Entries in wind turbine setbacks (9)
3/13/12 Too close to home: Not old enough to vote or sign a petition but old enough and close enough to be tormented by wind turbines AND How green is a bird and bat killing machine? Wind industry claims ring false as slaughter exposed
TURBINES CAUSED HEALTH PROBLEMS
March 12 2012
by Alyssa Ashley
Since I am not old enough to vote or sign a petition, I would like a chance to voice the truth. On May 8, 2011, I left my home in Glenmore, Wis., due to many health problems that are a result from the Shirley Wind Project built at the end of 2010.
Inside my home, I was able to detect when the turbines were turning on and off by the sensations in my ears. I could not hear or see the turbines at the time; I could feel them. In early 2011, I had been noticing extreme headaches, ear pain and sleep deprivation, all three things that were either a rarity for me, or nonexistent. This caused me to struggle with my school work. I could not concentrate due to pressure releasing from my head, or to the fact that I had very little sleep.
After staying away from my home for a week-and-a-half, my symptoms started to subside. I could sleep again, and my headaches were lessening. The longer I was away, the better I felt. Due to our turbine-related health issues, I spent all summer living in a camper with my family, away from the turbines.
At the end of August, my family reluctantly purchased another small house away from the wind turbines, leaving us paying two mortgages. I have not been in the Shirley area since Nov. 19, 2011, and I do not experience headaches anymore and I can sleep soundly.
My ears, however, are still sensitive to the cold and loud noises. This has never been a problem for me in my entire life, and I wonder if this damage to my ears will ever go away.
When contemplating wind turbine siting, think of me.
BIRD CONSERVANCY SEEKS ENFORCEABLE WIND TURBINE STANDARDS
Bonner R. Cohen
SOURCE Heartlander, news.heartland.org
March 13, 2012
The American Bird Conservancy has filed a 100-page petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requesting replacement of FWS’s proposed voluntary guidelines for operating wind farms with mandatory, enforceable standards designed to protect birds and bats from turbines’ deadly blades.
If FWS accepts the arguments laid out in the Bird Conservancy’s petition, wind farms will be subject to a mandatory permitting system and required to mitigate harm to birds and bats.
Massive Bird Kills
Although wind power supplies only 2 percent of electricity in the United States, FWS reports the wind turbines supplying that power kill 440,000 birds each year. Other analysts maintain the number is much larger because FWS may be overlooking a substantial number of birds that receive mortal wounds from turbine strikes but don’t die in the immediate vicinity of the machines, where FWS counts bird carcasses.
Two well-documented incidents in the mountains of West Virginia shed light on the magnitude of the problem. On a single night in September 2011, a single wind farm atop Mount Storm killed 59 birds. One month later, 484 birds were killed in a single night at the newly constructed wind farm on Laurel Mountain.
In these and other incidents across the country, birds of every description—hawks, bald eagles, golden eagles, the endangered California condor, yellow-billed cuckoos, wood thrushes, and other migratory birds—have lost their lives to wind farms.
Wind Farms Given Free Pass
Migratory birds may pose the biggest threat to the wind energy industry. To date, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has not been applied to wind firms, but the potential liability could pose a real problem to the industry. The law does not require intent, meaning incidental kills could be prosecuted by the Justice Department.
The legal uncertainty over the potential liability of wind farms might make an FWS permitting process the lesser of two evils for the wind industry. Fearful a permitting process would lead to costly bureaucratic delays, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has expressed a clear preference for FWS’s proposed voluntary guidelines. But a change of heart by the Justice Department leading to prosecution of owners of wind farms for incidental kills of migratory birds would cast a pall over the whole industry.
The industry has never been told it would not be prosecuted. Similarly, if endangered birds or bats are killed in sufficient numbers by wind farms so as to trigger lawsuits under the Endangered Species Act, the industry could be facing even greater uncertainty and costly litigation.
Congress Reconsidering Subsidies
Meanwhile, the wind industry, which has seen its political connections pay off in recent years, is facing a serious threat from another direction: Congress is losing its appetite for subsidizing renewable energy. The spectacular bankruptcy of solar panel maker Solyndra, with a loss of over $500 million suffered by U.S. taxpayers, has made Capitol Hill lawmakers wary of loan guarantees and other subsidies designed to prop up renewable energy ventures.
For years, the wind energy industry has benefited from, and indeed depended on, one such subsidy, known as the production tax credit (PTC). The PTC provides a 2.2 cents-per-kilowatt-hour subsidy for wind power generators for their first ten years of existence. In effect since 1992, the PTC could well expire at the end of this year. In working out a deal earlier this year on the extension of the payroll tax deduction, the House and Senate, despite heavy lobbying by AWEA, refused to include an extension of the PTC.
Without the PTC, the industry will be hobbled in its efforts to compete with cheaper coal and natural gas. With the growing likelihood of an expiration of the PTC at the end of the year, orders for new turbines have come to a screeching halt.
Wind Power’s Environmental Downside
“It’s about time that we look at the downside of alternative energies,” said Marita Noon, executive director of the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy.
“Since the theory of manmade climate change became fashionable, we’ve heard only that fossil fuels are bad and renewable energy is good,” said Noon. “The propaganda shows pictures of black smoke belching out of stacks contrasted with pristine, white, wind turbines. Neither reflects reality. The black smoke was cleaned up years ago. Wind turbines kill birds and bats.
“As Americans make energy decisions, they need to be based on reality, on complete science,” Noon explained. “There is no free lunch, and energy policy should fully weigh the pros and cons of each option.”
1/25/12 Sen. Lasee introduces bill to give wind-siting power back to local communities, Madison wind lobbyist who helped write PSC rules doesn't like that idea one bit.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
The Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin -mentioned in the article below- is a registered lobbyist who helped write state-wide wind siting rules.
Among RENEW'S biggest financial 'sponsers' (or clients) are
Representatives of both Emerging Energies and Wind Capitol group, two wind companies with direct financial interest in the outcome of the siting guidelines were also appointed by the PSC to help write the wind siting rules
Other council members included representatives of WPPI and WeEnergies.
And not just the Executive Director of RENEW but also its President.
A clear majority of the council members had a direct or indirect financial interest in the outcome of the rules they were tasked to write.
BILL WOULD LET LOCAL OFFICALS CONTROL WIND TURBINE SITING RULES
By Clay Barbour, Wisconsin State Journal,
January 24, 2012
MADISON — The long stalemate over windmill siting rules could become a moot point if the Legislature approves a new bill that keeps the power over turbine placement in the hands of local officials.
Sen. Frank Lasee, R-Ledgeview, late last week introduced a bill that would allow officials in cities, villages, towns and counties to establish the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a home — even if those rules are more restrictive than any the state tries to enact.
“The situation now is sort of lawless,” said Rob Kovach, Lasee’s chief of staff. “Townships don’t really know where they stand.”
New statewide wind siting rules, more than a year in the making, were suspended just before going into effect last March. Lawmakers sent those rules, which dealt with wind farms of less than 100 megawatts, back to the state Public Service Commission, where they have stayed as officials worked to reach a compromise between industry supporters and their critics.
“The whole reason for statewide rules is to have consistency and regulatory certainty,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, an advocacy group focused on renewable energy. “This bill, if it passes, would essentially say the state is off limits to wind power.”
The location of windmills has been a controversial issue in the state. Critics of the industry contend the energy generators hurt property values and can lead to health problems.
The rules being worked on by the PSC would have required wind turbines have a setback from the nearest property line of 1.1 times the height of the turbine, or roughly 450 feet for an average windmill. The rules also required turbines be at least 1,250 feet away from the nearest residence.
Lasee’s bill would supersede the rules in all areas where they conflict, namely placing the power to determine setbacks in the hands of local governments. It also would change the rules dealing with wind projects larger than 100 megawatts, forcing the PSC to respect the rules established by local officials.
If no new wind siting bills are adopted by March, the rules stuck in PSC will go into effect.
1/23/12 Wha-a-a? Illinois Wind developer says he'll give a setback of 1,800 to 2,000 feet for a 480 foot tall turbine? So, why are Wisconsin wind developers telling us it can't be done?
COUNTY TO HOLD HEARINGS ON WIND FARM REGULATIONS
By John Reynolds,
VIA The State Journal-Register, www.sj-r.com
January 22, 2012
“We intend to use between 1,800 to 2,000 feet,” Nickell said. “Essentially, they could go from 1,000 feet to 1,800 or 2,000 feet and in our eyes, it wouldn’t change the way we are going to lay out the wind farm.”
Sangamon County’s zoning rules allow large wind turbines within 1,000 feet of a house.
For some people, that’s too close.
As a result, Sangamon County is considering a moratorium on wind turbines that could last up to nine months. County officials want to use that time to hold public hearings and find out what area residents want, and whether the zoning rules need to be changed.
Board member Tim Moore, chair of the county’s Public Health, Safety and Zoning Committee, said the county’s zoning code contains setbacks for wind turbines, which state how far away they have to be from a property line or house. The current rule calls for a large wind turbine to be at least 1,000 feet from a house or three times the diameter of the rotors, whichever is greater.
“Setbacks are probably the principal reason we are having the moratorium,” he said. “It gives us a chance to look at setbacks as they appear in the code right now, versus what some of the citizens have proposed.”
The county board is to vote on the moratorium Tuesday. If the issue passes, the county would then schedule a series of public hearings.
Wind turbines could be 480 feet tall
While no wind farm proposals are in front of the county board now, American Wind Energy Management is planning a wind farm in western Sangamon County.
The wind farm would be built in phases within an area bounded by the Morgan County line to the west, Illinois 125 to the north and Illinois 104 to the south. The eastern boundary would run from about a mile west of Farmingdale Road on the north and continue south along an approximate extension of that road to Illinois 104.
Chris Nickell, vice president for site establishment for American Wind Energy Management, said the company is in the process of closing the land sign-up process for property north of Old Jacksonville Road, which includes the first phase of the project.
“I’d estimate we have around 25,000 acres signed up for this project, which is plenty for us to move forward,” Nickell said.
The company hasn’t selected the exact turbines for the wind farm, but the most likely candidate is a model that is 480 to 490 feet tall.
“Essentially, they stay below 500 feet because of FAA regulations,” Nickell said. “The newest turbines on the market that are the most efficient for this kind of project are around 480 to 490 feet tall.”
As far as the setbacks go, Nickell said the company planned to exceed the minimum 1,000 feet all along.
“We intend to use between 1,800 to 2,000 feet,” Nickell said. “Essentially, they could go from 1,000 feet to 1,800 or 2,000 feet and in our eyes, it wouldn’t change the way we are going to lay out the wind farm.”
American Wind energy doesn’t expect to have its application ready for the county during the nine months of the proposed moratorium, Nickell added. As long as there aren’t any dramatic changes in the county’s code, the company expects to submit an application by the end of the year.
“As long as the changes are minor, we don’t expect them to impact us,” Nickell said.
If everything goes smoothly, work could begin by late 2013 or early 2014.
While setbacks are expected to be the main issue during any public hearings, Moore said he also expects to hear from people concerned about wildlife, noise issues and the overall aesthetics of a possible wind farm.
Tuesday’s county board meeting begins at 7 p.m. It will be held in the board chamber on the second floor of the Sangamon County building at Ninth and Monroe streets.
2/22/11 What did wind turbines sound like last night? AND Why are residents upset about new noise rules? AND Wind industry to people and wildlife: Sorry Charlie, but keeping you safe is cost-prohibitive
we just called the nextera hotline to report that the noise level is high (~55 dba) from the turbines. there is icing conditions out right now and the sound is at a 6 [loudest]. we can hear it from the inside of our home. we hear the repetitive aggressive chopping sound and low droning (rumbling sound).
it sounds as if a highway is just outside our front door. it is disturbing and we feel a heavy air pressure around us. nextera energy says that the sound is virtually undetectable. well, it is detectable. here is a video [ABOVE] just taken from our back porch door tonight. of course the video camera can't give you the heavy air pressure feeling, but you can get a glimpse of the sound. Source
WHY DID THE COUNTY OF TIPPICANOE AGREE TO RAISE TURBINE NOISE LIMITS WELL ABOVE THOSE RECOMMENDED BY THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION LIMITS FOR HEALTHFUL SLEEP?
“It was to accommodate the wind turbine people,”
County Commissioner John Knochel
CLICK on image above to see why Tippicanoe County residents are so upset about wind company Invenergy's victory in pushing up wind turbine noise limits. Why 2 of the 3 commissioners voted to protect the wind developers interests over the interests of the residents they represent is unknown.
WIND INDUSTRY WANTS SAFETY LAW CHANGED; GROUP SAYS IT IS TOO COSTLY TO ALTER EXISTING TOWERS
SOURCE: The Argus Leader, www.argusleader.com
By Cody Winchester
A state law designed to protect low-flying aircraft from air hazards could inadvertently hinder efforts to expand South Dakota’s wind industry, a wind-energy advocate said Monday.
“This will severely hurt wind development in South Dakota,” said Steve Wegman, director of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association.
At issue is a year-old statute that requires anemometer towers – known as met towers – to be striped in alternating colors, and to have sleeves and visibility balls mounted on their guy wires. There also are new requirements for perimeter fencing.
The law is meant to protect low-altitude aircraft, mainly crop dusters and helicopter pilots.
The problem with the law, Wegman said, is that existing towers weren’t grandfathered in. As a result, developers who own met towers are being required to take them down and retrofit them, which can cost $5,000 or more – a prohibitively expensive proposition for many.
“Towers are going to come down. They’re not going to go back up,” Wegman said.
Met towers range from 30 to 100 meters tall. They’re used to measure wind speeds before building new projects. They first started popping up in South Dakota in the early 1990s, and the 200 or so that now dot the state are crucial to future development, Wegman said.
“Without good data – collecting data takes anywhere between five to nine years – you can’t get financing,” he said.
Another problem with the law is that visibility balls add weight and collect ice, making tower failures more likely. That possibility has led some met tower manufacturers to stop providing warranties for products that require visibility balls, he said.
Rod Bowar, president of Kennebec Telephone Co., which installs met towers, said he understands the need for the rules but worries it could keep the smaller players out of the wind business.
“And I don’t think that’s probably healthy, long term,” he said.
Add it all up, Wegman said, and it’s one more reason to develop wind projects elsewhere.
But pilots and aviation regulators say the marking rules are necessary to keep pilots safe.
“We think they’re a good thing,” said Bruce Lindholm, program manager for the South Dakota Office of Aeronautics. “They’re helpful for aviation safety.”
John Barney, president of the South Dakota Pilots Association, said his organization isn’t opposed to the towers, but making them more visible “is just common sense.”
“We have lobbied the FAA about making it mandatory that these towers are marked or lit in a way that would not pose a hazard,” he said. “Unfortunately, up to the present, anything under 200 feet in altitude doesn’t fall under current regulations.”
He’s optimistic the FAA will change its policy, pointing to the case of a crop sprayer in California who was killed last month when he clipped a met tower and his plane went down. This is why grandfathering in existing towers simply won’t do, Barney said.
“Quite frankly, those are the towers that are going to kill somebody,” he said.
At the national level, the Federal Aviation Administration has opened a docket to examine the issue.
“When you have a crop duster out there flying in the fields, making steep descents and abrupt turns, seeing one of these pop up out of the middle of nowhere can be a challenge,” FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said. “We’re very concerned about them,” she added.
Lobbyists for the state wind industry, meanwhile, are pushing House Bill 1128, which would grandfather in existing towers. The original bill was defeated, but lawmakers stripped out the language and created a new bill – a process known as hog housing. The new version passed out of committee Thursday.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Just a month ago...
Pilot might not have seen met tower before fatal Delta crash
January 19, 2011
OAKLEY -- A crop duster pilot killed last week may not have seen the weather tower that his plane clipped, causing him to crash on a remote island in the Delta, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Stephen Allen, 58, died in the crash reported about 11 a.m. Jan. 10 on Webb Tract Island, located about two miles north of Bethel Island. Allen was a resident of Courtland, a town about 20 miles south of Sacramento. Continue reading.....
FILE UNDER OTHER THINGS THAT WOULD BE TOO COSTLY TO THE WIND INDUSTRY TO CONSIDER:
WIND INDUSTRY GROUP OPPOSES FEDERAL GUIDELINES TO PROTECT BIRDS
The American Wind Energy Association Industry said it will oppose plans by a federal agency to adopt voluntary regulations on wind developers to protect birds and other wildlife.
AWEA said in a release that more than 34,000 MW of potential wind power development, $68 billion in investment and 27,000 jobs are at risk due to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policies on golden eagles.
Allowing moratoriums to give local government time to create ordinances....
HEARING HELD ON WIND TOWERS
"Christopher Phelps, the executive director of environmental advocacy group Environment Connecticut, said the moratorium would send the wrong message to companies like BNE. Along with the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Environment Northeast, who also spoke at the hearing last Thursday, Mr. Phelps said that his group was opposed to the moratorium.
“One of the core reasons we oppose a moratorium is it would send a chilling message to the wind industry, that Connecticut is not open for business,” he said.
Increasing setbacks to protect property rights....
"It's a death sentence.
This has everything to do with eliminating wind power. That's why the proposal is so high.
It's a hit job."
- Michael Vickerman on increasing setbacks to 1800 feet from property lines
Vickerman is a registered lobbyist for RENEW Wisconsin: "Our modus operandi is to identify barriers to renewable energy development, and come up with strategies for overcoming those problems, whether they be low buyback rates, permitting challenges, or regulatory roadblocks."
RENEW'S clients include whose clients include Alliant Energy, ATC, We Energies, MG&E, North American Hydro, WPPI, Invenergy, Emerging Energies, Michels and many wind developers with projects pending in our state. [SOURCE]
Adopting the World Health Organizations recommendation of 40dbA as top noise limit for healthy sleep...
COUNTY SIGNS OFF ON NOISIER TURBINES:
Accompanied by his two young children, Tippecanoe County resident Robert Brooks issued an emotional plea to the commissioners to protect his family from loud nuisance noise that he worries will disrupt their sleep. After the commissioners voted, Brooks asked them, “How can I sell my house right now? … I don’t know why the ordinance had to change. You’ve given (the developers) a free ticket.”
During the debate at the commissioners meeting, the majority of those in attendance spoke against the changes. As it is now amended, the ordinance allows for large wind turbines to generate an average sound output of 50 decibels per hour.
"....Greg Leuchtmann, development manager for Invenergy’s project, said Monday that the changes to the county’s ordinance are balancing protections for residents with the needs of the developers. (It’s about) what will allow a development and what will cancel a development,” he said.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE: Journal and Courier, www.jconline.com
MANY UPSET BY TURBINE DECIBEL LIMIT
“My question is, why has this one company so much allowance to come back and ask for changes to a regulation?” Sarah Tyler asked the commissioners.
Commissioner John Knochel voted against the change in decibels.
“It was to accommodate the wind turbine people,” he said.
Invenergy representative Greg Leuchtmann spoke to the commissioners during the meeting.
“We are trying to get to something that is very objective and measurable that will protect residents as well as allow for this project to happen,” he said.
The commissioners got a sound consultant firm’s opinion on the county’s noise amendments.
“Feedback we got from the consultant was mainly negative on the amendments that were being proposed,” Knochel explained. “In other words, he thought they were a little too high.”
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE:WLFI, www.wlfi.com
7/23/2010 Writing the Wind Rules: Should turbine noise limits be based on wind industry needs or protection of rural Wisconsin residents? Don't read this post if you don't want bad news
WILL THE WIND SITING RULES BE BASED ON WIND INDUSTRY INTERESTS OR PROTECTION OF RURAL WISCONSIN RESIDENTS?
With the majority of the Wind Siting Council members having a direct or indirect financial interest in creating the least restrictive rules possible on wind development in Wisconsin, the discussion about wind turbine noise standards moves between the wind developer's preferred limit of 50 decibels to the World Health Organizations recommendation of 40 decibels. Should the rules be written by those who stand to see substantial financial gain by creating least restrictive rules? Whose interests should the rules protect? Based on the financial interests of the majority of the Wind Siting Council members, the answer is is pretty clear.