Entries in wind farm noise limits (5)
8/26/11 Turbines too loud? Too bad, homeowner ! Those 'noise limits' are there for decorative purposes only AND It's not just the Dems who love Big Wind, GOP Pres-Candidate Rick Perry says thumbs up to spending billions on transmission lines for wind farms
COURT WON'T ENFORCE TURBINE NOISE RULES
SOURCE: East Oregonian, www.eastoregonian.com
August 25, 2011
By ERIN MILLS,
Invenergy claims there is no “bright line” noise standard, that it can generate 36 decibels at nearby homes or 10 decibels above the ambient, whichever is higher, up to 50 decibels.
At a planning commission meeting last year, Invenergy’s acoustical expert, Michael Theriault of Portland, Maine, admitted the project violates the standard even by its own, looser definition.
The Morrow County Court stunned a crowd Wednesday when it refused to enforce an Oregon law that limits the noise a wind project can make at nearby homes.
The court voted 2-1 that, although noise from the Willow Creek wind project exceeds state standards at a few homes, the violations did not warrant enforcement action.
At one home, for example, the noise level exceeded limits 10 percent of the time the turbines were running, according to the project’s own acoustical expert.
County Judge Terry Tallman voted against the motion, only because he was against the vote itself.
“We don’t have the funds to force compliance,” he said. “The state of Oregon says it doesn’t have to do it, because it doesn’t have the funds. Why are we being forced to live by a higher standard than the state of Oregon?”
Tallman was referring to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, which wrote and, for a time, enforced the state’s industrial noise control regulations. The laws still are on the books, but the DEQ terminated its noise control program in 1991 because of budget cuts. That left enforcement up to local agencies.
Morrow County adopted the state’s noise control rules and asks wind projects to comply as part of the site certification process.
Wind projects less than 105 megawatts may seek a conditional use permit from the county; larger projects must go through the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council.
Morrow County granted the 48-turbine Willow Creek project, north of Ione, a permit in 2005.
However, after neighbors of the project began to complain about noise, county officials began to realize Oregon’s noise law is not exactly crystal clear. And a parade of lawyers and acoustical experts, for the neighbors and Invenergy, the Chicago-based company that developed the Willow Creek project, further muddied the waters.
The law says a wind project may not increase noise at adjacent homes by more than 10 decibels. If a wind developer does not conduct a study to determine the ambient noise at a site, it may use an assumed background of 26 decibels, for a total of 36 decibels.
Willow Creek’s neighbors believe a wind developer must choose, before it builds, whether to conduct an ambient noise study or go with the assumed level of 26 decibels. If it goes with 26 decibels, it cannot break the 36-decibel limit by even one decibel.
Invenergy claims there is no “bright line” noise standard, that it can generate 36 decibels at nearby homes or 10 decibels above the ambient, whichever is higher, up to 50 decibels.
At a planning commission meeting last year, Invenergy’s acoustical expert, Michael Theriault of Portland, Maine, admitted the project violates the standard even by its own, looser definition.
But because the violations are so minimal, by only a few decibels a small percentage of the time, he said, they qualify as “infrequent and unusual events” and therefore exempt from the law.
An acoustical expert for the project’s neighbors came to different conclusions.
Kerrie Standlee, who has helped complete site certificates for the Oregon Department of Energy, said the wind farm consistently broke the noise rule at precisely the time when Theriault decided not to use the study data, when wind speeds exceeded 9 meters per second.
Standlee said the wind project broke the noise rule by more decibels, and more frequently, than Invenergy claimed.
In its decision Wednesday, as in previous deliberations, however, the Morrow County Court disregarded Standlee’s testimony and relied on Invenergy’s conclusions.
“There might be some violations,” Commissioner Ken Grieb said, “but we don’t think they’re significant enough to take action.”
The ruling is a reversal of a previous, January decision, in which the court agreed the project violates the wind rule at Dan Williams’ house. His home is the one at which the violation appears to occur most frequently.
That decision modified a Morrow County Planning Commission decision, which found Invenergy out of compliance at four nearby homes.
All parties appealed the county court’s decision to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. The board returned the decision to the county, asking the court to clarify its decision.
“I’m flabbergasted,” said Jim McCandlish, a lawyer for three of the neighbors, after the vote. He said his clients’ constitutional right to due process was being denied. He said they intend to appeal the decision to the board of appeals.
“The county court has an obligation to protect the health and welfare of its citizens,” he said.
Irene Gilbert, an anti-wind activist from Union County, called the vote ridiculous.
“I think it sets a really bad precedent when a group of county commissioners say, in spite of the data that says there is a violation, we are choosing not to act on it.”
COST OF TEXAS WIND TRANSMISSION LINES NEARS $7 BILLION
SOURCE The Texas Tribune, www.texastribune.org
August 24, 2011
By Kate Galbraith,
Gov. Rick Perry, who appoints the three Public Utility Commissioners, has strongly backed the build-out, which will result in several thousand miles of new transmission lines carrying wind power from West Texas to large cities hundreds of miles across the state.
The cost of building thousands of miles of transmission lines to carry wind power across Texas is now estimated at $6.79 billion, a 38 percent increase from the initial projection three years ago.
The new number, which amounts to roughly $270 for every Texan, comes from the latest update on the project prepared for the Public Utility Commission (see page six). Ratepayers will ultimately be on the hook for the cost, but no one has begun to see the charges appear on their electric bills yet because the transmission companies building the lines must first get approval from the commission before passing on the costs to customers.
A commission spokesman, Terry Hadley, says that the first of these “rate recovery” applications may be filed before the end of the year. Ultimately, the commission says, the charges could amount to $4 to $5 per month on Texas electric bills, for years.
In 2008, when the Public Utility Commission approved the project, it was estimated at $4.93 billion. Gov. Rick Perry, who appoints the three Public Utility Commissioners, has strongly backed the build-out, which will result in several thousand miles of new transmission lines carrying wind power from West Texas to large cities hundreds of miles across the state. This is expected to spark a further boom in wind farm development, particularly in the Panhandle. Texas already leads the nation, by far, in wind power production. Electricity generated by other sources, like natural gas, coal or solar, can also use the lines.
However, deciding the routes for the lines — a painstaking process that played out in the hearing room of the Public Utility Commission — stirred controversy, as landowners in the Hill Country and other parts of the state tried to prevent them from going through their property. The transmission companies pay a one-time sum to the landowner for an easement to build the lines across his or her property, but ultimately the companies have the power of eminent domain if the landowner resists. Hill Country landowners did succeed in stopping one line and a portion of a second, after grid officials determined that it was possible to upgrade existing infrastructure, but serve the same purpose, more cheaply.
The new lines are all expected to be completed by December 2013, although delays could still occur. Construction of the lines is at various stages; one company, Wind Energy Transmission Texas, plans to begin building 378 miles of lines next month, for example.
Among the reasons for the increased costs, according to the new report, are that the original 2008 estimate used straight-line distances to calculate the cost of the lines. However, as the process played out, the Public Utility Commission often requested that the lines follow fences or roads in order to minimize the intrusion. So the distances will probably be 10 percent to 50 percent longer than the original planners allowed for, the report says. Inflation also boosts the price tag.
The new estimate, of $6.79 billion, is also subject to change.
“It is likely that costs may fluctuate and change over the next year,” states the report, which was prepared by an engineering services company called RS&H and published in July.
2/10/11 What's the latest from the Capitol? What happened at the hearing on the PSC's wind siting rules? AND Big Wind VS Little Birds. Guess who wins? Want to do something about it?
Click on the image above to see what an industrial wind project looks like after the sun goes down. People are often surprised to find out that all of the lights blink in unison. Why? These are FAA lights and red lights blinking in unison are the best way to get a pilot's attention. Red lights in the entire wind project area, which is sometimes thousands of acres, flash on and off all night long to keep aircraft from colliding with turbine blades.
Click on the image above to hear noise from the closest turbine to the home of Larry Wunsch who lives in the Invenergy wind project near the Town of Byron in Fond du Lac County.
This noise is the reason the Wunsch family decided to sell their home. However, after two years they've had no offers. Wunsch says that buyers who come to see the house don't even make it up the driveway. They turn around once they see the turbines surrounding his home.
This video was recorded from the front door of the Wunsch home with a video camera microphone not suited for noise such as this, nevertheless, the pulsing character of wind turbine noise is clear.
Larry Wunsch is a fire fighter and served on the Wind Siting Council. He testified at the Capitol yesterday, asking for a suspension of the PSC wind siting rules because they are not protective enough. Wunsch testified that while on the Wind Siting Council, he wanted to play his recording of turbine noise to help council members understand the problem but he was not allowed to do so.
Below, video of shadow flicker in another Fond du Lac county home at 6:30 AM
Above, shadow flicker in homes located in the Invenergy Forward Energy project, filmed by resident Gerry Meyer who also testified at the Capitol hearing.
WIND SITING RULES GET CAPITOL HEARING
Source: Wisconsin Radio Network
February 10, 2010
By Bob Hague
Lawmakers weighed the balance of wind energy in Wisconsin at the Capitol on Wednesday, with developers of wind turbine farms pitted against property owners and local governments who argue the massive turbines decrease property values and cause health problems.
Governor Scott Walker had proposed a special session bill which would have increased the setback for wind turbines from 1250 feet from a property line, to 1850 feet. That bill failed to advance, so now the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules is taking second look at the Public Service Commission rules which are scheduled to go into effect next month.
As the day long hearing got underway, committee members commented on the lengthy process of public hearings held by the PSC as the rules were being developed.
“I know it was a difficult task,” said Representative Dan Meyer (R-Eagle River). “But I have a feeling a lot of these people feel this is just going to be rammed down their throat. They may not want windmills in their backyard, but there going to get them, because the state of Wisconsin says ‘you’re going to have them.’”
State Senator Lena Tayler (D-Milwaukee) responded to Meyer’s comment. “There isn’t ramming going on here . . . 2009 to now is not ramming.”
Larry Wunsch is a landowner near Brownsville in south Fond du Lac county. Wunsch told the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules that a wind
farm near his property – and a turbine 1250 feet from his home – have changed his life. “When you put a device so close to my land that it drives me out of my property, I do have a say on that,” Wunsch told committee members. “We should be protecting Wisconsinites here.
Wunsch, who served on the Public Service Commission’s Wind Siting Council and signed onto its Minority Report, said he’s been unable to sell his property. Wunsch testified against the rules with another member of the Wind Siting Council who signed the Minority Report, Doug Zweizig from the Town of Union in Rock County. “The rules as written will not protect the health safety and welfare of impacted Wisconsin residents and communities,” said Zweizig, who serves on the Union Town Board, which had written its own ordinance on wind siting. Those impacts include sleep deprivation for a significant percentage of people living near turbines, according to Green Bay physician, Dr. Herb Cousins. “We make outstanding guidelines and rules for peanut allergies in school, when less than one percent or so of the population is affected by that,” Cousins said. “In this circumstance, up to fifty percent or more at this 1200 foot range will be affected.”
But Jeff Anthony with the American Wind Energy Association said if lawmakers decide to suspend the PSC rules, they’ll throw wind development projects around the state into chaos – and cost Wisconsin jobs. “The $1.8 million of investment in future wind projects that are currently on the books and planned for Wisconsin, will not happen. Two million construction job hours to build those projects, will not happen in this state,” said Anthony. “Farther down the road, you could have an impact on the manufacturing sector.”
The rules were drafted as a response to an uncertain landscape for wind development in Wisconsin, as local governments such as Doug Zweizig’s town board drafted their own – sometimes restrictive – wind siting ordinances. But Bob Welch, a former state lawmaker who now lobbies on behalf of a coalition of opponents, said the PSC rules go too far. “What the PSC rules want to do is say ‘you don’t get to decide what goes in your community. You have nothing, absolutely nothing to say about it’ if these rules are in place. They’re going to decide what goes in your community, not you. I don’t think that’s the Wisconsin way.”
Landowners who have wind turbines sited within a half mile of their property lines are eligible for ‘good neighbor’ payments. But apparently not all are interested in getting the money. “I have two of them within that parameter, so I would make a thousand dollars a year,” Larry Wunsch told the committee. “Personally I think it’s dirty money, it’s bribe money and I’ve never taken it, I don’t plan to take it. If they want to make it right with me, buy my house. Let me get out of there.”
Click on the images below to watch short videos of the Wind Siting Council in action
WISCONSIN RULE ON TURBINE BUFFERS HIT CLOSE TO HOME FOR SOME
February 10, 2011
By Andrew Averill
A legislative joint committee heard over nine hours of passionate testimony Wednesday from several hundred citizens and wind energy developers on a rule that would standardize the buffer distance between a wind turbine and surrounding structures across the state.
The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules heard testimony on a wind siting rule proposed by the Public Services Commission. The rule specifies the restrictions a city, village, town or county could impose on wind energy systems. While wind developers mainly agreed with the PSC, a large portion of citizen testifiers opposed the rules, Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said.
“The majority of [testifiers] I’d say were people who didn’t want the rules,” Risser said. “When you get down to it, they didn’t want windmills.”
The rule would require turbine setback distances for non-participatory properties to equal three times the maximum length of the turbine blade. Turbines only have to be one blade length away from the property hosting it.
Most citizens testified the distances are not far enough away and have caused unwanted effects.
Joan Lagerman from Malone, located on the east side of Lake Winnebago, told the committee she had stories that realized the fears other testifiers brought up. Her son, an otherwise healthy 17-year-old, recorded systolic blood pressure as high as 160, which she attributes to the turbine near her house, she said.
Another man with three turbines near his property recalled coming home to take care of his wife who was sick with the flu. He returned at night expecting his wife to be resting in bed, but saw her writhing on the floor in the middle of the hallway squeezing blankets and pillows against her ears trying to dampen the sound from the turbines.
Other opponents of the rule spoke of developer’s “time-share hustling” property owners with 28-page contracts, persistent radio interference, deteriorating health of farm animals due to stray voltage and constant low frequency humming.
Hearing loss can occur with noise levels over 85 decibels, according to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study. The PSC rule requires turbines to be no louder than 50 db, but one citizen in Fond du Lac County said he measured the turbine at a constant 63 db.
However direct the citizen testimony, Risser said the question the committee must ask in deciding whether to uphold, modify or suspend the PSC’s rule is what is best for the state, and there are people who feel very strongly the state should pursue wind energy and the jobs it would provide Wisconsin.
Chris Deschane, speaking on behalf of wind developer Michels Corporation located an hour northeast of Madison in Fond du Lac, said he supported the PSC rule and elaborated on the jobs that Michels could create if the committee voted in favor of the rule.
“For each 100 megawatts in Wisconsin, it will generate 125 immediate jobs that last for one or two years and several dozen recurring jobs,” Deschane said. “Each of these jobs are well compensated and we provide exceptional health benefits.”
Another developer, David Vander Leest of Prelude LLC Wind Farms, said if the rule is not passed and the setback distance between a wind turbine and the nearest structure is increased as a result, Wisconsin might as well give the wind industry of “time of death.”
Although Risser said both developers and citizens gave strong arguments, he suspects the committee would vote to suspend the rule sometime before March 1, when the rule would begin to take effect.
BIRD DEATHS FROM WIND FARMS TO CONTINUE UNDER NEW FEDERAL VOLUNTARY INDUSTRY GUIDELINES
SOURCE: American Bird Conservancy
February 10, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) Draft voluntary federal guidelines issued today by the Interior Department that focus on the wildlife impacts of wind energy will result in continued increases in bird deaths and habitat loss from wind farms across the country, says American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nation’s leading bird conservation organization. Members of the public will have 90 days to provide comments on the proposed guidelines to the Secretary of the Interior prior to a final version being concluded.
“We had hoped that at the end of this multi-year, Interior Department process, we would see mandatory regulations that would provide a reasonable measure of restraint and control on a potentially very green energy source, but instead we get voluntary guidelines,” said ABC Vice-President Mike Parr.
“Bird deaths from wind power are the new inconvenient truth. The total number of birds killed and the amount of bird habitat lost will dramatically increase as wind power build-out continues across the country in a rush to meet federal renewable energy targets,” Parr said.
“We fast-tracked dams in the first half of the last century at the expense of America’s rivers. Now we’re having to tear many of them down. Let’s not fast track wind energy at the expense of America’s birds. Just a few small changes need to be made to make wind bird-smart, but without these, wind power simply can’t be considered a green technology” Parr said.
“This action did not have to result in voluntary guidelines. DOI has the authority under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to enact regulations protecting migratory birds. Further, it is troubling that this announcement was made without the final documents being available that would enable a review of exactly what is being proposed,” Parr said.
Some of the most iconic and vulnerable American birds are at risk from wind industry expansion unless this expansion is carefully planned and implemented. Onshore, these include Golden Eagles, Whooping Cranes, sage-grouse, prairie-chickens, and many migratory songbirds. Offshore, Brown Pelicans, Northern Gannets, sea ducks, loons, and terns are among the birds at risk.
“Federal government estimates indicate that 22,000 wind turbines in operation in 2009 were killing 440,000 birds per year. We are very concerned that with Federal plans to produce 20 percent of the nation’s electricity from wind by 2030, those numbers will mushroom. To meet the 2030 goal, the nation will need to produce about 12 times more wind energy than in 2009.” he added.
“The guidelines ask the wind industry to do the right things, but there is no reason to believe that any will happen with any consistency. The poster child for the wind industry’s environmental track record is the Altamont Pass Wind Farm in California. Despite years of concern voiced by many in the wildlife community about large numbers of eagles and other raptors being killed at Altamont, it took a lawsuit to get the industry to respond,” Parr said.
“Birds continue to be killed at Altamont and other wind farms in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act,” he added.
American Bird Conservancy supports wind power when it is bird-smart, and believes that birds and wind power can co-exist if the industry is held to mandatory standards that protect birds. ABC has established a petition for concerned members of the public to lend their support to the campaign for bird-smart wind.
Onshore bird-smart wind power implements siting considerations, operational and construction mitigation, bird monitoring, and compensation, to redress unavoidable bird mortality and habitat loss. Although offshore wind power is not yet operational in the U.S., an analogous set of siting, operating, and compensatory measures needs to be developed to make it bird-smart.
All wind farms should have an Avian Protection Plan that includes ABC’s bird-smart principles and a means of implementing it and tracking and reporting on its implementation. Wind farms should also comply with relevant state and federal wildlife protection laws such as the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.
NOTE: American Bird Conservancy conserves native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas by safeguarding the rarest species, protecting and restoring habitats, and reducing threats while building capacity of the bird conservation movement. For moreinformation, visit, www.abcbirds.org
7/21/10 TRIPLE FEATURE: How much louder is 25dbA? If you answered 600 percent louder, you're doing better than most of the Wind Siting Council, AND Will the wind developers get their wish? AND "Collateral Damage" from the Green Wars
NOTE: TO VIEW HIGH QUALITY VIDEO OF THE COMPLETE WISCONSIN WIND SITING COUNCIL MEETINGS, VISIT THE GREAT WISCONSIN EYE WEBSITE BY CLICKING HERE
“BP, of course, is a major wind developer. And the spokesman for mid-Atlantic wind developers, Frank Maisano, is a longtime anti regulatory coal lobbyist. The largest turbine manufacturer in the U.S. is GE which is hardly known to be full of green warriors. Even Halliburton's Kellogg Brown and Root division is at the forefront of offshore wind construction,” said Rosenbloom.
6/9/10 "Struck by the Incredible Distrust" : Wind siting council chairman shows up with a long speech and a draft proposal of new rules
Yesterday, after a presentation and discussion about how wind projects affect property values, Wind Siting Council Chairman Dan Ebert presented a draft proposal of the council's siting rules.
This was not on the agenda and for many of us it was a complete surprise.
The draft proposal has the same noise limits the commission used for the Glacier Hills project however there is no numerical setback from homes. Mr. Ebert explained that a specific setback number was not needed for siting wind turbines in our state.
Before presenting the draft, Ebert gave a lengthy preamble about how Wisconsin had developed a national reputation as an anti-wind state, that the state was losing out economically because of this, how we needed wind projects to meet the renewables mandate, preserve the family farms in our state and to encourage manufacturing and job growth.
The transcription below takes it from there.
Dan Ebert is the vice president of policy and external affairs for WPPI Energy. Previously, he served with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for five years, including three as Chairman. He is also Chairman of CREWE.
From the CREWE website: "The Coalition for Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin’s Economy (CREWE) has been formed by business stakeholders to partner with the administration, task force members, lawmakers and other businesses and stakeholders as energy policies are developed that transition Wisconsin to a sound economy powered by new green jobs and investment."
Transcript taken from the PSC broadcast of the Wind Siting Council meeting,
June 9, 2010
DAN EBERT: I am struck by the incredible distrust that exists in this state between the various stake holders on this issue.
I think if we had, five years ago, created this council and had the commission move forward with rules, I think we would be at a very different place in this state.
It is about protecting landowners, it is about the economics of wind, it's about meeting the RPS, it's about health and safety. All of the issues we have been debating and discussing.
Five years ago it was the 'wild west' of wind. You had wind developers coming in, they didn't really have a sense of how to engage with landowners, how to create an environment where you can have a constructive dialog and resolve differences, complaint resolution if you will, we didn't have that.
And because of that--- and on the flip side of that, I think we've also had some bad actors on these issues. I think there are some in this state who have just said "No way, ever never. I don't want to see a wind turbine in my view shed.
And so they have taken the position that, 'We're just going to say no because I own this piece of property and there is going to be an impact, whether it's 1100 feet, in Larry's case, or in the case of the view shed. You know, it could be half mile, it could be a mile away. I'm just going to say no because that's what I want to have happen'
And so developers have been faced with that kind of environment, which I think has spoiled the environment for them. How do you engage constructively when the opponents are raising issues that are not really the issue?
It's not really about sound, it's not really about shadow-flicker, it's really about--- and Larry, the very real impacts that you have shared with all of us, those are real.
And if the motivation had been consistent throughout and your-- the issues that you have brought to this council have been able to be worked on in a constructive environment instead I think a lot of people have used it to say "We're just going to oppose these things and we're going to throw as much against the wall as we can" and I think it's really spoiled the environment.
So I think there's been a fair amount of, you know, mistakes, on many sides of this issue and this debate that have really spoiled the environment. And so as I thought about sort of what's the right framework, one of themes that came through and that I hope I have been able to put in this straw proposal is to level the playing field to allow for constructive dialog between the various stake-holders in this issue where one is not empowered over the other, one cannot just say no, and one can't just say "We're going to put his thing 800 feet from your house."
But rather to create an environment where an honest dialog and discussion can occur and that there are tools that developers have and that landowners have, property owners, local governments, tools in the toolbox, to help make sure that this debate can in fact happen in a constructive way, to work through and resolve issues.
I think if our motivation is those people who just want to say no and that there's ever ever going to be another wind turbine built anywhere that impacts them, this council is not going to get there.
But if we want to talk about how we level the playing field and allow for and give both the developers, utilities, landowners, local government the tools I think we can get there based on last weeks conversation.
And I have been significantly influenced by the people around this table. Tom and George on the real estate issue, I don't agree with you, uh, all the way. I don't think the case has been made about real estate impacts. But I do think the issue of real estate is on that I have a much greater sensitivity than before this wind siting council started.
You know, Bill, I've listened to your passionate description of the personal stake that you have put into building a business, and that's really what you are doing, is you're building a business and you put your own personal family finances on the line because you're committed to building a business and you're trying to do it the right way.
You know, Larry, you have been an effective spokesperson for the impacts. I am not convinced that they-- that we have the evidence to say that there are health impacts.
I am convinced that there are clear impacts for landowners and that in the early days certainly there have been mistakes made in how you deal with landowners and how you resolve conflicts and up to a point empower landowners to protect what they have.
The decision that you made to locate where you did for the reasons you did, you know it could have been handled better and it could have been resolved in a better way.
Jevon's not here but I found, you know, the work that he put in I think has been invaluable to the group. Again, I know there's some folks who don't necessarily agree with some of the conclusions that he made but I think his process and the serious approach that he took has really provided a valuable amount of information for this group.
Jennifer, you're the one person here, maybe not the only one but clearly focussed on economic impacts and what you're trying to do is to create a workforce to support an industry and that is what, quite frankly, one of the driving forces for the legislation.
The legislature wants to create an environment in the state where we can build wind turbines within reason, within a regulatory framework, but we can also then go and create some jobs and economic development around this burgeoning industry.
So, having said all of that, I have taken, uh, I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, I've put together a framework, it is a straw proposal, it is not going to be the final product of this group, but what I've tried to do is capture what I think I heard last week.
And I will tell you that everybody around this table will find something that they disagree with and somethings that you disagree with vehemently. What I tried to do is listen carefully and understand where the council members are and put together a framework that we can shoot at.
I hope you don't shoot at me. You can shoot at the proposal. Because what I'm really trying to do is move the debate forward. We've struggled for the last couple of weeks about how to move forward.
And I think as a group we need to, you know, roll up our sleeves and let's start taking a look at the issues and figure out where this council is.
I would suspect that there will be--- we'll have to have some votes. Just listening to the conversation I think we're going to have to have the group-- I think we're going to have to make some votes.
I also believe-- and you will see in what I'm going to hand out here-- that there's a lot that there's already relative consensus. A tweak here and there but there are some aspects of this rule that already have a significant amount of consensus.
But there are going to be those areas, primarily the areas that we talked about last week and this week where there's going to be a difference of opinion and as a group we're going to have to work through those.
So, having said that, I'm going to hand this out and put on my bullet proof vest.
[Pause while Ebert goes around the room to hand the straw rules to each council member]
What I would suggest is that we spend, that I spend just a few minutes going through it. And I'm going to jump over the areas of consensus pretty quickly but I think if council members could look a that and just identify those areas where they are concerned that there may not be consensus and let me know. Actually, probably let Deb know just to make sure we're complying with all of our rules and guidelines for us.
But what I tried to do is, based on all of the issues in the draft rule, identify those areas where I think, you know, again, there might be a tweak here or there but there is general consensus of the group. And part of that is just driven by focus and attention of the council members so there might be some here where I have, where we haven't had a chance to get to it yet or other things, so I just ask you to look through that and let Deb know if in fact those areas are in fact pretty close to consensus.
And then it's actually on page three [AUDIO DROPS OUT OF PSC BROADCAST]
[RESUMES SOME MOMENTS LATER] Have on-going responsibility. Just based on what we have before us today I think the setback is 1.1 times the height. But I also, and Larry, in deference to the possibility [AUDIO DROPS OUT]
[RESUMES] I think the council should revisit the 1.1 [AUDIO DROPS OUT]
[RESUMES] the conversation that this group has had but there is a clear difference around the issues related to those small projects and the larger projects and so I would propose that that's where this group start the debate and the discussion.
On noise standard I am persuaded that setting a numeric target is the right protection for particularly non participating landowners. You set it at 1200 feet or 1500 feet you may or may not capture the decibel levels. So I am suggesting what this group do is focus on a policy framework not a setback number around a noise.
And I'm persuaded by what we have heard and the conversation we have had that 45 decibels on a summer night, 50 decibels on a day and non summer night -- and I have to say I was very persuaded by our sound engineer, I mean we all wanted to hear from him.
And the impacts obviously will vary based on the house and insulation and topology and all those sort of things but 10 to 15 decibels below something measured outside is the right standard to end up with.
I would like to highlight at this point connection between the noise and I would also put shadow flicker in there with compensation.
I believe that part of the problem, and we heard it again today, with one of our folks, one of our witnesses here today, that the issue of non-compensation for non-participating landowners has been a significant contributor to the controversy around wind.
And I think for non-participating landowners and I would define that not as the entire area of a project but really those landowners that are adjacent to, and next to, and impacted by the placement of turbines, that if--- I believe that one of the ways to level the playing field and to allow-- to not give-- to give a non-participating landowner more influence in the debate is to allow them to receive some compensation. And to allow a developer to negotiate with a non participating landowner in return for compensation. And I believe that will resolve many- the majority of the issues. It's not going to resolve them all, I recognize that, but I think tying-- setting what in effect are impacts that are more on the annoyance and impacting the value of a landowner.
Again, I'm not persuaded that the record supports health impacts the way that a health professional would define it. So as I think about setting the setbacks and the perimeters it's really about what is the minimal protection for particularly non participating landowners.
To set clear standards, to set what I believe are reasonable standards, they are not perfect and they are not going to resolve every single one of the issues but I think they are clear and I think they set the benchmark and then allow a developer the ability to negotiate with that person and to compensate that person to waive some of these frameworks.
Around shadow-flicker, I think the maximum shadow flicker experience at a non-participating residence should be set at 25 hours per year. We should use computer modeling to really try to as best we can estimate that. And that any non-participating residence who can show that they get more than 20 hours of shadow flicker per year automatically are eligible for mitigation.
I think, again, what we want to do is set up a transparent process. You, as a non-participating landowner may receive up to 25 hours per year. If you get more than 20 you do get mitigation, that is your right.
Again, I think individual landowners can waive those for compensation.
On signal interference, I'm persuaded that you're impacting the quality of life, you're not impacting them for a year, your impacting them for the duration that they are there. So I am persuaded that the developer should remedy television, radio, and cellular telephone interference for the life of the wind energy system. I'm open to for the life of the wind energy system and for the duration that they are at that residence.
I think, you know, a new-- somebody buying the property, coming in, probably would have the-- would understand that goes with it--- I think that's open to debate and conversation.
On the notification requirements, I really sort of struggled with this because I understand Tom and other's point about , you know, we should really let the community know as soon as possible.
But I think the balance that I tried to strike here is we should also allow the free enterprise system and an entrepenuer to have some conversations, develop a project, start developing a project, but once that entity understands that there is going to be a project that they give 180 days before the application goes in or before construction begins as the case may be.
I believe that's the right balance that should be struck on the notification requirements. And again, on a small wind energy system, I think 90 days before a project-- as a practical matter, if I'm going to put up a small project on my property I'm probably going to be talking to my neighbors before I get to that point.
I also struggled quite a bit on complaint resolution because I am inclined in this area to be a little bit more prescriptive. But, in-- I mentioned in the beginning the balance, leveling the playing field. I think reasonable efforts on the part of the developer to establish a complaint resolution process and to work with the local government to work through these.
And I think it's a common sense. And Andy I think, I really in particular have valued your expertise and guidance throughout this process because I think that as a company and I think that other council members recognize that, you guys have done a pretty good job of striking this balance and so I was persuaded on the complaint resolution process that that is valuable but I'm also hesitant to prescribe a particular solution because I think every community is different, every developer is different, and it should really be, you know, an honest effort between the local government and the developers to set up that complaint resolution process.
So I think to have the rules say you guys should do this without prescribing a particular solution is the best way to proceed.
Again, this is an area where the wind siting council on an ongoing basis could revisit this and wether or not there are good faith efforts being made by developers and by local governments to try to resolve-- to create a process to resolve and work through these complaints.
Again I think, similar to the compensation, I think this process, if developers had used this process I believe an overwhelming majority of the complaints could have been resolved and could have been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. But there wasn't a tradition. There wasn't a history of doing this.
So, on the wind lease and easements, and decommissioning, you will note that I tracked pretty closely to the draft rule. I believe the rules probably came out pretty close in that area.
This is a straw proposal. It's designed to prompt what I am confident will be a vigorous debate and discussion. Just to have a framework out there to shoot at.
2/2/10 Wind Wars: Wind industry continues to deny negative health impact in spite of increasing numbers of complaints from wind farm residents AND Let's review: What do night time noise levels have to do with an increased risk of coronary heart disease?
“The new data indicate that noise pollution is causing more deaths from heart disease than was previously thought."“Until now, the burden of disease related to the general population’s exposure to environmental noise has rarely been estimated in nonoccupational settings at the international level.”---Deepak Prasher, professor of audiology, University College in London