Library from North Dakota
Wind farms are rapidly expanding across the Midwest, and a growing number of residents who live near the wind turbines are complaining about noise. ...Leon Steinberg is CEO of Minneapolis-based National Wind. He said most wind farm developers already use setbacks that exceed state regulations. "I don't think the industry believes it's a significant problem," Steinberg said. "But I believe the industry is concerned with the perception that it may be a problem."
The wind filling the sails of alternative energy might slacken if regulators fail to address the concerns of wind farm neighbors. The new industry, which is supposed to be one of the jewels in the renewable energy crown, will lose its appeal rapidly if the rush to build wind farms blows out traditional rural living values. The signs should concern the industry and regulatory agencies.
On Thursday, Takushi Harima of the Tokyo Broadcasting System interviewed Stillings, who lives near NextEra Energy Resources' wind farm about 15 miles northeast of Valley City. Harima asked Stillings what the view was like, whether he has noticed adverse health effects and about noise.
Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, is asking the North Dakota Public Service Commission to reconsider its approval of several turbine locations for a wind farm near Luverne to accommodate concerns from neighbors. In a letter sent last week, Mathern asked the commission to consider imposing longer setback requirements for four turbines located near a bed-and-breakfast as well as a dogsled operation.
Tanner Gue knows as well as anyone just how wet it's been this summer in some of North Dakota's prime waterfowl country. That's good for ducks, of course, even if it sometimes complicates life for people trying to study them. A UND graduate student, Gue, 25, is heading up the fieldwork portion of a two-year research project aiming to learn more about the impact of wind farms on the survival of nesting ducks.
State regulators approved the location of a new wind farm in east-central North Dakota despite complaints from some nearby residents about potential disruptions from turbine noise. The North Dakota Public Service Commission on Wednesday said one of the project's 80 wind turbines must use an alternative location to avoid disturbing a rural bed-and-breakfast business.
State regulators have approved a new wind farm in east central North Dakota despite complaints about noise. North Dakota's Public Service Commission concluded most of the proposed wind towers will be far enough away from homes to meet federal noise guidelines.
The Stutsman County Commission approved a zoning ordinance concerning commercial wind farms during its regular July meeting Tuesday. The ordinance passed unanimously after four amendments were made to the document prepared over the past nine months by the Stutsman County Zoning and Planning Commission.
A Minnesota-based utility company intends to install 33 wind turbines in south-central North Dakota within the next two years. In mid-June, Minnesota Power applied for a special use permit to install 17 wind turbines in Morton County. A permit application is pending for 16 others in Oliver County.
Complaints about noise and possible health effects from wind turbines arose at a recent public hearing concerning a proposed 157-megawatt wind farm near Luverne, N.D., in Griggs and Steele counties. The Stillingses and several other rural residents who live adjacent to nearby wind farms testified that they are bothered by turbines, even though they comply with the North Dakota Public Service Commission's setback requirement.
A Minnesota Department of Health analysis of possible health effects from wind turbines concludes that annoyance and diminished quality of life are the most frequent complaints from nearby residents. The "white paper," a review of available scientific research, notes that people vary greatly in their sensitivity to noise, with penetrating, low-frequency sounds posing the most problems.
A transmission company that wants to take North Dakota's wind energy to Eastern markets says its plan hinges on a federal change in how transmission facilities are paid for. Representatives of ITC Holdings in Novi, Mich., joined officials with Denali Energy, a company involved in the proposed Hartland Wind Farm northwest of Minot, at a meeting in Minot with landowners Wednesday.
The Ashtabula Wind Farm becomes one of the largest in the state with 131 turbines with a combined electrical generating capacity of 196.5 megawatts. The farm is owned by NextEra, a division of Florida Power and Light, with the electricity generated purchased by Otter Tail Power and Minnkota Power Cooperative. "We have an ownership share of 48 megawatts or about 32 of the 1.5-megawatt turbines," said Chris King, director of public relations for Otter Tail.
Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and Otter Tail Power Co. estimate the current rules could drive up their customers' monthly bills by 18 percent to 30 percent annually. If the problem is not remedied, it could undermine public backing for wind power development in North Dakota, Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark said. The state has more than 700 megawatts of wind generation capacity, with more than 3,000 megawatts of projects planned.
A wind farm mishap has technicians trying to figure out what happened. A blade on one of the giant towers near Wilton somehow bent in half on Sunday morning.
Now the Public Service Commission requires at least 1,400 feet between a tower and an occupied dwelling. It's meant to protect the property owner from noise and shadows, and a possible tower collapse. Commission President Kevin Cramer says the minimum distance is not formally spelled out in state rules.
The Bismarck Planning and Zoning Commission this week tabled action for a draft wind turbine ordinance in city limits and its extra-territorial zone. City planner Gregg Greenquist, tasked with creating the ordinance with a committee, said the new draft was conservative in terms of sound levels and aesthetics. He expects as technology evolved, it would be amended.
Excuse me if I'm not quite as excited about a cap and trade tax on my electricity as wind enthusiast Joe Richardson is. I believe I'll side with the North Dakota Legislature and the Industrial Commission, who want to see hard-and-fast numbers about what the true cost of a cap and trade tax is to the North Dakota economy.
Energy companies discovered long ago that the abundant wind in North Dakota could be harvested to produce electricity. Now, many homeowners in Bismarck are trying to get in on the action, too. That`s why the city held a meeting Wednesday evening on a proposed wind turbine ordinance.
It`s not as strong as some North Dakota House members would like it. But representatives have approved a new set of rules that wind developers have to follow when negotiating land-use leases with property owners.