Wind Powering America (WPA), part of the U.S. Department of Energy, is a governmental wind energy advocacy group committed to increasing the use of wind energy in the United States through funding of pro-wind non-profit organizations across the country. WPA released its 2007 annual summary report where it details its advocacy efforts and accomplishments by State.
As part of this effort, Mr. Gary Seifert of DOE's Idaho National Laboratory Wind Power program and Wind Powering America travels the mountain states of Idaho and Montana advocating for large-scale wind development. Earlier this month Mr. Seifert -- "representing himself as a neutral party" -- showed up at public hearings held by the local Bingham County Zoning and Planning Commission. The proposal before the commission entails building 81 miles of road and erecting 150 wind turbines across the expansive Wolverine Canyon, an area designated as a Natural Resource/Agriculture district that does not permit industrial, energy-producing structures.
Attendees tell Windaction.org that Mr. Seifert's comments included unsupported claims that the proposal would not affect wildlife, would not be noisy, and would not decrease property values. The County commission voted 4-3 to approve the project citing Mr. Seifert's "expert" testimony. Windaction.org questions Mr. Seifert's appearance, a federal public servant, before a local land use board under the guise of neutrality. And members of the community deserve to see what studies, if any exist, that he relied on in making his claims about the Bingham County proposal.
The lack of regional system planning coupled with the haphazard political approach to incentivizing renewables in New England may adversely impact the business of two renewable generation plants in the State of Maine.
Windaction.org has learned that UPC Wind's Stetson Mountain project, a 57MW wind energy facility now under construction, is scheduled to feed into a congested transmission line ("Line 64") that services two other generators: a) Brookfield Power's 126MW hydroelectric system and b) Indeck's 25MW biomass power plant, both baseload renewable facilities. The constraints of Line 64 will force energy output from Brookfield and/or Indeck to be significantly curtailed with a possible 0 MW net gain in renewable generation for the region. Put another way, Stetson Wind, an intermittent unpredictable renewable, will displace existing reliable baseload renewables.
According to the 2007 Interconnection System Impact Study conducted for the ISO New England, the UPC proposal will have "no significant system impact to the stability, reliability, and operating characteristics" of the New England transmission system and that no network upgrades are needed except at the Project's interconnection point.
The consequences of the Line 64 congestion may prove even more dire. If the Brookfield or Indeck merchant plants become financially unviable operating at the reduced output (see Section 5.1.2 of the study), they may be forced to shut down thus undermining regional energy goals and result in a significant net loss of jobs.
In the past year, several Wisconsin townships and counties established study committees to evaluate and recommend local ordinances for smaller renewable energy projects (as provided by State law for projects under 100 megawatts). Having carefully studied the State's draft Model Wind Ordinance, these committees found the Model to have serious flaws and unfounded recommendations, as revealed in this video segment.
New local laws were passed pertaining to turbine placement which were more restrictive than the State's model. The municipalities sought to protect public health and safety through larger setbacks and more comprehensive sound-level limits. WindAction.org applauds those who dedicated long hours to researching the facts, and enacted justifiable ordinances within the bounds of their authority.
However, Wisconsin State legislators, intolerant of these efforts, moved quickly this month to rush Assembly Bill 899 / Senate Bill 544 designed to abolish local authority and place all wind siting control in the hands of the State's Public Service Commission. In a 4-3 vote on March 7, SB544 was voted from committee onto the Senate floor for passage. WindAction.org cautions that adoption of SB544 would be a mistake.
The U.S. Forest Service is proposing new directives pertaining to wind energy development on national forest system (NFS) lands. To date, there are no wind energy facilities on forest lands so this direction will set the rules for an entirely new public land use across all national forests and grasslands. The Federal Register notice and other information about this matter can be accessed at http://www.thefederalregister.com/d.p/2007-09-24-E7-18715
IWA and others are raising issue with the proposed Forest Service policy. Our main concerns are:
1) Failure to assess environmental impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA);
2) Failure to consult with US Fish & Wildlife Service under Endangered Species Act (ESA);
3) Wildlife monitoring guidance grants too much discretion to local Forest Service officials and wind energy developers;
4) Forest Service has determined these directives will have no economic impact on small business (tourism, etc.), despite lack of assessment under NEPA.
The deadline for filing comments to the Forest Service is November 23, 2007, but a request will soon be filed for a 60-day extension. Please contact Judy Rodd (email@example.com) of Friends of Blackwater (WV) if your group can lend support to this request for extension. Judy will need your group's name, contact person, address, and e-mail/phone number. Thank you for your help.
Democrats put brakes on wind farm bill.382742013-05-04T15:34:49Z2013-05-04T15:34:49ZThe bill, which also is known as he Alabama Wind Energy Conversion Systems Act of 2013, is in trouble because of a filibuster by Democrats that has locked it up past the required introduction deadline. That forces the bill to get unanimous approval before it could be introduced.Some area residents steaming over solar projects.380582013-04-14T12:43:39Z2013-04-14T12:43:39Z"Residents and abutters have little to no opportunity to have their voices heard in objections or their questions answered," Ms. Chase said. "Despite the numerous procedural errors that have occurred, the town continues to blindly allow this ill-sited project to deleteriously impact the public health, safety and welfare of the people who have made their home on Bearsden Road for years."Anti-wind group focuses on comprehensive plan; Goal is no more wind farms.380502013-04-12T02:08:23Z2013-04-12T02:08:23ZThe Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals placement of conditions on the Prairie Breeze permit of a 1,500 foot setback from property lines and development of a property value guarantee ...could make future wind farm development in the county impossible, or difficult at best, he said.Wind turbines: VACo joins Tazewell opposition .371442013-01-25T17:58:22Z2013-01-25T17:58:22ZCharles Stacy, eastern district representative on the board of supervisors said that the Virginia Association of Counties has expressed concerns about SB 1341, the renewable energy facilities; exemption from land use regulations," bill that was introduced in the General Assembly by State Senator Richard L. Saslaw, D-Springfield. "VACo is adamantly opposed to this bill for reasons other than windmills." Audit rips management of RG&E, NYSEG; Utility's Spanish owner battling state regulators over workforce levels, leadership.122912012-11-19T23:24:23Z2012-11-19T23:24:23ZTop Iberdrola executives seemed largely ignorant of American regulatory requirements. Auditors said they must "adjust more to business culture here, as opposed to expect U.S. stakeholders to accommodate themselves to Spanish custom and practice."
Top executives wouldn't answer auditors' questions, wouldn't allow board members to be interviewed and argued against disclosing information, making arguments that auditors described as "invalid" and "very peculiar."
State advocate poised to support town in wind case.276252012-10-04T10:38:15Z2012-10-04T10:38:15ZPublic Service Department Commissioner Elizabeth Miller, whose department represents the public in cases before the Public Service Board, said she expects to deliver on Gov. Peter Shumlin's promise to support towns that vote not to allow wind turbines within their borders.Siting Council proposes new wind regulations.349372012-05-09T01:26:20Z2012-05-09T01:26:20ZThe Connecticut Siting Council, which has sole jurisdiction over renewable energy projects that propose to generate more than 1 megawatt of power, has drafted a set of regulations for wind turbines.
The regulations are an outgrowth of reviewing two applications from BNE Energy, Inc., which proposed installing two wind turbines in Prospect and six in Colebrook.Bill would allow communities to establish wind turbine setbacks.341892012-01-25T04:49:50Z2012-01-25T04:49:50ZSen. Frank Lasee, R-Ledgeview, recently 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.Bill allows communities more control over wind turbine setbacks.340192012-01-06T17:39:36Z2012-01-06T17:39:36Z"Local communities should be able to create their own rules for public safety," Lasee said. "We shouldn't leave it to bureaucrats in Madison to make these decisions that affect home values and people's lives. Madisonites aren't the ones living next to the turbines.
DeKalb County residents say they'll ban wind farms .338822011-12-22T22:01:20Z2011-12-22T22:01:20ZNearly a hundred people attended the meeting, and no one raised their hand when asked who favored the current ordinance. About a dozen people spoke out, and many people brought binders of research and handouts. DeKalb County residents are against the ordinance and said it needs to be more restrictive. Their biggest issue is the regulation on "setback" distance from a property. Mass. wind energy siting bill dies.338192011-12-16T14:25:54Z2011-12-16T14:25:54ZIn making his decision, Downing said he had considered what he heard from constituents and state officials during 15 hours of hearings on the bill held in Hancock and Barnstable.
The siting bill has been fought by those opposed to putting wind energy projects near residential areas.
Wind energy debate shifts to Ogden and Palmyra townships.336042011-11-11T17:17:31Z2011-11-11T17:17:31ZWith the approval in Riga Township of a wind turbine ordinance that wind power supporters say effectively bans turbines in the township, the wind energy debate now shifts to Ogden and Palmyra townships.
In Ogden Township, which does not have zoning, the township board will be discussing a police powers ordinance to regulate turbines.
Rules may change for wind farm sites .315402011-03-27T16:53:19Z2011-03-27T16:53:19ZThe Legislature's joint committee for review of administrative rules voted earlier this month to temporarily block a wind farm site rule developed by the state Public Service Commission.
But that action was only good for 30 days. To keep the rule from taking effect Friday, the committee will meet again Tuesday to consider a bill that would send the issue back to the PSC.Wind Power Maneuvering.312222011-02-25T19:41:42Z2011-02-25T19:41:42ZA pair of bills authored by State Rep. Vickie Nardello (D-Prospect) and State Sen. Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury), who both represent Prospect, and brought before the General Assembly's Energy and Technology Committee earlier this month, would indefinitely prevent the construction of wind turbines in the state until regulations are written regarding their placement.