Library from Minnesota
What started with just a few wind turbines 20 years ago, now turns out nearly 20% of Minnesota’s electricity. But the towering blades haven’t come without questions and controversy in rural Minnesota.
One of the citizens, Rhoda Obermeyer, asked what is the reason for the Met towers, and added that “we all know what is coming down the road,” suggesting it was wind turbines. Other concerns were about loss of property values, bird deaths, and crop spraying issues with wind turbines. The three CUPs concerning the Met towers were not the only conditional use permit to be considered by the commission.
Wind generation through June of 2019 was actually 4 percent lower than through June of 2018, according to Energy Information Administration data. This decline in output comes even though there are more turbines in operation today than there were at this time in 2018.
The wind energy industry isn't immune to cyclical replacement, with turbine blades needing to be replaced after a decade or two in use. That has wind energy producers looking for places to accept the blades on their turbines that need to be replaced.
After a two-year fight, a new wind farm has finally been given the green light in southern Minnesota. But in Freeborn County, hundreds of neighbors are making some noise about it.
Increasing quantities of renewable energy result in increasing electricity prices because they are more expensive than conventional sources of electricity, like coal. Additionally Minnesota would still need backup sources of electricity, like coal and natural gas plants, to be available when the wind is not blowing, like during the Polar Vortex, or when the sun is not shining. As a result, Minnesotans must pay twice for electricity they use once.
A proposal to build a 100-tower wind farm in the southern portion of the county will be taken up by the county planning and zoning board April 25.
Wind speeds were less than forecast on those days, meaning power production was less than expected. Ice on turbines hampered wind production. ...Wind turbines are often programmed to shut down when the thermometer is 20 below to 25 below because equipment can be damaged if turbines continue running. Xcel receives 21 percent of its generation from wind in Minnesota and the Dakotas, and its turbines automatically shut down around 20 below. They were generally down during the nights of Jan. 29 and 30.
“When you give them a windmill, you give up rights on that land for the rest of your life,” Sandager said. “They can declare bankruptcy and you’re stuck with a pedestal and windmill that has no value. When you want to spray with an aerial or spray rig, you have to get their permission. If you want to hunt on your ground, you have to get permission. If you want to go four-wheeling on your farm, you have to get permission.”
On Wednesday, when the morning temperature in the Twin Cities was negative 24 degrees, wind energy provided just 4 percent of the electricity and utilized just 24 percent of its installed capacity in a region monitored by the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO), a not-for-profit organization that ensures reliable, least-cost delivery of electricity across all or parts of 15 U.S. states, including Minnesota.
The Laborers’ union, representing several construction unions, asserted that the socio-economic benefits of Bitter Root would be “substantially diminished” by a lack of Minnesota workers. RES has used nonunion trades workers on other wind farms in Minnesota, and the Laborers’ union says those workers were mostly from out of state. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decided the unions’ claims need a closer look.
The Freeborn project marks the first "contested case" over a wind farm before the PUC, prompting the appointment of an administrative law judge to sort out the facts and make recommendations. The judge's ruling isn't binding on the PUC, but such recommendations often carry weight with the commission. ...Invenergy filed a proposal with the PUC that would include noise allowances of no more than 3 decibels above the standard.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) said the state's limit for wind-farm noise applies not only to sounds from turbines but also should include background noise such as road traffic, said the filing with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
The most powerful wind turbines ever seen in the state could soon be built in southwest Minnesota. The state needs to approve the proposed wind farm. The industry is ramping up turbine size in the name of efficiency, but the skyscraper-sized machines are also attracting more public opposition.
Shawn Dooling, 52, of Excelsior founded Renewable Energy SD, LLC in 2009. He marketed the company as one that sells, installs and maintains wind turbines to help local farmers save on their energy expenses, but he stole millions from customers in a scheme between 2010 and 2013.
The attempt by a London, England, company to build a wind farm in Yellow Medicine County is meeting resistance from a small community just across the South Dakota border ...The request is that RES and the MPUC respect and honor the ordinance that requires wind tower setbacks to be at least 3 miles away from the water.
Expiring tax credits and pushback from opposition groups pose barriers for the wind power in Minnesota, but the industry shows no signs of slowing down in the breezy southwestern part of the state.
WILMONT — Nobles 2 is sailing along smoothly.
Administrative Law Judge LauraSue Schlatter last month recommended that the Freeborn Wind farm be denied an operating permit, saying the southern Minnesota project failed to show it can meet state noise standards. Freeborn Wind’s developer, Invenergy, has objected.
Wind “farms” can present land-use conflict issues for nearby landowners by creating nuisance-related issues associated with turbine noise, eyesore from flicker effects, broken blades, ice-throws, and collapsing towers, for example. Courts have a great deal of flexibility in fashioning a remedy to deal with nuisance issues. A recent order by a public regulatory commission is an illustration of this point.