Entries in wind farm shadow flicker (109)

3/2/11 Wisconsin PSC wind rules suspended AND No turning, no problem--the money will roll in anyway AND why does big wind make grid guys nervous?

NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Click on the image below to see members of the wind siting council dismiss safety concerns while creating setback guidelines for Wisconsin.

Yesterday, a joint committee that reviews administrative rules suspended the wind rules created by the PSC "on the basis of testimony it received at its February 9, 2011" and on the grounds that the PSC rules "create an emergency relating to public health, safety or welfare"  and are "arbitrary and capricious" and "impose undue hardship on landowners and residents adjacent to wind turbine sites."

 CLICK on image below to watch TV report on the rule suspention SOURCE: FOX 11 NEWS


SOURCE: The Badger Herald, badgerherald.com

March 1, 2011

By Maggie Sams,

“The purpose of this hearing was not about whether wind is effective but whether this rule by the PSC was reasonable or not.

We are trying to balance the needs of industry workers and health-concerned citizens,” JCRAR co-chair Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, said.

“The biggest issue we heard came from testifiers at the hearing that 1,250 ft. is too close and will result in shadow flicker and noise issues.

The health issue from testimony was the determining factor in my vote.”

To the dismay of wind energy advocates, a state legislative committee suspended enacting a rule that would have implemented statewide wind energy production regulations.

The rule would have standardized regulations concerning the construction of wind turbines in the state of Wisconsin. It also included regulations to address issues like noise level and shadow flicker.

Another part of the rule would mandate setback distances between turbines and adjacent, non-participatory properties to equal three times the maximum length of the turbine blade — roughly 1,250 feet. Turbines would only have to be one blade length away from the property hosting it.

Republicans on the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules said they voted against the rule in the interest of citizen health and well-being.

“The purpose of this hearing was not about whether wind is effective but whether this rule by the PSC was reasonable or not. We are trying to balance the needs of industry workers and health-concerned citizens,” JCRAR co-chair Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, said. “The biggest issue we heard came from testifiers at the hearing that 1,250 ft. is too close and will result in shadow flicker and noise issues. The health issue from testimony was the determining factor in my vote.”

Although the vote to suspend the wind-siting rule pleased many homeowners living near turbines, it upset wind energy activists. Those who were in support of the rule believed it would have provided a boom to the economy and help create jobs.

“Creating uniform regulations for the state of Wisconsin would have brought hundreds, if not thousands, of job opportunities to the state,” Clean Wisconsin Program Director Amber Meyer Smith said. “With the return to local regulation we have jeopardized at least eleven prospective clean energy projects.”

Not only did advocates claim Wisconsin would lose jobs, but many also said they feared Wisconsin’s wind industry would move to surrounding states.

Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, echoed concerns that the committee’s vote to suspend the rule was a major setback for the wind industry.

“We have developers of alternative energy — in this case wind — that have been given a kick to the gut. These folks who were going to create jobs are now going to have to go to different states,” Hebl said. “Not only would this have created hundreds of jobs, they would have been green jobs. It would have been a win-win.”

The rule would have become effective March 1, but the JCRAR chose to have another hearing to suspend the wind-siting rule after a long and passionate hearing on the rule Feb. 9.

“We heard nearly nine hours of testimony during February’s hearing,” Ott said. “Based on the testimony — some pro and a lot of con — we decided to hold a motion to suspend the rule. This is a situation where the legislature is exercising its oversight of a public agency.”

The committee voted 5-2 along party lines. The committee normally has ten voting members, but two of the 14 Democratic senators in Illinois to prevent a vote on the budget repair bill did not attend, and one Republican was on leave for unknown reasons.


SOURCE: Journal Sentinel, www.jsonline.com

March 1, 2011

By Thomas Content

A legislative committee voted Tuesday to suspend rules adopted by the state Public Service Commission last year regarding the placement of wind turbines.

The 5-2 vote by the joint committee that reviews administrative rules means there are now no statewide standards in place governing setbacks – the minimum distance between a turbine and a nearby home – and other permitting requirements for wind turbines on small wind projects.

In a debate that has pitted economic development opportunity against concerns about property rights, wind energy supporters argued in favor of the rule while critics of wind power projects contended it was not restrictive enough.

The PSC rule, finalized in December, would have taken effect Tuesday if the vote had failed.

Jennifer Giegerich of the League of Conservation Voters expressed disappointment with the vote, saying it sends the wrong message on job creation at a time when the wind components industry in the state has been expanding.

“Now we’re back to where we were two years ago when wind developers said Wisconsin was an unfriendly place to build,” she said.

The full Legislature must follow up on the committee’s vote by passing a bill to throw out the PSC rule. A bill under consideration would send the matter back to the PSC for revision, giving the agency seven months to complete that work, said Scott Grosz, a state Legislative Council attorney.

Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) said the PSC rule was tantamount to “a government-sanctioned taking because it reduced the value of property for nonparticipating landowners without their consent and without compensation.”

But Rep. Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee) said all energy choices are controversial, including coal, and it’s important for the state to support wind energy.

“This is the next generation of technology,” he said. “Why would we not be supporting this when they say if you suspend these rules they’ll just go to another state.”

The American Wind Energy Association said the PSC rule was restrictive enough, given that it set specific noise limits and restrictions on shadow flicker in addition to turbine distance setbacks.

“These rules were developed collaboratively by the wind energy industry and all major stakeholders in Wisconsin, based on input from six public hearings and two years of information gathering, to protect the interests of all involved parties,” said Jeff Anthony, director of business development at the American Wind Energy Association and a Wisconsin resident.

But Bob Welch, a lobbyist for the Coalition for Wisconsin Environmental Stewardship, which represents groups that have been fighting wind projects, said his constituents need a “fair hearing” at the PSC. “As far as those who want to build wind turbines in Wisconsin, all they’ve got to do is treat their neighbors fairly,” Welch said. “Property rights need to be protected.”



SOURCE: wivb.com

 March 1 2011,

George Richert, 

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Have you noticed many of the new windmills along Route 5 are not working?

This isn’t the first time they’ve had mechanical problems, and we managed to dig up some hard numbers on just how much electricity they actually are generating.

In its first year, Steelwinds had to replace all of the gear boxes in the eight turbines. The next year, the blades had to be fixed. And for this entire winter, only half of the Lackawanna windmills have been working at any given time.

So we did some research to see just how much electricity these turbines have actually been producing. According to the numbers filed with the NY Independent System Operator, the eight Lackawanna windmills averaged about 40 Megawatt hours of electricity per year in 2008 and 2009. That’s enough to power almost 6,000 homes, and works out to about 23 percent of its capacity. 100 percent would only be achieved in a constant wind, with turbines that never needed maintenance, so 30 percent is the average capacity for a wind farm.

The bottom line is Steelwinds is putting out less electricity than an average wind farm, partly because of mechanical problems, but it has no effect what Lackawanna gets.

Mayor Norman Polanski said, “We still get our money from them, our $100,000 a year. Uh, but people call about them all the time, they want to know what’s going on.”

At the going rate for electricity, Steelwinds is still making over $2 million a year for the electricity it is generating. On top of that, its investors get an extra two cents a kilowatt for going green. So the investors that helped pay a million bucks to build each one of these turbines get $800,000 every year in federal tax credits.

Steelwinds has plans to build six more, but the company just notified Erie County that plans have been “delayed for several months” until next December because of “delays in completing all of the PILOT agreements, and other circumstances beyond Erie Wind’s control.” You can read the full letter here.

We reached the project manager and a Steelwinds spokesman weeks ago about this story, but they had no comment about any of it.

UPDATE: John Lamontagne of First Wind contacted News 4 Tuesday night with this explanation: “The turbines are currently down due to composite work being completed in the towers. Given the scope of work being done and the the harsh winter conditions, there has been a delay in returning the turbines to service. We expect the turbines to return to service in the near future.”



Source: energyBiz: For Leaders in the Global Power Industry

March 2, 2011

By Ken Silverstein

When it comes to integrating wind into the transmission lines, system operators say that they are challenged. While they understand and appreciate the reasoning, they are saying that the networks lack the flexibility to handle wind variation. 

Green energy has a lot of public appeal. But the intermittent nature of wind and solar power coupled with the relatively higher costs put the grid’s traffic cops in an untenable position. Those are the fellows whose job it is to schedule the resources to where they need to be so that the electricity keeps flowing. Their task is to maintain that reliability with the lowest-priced fuels. 
“We have to be truthful about what the impact will be,” says Jim Detmers, principal in Power Systems Resources and the former chief operating officer of the California ISO. “The devil is in the details. These new embedded costs will be significant.” Better communication with policymakers is essential. 

In the case of California, it now has 3,000 megawatts of wind. In a few years, that will be 7,000 megawatts. A few years later, it will be 10,000 megawatts. By 2020, the goal is to have 33 percent of electricity generated from renewable energy. “That’s making grid operators nervous,” says Detmers, who spoke at Wartsila’s <http://www.wartsila.com/en_US/about-us/overview>  Flexible Power Symposium in Vail, Colo. 
Simply, the wind does not blow on demand. Ditto for the sun. So these resources must be backed up with other, “dispatchable” forms of generation. But such “firming” or “cycling” creates two distinct issues: The first is that the power is not free and the second is that if coal plants are “cycled” up and down, they release more pollutants per unit of output than if they ran full steam ahead. 

No doubt, the price of wind and solar energy is falling while their productivity rates are increasing. But the technologies still have a ways to go. 

“If you are a grid operator, you must be dispassionate and follow the engineering,” says David O’Brien, former head of the Vermont’s Department of Public Service and now a consultant for Bridge Energy Group, during a phone call. “The best thing they can do is to provide the data to their stakeholders and to be an honest broker. But they have to ultimately accept the policy mandates.”

Public Demands
According to Steve Lefton, director of Intertek Aptek who also spoke at the Wartsila conference, those base-load coal units developed decades ago were never designed to firm-up wind generation. They were made to run at full capacity. So when they are used as such, they create excess emissions. 
As wind energy increases its market share, thermal plants can be expected to rev up and down more often. If coal is the main fuel source that is dispatched, it will decrease the emissions savings from wind. 
“The actual emissions reduction rates from wind are far less than what the lobbyists are touting,” if system operators do not have the flexibility to use cleaner backup fuels, says Brannin McBee, energy analyst for Bentek Energy <http://www.bentekenergy.com/> , a speaker at the conference. “Thermal plant cycling is also very expensive,” particularly if the older coal plants are used to firm up the wind generation. 
With the public demands to increase green energy growing, what might be an optimal firming fuel? The answer could be natural gas. Regulators tend to favor it because it releases far fewer emissions than coal while the price is expected to remain low at $4-$7 per million BTUs. 
Coal facilities without carbon capture and sequestration cannot get the permits to operate, says Doug Egan, chief executive of Competitive Power Ventures. And if the plants are built with such capacity they are too costly. Even those with coal gasification that nearly eliminate the sulfur, nitrogen oxide and mercury but which don’t capture and bury the carbon are prohibitively expensive, he adds. 
In recent years, developers have abandoned their plans to build 38 coal plants, says the Sierra Club <http://sierraclub.typepad.com/compass/2010/12/this-year-the-outlook-dimmed-for-coal.html> . Meanwhile, it says that 48 more can be expected to be retired. 
Natural gas is the most plausible option to firm up wind and solar. More than enough of it exists with the recent discoveries of shale gas, the unconventional source that is extracted from rocks more than a mile beneath the ground using hydraulic fracturing. That withdrawal technique, though, is under fire from some community organizations that say it is polluting their drinking water. 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants developers to voluntarily disclose the chemicals they are using as a way to ease tensions. Producers are balking for now, saying its exploratory methods are proprietary. 

“Fracking can be dealt with,” says Egan. “Producers will share their secret sauce. It will make it the process slightly less efficient. But a deal with get cut.” 
Managing a grid and keeping the lights on is difficult. Green energy’s role will increase but so too will the challenges associated with delivering it -- facts that must be relayed to policymakers and customers alike. Older coal plants present the most issues but the newer gas-fired generation may be more accommodating.

2/18/11 Big federal lawsuit in little WisconsinTown of Forest

Bill Rakocy, founder of Emerging Energies, is named in the lawsuitFOREST RESIDENTS FILE SUIT AGAINST TOWN OFFICIALS

SOURCE: New Richmond News, www.newrichmond-news.com

February 17, 2011

By Kevin Murphy,

Three Town of Forest Board supervisors subject to a recall election are defendants in a federal lawsuit alleging their secret agreement of a wind farm developer violated some property owners’ constitutional rights.

According to the suit filed Feb. 9 in Madison:

A group of town residents calling themselves “Forest Voice” alleged board supervisors Roger Swanepoel, Douglas Karau and Carl Cress approved an agreement with Emerging Energies of Wisconsin in April 2008 without notifying affected property owners or holding a public hearing.

In the plan, not announced publically until Aug. 12, 2010, EE sought town approval to construct 39 wind towers of up to 500 feet tall. According to “Forest Voice,” EE’s turbines would create noise and “shadow flicker” up to one-half mile away when operating, diminishing the value of use of the affected properties.

Swanepoel, Karau and Cress also had a conflict of interest in representing the town because each of them or a family member could obtain annual financial payments from EE because they would host or were considering hosting a wind turbine on their property, the lawsuit alleges.

Calls to Swanepoel’s and Karau’s residences Monday seeking comment on the allegations weren’t returned before deadline. Cress said he had no comment Monday on the suit’s allegations.

The agreement approved in April 2008 with EE was reached through a “walking quorum” of phone calls, e-mails and personal conversations in apparent violation of state open meeting laws, the lawsuit claims. The agreement grants annual payments to property owners including Swanepoel, Karau and Cress, living within one-half mile of a wind turbine.

While the agreement creates a “financially favored” class of persons within the town who would benefit from annual payments, it also creates a “financially disfavored” class in terms of safety, quality of life, use of property and property values, the lawsuit claims. Those residents would all be adversely affected by EE’s proposed wind energy project, “Forest Voice” members claim.

Alleged “financially disfavored” residents include:

• Property owners not selected by EE to host a wind turbine but living within one-half mile of one owned by another individual:

• Persons living more than one-half mile from a proposed wind turbine location:

• Persons owning non-occupied residents within one-half mile of a turbine:

• Those living within one-half mile of a turbine who opposed the wind energy project.

“Forest Voice” members including Judi Beestman, Bill Dyer, Jeff Erickson, Scott Voeltz and Brenda and Robert Salseg, are town residents opposed to the EE project on safety and quality of life issues. The board failed to tell the Salsegs about the proposed agreement when approving the Salseg’s request for a trailer home on property within one-quarter mile of a proposed turbine.

The “Forest Voice” residents aren’t eligible for annual payments under the agreement because either the property they own isn’t within one-half mile of a proposed turbine or their property is within a half-mile of a turbine on land owned by someone else.

This “differential selective treatment” of residents in the 2008 agreement is not only “patently arbitrary and irrationally discriminatory, with no rational relationship to any legitimate governmental purpose,” according to the suit, it’s also designed to financially reward participating property owners including Swanepoel, Cress and Karau or their families.

By 2010, the town’s attorney became concerned about the conflict of interest Cress and Swanepoel created by signing the agreement, especially Swanepoel, according to the suit. To disguise and remedy Swanepoel’s conflict, the suit alleges, attorneys for the town and EE and EE co-founder, William Rakocy, devised an illegal “walking quorum” which violated open meeting laws but where the town board would adopt a new agreement without Swanepoel voting.

The 2010 agreement was also developed though secret negotiations between board members and EE and approved without holding a public hearing, “Forest Voice” alleges.

The agreement creates annual payments of $4,000 per megawatt, up to 50 megawatts, to be divided equally among the town, St. Croix County and each property owner of an occupied residence within one-half mile of turbine on their property.

Calls to the attorney for Forest Voice wasn’t returned before deadline.

Attempts to contact Rakocy on Monday weren’t succesful.

The suit claims the board’s approving the 2008 and 2010 agreements without holding a public hearing and completed for their financial reward violated the due process and equal protection rights of the members of “Forest Voice.”

The suit seeks unspecified damages from the town, the three board members and EE.

The suit also seeks a permanent injuction against constructing the EE wind energy project.

1/30/11 Have you reached out and touched your Legislators today? AND Wind Industry: A 50 story tall turbine 1250 feet from your door will have no impact on you property value. Realtor: Wind farm houses don't sell. AND Looking here, looking there: How many Green Jobs has Big Wind created?

Home in Invenergy windfarm, Fond du Lac County. PSC approved setbacks: 1000 feet from homes


Just a phone call is all it takes to do your part to help give rural Wisconsin an 1800' setback between industrial scale wind turbines and landowner's property lines.

SUPPORT (Special Session Assembly Bill 9)

Better Plan encourages you to take a moment right now to contact Governor Walker's office to thank him for his wind siting bill, (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BILL) which provides for a setback of 1800 feet between wind turbines and property lines. Let him know you support this bill.


AND! Then call your own legislators.

And then, please accept our thanks and the thanks of many in rural Wisconsin for your help.


Office of the Governor, (608) 266-1212, govgeneral@wisconsin.gov

Senator Scott Fitzgerald (Senate Majority Leader, Juneau), 266-5660, Sen.fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative Jeff Fitzgerald (Assembly Speaker, Horicon), 266-3387, Rep.fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative Suder (Assembly Majority Leader, Abbotsford), 266-2401, Rep.suder@legis.wisconsin.gov  

 Members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce, and Government Operations.

-Chairman Senator Rich Zipperer (R) Sen.Zipperer@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-9174   Capitol 323 South

-Vice Chair Senator Neal Kedzie (R)  Sen.kedzie@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-2635   Capitol 313 South

-Senator Pam Galloway(R)

(608) 266-2502   Capitol 409 South

Senator Fred Risser (D)  Sen.risser@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-1627   Capitol 130 South

Senator Jon Erpenbach (D)  Sen.erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-6670   Capitol 106 South



Representative Mark Honadel (Chair)

Representative John Klenke (Vice-Chair)
Representative Kevin Petersen
Representative Gary Tauchen
Representative Thomas Larson
Representative Erik Severson
Representative Chad Weininger
Representative Josh Zepnick
Representative John Steinbrink
Representative Anthony Staskunas
Representative Brett Hulsey



SOURCE: Daily Gazette, Sterling, Ill. 

Jan 29, 2011

By David Giuliani,


Jan. 29--SHABBONA -- A real estate agent says many of her customers don't want to live near wind farms, which has caused home values to drop in those areas.

Beth Einsele of Beth Einsele Real Estate in Shabbona said she has shown her share of properties near Lee County wind farms. She said the houses there can't sell for as much as similar homes in other areas of the county.

Earlier this week, County Assessor Wendy Ryerson presented numbers to the county's ad hoc committee on wind turbines, arguing that the Mendota Hills wind farm, started in 2004, hasn't affected nearby home values.

Einsele, a Realtor, took exception to Ryerson's analysis.

"She doesn't look at comparable sales of similar properties. That's not her job. Her job is to see to it that there are fair prices for the assessments," Einsele said. "She does a good job. But she is being used by the County Board to promote their agenda."

Einsele said she has seen firsthand the effects of turbines on home sales.

For instance, a property on Bingham Road in eastern Lee County is surrounded by turbines. It was put on the market in November 2005, and didn't sell until March 2008 for $265,000, she said. Five similar properties -- a few miles away but not near wind farms -- sold much quicker and for well more than $300,000, according to the Realtors' Multiple Listing Service.

Einsele also said she got a bad reaction when she had an open house for a property near a wind farm.

"Out of nine families that came that day, seven asked, 'What are those things? What do they do? How come they're so noisy?'" she said. "That parcel remains on the market today."

In response to Einsele, Ryerson said she tries to walk a "fine line" in providing information to decision makers.

"I try to make sure the information I give out is based on fact, not emotion," she said. "I personally have nothing to gain whether or not we put in another wind project."

Her analysis focused on the area near the Mendota Hills project, looking at home sales in the townships of Brooklyn, Willow Creek, Viola and Wyoming. According to Ryerson's office, the four townships recorded 45 home sales in 2002, with a median home price of $102,400.

The median price increased over the years to $150,000 by 2007, with annual homes sales ranging from 43 to 72.

But in 2008, the median sales price dropped to $107,500, with only 30 sales. In 2009, the office recorded the same number of sales, with the median price further falling to $101,000.

Ryerson contended that the drop in prices had more to do with the declining home market in the area than wind turbines.

She said she understood the argument that fewer buyers interested in a property likely would impact a home's value. But she said nothing in her data demonstrates any effect from the Mendota Hills project on nearby properties.

John Thompson, president and CEO of the Lee County Industrial Development Association, wouldn't take a position on wind farms' effect on home values.

But he said the turbines have helped Lee County's economy. They bring more property tax revenue to government coffers, employ many people during the construction phase, and give farms that allow turbines extra income, he said.

The county's ad hoc committee is supposed to provide recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals on new wind regulations. In September, the County Board enacted a moratorium on new wind energy development while the zoning board drafted new rules.

The moratorium is set to expire Feb. 15. County Board Chairman Jim Seeberg has said he is opposed to extending it.

Wind farm opponents say the turbines are noisy, bothersome and unsightly.



Source: MacIver News Service

Although they are touted and promoted by policy makers and opinion leaders across the state, accurately defining and keeping track of ‘green jobs’ has proven nearly impossible in Wisconsin.

Take, for example, ‘green jobs’ associated with the wind industry.

“Clean energy technology and high-end manufacturing are Wisconsin’s future,” Governor Jim Doyle said in his final State of the State address.  “We have more than 300 companies and thousands of jobs in the wind industry.”

That statistic is impossible to verify.

The State of Wisconsin does not track those companies nor the jobs within the industry.  When contacted, the Office of Energy Independence (an agency created by Governor Doyle in 2007) directed MacIver News to Wisconsin Wind Works, a self-described “consortium of manufacturers representing the wind manufacturing supply chain within Wisconsin.”

The advocacy group maintains an online wind energy-related supply chain database, although a routine examination of the data proved just how unreliable the figures are.

When the online, searchable database was utilized earlier this summer, it listed 340 companies in Wisconsin connected to the wind industry, a fact which, without additional investigation would appear to be in line with the Governor’s statement.  However, further examination showed many of those companies were not currently serving the wind industry and were only listed because they someday could serve the wind industry.

For example, the database listed 38 manufacturers, but only 24 of them have anything to actually do with the wind energy sector presently.

Of those 24 Wisconsin manufacturers, only eight were categorized as primary suppliers.  Another four companies were listed as both primary and secondary suppliers.  A MacIver News Service reporter contacted all eight primary suppliers and the four companies listed as primary/secondary suppliers in our initial query and what we found further eroded the credibility of Governor Doyle’s claims.

When contacted, the companies listed as both primary and secondary suppliers all described themselves merely as secondary suppliers.  That means they produce products that are not exclusive to the wind energy.  For example, Bushman Equipment manufactures lifts that move heavy pieces of equipment, which, among many other uses, can be used to handle wind turbines.

Wisconsin Wind Works’ database is not only generous with the number of companies within their supply chain it associates as being primary suppliers, there are issues with the actual job numbers listed for each company as well. Many of the figures are either inflated,  the jobs are not located in Wisconsin, or they cannot be tied to wind energy.

For example, Rexnord Industries was one of the eight Wisconsin manufacturers listed in our query as directly serving the wind energy industry.  The database shows the company has 6,000 employees.  Yet a Rexnord official told the MacIver News Service that the company only has 1,500 employees in Wisconsin, and only five of those have jobs which are directly tied to the wind industry.

Wisconsin Wind Works’ database says Orchid International has 600 employees, but a company spokesperson told MacIver it only has 150.  Amsoil Inc. in Superior has 236 employees listed in the Wisconsin Wind Works database, but a company representative told the MacIver News Service that only 6 of them work on wind energy-related products.

In all, at the time of our search, the database claimed 7,632 jobs among the eight manufacturers that were current primary suppliers to the wind industry.  Yet, the MacIver News Service was only able to identify 31 jobs at those companies which were specifically tied to wind energy related products.

Manufacturers told MacIver News that other employees might work on wind-related products occasionally, but it does not represent the bulk of their workload.

Another 1,077 workers are listed among the secondary suppliers and we did not investigate that claim.

VAL-FAB, one of the companies listed as both a primary and secondary supplier, explained to MacIver News that it initially had high hopes for the wind energy industry that never materialized.  The company specializes in fabrication for the energy sector.

William Capelle, Director of Business Development at VAL-FAB, said “At first we thought we might be able to manufacture the actual towers, but it turns out 90 percent of those are imported from Spain.”

Since the MacIver News Service first examined the Wisconsin Wind Works database, the number of companies listed has increased to 360.  A reporter attempted to contact the organization for comment about the veracity of their data, but Wisconsin wind Works, which solicits members by selling itself as the  “preferred partner of wind energy professionals,” did not respond.

They are, however, holding a Wind Energy Symposium in Milwaukee on October 13th.

Meanwhile the Office of Energy Independence continues to pursue the Doyle Administration’s green energy policies.  As Doyle said during his final State of the State address, “anyone who says there aren’t jobs in the clean energy economy had better open their eyes.”

There is no doubt that some jobs in the wind industry exist in Wisconsin. The accurate number of these ‘green jobs’ is proving to be, at best, elusive

Representatives of Doyle’s office did not respond to repeated request for comments regarding the information contained within this article.




By Bill Osmulski
MacIver News Service Investigative Reporter


1/23/11 Maple leaf challange to Big Wind: Three medical doctors agree: there IS a health problem AND Why do people call Big Wind the "8-track tape" of Renewable Energy Choices? Could there be something better?


Better Plan encourages you to take a moment right now to contact Governor Walker's office to thank him for the provisions in Senate Bill 9, (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BILL) which provides for a setback of 1800 feet between wind turbines and property lines. Let him know you support this bill.

 CONTACT Governor Scott Walker govgeneral@wisconsin.gov
115 East Capitol
Madison WI 53702
(608) 266-1212 

It's also very important that you contact these key Senate committee legislators and urge them to support this bill and vote to move it forward. Every phone call and email to these committee members matters.

 Members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce, and Government Operations.

-Chairman Senator Rich Zipperer (R) Sen.Zipperer@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-9174   Capitol 323 South

-Vice Chair Senator Neal Kedzie (R)  Sen.kedzie@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-2635   Capitol 313 South

-Senator Pam Galloway(R)

(608) 266-2502   Capitol 409 South

Senator Fred Risser (D)  Sen.risser@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-1627   Capitol 130 South

Senator Jon Erpenbach (D)  Sen.erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-6670   Capitol 106 South

And be sure to contact your own legislators and encourage them to support the bill.

Who Are My Legislators?  To find out, CLICK HERE

Senate E-Mail Directory

Assembly  E-Mail Directory


An important official document regarding a landmark wind lawsuit about to take place in Canada has now been made public. (Click here to download)  This 'factum- ( statement of facts in a controversy or legal case)  includes conclusions from three medical doctors who have studied the issue of industrial scale wind turbine's effect on human health.

(If you'd like to contribute to this Ian Hanna's legal fund, CLICK HERE or CLICK HERE to visit Wind Concerns Ontario to find out more about it)

From Page 6

Based on the available science Dr. Robert McMurtry has concluded:

a. persons living within close proximity (1.5 to 2 km) of IWTs are experiencing adverse health effects. In many cases these effects are significant or severe;

b. these adverse health effects have a common element, medically referenced as annoyance, which manifests itself in various ways including difficulties with sleep initiation and sleep disturbance, stress and physiological distress.

Stress and sleep deprivation are well known risk factors for increased morbidity including significant
chronic disease such as cardiovascular problems including hypertension and ischemic heart disease;

c. none of the existing regulations or guidelines have been developed based on evidence related to these types of adverse health effects, as this type of evidence has yet to be produced; and

d. there is a need to complete additional research, including at minimum one or more longitudinal epidemiological studies in regard to the foregoing types of adverse health effects in the environments of IWTs.

28. Based on his broad experience in health policy, based on his research, based on his knowledge as a physician addressing many of the same types of adverse health effects, as well as having clinically examined many individuals exposed to IWTs, he has concluded:

a. scientific uncertainty exists regarding impacts to humans from IWTs;

b. no studies conducted to date have been sufficiently rigorous so as to resolve this uncertainty; and

c. in light of this uncertainty, the precautionary principle directs that it be resolved prior to setting regulatory standards and/or proceeding with further development of IWT projects in close proximity to human populations.

From page 9 

Dr. Christopher Hanning has also extensively researched the literature on sleep disturbance secondary to noise from industrial wind turbines. His conclusions are as follows:

a. Generally, it is recognized by all responsible health bodies including the World Health Organization (“WHO”) that adequate refreshing sleep is necessary for human health.

Sleep deprivation causes fatigue, sleepiness, impaired cognitive function and increases the risk of obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cardiovascular disease and cancer. Disturbed sleep is, in itself, an adverse health effect.

b. The effect of noise in causing sleep disruption through arousals has been recognized for many years and is acknowledged in the WHO documents.

c. There are sufficient cases and commonality of symptoms to conclude IWTs can and do adversely affect health and sleep. This conclusion is shared by many others.

d. In addition, there are several studies which confirm that sleep disruption occurs at distances considerably greater than 550 meters and at external noise levels considerably less than those permitted by the GEA and Regulation. As well, no reduction in permitted night time noise levels is required contrary to established practice.

e. There is good evidence that the impulsive noise emitted by wind turbines is considerably more annoying than traffic and aircraft noise at equivalent sound levels.

There is some evidence that the impulsive noise characteristic of wind turbines is more likely to disturb sleep than a more constant noise.

The precautionary principle would require that more stringent restriction of wind turbine noise be implemented until safe limits have been established

There is evidence that low frequency noise may have a particularly disturbing effect on sleep. IWTs are known to generate low frequency sound. Safe limits have not been established and the precautionary principle would require that more stringent restriction of wind turbine noise be implemented until safe limits have been established.

31. The Ministry has acknowledged that much of the information relied upon by Dr. Hanning
to inform his conclusions regarding IWTs was known to the Ministry at the time the Regulation
was being considered.



i. Qualifications

32. Dr. Michael Nissenbaum is a graduate of the University of Toronto Medical School with post-graduate training at McGill University and the University of California. He is licensed to practice medicine in Ontario, Quebec and the State of Maine.

33. He is a specialist in diagnostic imaging, whose work involves developing and utilizing an understanding of the effects of energy deposition, including sound, on human tissues. He is the former Associate Director of Magnetic Resonance Imaging at a major Harvard hospital, a former faculty member (junior) at Harvard University, a Director of the Society of Wind Vigilance and published author.

34. He developed an interest in the health effects of wind turbine projects after becoming aware of complaints related to an industrial wind turbine installation in Mars Hill, Maine. Dr. Nissenbaum performed a simple public health study cataloguing the types and incidences of symptoms among twenty two (22) people living within 1,100 meters of a linear arrangement of 1.5 MW industrial wind turbines. They were compared to a control group of twenty seven (27) people living beyond the area impacted by turbine noise.

35. The design of the study can be termed a ‘controlled cross sectional cohort study’. Its goal was to compare the health changes following the start of turbine operations. The study is important because it is believed to represent the first controlled study of adverse health effects attributed to industrial wind turbines.

36. This pilot study was undertaken as a public health service in order to report findings to the Public Health Subcommittee of the Maine Medical Association. Preliminary results were presented to the Maine Medical Association in March of 2009 and completed in May of 2009.

ii. Conclusions

37. Dr. Nissenbaum has concluded that there is a high probability of significant adverse health effects and consequent high level of concern for those within 1100 meters of a 1.5 MW turbine installation based upon the experience of the subject group of individuals living in Mars Hill Maine. These health concerns include:

a. Sleep disturbances/sleep deprivation and the multiple illnesses that cascade from chronic sleep disturbance. These include cardiovascular diseases mediated by chronically increased levels of stress hormones, weight changes, and metabolic disturbances including the continuum of impaired glucose tolerance up to diabetes.

b. Psychological stresses which can result in additional effects including cardiovascular disease, chronic depression, anger and other psychiatric symptomatologies.

c. Increased headaches.

d. Auditory and vestibular system disturbances.

e. Increased requirement for and use of prescription medication


News story about the document:

 Wind power case may cloud industry’s future


January 24, 2010


A panel of Ontario Divisional Court judges will begin hearing a challenge today that, if successful, could throw a wrench into the province’s burgeoning wind power industry.

The case, brought by Ian Hanna, a resident of Prince Edward County, 200 kilometres east of Toronto, argues that regulations in Ontario’s Green Energy Act, governing how far turbines must be from houses, are illegal. If the court agrees, new wind development could come to a standstill.

The case will also be an opportunity to air the views of those who feel wind turbines are unhealthy. Mr. Hanna’s argument is based on the premise that the minimum setback in Ontario – 550 metres – does not take into account the possible negative impacts to human health that turbines may cause.

Essentially, he argues, there is no medical evidence that the setback is safe, and that by publishing its regulations without sufficient proof, the province has breached the “precautionary principle” in its own environmental bill of rights. That principle says the government has to show an activity is safe before it is approved.

Indeed, Mr. Hanna’s court filings say, the government knew there was literature that raises concerns about turbines, and spells out that not enough was known to settle the setback issue.

A court victory, said Mr. Hanna’s lawyer Eric Gillespie, would essentially put a moratorium on building any new wind farms in Ontario. That would be a huge victory for wind farm opponents, who say there need to be far more studies done on health impacts. “If the court determines that [Ontario] has insufficient science to support its decision, then governments, the wind industry and communities will have to look very closely to determine in a more scientific way where industrial wind turbines should be located,” Mr. Gillespie said.

Increasingly, opponents have been protesting the spread of wind turbines, insisting that they cause health problems and calling for more detailed studies before the devices become even more ubiquitous. Both sides have cranked up the rhetoric recently; last week, one anti-wind group complained that a wind farm developer had called it a “group of terrorists.”

To support his client’s case in court, Mr. Gillespie will present evidence from three physicians who say turbine noise and vibration can cause high stress, sleep deprivation and headaches among people who live near them.

The government argues, in a document filed with the court, that the doctors’ conclusions are suspect, and that it reviewed all the literature available on the issue, and held public consultations before creating the guidelines.

It also says that complaints about possible health effects from turbines come from a small number of people, while the government’s role is to try to clean the air for all residents of Ontario by shifting to renewable power.

There is “no conclusive evidence that wind turbine noise has any impact on human health,” the government filing states. Available information suggests a 550-metre setback is adequate, it adds, and that that distance is “clearly conservative,” given the existing studies. It dismisses the data about health problems as “anecdotal hearsay.”

The government also argues that a new environmental review tribunal set up under its Green Energy Act is the right place to air health issues, not the provincial court.

Dianne Saxe, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in environmental issues, said she would be very surprised if Mr. Hanna wins his case. She said he is stretching the precautionary principle beyond what it actually covers. And the government “should have no trouble at all proving that it considered the health concerns of the anti-wind activists, because they were very vocal,” even appearing at legislative committee meetings, she said.

Ms. Saxe thinks it is likely the court will deal only with the narrow legal aspects of the case and not make any substantial ruling on the health effects of wind turbine placement.

Ian Hanna Legal Challenge:

Application for Judicial Review against the Ontario government goes to court Jan. 24-25

Donation Information

SOURCE: NY Times - Turbine-Free Wind Power 


What about those wind industry jobs?


SOURCE Observer-Dispatch, www.uticaod.com

January 22, 2010

"During the construction phases, dozens of jobs can be created by these towering turbines that have popped up in Fairfield and Norway and are being considered in Litchfield.

But after the project is completed, most of the jobs disappear.

Municipalities considering wind farms are left to decide: Are short-term construction jobs and a few permanent jobs worth it for the other effects of the developments?

“Wind projects can be a significant contributor to economic activity,” said Eric Lantz, a research analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab. “But if you live in a moderate-sized town, it’s probably not going to revolutionize your area.” CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING

1/22/11 Residents find shadow flicker hard to live with AND If you can't spin it, twist it AND Too close to homes and too close to each other: New report says more spacing is needed between turbines 

“I’m lined up with two turbines that give me a double flicker. You can’t watch TV, you can’t read a book, a newspaper, you can’t work on a computer because your eyes are constantly adjusting to light and dark,” he said. “Green energy is a great thing, but when it interferes with life, health — no, something has to be done.”

- Emmett Curley, wind project resident, January 21, 2011

SOURCE: CBC www.cbc.ca



One of the many things Governor Walker's proposed 1800' setback from property lines will do is help protect rural Wisconsin families from having wind turbine shadow flicker forced upon them.

Shadow flicker is downplayed by the wind industry and often mischaracterized by the media as a minor nuisance. Those who live with shadow flicker tell a different story.


Better Plan encourages you to take a moment right now to contact Governor Walker's office to thank him for the provisions in Senate Bill 9, (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BILL) which provides for a setback of 1800 feet between wind turbines and property lines.

This setback protects health and safety, protects property values, preserves property rights, gives residents a choice about participating in wind projects planned for their community. Any land owner who wishes to have turbines closer to their property lines may do so by entering into an agreement with the wind company.

 CONTACT Governor Scott Walker govgeneral@wisconsin.gov
115 East Capitol
Madison WI 53702
(608) 266-1212 

It's also very important that you contact your legislators and encourage them to support the bill.

Who Are My Legislators?  To find out, CLICK HERE

Senate | Members | E-Mail Directory

Assembly | Members | E-Mail Directory


What does shadow flicker look like? Click on the image below to see how it affects homes in Fond du Lac County


SOURCE: CBC News, www.cbc.ca
January 21 2011


“I’m lined up with two turbines that give me a double flicker. You can’t watch TV, you can’t read a book, a newspaper, you can’t work on a computer because your eyes are constantly adjusting to light and dark,” he said. “Green energy is a great thing, but when it interferes with life, health — no, something has to be done.”

People living in the shadow of a group of wind turbines in Summerside, P.E.I., are complaining about the flickering light caused by the energy producers.

Emmett Curley has enjoyed living in the area for 15 years, but says things have become unbearable since the wind turbines arrived a year ago.

“Last summer when it started, I left my house. I just couldn’t stand it. I’ve had friends over that left during the situation, saying, ‘I’m starting to get a headache,’” Curley said Friday.

The problem comes when the sun sets and its light passes through the turbines, creating a flickering effect of shadow and light. It lasts for about an hour.

“I’m lined up with two turbines that give me a double flicker. You can’t watch TV, you can’t read a book, a newspaper, you can’t work on a computer because your eyes are constantly adjusting to light and dark,” he said. “Green energy is a great thing, but when it interferes with life, health — no, something has to be done.”

Other neighbours also said they were annoyed by the flickering. One told CBC News that her daughter feels sick to her stomach when it happens and the family has to spend part of their summer evenings in the basement.

Most want the city to shut the turbines off for the hour at sunset when the flicker happens, but the city said that is unlikely.

Greg Gaudet of Summerside Municipal Services said the city could provide options such as shutters or awnings for area residents.

He said shutting down the turbines for an hour each day would cost about $100,000 in lost energy over the course of a year.

“Obviously the city doesn’t want to invest a large amount of money to create renewable energy, which is good for the environment, and then have to reduce those energies,” he said.

“Obviously that’s one of the last solutions the city would look at.”

NOTE FROM THE NERD: EXTRA CREDIT MATH TURBINE RELATED PROBLEM: If $100,000 a year in energy would be lost by shutting down the wind turbine for one hour a day, what would that turbine make in a year? How did you figure it out?



SOURCE: The London Free Press, www.lfpress.com

 January 21 2011

By Jonathan Sher,

A health official who suspects a link between wind turbines and ill health accused a green advocacy group of twisting her words Friday to claim precisely the opposite.

Dr. Hazel Lynn, chief medical officer of health in Huron and Bruce counties, was outraged when the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment sent out a media release that suggested she had disavowed the link.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Lynn, who estimates between 10% and 15% of people living near turbines in her area say their health has been affected.

It’s not clear if turbines cause physical harm or stress that brings on poor health, but concerns are real and need to be examined, she said.

“Many people, in many different parts of Grey Bruce and Southwestern Ontario have been dramatically impacted by the noise and proximity of wind farms. To dismiss all these people as eccentric, unusual, or as hyper-sensitive social outliers does a disservice to constructive public discourse and short-circuits our opportunities to learn and benefit from their experiences as we continue to develop new wind farms,” she wrote in a report to her health board.

“It is apparent that a minority of those people living or situated near Industrial Wind Turbines may experience dramatic, negative impacts. We cannot pretend this affected minority doesn’t exist. A determination has to be made as to what level or extent of negative impacts is tolerable.”

Those findings weren’t mentioned by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment when it issued a release that highlighted two lines from Lynn’s seven-page report — that most people don’t complain of ill effects from wind turbines.

“Forty years of science suggests wind turbines do not harm human health,” wrote Gideon Foreman, the group’s executive director. He linked Lynn’s report to a review done last year by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, a review Lynn publicly objected to because it excluded a section on community harm.

“The study found the scientific literature ‘does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health’ effects,’ ” Foreman wrote.

The image above is a detail map of We Energies Glacier Hills project currently under construction in Columbia county. The red squares in yellow circles are the non participating homes in the project. The red dots represent the wind turbines. Below is a small map of the entire project.

The PSC approved the project with setbacks of 1250 feet. The yellow circles below indicate a 1000 foot setback from non-participating homes in  the project.




Source: The Register

January 21, 2010

By Lewis Page

“I believe our results are quite robust,” says Meneveau. “They indicate that large wind farm operators are going to have to space their turbines farther apart.”

Big turbines are at the moment generally installed about seven rotor diameters apart, but Meneveau and Meyers say that the optimum spacing is actually 15 diameters, slightly more than twice as far apart.

If this plan were followed, a wind farm covering a given area would only be able to install a quarter of the number of turbines it could have under today's planning assumptions."

A top American fluid-dynamics boffin says that new, larger wind turbines now going into service are going to have to be placed much further apart - which will have serious implications for the amount of energy produced by wind farms of the future.

The latest wind farms now going into service use huge turbines with rotor diameters in the 100m range, expected to offer large outputs. But according to engineering professor and fluid dynamics expert Charles Meneveau of Johns Hopkins University, there's a problem.

“The early experience is that they are producing less power than expected,” says Meneveau. “Some of these projects are underperforming.”

The prof, who has investigated air flow in wind farms for years, looked into the matter of the underperforming monster turbines along with Johan Meyers of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

“I believe our results are quite robust,” says Meneveau. “They indicate that large wind farm operators are going to have to space their turbines farther apart.”

Big turbines are at the moment generally installed about seven rotor diameters apart, but Meneveau and Meyers say that the optimum spacing is actually 15 diameters, slightly more than twice as far apart.

If this plan were followed, a wind farm covering a given area would only be able to install a quarter of the number of turbines it could have under today's planning assumptions. Though the amount of energy generated per turbine would be the best possible, it seems unlikely that such efficiency gains could possibly compensate for the cut in numbers.

On the other hand, if windfarms continue to be constructed with turbines crowded more closely together, they will continue to produce less electricity than their builders had expected.

Overall the professor's research would appear to mean that projected output figures for large new windfarms - for instance the UK's planned, enormous offshore Round 3 facilities, expected to be built in the North Sea from 2015 - will have to be revised downwards one way or another.

Professor Meneveau presented the research, based on wind tunnel studies carried out at Johns Hopkins, at a physics conference recently. The outlines of it are reported in The John Hopkins University Gazette. ®





“We reject the application because we find that the Manzana Wind Project is not cost-competitive and poses unacceptable risks to ratepayers.

We find that the proposed cost of the Manzana Wind Project is significantly higher than other resources PG&E can procure to meet its RPS program goal.

Moreover, it will subject the ratepayers to unacceptable risks due to potential cost increases resulting from project under-performance, less than forecasted project life, and any delays which might occur concerning transmission upgrades and commercial online date.

As a proposed utility-owned generation project, ratepayers would pay a lump sum cost rather than a performance based cost for the Manzana Wind Project.

Therefore, ratepayers would be at risk if the project underperforms.

In particular, if the Manzana Wind Project fails to achieve production as expected for any reason such as construction delays or curtailments as a result of a collision with a California condor, shareholders face no risks while customers could incur increased costs"


Visit PG&E's website by clicking here

Visit Iberdrola's website by clicking here