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Fierce opposition from neighbors shot down an Aberdeen company's attempt to gauge south Lincoln County's wind capacity for a potentially massive turbine farm last week. Critics told the county's planning and zoning board they were worried about property values, health impacts and nuisances from what could become a 500-megawatt wind project covering hundreds of square miles.
Winnie Peterson is chair of the group, and she says despite the investments and promotion, this project has a long way to go. Peterson says the main concerns behind this wind farm are not only the lack of economic sustainability, but also decreased property values.
Almost every chair was full at the Lincoln County Commission meeting. Many of the people were wearing pins protesting wind farms. Minnesota Lawyer Dan Schleck says those citizens were concerned that the state has too much power with decisions about giving land to wind energy.
“The people at We-Care who contacted me are looking for some balanced information, information that may be different from the public relations machines that get behind these projects to solicit investors and landowners,” Schleck said. “Not everything is going to be flowers and roses."
Oak Tree Energy attempted in 2010 to negotiate with NorthWestern. The utility refused to buy the power, saying the additional electricity wasn't necessary. Oak Tree Energy turned to the PUC in April 2011. Oak Tree used a federal law known as the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 as the basis for its complaint.
The Production Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of the year and Congress has yet to act on its extension. There is no vote on the tax credit scheduled in the House of Representatives, Noem said during a media conference call.
A government folly is playing out in our state's Capitol over a wind electricity project a group wants to build in Clark County. At the root of this folly is a federal requirement. Believe it or not, a wind farm developer can force a utility company to buy its electricity, even if the company doesn't want it. This gets worse. The wind power might cost more than the company wants its customers to have to pay for electricity.
Reed and Scott paid phone solicitors to make cold calls to investors, telling them that the wind farms were being constructed jointly by private investors and the U.S. government. Potential stakeholders were told that "government funds had been set aside by the President of the United States ...these alleged wind farm projects."
A Florida energy developer has suspended the permitting process for a 150-megawatt wind project in Hyde County, citing uncertainty about a power customer. ...Earlier this year, NextEra put the brakes on an environmental review for Crowned Ridge, the company's proposed 150-megawatt project.
NextEra "decided not to move forward" with the review "until we have greater clarity on several issues including securing a customer for the output," Steve Stengel, a spokesman for the Juno Beach, Florida-based company, said today in an e- mail.
"I can confirm that we are contemplating the sale of our Brandon, S.D., idle tower facility to reduce our manufacturing footprint," said John Segvich, director of marketing communications with Broadwind Energy.
Developers point to the usual culprit - a longstanding lack of adequate transmission - but also to a prolonged slump in electricity demand, sluggish growth in the broader economy and rock-bottom prices for natural gas, which competes with wind.
With no mandate in South Dakota to use renewable energy, "Anything your local provider is doing is simply out of generation needs," Glanzer said. "Obviously, there is a push to go forward with renewable but ...you want to make sure the price of that renewable resource is not going to affect your customers or your business in a negative way."
Renewable resource projects like a wind farm are riskier because they typically cost more to build and operate for the amount of power they provide. The commission could eventually rule that such an extra cost should not be borne by ratepayers when a traditional power source like a coal plant is available.
Oak Tree's first offer to Northwestern set the avoided cost at $69.20 per megawatt hour. Its final offer, tendered in February, was $54.40 per megawatt hour with a 2.5 percent annual increase. Northwestern wasn't interested.
Nothing illustrates the distance between the political culture and reality in modern governments so much as the billions invested in wind power. Presumably the purpose of such investments is to a) reduce greenhouse emissions and b) reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The plain fact that it increases both seems not to have bothered anyone.
As a wind-turbine factory in Pipestone, Minn., lays off most of its workers, competitors in South Dakota and Iowa are booming. ...The stark differences among the three Midwestern manufacturers show how business can blow hot and cold in what is still a young and growing wind-power industry.
All of the tax credits that help wind power become affordable to consumers are directed in hopes of having tax benefits, but the cooperatives don't pay taxes and haven't been eligible. But as part of the federal stimulus package, the Treasury Department created a renewable energy grant program that provided an opportunity for South Dakota Wind Partners to develop a community-based wind project so average people could invest.
Wind tower production in the 115,000-square-foot Tower Tech Systems building in the Corson Development Park remains on hold because the company hasn't secured enough contracts, according to a company spokesman.
A company that makes and repairs wind turbine blades said Wednesday it is laying off about one-third of the work force at its plant in the eastern South Dakota town of Howard. Knight & Carver Wind Group Inc. is laying off 16 of the Howard plant's 55 workers this week, and the firm might temporarily close the plant.