This important white paper provides perspective on how the courts are likely to respond to wind projects that might produce significant adverse impacts on the environment. Summary considerations excerpted from the paper are provided here while the full paper is shown below and accessible from the links on this page. Important Considerations It is clear that renewable energy projects sited on or across Federally-administered lands will be carefully reviewed by Federal courts. From these cases, at least three key considerations emerge, including: Courts are generally unwilling to credit environmental analyses without actual survey data, especially where sensitive species or sensitive areas are present; The use of mitigation measures to mask an apparent lack of baseline data does not appear to be a defensible position; and Careful and consistent managing of the administrative record is key to surviving a legal challenge to a project.
This paper reports on research that looked at wind data collected offshore along the Northeast Unitied States. The paper's main finding is that atmospheric conditions around Cape Wind are predominantly turbulent, or unstable, which is very different from prevailing data from European offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Wind conditions at Cape Wind were shown to be unstable between 40 and 80 percent of the time, depending on season and time of day, The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed from the links on this page.
Introduction: Thirty states including the District of Columbia have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) specifying shares of electricity consumption provided by renewable energy. RPS proponents argue that these policies are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also argue that the construction of renewable energy facilities increase employment opportunities. Opponents assert that Renewable Portfolio Standards increase electricity generation costs and rates paid by customers, which reduces regional economic activity. The objective of this study is to provide a balanced look at the issue, weighing the costs and benefits of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards. A portion of the study's executive summary is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is taking public comment until July 5 (2016) on an eagle-management plan that could weaken protections for eagles, including the issuing of 30-year permits to wind energy and other companies that allow the “take” (or harm) of thousands of eagles. The American Bird Conservancy and other groups and individuals are working to strengthen the draft rules prepared by the FWS—also called the Eagle Take Rule. Under the proposed plan industry would not be required to have mortality data collected by independent, third-party experts; share mortality data with the public; or take critical factors like proper siting of wind turbines into consideration. Attached is the comment letter submitted by ABC of which a portion is posted below.
The town of Buckfield Maine adopted a wind ordinance that established a setback distance of 1 mile between a wind turbine and the property line of an adjacent property. Noise was limited to no more than 3 dba above the preconstruction sound levels. To access the ordinance, select the link on this page.
In this open letter, Barbara Ashbee of Mulmur, Ontario, together with hundreds of other Ontarians, sent an open letter to Health Minister Jane Philpott, asking why Health Canada has not insisted wind energy corporations report citizen complaints about noise radiation.The letter, attached here, asks the minister to meet with Ms. Ashbee and representatives of citizens suffering from turbine noise radiations. An excerpt of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
In regards to the request for a judicial review filed by Apex, Judge Bailey of Greensburg entered his judgment on June 1, 2016 affirming the Rush County Board of Zoning Appeals July 1, 2015 decision, with the Setback Condition. If no appeal is filed, the judicial review will conclude. A brief summary of the ruling can be found below. The order issued by the judge can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
The Ninth District Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Oregon Natural Desert Association, and rejected a wind turbine project on Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. The 104-megawatt project proposed by Columbia Energy Partners would have erected 70 wind turbines and a high-capacity transmission line on Steens Mountain. The approximately 100 MW Echanis project would be sent power to Southern California as part of an agreement with Southern California Edison. The project also included a high-capacity transmission lines that cut across potential sage grouse habitat within the protected Steens Cooperative Project. A summary of the order is provided below. The full decision can be found by clicking the links on this page. Also attached to this page are the legal arguments presented by the government and by the environmental groups from March 2016.
This letter filed with the Minnesota PUC confirms Flat Hill Windpark I, LLC's desire for revocation of its permit to construct a 201 MW wind energy facility n Clay County, MN. The content of the letter is provided below and can also be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important paper appears to have identified a relationship between wind turbines and stress levels in badgers. The abstract and introduction of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The 1889 Institute, an Oklahoma state policy think tank, published this two-page fact sheet discussing how wind energy tax incentives offered by Oklahoma are detrimental to the state’s economy. A portion of the report is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This split ruling by the Vermont Supreme Court regarding a permit granted for a 2.3-megawatt solar facility provides a useful examination of the debate over whether the views of local communities should hold significant weight when state siting boards have permitting authority. Ultimately the court ruled in favor of the project permit but a dissenting opinion issued by Judge Reiber offers a stinging response to the Vermont Public Service Board's decision to ignore community views when it permitted the project. Judge Reiber's opinion is provided below. The order can be accessed at the links included on this page.
NYISO, the entity that manages New York's electric grid system provided important feedback on the Cuomo administration’s primary method of achieving its goal of doubling New York’s renewable energy. An excerpt of the comments is provided below where the NYISO challenges the intent to award long-term power purchase contracts to project owners at the expense of consumers. Under the plan presented by Cuomo, the NYISO the development of: (i) approximately 25,000 megawatts of solar capacity to meet the targets solely with solar resources; or (ii) approximately 15,000 megawatts of wind capacity to meet the targets solely with wind resources. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
In this detailed ruling issued by the Falmouth Zoning Board of Adjustment in reference to Wind 1, one of two Vestas 1,65 MW turbines sited at the town's water treatment center, the board listed 38 separate finding on whether a permit should be issued that would allow the turbine to continue operating. The turbine was shut down following a court ruling that found the turbine was erected the town without first securing a permit. Some of the 38 findings are provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Phase I of the Bent Tree Wind Project began operation in January 2012. The project consists of 122 Vestas V82/1650 (1.65 MW, diameter 82 m) turbines for a total installed capacity of 201.3 megawatts. Noise complaints were filed by at least two landowners since September 2015. Staff for the Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (EERA) unit of the MN Department of Commerce examined the complaints and believe the complaints are both Unresolved and Substantial. In this letter with supporting documentation, EERA staff recommended the MN Public Utilities Commission initiate the process for addressing the complaint. The letter to the PUC is provided below. The full letter with documentation can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
According to this newest study by researchers at North Carolina State University, an offshore wind farm erected off the coast of North Carolina would reduce coastal rentals and potentially harm tourism, even if the energy project was placed at a maximum distance from shore. The results of the study found 54 percent of survey participants would not be willing to rent a home if the turbines were visible at all, regardless of their distance from the coast. The abstract of the report is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. ,
Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Save Our Scenic Area have petitioned the court to review Bonneville Power Administration’s ("BPA") June 24, 2015 Record of Decision (“ROD”) approving the interconnection of the Whistling Ridge Energy Project to BPA’s electricity transmission system, based on BPA’s analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). This detailed brief filed on behalf of the groups provides an informative description of the circumstances surrounding BPA's decision and how the petitioners argue the NEPA provisions were incorrectly applied. A portion of the brief is provided below. The full document as filed with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
A Massachusetts state board has issued a draft decision denying the extension of permits that would enable Cape Wind to build an electricity transmission line to connect its proposed offshore wind farm to land. The draft decision offers an informative discussion of the now historical events leading to the denial. The full decision can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides monthly and annual production data for over 10,000 power plants including wind-powered facilities. Windaction.org has been tracking this data closely since 2011 with a specific focus on wind power plants. The below table lists the annual aggregate capacity factors for each state that EIA has reported wind production for projects with at least one full-year of production. A breakdown of the production data by state and individual projects in each of the years 2011 - 2015 can be accessed by downloading the documents attached to this page. Editor's note: Windaction.org, endeavors to present the most current and accurate information available. If readers identify a problem with any of the data, please contact us at email@example.com. In an effort to ensure accuracy, the attached data files may be updated from time-to-time. (Data files updated on April 2, 2016)
This complaint, filed by residents of Fayette County, Indiana, seeks a declaratory judgment by the Fayette Circuit Court that both the Decommissioning Plan and its addendum between the county and NextEra Energy Resources in reference to the proposed Whitewater Wind facility, be declared invalid and void, for failing to comply with the county’s zoning ordinance. The complaint also seeks “costs of this action” and other relief. Paragraphs 9-13 of the complaint are presented below. The full complaint can be accessed by clicking the document on this page.