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Cold Autumn delays installation of noise dampers on NextEra wind turbines

I want to compliment Bob Mercer on fully adopting Internet journalism. His December 20 report on Crowned Ridge Wind’s interesting urgent request to the Public Utilities Commission for a waiver of operating conditions demonstrates perfectly how to integrate hyperlinks into good reporting.

Crowned Ridge Wind (a tongue-snarling name not fit for broadcast) is in trouble. NextEra Energy Resources got permission from the PUC back in July to build up to a 130-turbine, 300-megawatt wind farm across 83 square miles of Grant and Codington counties. To fulfill the noise provisions among the 45 conditions on its permit, NextEra agreed to install “low-noise trailing edge” attachments—LNTE—on their turbine blades to ensure neighbors wouldn’t hear any noise from the turbines greater than 45 decibels (a little louder than their fridges but quieter than most offices and gentle conversations).

NextEra’s chief engineer on the project, Joshua Tran, says the blade surface and air temperature need to be 50F during installation and the blade temp needs to be 6F higher than the dew point. That’s not just because engineer Tran is from Palm... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

I want to compliment Bob Mercer on fully adopting Internet journalism. His December 20 report on Crowned Ridge Wind’s interesting urgent request to the Public Utilities Commission for a waiver of operating conditions demonstrates perfectly how to integrate hyperlinks into good reporting.

Crowned Ridge Wind (a tongue-snarling name not fit for broadcast) is in trouble. NextEra Energy Resources got permission from the PUC back in July to build up to a 130-turbine, 300-megawatt wind farm across 83 square miles of Grant and Codington counties. To fulfill the noise provisions among the 45 conditions on its permit, NextEra agreed to install “low-noise trailing edge” attachments—LNTE—on their turbine blades to ensure neighbors wouldn’t hear any noise from the turbines greater than 45 decibels (a little louder than their fridges but quieter than most offices and gentle conversations).

NextEra’s chief engineer on the project, Joshua Tran, says the blade surface and air temperature need to be 50°F during installation and the blade temp needs to be 6°F higher than the dew point. That’s not just because engineer Tran is from Palm Beach, Florida; it’s because the glue may not hold!

Alas, our wet, chilly autumn was hard on corn and wind farmers alike: NextEra only managed to attach LNTEs to eight of its 87 turbines before the blades got too cold. As Bob Mercer reports, if NextEra doesn’t have Crowned Ridge up and running by January 1, it will have to pay Xcel Energy a penalty of $75,000 per day. (Ouch: that’s four speeches they won’t be able to afford from Kristi Noem’s motivational speaker!) NextEra thus is asking the PUC to temporarily waive the LNTE requirement until summer 2020. To protect neighbors from blade noise, NextEra is promising to shut down six of the turbines whenever the wind blows harder than 20 miles per hour.

NextEra asked for this waiver on December 13, a week before the PUC’s regular December 20 meeting. Opponents of the wind farm said NextEra has to give at least ten days notice of a request for a change like this. The PUC obliged both parties by calling an ad hoc meeting for December 30:

Commission chairman Gary Hanson proposed waiting until the next scheduled meeting. That’s on January 7.

“I do believe this falls under the ‘We do not know what we do not know,”‘ Hanson said.

Vice chairman Chris Nelson told the company’s officials and lawyers in the meeting room they should have asked for the waiver two months ago. He told the interveners on the phone they needed to produce meaningful information rather than using the time as a delaying tactic.

Nelson suggested the meeting should be December 30 or 31.

…Hanson said he would “hold tight” on January 7 for the meeting. But he lost, as Nelson and Fiegen voted for December 30 or 31.

“This places an unnecessary burden on intervenors’ rights,” Hanson said.

Nelson responded that the intervenors were getting the 10 days they wanted.

“This is a compromise,” Fiegen said. “I was ready to vote today. At least we’re giving them more time” [Bob Mercer, “Unexpectedly, a S.D. Wind Farm Is in a Tight Spot,” KELO-TV, 2019.12.20].

The PUC’s noise expert (no, not Kristi Noem’s motivational speaker) David Hessler says NextEra can still satisfy the noise-reduction conditions with the temporary waiver plan. NextEra will get a good finger-wagging—Commissioner Nelson is right: NextEra should have called when the snow flew on Gypsy Day—but they’ll likely also get their waiver and can dicker with Xcel to see how their buyer feels about not running turbines on the windier days.

But Bob, Bob, Bob—Bob Mercer veteran reporter turned Internet maven, gets kudos for a well-structured and well-source report. He plops seven hyperlinks snugly into his story, aptly providing readers with sources for the Crowned Ridge Wind docket, the December 13 cover letter and waiver request, engineer Tran’s explanation of the problem, a map of the wind farm and the intervenors’ residences, the intervenors’ complaint about insufficient notice, and the PUC staff’s assessment that the noise levels won’t get out of hand if NextEra follows through and shuts down the LNTE-less turbines on windy days. That’s the great utility of hyperlinks, attaching lots of useful supporting information to an article with minimum disruption of the reading flow.

Mercer’s excellent hyperlinking shows the insufficiency of broadcast television and print for journalism. His 578 words on this technical regulatory topic are already too much for a two-minute spot before weather and sports. A TV spot can’t make those supporting resources available to its audience. And even in his old print milieu, Mercer could never have placed those seven documents immediately in the hands of his readers. Only the Internet and hyperlinks, the greatest invention of the twentieth century, makes possible this kind of rich information-sharing.

The Web is where Bob belongs.Keep those links coming, Bob!


Source: http://dakotafreepress.com/...

DEC 27 2019
http://www.windaction.org/posts/50732-cold-autumn-delays-installation-of-noise-dampers-on-nextera-wind-turbines
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