Articles from Minnesota
The power lines servicing a rural Pine River farm must be replaced by Brainerd electrical cooperative Crow Wing Power, a Cass County judge ordered earlier this month. Judge Jana M. Austad's order is the latest action in ongoing litigation between dairy farmers Randy and Peggy Norman and the power company, which last October was ordered to pay $6.3 million for negligence in its response to the farmers' concerns about stray voltage impacts on their property.
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.
Beginning in May 2013, comments were filed by members of the public including claims of permit violations such as turbine setbacks, noise and underground substation stray voltage. Others expressed concerns about distribution line interference with telecommunications systems; county road agreement concerns;and project proximity to underground pipeline systems and site permit transfer.
The Minnesota Legislature is pushing energy policy in two different directions this year. Some legislators are trying to make energy cheaper, while others want to make it cleaner. There's no consensus about what Minnesota's energy problems are, let alone how to solve them.
Nygaard has repeatedly been ordered to remove the turbine by courts. He took it down once, placing it like a huge lawn ornament on his small front yard. Later he put the turbine back up on its pole in the back yard, where it remains.
The free pass from the typically hard-nosed state tax collection agency provoked local officials, who raised concerns over the secretive process. “We got a letter back just stating that they (Department of Revenue) granted the waiver, but no reason why,” said Stout. “And then, when we called to find out, they wouldn’t tell us and said it was confidential. We just really thought it was not a good deal.”
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.
Pipestone County and the city of Pipestone have sent letters to Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans expressing their disappointment that a tax payback was waived for Suzlon Rotor Corporation after the wind turbine manufacturer breached its JOBZ (Job Opportunity Benefit Zone) contract.
Minwind has told federal regulators that the turbines have needed extensive repairs, including main bearings, and the company no longer can afford the upkeep. To make things worse, Minwind got into a jam with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for not filing certain paperwork since 2006. The result is a $1.9 million regulatory liability that has left a potential buyer uneasy about signing a deal to acquire the wind farms.
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.
Another Hennepin County judge has weighed in on a lengthy, litigious quarrel over a wind turbine on Lake Minnetonka, deciding that the city of Orono can’t completely ban them. ...The Orono City Council passed a moratorium on small wind conversion systems while the city’s Planning Commission drafts a new ordinance regulating them.
Crow Wing Power of Brainerd was negligent in its response to a northern Minnesota farm family’s concerns about stray voltage on their property, a Cass County jury ruled Friday. The jury awarded Randy and Peggy Norman $4.8 million in economic loss damages and $1.5 million in nuisance damages for a total of $6.3 million, the largest amount ever awarded in a stray voltage case in state history, according to the Normans’ attorneys.
“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.
Work continues on the $640 million CapX2020 high-voltage power line that will connect a new substation near Mapleton to the Twin Cities early next year.
The city, in its brief filed with the court, argued that nothing in the state law precludes a local municipality from “establishing requirements for the siting and construction of SWECS.” They have also argued that the turbines were put up without proper permits and are a safety threat.
The final court order says Nygard and his wife must appear in court Wednesday to start a six-month jail sentence, unless the turbine is removed by then.
Technicians with Vestas offered two options – repair the pitted bearing for about $65,000 or replace the entire generator with new shafts and bearings for about $175,000.
Minnesota Power, the state’s third-largest power company, is concerned that more than $800 million in wind power investments appear to be credited to North Dakota, where the wind farms were built, rather than to Minnesota, where the power is delivered. “We just don’t like the fact that Minnesota seems to have gotten very little credit
Construction of a wind farm near Tripp is being delayed at least six to eight weeks because of investors' uncertainty in the wind industry's production tax credit. ...Paul Bachman, executive director of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association, said a bill to renew the tax credit is in the Senate, but isn't expected to be acted on until after the November elections.