Entries in wind power wisconsin (15)
11/16/11 From talking loud to saying nothing: what's going on in the Village of Cascade? AND What does a 'no-tresspassing' sign mean to a wind developer?
VILLAGE OF CASCADE FACING LAWSUIT OVER OPEN MEETINGS VIOLATIONS
Written by Eric Litke,
November 15, 2011
Cascade officials were more than happy to talk publicly about their two wind turbines last summer, when the 120-foot generators made the village the first in the state to power its wastewater treatment plant solely by wind.
But one resident says village government was too quiet in the months leading up to construction, alleging in a lawsuit that the seven-member board violated state open meetings law by repeatedly discussing the $500,000 expenditure using vague agenda items that gave residents no warning or chance for input.
Susan Lodl, 60, of Cascade, filed the lawsuit in November 2010, and her effort garnered some judicial backing last month when Sheboygan County Circuit Court Judge Terence Bourke ruled there was enough evidence to proceed toward trial on the core allegations.
Lodl said she didn’t set out to sue the village that has been her home since 1974, but she was left with no recourse when the board responded to her initial objections with indifference and even hostility.
“A number of us started going to meetings, and we were treated quite rudely. A friend of mine was even called names,” she said. “I even told them at one of the board meetings, ‘Your agenda and your minutes do not coincide.’ And they just kept doing their thing. … They just blew me off as a disgruntled village resident.”
So Lodl decided to take a stand.
“It’s been a haul, let me tell you. It’s been very hard, very time consuming and nerve-wracking and hard for some common Joe Citizen to do this,” she said. “I (hope) the Village Board — and I’m hoping other municipalities — will learn from this that they have responsibilities to their constituents to be specific on what they’re going to do and vote on at meetings, and they have to abide by the laws that govern them. The public has a right to know.”
‘Their meetings have been a sham’
The lawsuit alleges an array of open meetings law violations from November 2008 to February 2011, but the wind turbines are at the heart of Lodl’s concerns.
The pair of 100-kilowatt generators went into service in June 2010 next to the wastewater treatment plant, located on Bates Road on the east side of the village. Cascade received $400,000 in grants but still had to borrow about $500,000 to finish the project.
The turbines were projected to save $30,000 in electricity annually and generate additional power for sale to WE Energies, meaning they should pay for themselves in about 12 years, officials said at the time. The Sheboygan Press filed an open records request Nov. 4 seeking documentation on the cost and savings to date, but the village has not yet responded.
Lodl, who lives just over 1,000 feet from the turbines, was unaware of the project until the village sent a letter in May 2009 advising residents of a special meeting. By then, she said, the time for input had clearly passed.
“Our president informed me and everyone else sitting in the room, that yeah, this was basically a done deal,” said Lodl, who was on the Village Board about 10 years ago. “We’ve been sold a bill of goods all the way down. This was planned. They had this thing staked out. Their meetings have been a sham.”
When Lodl objected to the lack of prior notice, she said one board member “very snidely turned and said, ‘It’s your responsibility to go to the meetings, and everything is posted on the agendas.’” So Lodl looked back at those agendas, and what she found — allegedly — were meetings where the turbines and other topics were discussed with little or no mention on the agenda.
The lawsuit, filed Nov. 11, 2010, names as defendants the Village of Cascade, the Village Board, the village’s Sewer and Water Committee, Village President David Jaeckels, Village Clerk Sherry Gallagher, the six village trustees, one former trustee and one other citizen who sits on the sewer committee. An amended complaint was filed March 10 that contains a total of 19 purported violations.
Meetings cited in the complaint include a Feb. 10, 2009, board meeting where a discussion about purchasing the wind turbines and land took place under an agenda heading of “sewer and water — 2nd well / facility plant update.” Similar discussions occurred under the same heading April 14, 2009, the same day the board declared the meeting was a public hearing regarding floodplain and shoreland ordinances even though the agenda made no mention of a public hearing, the complaint said.
On March 10, 2009, the sewer committee discussed hiring a consultant for the turbine project without any mention in the agenda. The committee also discussed the appraisal and purchase of property for the wind turbine without agenda notice on May 12, 2009.
The board also discussed a truck purchased in January and February 2009 although there was no mention of the truck on the agendas.
Judge rules lawsuit has merit
The village claimed in court filings that the agendas were sufficient because items discussed without notice were listed in previous agendas, meaning residents had sufficient notice that the issues would be discussed at some point. Judge Bourke rejected that claim.
“Looking at other agendas to understand what’s in a particular notice I don’t believe would reasonably apprise an individual of what was going on at that particular meeting,” Bourke said.
Raymond Pollen, an attorney representing the village in the lawsuit, would not elaborate on the village’s defense in an interview last week.
“I think the village has a long history of trying to prepare agendas that completely and accurately communicate what they’re going to be talking about,” Pollen said. “I think they tried to do that here.”
The village made a motion for summary judgment — asking Bourke to rule in their favor without going to trial — and on Oct. 18 Bourke ruled the wind turbines and the truck objections were sufficient to go to trial.
“I believe there’s a genuine issue of fact for trial regarding those allegations,” Bourke said, according to a court transcript. “If I had appeared in Cascade at that particular time and I was unfamiliar with the issues going on in the village, I would not know what the notice meant.”
Bourke ruled Lodl’s complaint was not sufficient in its objections to numerous discussions from 2009 to 2011 under vague headings such as “committee reports,” “old business,” “new business” and “letters.” He then dismissed 10 of the 19 counts in the amended complaint.
“Those counts (that remain) really address the issues that were most dear to my client,” said Matthew Fleming, Lodl’s attorney. “The other things we just kind of threw in there to address what we thought was a pattern of not living up to what the open meetings law required.”
State statute says “every public notice of a meeting of a government body shall set forth the time, date, place and subject matter of the meeting … in such a form as is reasonably likely to apprise members of the public and the news media thereof.”
A brief filed by the village said Village Board and committee members were not aware general topic headings “may not be sufficient to give public notice under all circumstances” and did not intend to violate open meetings requirements. It said the village has since changed its procedures to provide more specific notice.
Fleming noted in a reply brief that state statute does not allow ignorance of the law as a defense and that the village’s response “implicitly admitted” to violating the law.
“Intentional or not, the village has at least been willfully negligent in how it noticed its meetings,” Fleming’s brief said. “Because of its shoddy practices, two wind turbines were all but approved for purchase for use across from Ms. Lodl’s home before she or many other concerned members of the public ever knew about the plans.”
Lodl open to resolving case
Lodl’s complaint said she is asking that each defendant be ordered to pay a forfeiture of $25 to $300 for each violation, and Lodl is seeking reimbursement for her court costs and any other payments “as the court deems just and equitable.”
But Lodl and her attorney said they may settle for simply better government.
“The real goal here is to get the village to start following the open meetings law the way they should and give better notice on their public meeting notices,” Fleming said.
Added Lodl: “They have to change and they have to start learning things and they have to start conducting their meetings differently.”
To this point, however, Lodl said her objections and her lawsuit have been met only with enmity.
“The village president won’t even acknowledge me standing next to him in a public building,” she said. “Now we go (to meetings) and they just glare at us — just glare. You do not feel welcome, and that’s sad.”
Pollen, the village’s attorney, said he was unaware of any proposed settlement but would be happy to pass word to the village.
“I’m encouraged … that Mrs. Lodl and her counsel are looking at alternatives to continuing the litigation, and I hope that they will be able to speak with me so that I can communicate that back to the village,” he said. “That’s a very positive thing.”
Pollen said his firm has so far accumulated $33,500 in legal fees from the case, costs that have been billed to the village’s insurance company, Rural Insurance.
Village officials refused to discuss the case, so it was not clear what deductible, if any, the village has been responsible to pay.
BEEF UP LAW; END TRESSPASSING BY WIND FARM CREWS
By the Sauk Valley Media Editorial Board,
November 16, 2011
It’s bad enough when poachers or irresponsible hunters trespass on a farmer’s property. But when a wind farm company is alleged to have done the trespassing, that’s worse.
A Compton farmer, Gale Barnickel, told the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals recently about his beef with contractors building Goldwind USA’s 71-turbine Shady Oaks wind farm in eastern Lee County.
Barnickel told board members that wind farm construction crews had repeatedly trespassed on his family’s property. Transit of construction equipment over farmland caused crop damage, he said.
Barnickel posted signs that prohibited trespassing at various places along his property line. Workers who entered the property should have been aware of what they were doing.
After all, what part of “no trespassing” would they not understand?
According to a Goldwind spokesman, the whole situation was a mistake. The contractor apologized to Barnickel, and the contractor took “concrete steps” to clearly mark the farmer’s land so no further trespassing would occur.
But, as the saying goes, it’s like closing the barn door after the horse ran away.
Goldwind and its contractor should have had a better plan in place to avoid trespassing on a non-participating farmer’s land.
Barnickel filed two reports with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department about the trespassing incidents. He decided not to file any more, as they apparently weren’t doing any good, and he wanted to avoid wasting taxpayers’ money.
The whole situation should be a wake-up call to county governments near and far – especially in Whiteside and Ogle counties, where new wind farms are contemplated.
Are there strong enough trespassing laws in place to keep wind farm construction crews in line?
Are enforcement provisions ready so that if construction crews trespass, authorities can mount a swift and effective response?
Are the fines large enough to discourage construction crews from ever entering private property unless they are absolutely certain it belongs to a participating landowner?
Farmer Barnickel stated: “It’s nerve-wracking being pushed around. Why should I have to put up with that?”
Neither should anyone else.
Goldwind spokesman Colin Mahoney said his company was committed to minimizing the impact of wind farm construction.
We think area counties should strengthen their ordinances so landowners are better protected when wind farm companies stray from such commitments.
In Columbia County, the biggest wind farm in the state is nearly complete.
Ninety turbines are being erected by Wisconsin contractors including the Boldt Co., Edgerton Contractors and Michels Corp., in a $367 million project. On a typical day this year, about 175 workers have been on the job, pouring foundations, constructing towers and hoisting turbines and blades into place.
The activity comes despite a stalemate on wind turbine siting that wind power supporters say threatens to make the We Energies Glacier Hills Wind Park not only the largest but the last major wind farm to go up in the state.
But wind developers are expressing hope that a logjam can be broken, after recent conversations between the governor and several wind development firms.
Since this year, wind industry representatives say five companies have suspended or canceled work on projects in Wisconsin.
At issue is the Walker administration’s work to address pressure from opponents of wind farms, including the Wisconsin Realtors Association, who say that wind projects are interfering with private property rights of homeowners who live near turbines – and the effects of noise and shadow flicker from the turbines.
Gov. Scott Walker was backed by wind farm opponents in his 2010 election campaign and included a bill to restrict wind farm development in the jobs package he unveiled in his first weeks in office.
But concern about stalling all development and business for Wisconsin firms resulted in pushback against the Walker bill, which ended up being the only piece of legislation that was left to die out of the initial jobs special session.
Criticism of wind turbine siting persists, with state Sen. Frank Lasee, a possible candidate for U.S. Senate, recently unveiling a bill calling for a statewide moratorium on wind turbine construction until more research is done on the health effects of the devices.
“We met with Gov. Walker to discuss how we can work together to allow the economic benefits of wind energy to help boost Wisconsin’s economy,” said Mike Arndt, a Wisconsin native who now is vice president of Element Power, a company developing projects around the country. Arndt was one of the wind industry representatives who met with Walker two weeks ago.
Among Element’s projects is $300 million to $400 million wind farm in Manitowoc and Kewaunee counties.
The Walker administration is now sending signals that it’s seeking middle ground on the wind controversy.
“Gov. Walker is committed to finding a resolution to this issue,” said Cullen Werwie, the governor’s spokesman. “We are hopeful that moving forward we’ll be able to find a reasonable compromise that protects property rights while allowing appropriate wind farm development.”
Now under the leadership of former Republican state Rep. Phil Montgomery, the Public Service Commission has been taking the lead in trying to forge a compromise – holding discussions with wind developers and wind critics, said utility spokeswoman Kristin Ruesch.
“Negotiations between the parties are still going on, and the PSC is trying to help find consensus,” Ruesch said.
Details of a possible compromise aren’t known, and it’s too early to tell if the parties can come to an agreement. Realtors and landowner representatives who sat on the PSC’s wind siting task force in 2010 dissented from the final rules developed by the agency.
Meanwhile, wind development activity continues apace around the country, with some of the most active states being Wisconsin’s nearest neighbors.
When state policies stymied wind farm development in Wisconsin, the Illinois Wind Energy Association touted his state as a land of opportunity for developers to pursue projects.
“Illinois is open for business,” the group’s executive director said earlier this year, seeking to capitalize on Walker’s new state slogan. “In light of Wisconsin’s War on Wind,” the group said, “we introduce a call for wind developers to ‘Escape to Illinois.’ ”
In 2010, nearly 500 megawatts of wind capacity went online in Illinois, far more than the 20 megawatts built in Wisconsin. According to an Illinois State University study, wind development in Illinois has generated $18 million in property taxes, $8.3 million in income for landowners and created nearly 500 permanent jobs.
So far this year, no wind projects have gone online in Wisconsin, while another 390 megawatts have been installed in Illinois, with a comparable amount developed in Minnesota as well. Together, the two states have built more wind projects this year than Wisconsin has built in the 12 years since the first turbine was erected here.
There is no immediate pressure on utilities to build more wind farms after Glacier Hills goes online this year, because they are all on track to comply with the state’s renewable energy standard. That requires utilities to secure 10% of Wisconsin’s electricity from renewable sources by 2015.
But the Wisconsin renewable mandate will grow after 2015, along with rising demand for electricity. We Energies, which supports the siting rule developed by the PSC, will need more renewable energy by 2017, utility spokesman Brian Manthey said.
Whether a compromise can be reached is unclear.
In addition to backlash from wind energy companies that are seeking to invest in the state, voters in public opinion surveys have expressed support for wind power.
But with the specter of a recall election looming, Walker may seek to return to his supporters, including the Realtors – one of the governor’s biggest backers in terms of campaign donations last year.
During last year’s campaign, Walker was more strident in his opposition to wind power, documents released to the Journal Sentinel under the state’s open records law show.
“I will fight government policies that further infringe on the rights of property owners,” Walker said in a campaign letter last summer. “Wind turbines have proved to be an expensive, inefficient source of electricity and thus any further construction of turbines simply is not a policy goal or objective that should be pursued further.”
With the administration now talking compromise, one of the wind industry executives who recently met with Walker is now sounding an upbeat tone.
Construction of the two We Energies wind farms led to creation of 22 permanent jobs for Vestas, said Art Ondrejka, site manager in Wisconsin for Vestas, the world’s leading turbine supplier. Nationwide, Vestas says it’s created 2,000 jobs since 2008.
“We hire our people from nearby,” he said. “It’s by design. It gets the community more involved with them and gets local people to take some ownership in the long-term viability of the project.”
Susan Innis, Vestas senior manager of government relations, said she is hopeful a compromise can be reached, based on the recent discussions she, Arndt and others had with Walker.
“Wisconsin’s been a great state to do business, and we’d really love to do more,” she said.
OPPOSITION TO WIND TURBINES NEAR RACINE
By Janet Hoff,
Source WRJN, www.wrn.com
October 24 2011
Residents in the Village of Mount Pleasant, located near Racine, are speaking out against plans to build three wind turbines at an SC Johnson facility there.
The company is seeking approval from the Village to build the turbines, which would generate up to 10 million kilowatt hours of electricity. It’s enough to provide the company’s Waxdale facility with about 15-percent of its energy needs.
Resident Tom Joy says the noise would be like having a lawn mower running all the time, and he believes residents will end up subsidizing the project with falling property values. Joy says there are also health concerns about the turbines being so close to homes.
Gail Johnson is urging the company to continue being a good neighbor and scrap this idea. She says the noise is a real concern and other alternatives should be considered.
Mount Pleasant Community Development Planner Logan Martin says SC Johnson is following the PSC’s wind turbine guidelines from earlier this year, which may not be the permanent rules the state enacts. The permanent rules have been delayed because of debate in the state Legislature.
FAMILY SUES WIND FARM, ALLEGING HEALTH DAMAGES
SOURCE CTVNews.ca Staff, www.ctv.ca (WATCH VIDEO HERE)
October 16 2011
A rural family in southwestern Ontario has launched a lawsuit against a nearby wind farm, claiming the turbines are damaging their health. They are demanding the farm be shut down.
Lisa and Michel Michaud, and their two adult children, say they have no intention of moving away from their home and want an injunction to shut down the Kent Breeze wind farm, developed by a Suncor Energy Services unit.
They also want to be compensated for damages to the tune of $1.5 million, plus other costs.
The Michaud family says their peaceful lives at the 12.5-acre farm, near Chatham, changed in early May when the eight turbines on the nearby wind farms started turning.
First, Lisa Michaud, 46, says she got sick with vertigo.
“It is like when you have the flu or something and you have a chill. It is similar to that going through your skin all the time,” she tells CTV News.
Then, her husband Michel, 53, began having symptoms.
“There’s ringing in the ears. At night, you have trouble sleeping. You feel a vibration in the chest,” he says.
Not long after, their son Joshua, 21, complained of vertigo and balance problems.
“It’s constant there is no reprieve,” he says.
They’re suing Suncor, claiming the turbines triggered their now non-stop health problems.
“It’s not a question of money. We want our health back. We want to keep our place. We just want these things gone,” Michel says.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
This is not the first time that people have described complaints from living near wind turbines. But most studies to date say the sounds and vibrations coming from these units simply can’t be linked to health problems.
“There is no science to implicate wind turbine noise in adverse health effects and there is no credible epidemiological data to implicate this,” says Dr. David Colby, the Medical Officer of Health for Chatham-Kent.
Suncor says it engaged “in a comprehensive regulatory process to obtain an Ontario renewable energy approval to build and operate the Kent Breeze wind power facility” and “operates Kent Breeze with strict compliance to established regulations.”
It also notes that the Environmental Review Tribunal in a lengthy appeal examined health issues related to this wind farm and found “the evidence did not demonstrate that the Kent Breeze project, as approved, causes serious harm to human health.”
“We are confident that the large body of scientific and medical research presented at the tribunal from scientific experts around the world has not shown a direct correlation and should not defer from wind development,” the company said in a statement to CTV News.
Can WEA, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, says it doesn’t want to comment on the lawsuit while it is still before the courts, but says it too is confident that wind turbines have no direct effect on health.
“The balance of scientific and medical reviews around the world have concluded that sounds or vibrations emitted from wind turbines are not unique and have no direct adverse effect on human health,” the group said in a statement to CTV News.
“This is backed in Ontario by the findings of Chief Medical Officer of Health Arlene King in a May 2010 report.”
They added that they will continue to review new information on the subject as it is made available.
The family’s lawyer says other families in the area are coming forward with similar complaints. They say they plan to stay rooted to their farm, while the legal battle decides whether the turbines stay or go.
“I’m not against being green, but when you are sick all the time, it’s not fun,” says Michel.
With a report from CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip
A FALSE CHOICE
by Justin Cook,
The Manchester Journal, www.manchesterjournal.com
October 10, 2011
The small, but stately Lowell Mountain range, rising above the Black River in Vermont’s northeast kingdom, spans a region that has been called one of the most pristine geo-tourism sites on Earth by National Geographic.
The range will be destroyed this fall with an estimated 700,000 pounds of explosives by the Green Mountain Power Company, a Canadian-owned subsidiary of Gaz Metro. Green Mountain Power received approval to install an industrial wind “farm” on top of the range, and the building cost will be subsidized by U.S. taxpayers by $51 million.
One of the largest highways in the state will cut across the top of the flattened range, and 150 acres are already being clear-cut for the 21 wind turbines that stand 469 feet tall, higher than the Statue of Liberty, and which will decimate migrating birds and raptors in the region, presently home to a concentration of bald eagles.
Vermont’s Public Service Board, a three-person panel, approved the Kingdom Community Wind (KCW) project on May 31, 2011. The PSB’s stated mission is to protect the public’s interest, but in an almost comic disregard for due process, it has permitted all GMP appeals, while refusing all appeals raised by groups opposed to KCW, including for hearings on stormwater-runoff issues, particularly in the wake of extreme weather; a conventional two-year bird study by a neutral third party; and the effect of fragmenting the Lowell range habitat corridor on the black bear and moose populations.
In an effort to accommodate GMP, which will receive an additional federal giveaway in the form of Production Tax Credits (2.2 Cents per KWH) if the project is completed by Dec. 31, 2012, the PSB simply fast-tracked the permitting process with waivers and mitigation agreements or extensions for anything that might hold it up. (GMP has said publicly that it won’t build the project without those tax credits, therefore, the pressure is on).
The panel has ignored the many compelling arguments against Lowell, including Vermont’s paltry wind resources (fifth from last in the nation), and the obvious point that because the turbines only spin 20 percent of the time they will require 100 percent conventional energy as backup, thereby actually increasing Vermont’s carbon footprint.
The roughly 20,000 homes dependent on Lowell will still need another source of energy on-call when the wind isn’t blowing and conventional energy costs more to ramp up and ramp down than if the wind farm were not even connected to the grid. This is a technical reality that no amount of public relations can change. Worst of all, GMP admits it could purchase green, hydro power directly from Hydro Quebec for less than half what it will cost to generate it at the Lowell facility, but because of the Federal subsidy money and the tax credits – our money – it’s pure profit for them, and worth destroying the mountain range.
In a cynical manipulation of the well-meaning public, which is desperate for progress with renewable energy, gov. Peter Shumlin and GMP are justifying the destruction of the Lowell Mountains as “green” and “local.” Shumlin argues that he is diversifying Vermont’s energy portfolio, and that this mountain range must be sacrificed because Vermont Yankee is closing. He is giving Vermonters a false choice.
That same Federal subsidy money could dramatically increase energy conservation by employing local contractors to upgrade homes and businesses. That money could also defray the cost of solar arrays and allow individuals to feed energy back into the grid. Because solar power isn’t as intermittent as wind, a conventional energy backup source can operate efficiently. Interestingly, in the Northeast Kingdom, among renewable energy choices, solar is more popular than wind power, but that reality is being ignored.
Shumlin has deeply disappointed his green supporters by ignoring the troublesome facts about wind power in Vermont. Our one existing facility in Searsburg has an average capacity factor over 13 years of 22.4 percent, meaning that’s how much of the time the turbines actually produce energy. What GMP refuses to reveal, however, is the energy required to run the turbines themselves – the electronics, hydraulic brakes, blade-pitch control, blade de-icing heater, etc.
The best estimate, done by the Royal Academy of Engineers, puts it at 12.5 percent, reducing actual energy produced by an industrial wind installation to a mere 9.9 percent. To put this into perspective, three miniature hydro-electric dams equivalent in length to the dam at Dufresne pond would produce the same energy as the entire Lowell Community Kingdom project with none of the environmental devastation.
As for Shumlin and GMP’s final sleight of hand, presenting the Lowell industrial wind project as helping Vermont’s “local” economy, the truth is the opposite. The Vestas turbines are being manufactured in Denmark; the crews which will blast the mountains, build the highway, and install the turbines are coming from Maine; and the $51 million in U.S. subsidy money will be going straight to Canada. The one local job we’ll be able to count on, like the one typically advertised by other New England wind-power companies, will be to pick up the dead birds before school children arrive on their field trips to see the wind “farm” – a patently Orwellian misuse of the word – to describe a place that grows nothing and destroys nature in order to “save” it.
This tragedy is likely to be heading our way under the present administration which is committed to promoting industrial wind on Vermont’s ridgelines. The Agency of Natural Resources in the past did not support industrial wind for environmental reasons. Now, under Deb Markowitz, the ANR has not only reversed its own precedent, but is actively working with wind developers before their applications reach the PSB to ensure the permits go through. Sites like Little Equinox and Glebe Mountain which have been protected by their communities in the past are again vulnerable. With Little Equinox mountain, the PSB approved Endless Energy Corporation’s meteorological tower through 2010, and it appears to still be there, ensuring one less step in any future permitting process.
Write to Governor Shumlin and your representatives in Montpelier and insist that Vermont’s energy be smart and green. Industrial wind projects have no place here. We cannot afford boondoggles to erect showpieces of “renewable” energy at the expense of our state.
Justine Cook lives in Dorset.
5/17/11 Checking in on family life among turbines in DeKalb IL:Like a bad neighbor, NextEra is there AND Peter broke it, tells Paul to Fix It
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: NextEra, (formerly Florida Power and Light)currently has wind developers prospecting around Wisconsin, most recently showing up in Rock County in the Towns of Spring Valley and Magnolia. This diary, kept by a family with four children, details life in a NextEra wind project and paints a clear picture of what NextEra's response has been to their problems with wind turbine noise, shadow flicker and lack of sleep.
DIARY: LIFE IN A WIND FARM
Checking in with a family living in a Next Era wind project in DEKALB, ILLINOIS
"[NextEra] is stating that any complaint will be addressed and they do an exhaustive analysis that helps in design. once again this looks good on paper, but we are living a different reality."
-diary entry on May 13, 2011
Thank you for visiting our blog.
Our home in rural DeKalb County, IL is where we wanted to stay for good.
We have put so much into our home to make it a place where we would love to live and raise our children, and unfortunately we are being forced to live differently.
We have been bullied by a large industrial wind company (NextEra Energy, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light (FPL) and sold-out by the DeKalb County Board.
FPL told residents that these wind turbines only "sound like a refrigerator."
Well, we have found that this is not the case.
Often times our yard sounds like an airport. We hear and feel the low frequency sound on our property as well as in our home. We are bothered by the noise, whistling, contant swirling movement, and shadow flicker.
Complaining is not something that our family is known for doing and we teach our children to look for the positive aspects of life, but this has gone too far with the turbines.
Someone needs to speak up. These industrial wind turbines should not be built close to homes. They should be at least a mile away to avoid these issues. We have 13 within a mile. The closest 2 are 1,400 feet away.
READ ENTIRE DIARY AT SOURCE:http://lifewithdekalbturbines.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
This video was taken this last Sunday am. Both turbine #30 and #31 are creating shadow flicker on our property. This lasted about 40 minutes start to finish.
MPP CALLS FOR ACTION ON AMARANTH TRANSFORMER STATION
READ ENTIRE STORY AT THE SOURCE:, www.orangeville.com
May 16, 2011
By Richard Vivian
During the TransAlta meeting, Whitworth said the company presented them with three options: live with it and adapt, sell your homes and move, or file a lawsuit.
The problem is too bad to stay, he said, and no one would want to buy their house given the situation. Nor do they have the money to file a lawsuit against a multi-national corporation.
For years now, two Amaranth families have endured a long list of ailments they claim are caused by “electrical pollution” from the neighbouring transformer station.
With no solution in sight, MPP Sylvia Jones is calling on Minster of the Environment John Wilkinson to step in and help them out.
“It’s gone on too long,” Jones, who made her request to the minister on May 6, said. “The minister must take responsibility and ensure this matter is resolved.”
It appears, however, like a resolution isn’t coming anytime soon — at least not one that satisfies the Kidd and Whitworth families.
Wilkinson insists his ministry has already taken steps to address their concerns and, in a statement provided to The Banner, made no commitment to do more.
“They changed the transformer to a quieter model, implemented acoustic barriers, landscaped the area for additional screening and provided three years of acoustic measurements,” the minister said.
“The transformer is now in compliance with our stringent noise requirements. We have not heard from either family about noise issues in over a year.”
The 10th Line families point the finger for their nausea, headaches, loss of balance, diarrhea and more at the nearby TransAlta transformer station, which connects 137 industrial wind turbines to the electrical grid.
“Finally, somebody is willing to try to do something to help us,” Terry Kidd said of Jones, not giving up hope an end is near. “I hope she’s able to do something.”
So far, attempts by Terry and Theresa Kidd, as well as Ted and Cheryl Whitworth, to find a solution to their situation — they now want to be bought out and compensated — have failed.
Representatives of TransAlta, which purchased the substation from Canadian Hydro Developers, deny any responsibility for the families’ illnesses.
According to Ted Whitworth, they’ve only met with TransAlta once, and all the changes referred to be Wilkinson were implemented by Canadian Hydro.
During the TransAlta meeting, Whitworth said the company presented them with three options: live with it and adapt, sell your homes and move, or file a lawsuit.
The problem is too bad to stay, he said, and no one would want to buy their house given the situation. Nor do they have the money to file a lawsuit against a multi-national corporation.
A consultant hired by the Kidds suggests there is a problem at their home.
“It appears that there is cross contamination of electrical pollution from the wind farm generation onto the electrical distribution system that supplies power to neighbouring homes,” David Colling, who brought in equipment to measure the electricity in the air, states in a reported dated Feb. 8, 2010, but based on measurements taken the previous April.
“What your family has been suffering from is likely electrical hypersensitivity,” it adds.
“You have 10kHz micro surges being introduced into your home, therefore it compares to living inside a microwave oven environment.”
After receiving the report, Terry and Theresa left their home, moving in with family near Dundalk. As a result, they said their symptoms have abated.
The Whitworths, however, have not left their home and continue to experience health issues.
Provincial legislation approved since the station was installed require they have a minimum setback of 500 metres from the nearest residence. The Kidds’ home is 390 metres from the station and the Whitworths’ is 490.
“Their family physician has said there is a problem,” Jones said, noting the doctor has the “added credibility” of being a former medical officer of health for the Region of Peel.
“(Wilkinson) kept bouncing it back to the regional office of the Ministry of the Environment,” Jones added of the concerns raised.
“He can’t continue to put it back onto the civil service.”
4/19/11 Green Jobs? GE Sells and Google Buys, and we pay the bill: 2 billion dollar wind project will produce 35 permanent jobs- with half of that money coming from US taxpayers AND Green Jobs Part 2: The devil is in the (shoddy) details.
GOOGLE, OTHERS JOIN CONTROVERSIAL SHEPHERDS FLAT WIND FARM NEAR ARLINGTON, OREGON
April 19, 2011
By Mike Rogoway
Google said Monday that it's investing $100 million in Shepherds Flat, the controversial, taxpayer-subsidized wind farm in Eastern Oregon.
The search engine company is joined by subsidiaries of ITOCHU Corp. and Sumitomo Corp., which will together invest $400 million in the $2 billion project being developed by Caithness Energy.
Google operates a large, power-hungry data center nearby in The Dalles. But power from the wind farm, partially subsidized by Oregon tax credits, isn’t going there.
The project, near Arlington, will generate 845 megawatts for customers of Southern California Edison. The utility, like others in California, is racing to line up clean power to meet the state’s pending renewable energy requirements.
Shepherds Flat will create 400 temporary jobs and 35 permanent jobs in Gilliam and Morrow counties, which are in line for $100 million in taxes and fees from the project over 15 years.
But The Oregonian reported last month that the massive project is being subsidized by $1.2 billion in federal, state and local support.
Last fall, a memo from Obama administration advisers to the president said the project was "double-dipping," and that the value of the subsidies exceed the value of carbon reductions from the project.
Federal subsidies reduced investors' cost on a project that didn't need taxpayer help, according to the memo.
"This project would likely move without the loan guarantee," the memo concluded. "The economics are favorable for wind investment given tax credits and state renewable energy standards."
QUOTE FROM GOOGLE SPOKES PERSON:
Unfortunately, we can't disclose the deal structure or potential returns for the investment. But overall, we certainly see renewable energy as both good for the environment and a good business opportunity.
These projects -- Shepherds Flat and BrightSource's Ivanpah, among the others we've invested in -- can have attractive returns given the risks involved.
So the money for these investments comes out of Google Inc. and as you said, we expect to generate strong financial returns.
It's also great way to diversity our cash holdings while investing in an area that we think is important to support.
Dallas Kachan, who heads the clean tech research and consulting firm Kachan and Co <http://www.kachan.com/> , said that Google could expect to get something like a six percent return on its investment, though that number could vary by project.
US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites wind farm servicing company for 6 willful safety violations after worker suffers burns in wind tower
April 19, 2011
Egregious safety violations result in proposed fines of $378,000
ODELL, Ill. — Outland Renewable Services has been issued six citations for willful safety violations after a wind farm technician suffered severe burns from an electrical arc flash on Oct. 20, 2010. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the citations following an investigation at the Iberdrola Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm near Odell. The company, a servicing and maintenance provider in the wind tower industry, faces proposed penalties of $378,000.
"Green jobs are an important part of our economy, and sectors such as wind energy are growing rapidly. That growth comes with a continued responsibility for employers to ensure that the health and safety of workers is never compromised," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Outland's management was aware of the potentially hazardous conditions to which its workers could have been exposed and showed intentional disregard for employee safety by ignoring OSHA's requirements for isolating energy sources during servicing operations. Employers must not cut corners at the expense of their workers' safety."
Outland Renewable Services was issued the citations for exposing maintenance technicians to electrical hazards from the unexpected energization of transformers in three wind turbine towers. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
On the day of the incident, Outland Renewable Services failed to ensure technicians working in wind farm towers affixed their own energy isolation devices — also known as personal lock and tag devices — on the tower turbine switch gear at ground level. That created the possibility for other workers to energize transformers in the turbine towers, upon which technicians were working at a distance of approximately 350 feet above ground. The injured worker suffered third degree burns to his neck, chest and arms, and second degree burns to the face as a result of an arc flash that occurred when a transformer was unexpectedly energized by another worker.
The egregious violations in this case fall under the requirements of OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program. Initiated in the spring of 2010, the program is intended to focus on employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations in one or more of the following circumstances: a fatality or catastrophe; industry operations or processes that expose workers to severe occupational hazards; exposure to hazards related to the potential releases of highly hazardous chemicals; and all per-instance citation (egregious) enforcement actions. For more information about the Severe Violators Enforcement Program, visit http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=4503.
Outland Renewable Services' corporate offices are located in Canaby, Minn. This OSHA inspection was the first conducted at the Iberdrola Streator Caugya Ridge South Wind Farm.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Peoria office at 309-589-7033. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.