Library from South Dakota
The hearing was about the condition that the PUC imposed on Crowned Ridge/Next Era in the permit. They were to install low noise trailing edge blades on all turbines. They didn’t, and they got caught. They also got caught erecting towers taller than permitted, generators bigger than permitted along with a host of allegations about noise and shadow flicker violations. ...Crowned Ridge’s excuse was it was too cold, they didn’t order them early enough, as Commissioner Hanson compared it to “the dog ate my homework” excuse.
The next section states that no public notice or public hearing is required through the board of adjustment in the case of special permitted use processes. That board—when considering a project—will only investigate if the specified special use criteria are met.
The risk to the lake and the richly diverse wildlife that traverse it is among the reasons the Lake Erie Foundation has come out publicly opposed to a proposed offshore wind turbine development titled “Icebreaker Wind.” Lipaj was asked to lead a discussion regarding the topic at the Marblehead Peninsula Chamber of Commerce’s community business update meeting this week.
Public Utilities Commission Chairman Gary Hanson wasn’t impressed with NextEra’s management of the project and failure to explain certain aspects of the project during previous hearings. “The compliance with the permit is foundation. A name plate, sound and flicker — these are not new to the process,” Hanson said. "At the very least this needs to be deferred until we get some answers.” Hanson said if the decisions isn’t deferred, his other option would be to deny the waiver.
I want to compliment Bob Mercer on fully adopting Internet journalism. His December 20 report on Crowned Ridge Wind’s interesting urgent request to the Public Utilities Commission for a waiver of operating conditions demonstrates perfectly how to integrate hyperlinks into good reporting.
The contract however calls for a penalty of $75,000 per day if the project in Codington and Grant counties isn’t running before January 1. The difficulty is Crowned Ridge needs the commission to temporarily suspend one of the permit requirements. That condition calls for low-noise tailing-edge attachments on the blades of all 87 turbines.
Commissioner John Claggett said he was “deluged” with calls, asking why the county would accept wind turbines when the commission has not allowed wind turbines to be built in the county. He said governing bodies aren’t doing enough to hold wind energy companies and supporters accountable. “I’m getting asked, ‘We don’t have active wind farms here, why do we bring that in?'" he said.
A crane tipped over at a construction site where wind turbines are being erected for the Prevailing Wind Park about 10 miles southwest of Tripp Wednesday morning. ...The turbines are planned to have a maximum height of 590 feet and a maximum rotor diameter of 449 feet.
Construction manager Scott Creech confirmed an incident occurred Wednesday in Bon Homme County. However, he declined to provide more details on what caused the tipping of the crane, which was shown lying on the ground in social media photos. ...Creech also declined to confirm the crane’s height. However, Ronnie Hornstra, president of Prevailing Wind LLC, has told the Press & Dakotan "two of the only three mammoth cranes this size in the United States are on the project."
The South Dakota Board of Economic Development stepped off its normal path Tuesday. A majority of board members voted against a reinvestment payment that owners of Triple H Wind Farm had sought for the Hyde County project.
The wind energy industry isn't immune to cyclical replacement, with turbine blades needing to be replaced after a decade or two in use. That has wind energy producers looking for places to accept the blades on their turbines that need to be replaced.
Commissioner Kristie Fiegen said the fact that Prevailing Wind violated one of many conditions in their permits so early in their construction was a major concern -- especially for a project of its size. ...in order to avoid a costly civil lawsuit. Prevailing Wind will pay the maximum fine of $10,000 per day of the violation, totaling $30,000. The money will go to the permanent school fund.
“This major legislation doubles the amount of time citizens have to prepare for and resolve issues during wind evidentiary hearings,” said PUC Chairman Gary Hanson. “It gives citizens a stronger negotiating position, and guarantees that all parties to a docket are entitled to an evidentiary hearing. The new law also provides local governments with more influence in wind and solar development.”
In the eyes of a lawyer, which is not very romantic, when a wind farm contains steel, wires, underground cabling, electrical components and concrete we have potential legal liability. Wind farm infrastructure is not owned by the landowner. It is owned by the wind farm operator. A landowner has no right to control or interfere with a wind farm. Who may be liable and to what extent is always an interesting legal question. A court calls this the allocation of liability. It is best not to become involved in a question on the allocation of liability. General liability insurance coverage is one way in which liability risks are reduced.
State commission member Chris Nelson said escrow arrangements provide financial protection in case a wind farm's owner goes bankrupt. The money would be returned to companies if it isn't needed. "It's a good bill for landowners and a good bill for developers," Nelson said.
Financial decommissioning safeguards, if in place, would have a considerable effect on the interest of local landowners, farmers, ranchers and neighbors in proposed wind farms. It is a common response to a proposed wind farm for a landowner to say, 'Oh yes they will be here today – but gone tomorrow.' If 'tomorrow' comes don't landowners, farmers, ranchers and the neighbors of a wind farm have a right to the proper and complete process of decommissioning?
During the summer of 2018, Campbell County Commission discussed a possible need of a wind farm ordinance, Since that time, the county held no hearings or workshops that would provide the public an opportunity to comment on the new law. The only scheduled public hearing is set for February 7th, 2019 where the County will present the ordinance. Attorney David L Ganje has expressed concern that the County is rushing the process and, in doing so, failing to allow for a free exchange ideas about the wind farm ordinance. In August, 2018, Attorney Ganje recommended the commission convene several formal and informal public meetings and hire experts in order to deliver a well-crafted ordinance.
That no vote came from Senator Jim Bolin (R-Canton). “Wind power is a sensitive subject in southern Lincoln County,” Bolin said. “The subject has many concerns. ...I am not against wind energy, but it is a very intense, localized issue in my district.”
Special thanks to Attorney David Ganje for contributing this informative essay on wind energy leases.
A public meeting was held on Monday, December 10, 2018, at the Martin Activity Center to discuss plans for Pass Creek Wind, a utility-scale wind energy project planned for Bennett County north of Martin. Approximately 35 people attended the meeting including Bennett County Commissioners, local ranchers and members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.