Documents filed under Legal
Cape Wind, the first proposed offshore wind project in the United States, sent letters to the two utilities that contracted to purchase nearly 80% of the project's output, including energy, renewable energy credits (RECs) and capacity. The letters, one to National Grid, the other to NSTAR, stated the company was invoking the 'Force Majeure' clause of the contracts due to on-going litigation as its reason for not meeting the December 31, 2014 deadline for securing project financing. Both utilities responded within six days with official notice that the contracts were terminated. Cape Wind could have sought a six-month extension of the contracts by paying $1.29 million in consideration but opted not to take advantage of that option.
A petition signed by more than 120 people was submitted to Meade Township's clerk seeking a vote on whether areas in the township should be found suitable for wind energy development. The township clerk insisted the wording on the petition was inadequate, thus no ballot vote would happen. The deadline for submitting a petition has now passed. This letter, prepared by Attorney Joshua Nolan, explains Michigan's law on petitions and argues that the town clerk's decision to disqualify the petition was not lawful. A portion of the letter is posted below. The full letter can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
Daniel Brian Williams filed a claim of statutory nuisance, common-law nuisance, and trespass to land agains Invenergy LLC in relation to the operating Willow Creek Energy wind farm consisting of 48 turbines near Willaims property. His original claim can be found here. The final ruling by the court can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. Ultimately, the court denied Willams' claims for nuisance per se, statutory nuisance, and trespass.
The Osage Nation has filed a request for injunctive relief involving violations of Enel Kansas LLC and the construction of wind turbine foundations on Osage lands without permission a license. A portion of the filing is excerpted below. The full filing can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The U.S. government filed a federal lawsuit against Osage Wind, an industrial wind energy project consisting of approximately 84-94 turbines that is now under construction. The US is seeking a full stop of project construction due to the unauthorized mining activities taking place at the site. A portion of the filing is provided below including the factual background. The full filing can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
NextEra's Cottonwood wind project (113.6 MW) proposes to site all of its 52 turbines within 2 to 7 miles of the Blue Hill, Nebraska NEXRAD radar. This will be the closest of any operating turbines in the U.S. to weather stations in Tornado Alley. The National Weather Service meteorologist-in-charge at the Grand Island/Hastings Weather Forecast Office in Hastings, NE, agreed to sign this letter of intent addressing the times when operational curtailment of the turbines would be required in order to evaluate a storm within the range of the radar. The agreement is in effect for five years from the date it was signed (November 24, 2014). The agreement is entirely voluntary and non-binding on any party. It can be terminated at any time upon notice of just one party. The introduction of the agreement is provided below. The full agreement can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
PacifiCorp, a wind energy developer, filed a complaint with the US District Court of Utah seeking a declaratory and permanent injunction against the US Department of the Interior and the US Fish and Wildlife Service over the release of information about bird mortality at the company's operating wind projects. PacifiCorp insists that the requested information "constitutes confidential commercial information that is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The complaint filed by PacifiCorp and the response by the US Department of the Interior can be accessed at the links provided on this page.
The U.S. Department of Interior filed a suit against Enel Green Power claiming the company is breaking the law by damaging and destroying rocks that belong to the Osage Nation during the construction of the Osage wind energy facility. This filing submitted by Enel Green Power responds to the law suit. According to the lawsuit, EnelGreen Power will excavate more than 60,000 cubic yards of minerals, which the suit said is considered mining by law.The company is excavating sand, soil and rock, then crushing some of the materials to use as reinforcement for the concrete turbine foundations.The full document can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
In this case, the claimant, Andrew Joicey, argued six grounds for overturning the planning approval of a 100kilowatt wind turbine. Primary among the complaints was that the planning council did not provide public access to the turbine noise assessment report until a day before the hearing where approval was granted. Complaints were also issued over whether the council properly considered the cumulative impact of noise from a neighboring wind project. The count agreed with Mr. Joicey and overturned the approval. This is the third time the court overturned a planning decision approving this turbine. The decision can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. The introduction of the decision is provided below.
Vermont citizens filed this petition with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate deceptive trade practices of Green Mountain Power (GMP), a Vermont utility. The complaint focuses on GMP marketing of renewable energy to Vermont consumers. The petition was filed by the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School.
This important ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals involves wind power and whether utilities are mandated under Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) to purchase the energy. In the ruling, the Court found that states have the right to limit the ability of renewable energy facilities to sell power under PURPA through long-term contracts unless the facilities can provide “firm power.” This “firm power” requirement is a problem for renewable energy developers, in particular wind and solar. The ruling also reinforces the role of the States in their interpretation and implementation of the law. In this case, Exelon, which owns a number of operating wind energy facilities in Texas, argued that the utilitty was required under PURPA to sign long-term contracts to acquire the energy at prices ranging from $35 to $90/megawatt hour. The Court disagreed. A brief portion of the court's ruling is provided below. The full ruling can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The town of Barnstable, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and local businesses and residents filed a legal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston this week seeking to overturn a lower court decision dismissing their lawsuit, which alleged that the state illegally coerced utility NSTAR to purchase power from the Cape Wind project. The introduction to the filing is provided below. The full appeal filed with the court can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
In this important case, the plaintiffs are raising concerns regarding the health impacts and interference in the use and enjoyment of their land. In the complaint, the plaintiffs note that wind turbines emit infra and low frequency sounds that are inaudible to the human ear, and which has had have a long history of causing adverse effects to the human body and mind, including sleep loss, increased stress and cardiac issues. The plaintiffs are also concerned about how noise and shadow flicker emitted from rotating blades deteriorates the ability—in both children and adults—to properly think, remember, or concentrate. A portion of the filing appears below. The full filing can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
Plaintiff CEnergy-Glenmore Windfarm #1, LLC, obtained a conditional use permit from the town of Glenmore, Wisconsin, to develop a wind farm there. But the company did not obtain required building permits in time to take advantage of a lucrative opportunity to sell electricity generated by wind turbines to a Wisconsin power company. CEnergy then filed this lawsuit against Glenmore claiming a denial of its right under the Fourteenth Amendment to substantive due process and a violation of the town’s state law obligation to deal in good faith. The district court dismissed the due process claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and declined to retain jurisdiction over the supplemental state law claim. CEnergy has appealed. The appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling. The facts and procedural background of the case is provided below. The full decision can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Nearly 60 New York residents from Wyoming County are listed as plaintiffs in this lawsuit filed against Invenergy for lost quality of life and property value in relation to the Orangeville Wind Farm. The complaint was filed in early-August with the State Supreme Court in Wyoming County. Attorney Richard Lippes, of Lippes & Lippes in Buffalo, is representing the residents. The text of the complaint is posted below and can be accessed by clicking the link on this page. The names of the plaintiffs have been omitted from the filing.
The American Bird Conservancy has notified the Obama Administration that it intends to file a lawsuit challenging recent changes in wildlife protection laws allowing wind farms that kill eagles accidentally to continue operating for a period of 30 years without needing to apply for new permits. The intent to sue document filed with the Department of the Interior can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
The NH State Fire Marshal has recommended that Iberdrola's Groton Wind energy facility cease operation until fire safety concerns have been addressed. A letter as well as prefiled testimony submitted by the Fire Marshal's office asserting the facts in the case can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. The NH Site Evaluation Committee has initiated enforcement proceedings against Iberdrola for this an other complaints.
A Maine Superior Court judge has found in favor of wind turbine neighbors (Fox Island Wind Neighbors) complaining about excessive noise from three nearby 1.5 megawatt GE wind turbines. This is believed to be the first court case where a state judge has found against a state agency charged with enforcement; the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The judge’s decision follows the key claim of the plaintiffs who proved that FIW (Fox Islands Wind) was not complying with the State’s noise limits and that the DEP failed to enforce against the turbine operator or to require compliance. An excerpt of the ruling is provided below. The full order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Maine PUC erred in approving a merger between wind developer, First Wind, and the utility Emera which owns generation assets in the State. This order vacates the PUC ruling from three years ago. The order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. A portion of the Court's order can be found below.
The Lake Winds Energy Park has been found in violation of the Mason County Michigan zoning ordinance due to noise levels exceeding the permitted levels. The Mason County Planning Commission notified Consumers Energy of the exceedences and the matter is before the Courts. The attached document is the proposed sound mitigation plan. In addition, one of the residents pursuing the court case, Cary Shineldecker, filed a review of the mitigation plan. Both Consumers Sound Mitigation Plan and Mr. Shineldecker's review can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.