Library from Minnesota
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.
A wind turbine worker was airlifted to Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus after the crane he was operating tipped over Friday near Grand Meadow.
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.
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 fact is that thousands of birds use the specific area where turbines are proposed as a migratory stopover before they move into either the Mississippi River flyway or the Atlantic flyway,” said Barb Wenninger, a Cornish Township resident and longtime opponent of the project. “…I think it is important to have accurate information on avian use before we are faced with the law of unintended consequences.
Ray Kirsch, the Environmental Review Manager of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, says, "It's because there's a lot of power in this area, including wind power and to utilize that power it has to be able to be moved." And conditional power generation that is dependent upon environmental conditions, such as power created from wind turbines, creates areas of congestion on the current electrical grid.
A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota officials from enforcing it.
North Dakota officials grudgingly looked the other way as Minnesota regulators continued to approve more of what they viewed as inefficient renewable energy projects. Those projects increased the utility bills of Xcel’s 80,000 customers — from Fargo to Minot — by an estimated $5.7 million a year. The systemwide cost for ratepayers is about $92 million.
"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 backers of a southeastern Minnesota wind farm touted as a model for other communities face a $3.3-million lawsuit in U.S. District Court filed by the South Korean company that manufactured and financed the turbines for the Winona County Wind project.