Library filed under Energy Policy from Minnesota
Both sides of the wind energy debate got their initial look at the first draft of the updated zoning ordinance last week. Neither side expressed any satisfaction with the changes Tuesday during a Planning Advisory Commission subcommittee meeting. Proposals included restricting the number of hours per year a dwelling could experience shadow flicker from a turbine and setting a noise level cap.
The drama surrounding local wind farms has taken numerous twists and turns over the past few years, but some have begun to take action after feeling their words weren't getting through. Belle Creek Township decided Monday to urge the Goodhue County Board to rescind its resolution of support for C-BED (Community-Based Energy Development) status for the Goodhue Wind project.
Today, state Rep. Tom McMillin of Michigan introduced a resolution (H.R. 277) urging his state's governor to withdraw Michigan from continued participation in the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (MGGRA), an agreement among the region's governors to reduce greenhouse gases through a regional cap-and-trade program. ...nearby participating states intend to introduce similar measures in their own legislatures.
As many area residents are aware, there is a plan for a wind energy conversion project being proposed in Goodhue County. ...Some residents have asked for my position on the wind energy proposal. I personally have no problem with expanding alternative energy sources. However, I would suggest the move toward these sources should be directed by technological advances as opposed to our current mandates.
For those of you affected by the wind turbine debate taking place in Goodhue County, I thought I'd provide an update on the issue. What you need to know is this: Goodhue County can -legally according to the Public Utilities Commission - zone wind turbine projects and provide setbacks without taking over the costly permitting and inspection process.
A state board will gather more information before deciding whether current setback and noise requirements for large wind farms are adequate or need to be changed. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Monday heard testimony from nearly 30 people about health concerns and other issues surrounding commercial wind turbines.
Austin Energy, a publicly owned power company and a city department of Austin, Texas, has found itself stuck with surplus renewable power as city residents have declined to sign up for higher rates under the city's voluntary GreenChoice program. Contracting with renewable power providers and offering the service to customers sounded like a good idea to city officials until the price tag came in at up to three times the cost of conventional power.
Congress and many state legislatures, including Minnesota's, are exaggerating the potential for renewable energy, especially from wind, solar and biofuels. By assuming that wind can supply 20 percent to 25 percent of our electric power in the coming decade, or that farm fields can replace oil and gas fields, our representatives can avoid voting on hard choices.
The emerging wind industry in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest could be shut down by the cost of connecting to high-voltage transmission lines if a proposal by the organization that controls the Midwest's power grid goes through, wind advocates say. The grid operator and some utilities say the wind industry is overstating the effect, but the long-simmering dispute over who should pay for new transmission lines boiled over Thursday.
State regulators plan to vote Thursday on a Wisconsin utility's plans to build a massive wind farm in southern Minnesota. Wisconsin Power & Light Co., a subsidiary of Madison-based Alliant Energy, wants permission to start the first phase of the farm on 32,500 acres just north of Albert Lea in Freeborn County. Plans call for scores of turbines that would generate about 200 megawatts of electricity.
There is no guarantee a wind farm construction boom will follow if Wisconsin establishes statewide standards for where such developments can be built. ...With resources available beyond state borders and Alliant employees testifying Wednesday the company projects diminishing opportunities for new generation, opponents could argue more wind turbines in Wisconsin are unnecessary, said Lynda Barry-Kawula, co-founder of the renewable energy group Better Plan Wisconsin.
The massive power line project known as CapX 2020 has been approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The commission made one stipulation in its decision today: The line from Brookings, S.D. to the Twin Cities has to carry wind generated power. The lines will run between Fargo and Monticello, Brookings and the Twin Cities and the Twin Cities to La Crosse.
Minnesota lawmakers Tuesday gave a gust of support to bills allowing Winona County to form a corporation with private investors to build and operate commercial wind turbines.
To meet Minnesota's goal of getting 25 percent of its electricity from clean renewable wind energy by 2025, the state's utilities would need to build a 345-kilovolt line between Granite Falls and Shakopee at a cost of $460 million, according to a study released Friday. The 125-mile line would replace a 260-kilovolt power line that is 60 years old.
Recycled turbines that turn renewable wind energy into electricity are expected to begin appearing this summer in Anoka, Buffalo, North St. Paul and eight other Minnesota cities that are part of a power agency. ...Anoka Mayor Phil Rice expects the windmill will go up, but calls it a taxpayer-subsidized waste of money that will never cover the windmill costs. "In my mind it is foolishness," Rice said. "The government is mandating it, and we will comply so we don't have to pay a fine."
Stutsman County officials should not be cowed by a wind developer whose business model condones theft of wind rights or be misled by a state legislator. They are to be commended for trying to protect landowner rights and safeguard the reputation of a growing and beneficial wind industry. If only our Dickey County Commission, the North Dakota Public Service Commission and the Legislative Assembly would show similar leadership.
Across the Great Plains the wind blows incessantly, while in the remote Nevada desert the sun bears down without relief. Each holds the potential of a vast new energy resource. While wind turbine and solar projects are ready to capture this new, eco-friendly energy source, where are the transmission lines to get the power to where it is needed?
The next driver and the major incentive from here out is the Renewable Portfolio Standard ..."It's going to be a challenge," Huelskamp said, to meet the RPS. A prime challenge facing the industry is transmission. Somehow, renewable energy has to get onto the transmission lines. The need exists to relieve congestion and improve reliability in the existing transmission system, he said. The infrastructure is maxed out.
A major high-voltage power line proposal is generating organized opposition. The CapX 2020 project would bring more electricity -- including wind-generated power -- from remote parts of Minnesota closer to the Twin Cities. It calls for three 345-kilovolt lines that could cost between $1.4 billion and $1.7 billion and a fourth, smaller line farther north to be added later.
Overall, total revenue generated from the turbines rests at about $1.9 million, whereas total expenses on the turbines have been about $859,000, for repairs, insurance and scheduled maintenance, according to MPS documents. The remaining balance goes to paying off the turbines, Schwandt said. Moorhead spent $1.5 million to erect the two towers - the first in 1999 and the second in 2001 - on the city's northeast edge.