Articles filed under General from Minnesota
The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners rejected a proposal Tuesday to conduct a study of the Freeborn Wind Energy Project planned in southeast Freeborn County. ...The board’s vote came after approximately 20 people shared support and concerns of the planned project in a public forum that lasted for more than an hour.
Schmidt will admit he's a little biased on this one, but he'd prefer the same sun that will cause corn to grow from his field not cause rows of solar panels to soon emerge from a nearby field. “The concern we have is the large amount of farm land being lost.”
Mrs. Rosenquist continues to fight against wind farms, successfully convincing lawmakers to craft legislation to change Minnesota turbine siting standards in 2011 and continuing to push the issue at the local and state levels.
Citing significant costs but limited benefit, Pipestone, Minn.-based Juhl Energy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to de-register its common stock and suspend its reporting obligations. The company says it will still trade publicly but via OTC Pink - an exchange that does not have any reporting requirements. In Wall Street parlance, so-called "pink sheets" get their name from an earlier paper-based system that printed on pink paper.
Both Sibley Wind Substation, planned for southwest of Winthrop, and Comfrey Wind Energy, planned for west of Comfrey, saw their licenses from the Public Utilities Commission revoked. ...Comfrey Wind had been granted two extensions and sought to be covered by the federal Production Tax Credit, so began some construction before the end of 2014. But the state Department of Commerce said construction came before some compliance filings with the commission.
Sibley Wind Substation, which had begun utility work for its 10-turbine wind power project, is now asking to withdraw its permits from county and state governments. The memo submitted to the MN PUC can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
When proposed, the project was heralded by renewable energy proponents and those who saw it as a source of jobs and income for Stearns County's rural economy. But some residents strongly opposed it, concerned about the visual effect of as many as 60 turbines.
“To be truthful, we just started too late. When wind (energy) was first coming out, it was easy. Now they just pile more and more studies on, and bats and bird studies, just piled on, more red tape. Typical government, more forms,” said Scott Hoek, one of 11 co-owners of the wind project.
Wind developer Geronimo Energy confirmed Wednesday it’s attempting to sign new leases with landholders at Black Oak wind farm in response to a deadline in state law that voids a lease if a project doesn’t begin commercial operation within seven years of the original contract signing date.
Shortly after the research concluded, investors learned about a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission policy change from 2006 that they hadn’t been following. It required power purchase agreement farms that produce less than 20 megawatts of energy to fill out paperwork that certified them to do so. But when the farms began 13 years ago, this paperwork was optional. After eight years of unfiled paperwork, the farms were hit with the civil liability and subsequently had to file for bankruptcy.
St. Cloud VA spokesman Barry Venable says the contractor was commissioned to provide a fully operational wind turbine and has failed to do so… The VA has paid a majority of the $2,300,000 cost to build the wind turbine built by JK Scanlon Company of Falmouth, Massachusetts.
“This has been going on, just hanging there, sitting there,” said Barb Wenninger, a Cornish Township resident and longtime opponent of the Sibley Wind Substation turbines. “We seem to have shown violations of their permit, and no action has been taken. That’s what it seems to us, like nothing is being resolved.”
Building — and trying to fix — the turbine already has cost taxpayers about $2.3 million, 99 percent of which the VA has paid to the private contractors responsible. And please note that does not include more than $325,000 the VA has not accrued in energy savings since the turbine went online in April 2011. In other words, this project alone has cost taxpayers more than $2.6 million. It still does not work, nor have any funds expended been recovered.
The plaintiffs claim this ordinance is pre-empted by Minnesota Statute § 216F.02(b), "which prohibits local governments from enacting complete bans on businesses and homeowners using SWECS [small wind energy conversion systems] to generate electricity."
"The St. Cloud VA is a hospital, and our focus is on our patients and we like to think that we treat our veterans very well here," said Barry Venable, a public affairs officer for the VA in St. Cloud. "We're embarrassed that this turbine does not operate as advertised."
What was supposed to provide up to 15 percent of the power to the St. Cloud VA Health Care System has turned into a black eye in the sky. ...Nearly $2.3 million went blowing in the wind, and there seems to be no end in sight to needed repairs. It’s also unclear whether the VA will be compensated for lost savings or if the turbine will ever work properly.
Almost three years after it was built, a wind turbine at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System has become a towering boondoggle. The VA system paid about 99 percent of the $2.3 million cost for the turbine. All that has bought is a turbine that supplied a tiny fraction of the power it was expected to generate. Since August 2012, the turbine has supplied no power at all. ...“You fix one thing and something else pops up. It’s extraordinarily unreliable.”
The PUC approved the initial site permit for a 301 megawatt project in 2010, but the amended request reduces the nameplate capacity to 200 megawatts. Additionally, the PUC's recent decision allows Pleasant Valley to switch from a combination of 1.5 MW and 2.3 MW General Electric turbines to a uniform layout of 2.0 MW Vestas, which are 328 feet tall with a rotor diameter of 328 feet. The GE turbines had the same rotor diameter, but the towers stood 262 feet tall.
The EcoHarmony wind project received its permits in February 2010 ...the 280-megawatt project would have been the largest wind development in state history. However, the project layout was overhauled in early 2013, shrinking to 116 megawatts. The company's plans changed again this fall when Gamesa notified local project participants that the project was dead.
"Willmar’s experience is not unusual. There are several stories very similar to this where municipal utilities were sold on the benefits of owning and operating their own wind turbines only to learn after the fact that keeping the turbines running can be a nightmare, even with a warranty plan in place.”