Library from Minnesota
The company says it will apply for an eagle take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The permit would allow the turbines to kill a certain number of eagles before the company would face penalties.
The committee received three letters of support for the turbine and three letters against it, as well as a community petition in opposition. At the zoning committee hearing on Thursday, one person spoke in favor of the turbine and six against.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has postponed a hearing on a plan to limit bird and bat deaths at a controversial wind farm proposed for Goodhue County.
Southwest Minnesota is home to more than 70 wind farms ...But the turbines spin intermittently, with peak output generally in the spring and fall. In addition, wind often is stronger at night than by day. Chris Little, director of development for Ecos, said he hopes the project answers the question: "Could you fill that gap with another energy resource that might complement the wind?"
A controversial wind farm proposed near Red Wing plans to ask for federal permission to legally kill eagles, making it one of the first in the nation to participate in a new federal strategy aimed at managing the often-lethal conflict between birds and turbine blades.
"The service recommends AWA Wind analyzes the data they have collected, rather than attempt to extrapolate potential data," wrote Tony Sullins, USFWS field supervisor. Turbine shut downs were also recommended as a potential mitigation plan, while calls for clarification and more data were common — though bald eagle issues were most prevalent.
The Edina-based company has signed agreements for easements with landowners in Zion, Paynesville, Spring Hill and Lake Henry townships. Geronimo had planned to erect the turbines this year and expected them to be generating electricity as soon as the third quarter of 2011.
When they bought a dairy farm near Red Wing 20 years ago, Ann and David Buck never thought the quiet life in rural Goodhue County could lead to a clash of wills with a faraway oil tycoon like T. Boone Pickens.
To date, there are only five known instances in North America of bald eagles killed by wind turbines, said Rich Davis, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who has been monitoring the project for two years. But the Goodhue project is the first to be constructed in an area widely used by both bald and golden eagles for nesting and migrating, he said.
The summons also says that AWA Goodhue "will potentially suffer irreparable harm" if Belle Creek is allowed to interfere with its rights under the site permit to proceed with developing the project, and attorneys argue that the wind company is entitled to an injunction preventing the township from any such interference.
An initiative led by Congressman John Kline (MN-R) would do more than terminate the federal stimulus renewable energy program that funded the bankrupt $535 million notorious Solyndra solar power project. If successful, it would also knock the wind out of a key funding source for one of the nation's most controversial wind projects -T. Boone Pickens' proposed $180 million AWA Goodhue Wind farm in Kline's congressional district.
The original vote from the County Board’s meeting Nov. 15 resulted in a 2-2 tie to appeal the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s decision to approve a 78-megawatt wind project in Goodhue County. Without a majority ruling, the motion failed.
Xcel is far enough ahead in building or buying wind energy that it can stand pat with what it has and reassess in a couple years, McCarten said. The utility gets 17 percent of its electricity from renewable resources like wind and still can get to a state mandate of 30 percent by 2020 with its present resources.
"Since the county won't fight it, we felt that we will," Ryan said. "Generally speaking, I would say that 80 percent of the citizens of Belle Creek wanted us to appeal, so that's probably one of the main reasons why we decided to appeal." The turbine project has generated strong opposition.
Monday's decision by the Belle Creek Town Board to file a legal appeal against the AWA Goodhue wind project could extend the battle over renewable energy in Goodhue County by another year.
In 2009, two customer groups challenged the Public Service Commission's decision to grant a permit for Wisconsin Power & Light Co. to build the $460 million Bent Tree Wind Farm in Minnesota to meet Wisconsin's renewable energy standard.
The battle began last fall when the city informed him that a turbine wasn't allowed under the city code. He ignored that opinion and erected it anyway, only to be served with a suit ..."This is nuts -- I'm not trying to build a wind farm," he said.
Two Wisconsin energy consumer groups contend the Wisconsin Public Service Commission should have applied more restrictive approval criteria. The commission has countered that process doesn't apply to out-of-state facilities.
“Those landowners a lot of times are making decisions based on what the wind folks are saying,” said Jaime Edwards of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “If they had both sides of the story, they may not have signed the contracts.”
Goodhue County will not join citizen groups Coalition for Sensible Citing and Goodhue Wind Truth as they file for appeal in the case against AWA Goodhue Wind. The Goodhue County Board voted 2-2 Tuesday to file for appeal, but since there was no majority, the motion failed.