 45dba.
That is not great data but it is the best we have to go on. It is not the quality of research that you would like to base decisions on necessarily, but furthermore self reported sleep disturbance is a highly subjective outcome. But never the less if we’re trying to look at the literature and base decisions on that, that’s probably the best marker that we have.
Annoyance from shadow flicker again is a real concern.
I don’t know that that’s been quantified sufficiently to say that people who are exposed to shadow flicker 25 hours a year are annoyed and those that are exposed less are not annoyed.
I don’t know that there is a specific number, maybe Andy or others would be privy to that sort of information. I think at some point we have to come to a determination to what is an acceptable level of annoyance just as we do with all development projects and try to keep annoyance, property values or other impacts, try to at least put them on the same page as health issues."
I beg you to set rules that will protect us from any and all negative effects. Please keep in mind that wind is not the only renewable and consider other forms of renewable for highly populated rural areas. I would reference the E4 initiative started by Senator Feingold. There are so many families that could benefit tremendously from assistance with improving the energy efficiency of their homes, which would reduce their utility costs rather than increase it, as will happen with the high cost of wind energy.
The PSC vows to be a leader in the state and in the nation by facilitating, promoting and ensuring the availability of affordable, reliable, environmentally sound and safe utility services. Please be true to that promise and set rules to insure our safety and promote renewable energy for our rural areas that will save us money not cost us more.
I truly appreciate the opportunity to submit comments. This is an issue that we are deeply concerned about as it will affect us in a very big way. It has been life changing in a very bad way to so many and the rest of us are scared as we have seen personally what can happen. It was at first stories on the computer about those affected, now we have visited and met these people personally, which is deeply depressing to say the least.
Mishicot, WI 54228
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
RECEIVED: 08/24/10, 7:31:36 PM
FROM WISCONSIN DIVISION OF AGRICULTURE, TRADE, AND CONSUMER PROTECTION (DATCP)
DATCP is concerned about the impact of wind turbines on vegetable production in Wisconsin. Aerial applicators have stated that it is not safe to aerially apply within one-half mile of wind turbines because they are a barrier to safe application and create a wind wake that can be dangerous to the pilot.
Vegetable production relies heavily on aerial applications of plant protection products in order to ensure yield and quality products. Multiple aerial applications on high-value vegetable crops are often required and must be applied quickly after a pest problem or disease is identified. Under wet conditions, aerial application is the only alternative.
Locating wind turbines in intense vegetable production areas exposes these fields to significant risk of crop revenue loss. It affects not only the growers, but the vegetable processors that depend on reliable production and quality levels to run their processing facilities efficiently. Processing facilities are often located near areas of intense vegetable production and are a significant employer in the local economies.
Aerial application of pesticides on vegetables is concentrated in limited areas of Wisconsin. In general, these are areas not identified as having good wind production potential.
The Council Draft Rule version 1.0 dated 4-13-10 included a provision that allowed a political subdivision to require a developer, owner or operator to provide compensation to farm operators on nonparticipating properties within an unspecified distance from a wind turbine site for reductions in crop production or increased application costs due to the wind energy system`s effect on aerial spraying.
The Commission has not included this provision in the most recent draft because it would be difficult to administer. DATCP has been working with UW-Madison on methods to assess these crop loses and believes that a workable process can be established that would provide justifiable compensation.
The rule could allow for a compensation mechanism without specifying the details needed to implement it. This would be similar to Wis. Stats. s. 182.017 (7)(b), which allows compensation for damages when land is rendered less accessible to farm implements and aircraft used in crop production as a result of locating transmission lines and associated facilities. The statute does not specify the process through which compensation for damages is determined, simply that it is allowed.
Thank you for considering our comments.