This report evaluates the potential energy market impacts and energy costs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. EPA proposed the CPP in June 2014 as a nationwide regulation (to be implemented by the states) under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.
This important paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines the unprecedented numbers of tree-roosting bat fatalities at operating wind turbine facilities and the behavior of the bats near the turbines. The abstract of the paper along with the significance of the findings are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Dr. Robert McMurtry and Carmen ME Krogh present an important summary of the adverse health impacts observed in individuals living in proximity to industrial scale wind turbines. The paper is aimed at physicians who are receiving patients with symptoms and possible confusing complaints reported by those near the operating turbine plants. Excerpts of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
In this study, neurobiologist Markus Drexl and others at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, examined the effects of low frequency noise on human hearing. The found that after short bursts of LF sound the ear showed signs that, over time could damage hearing. The introduction and conclusion of the study's report are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This comprehensive land use ordinance controlling the siting of wind energy facilities was adopted by Mason County in Kentucky. The preface of the 26-page ordinance is provided below alson with a short summary of the siting limits. The full ordinance can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
This important report by the Texas Comptroller examines the importance of reliable, low-cost energy for the State of Texas. A portion of the report is provided below. The full report 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.
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.
High Cost - Since being adopted in 1992, the cost of the PTC for wind energy has ballooned from roughly $5 million a year in 1998 to $1.5 billion annually today. This open-ended subsidy of 2.3¢/kWh in after-tax income represents a pre-tax value of approximately 3.5¢/kWh. In many regions of the country the PTC now equals, or is greater than, the wholesale price of power.
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.
In this recent study, researchers present a comprehensive study on the breeding provenance of endangered and protected noctule bats killed at German wind turbines, showing that individuals from local and distant populations are among the recorded fatalities. The results provide a first step on the way towards an evaluation on how bat fatalities at wind turbines might impact local and regional populations in migratory bat species. The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission voted to open a notice of inquiry into wind farms. Two technical conferences to further refine questions are scheduled for Sept. 11 and Oct. 15. A hearing before the commission is set for Dec. 2. The text of the notice is provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The Scottish Natural heritage (SNH) has published ‘Visual Representation of Wind Farms, July 2014’. This guidance replaces the previous version (2006). The updated guidance sets a new standard for wind farm visualizations; and is prescriptive which means that applicants must comply with the key requirements set out in Annex B of the guidance. An explanation of the guidance is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. While written for wind farm assessments in Scotland, the parameters for producing visualizations are applicable worldwide.
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.
Acoustician, Steven Cooper, has been asked to measure noise emissions at the Cape Bridgewater wind energy facility in Australia following years of noise complaints since the project was placed in service in 2008. Mr Cooper has tested inside three homes near the wind facility over eight weeks, including a two-week shutdown of the turbines. His preliminary report can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page. His initial findings are provided below.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service denied Iberdrola's request for an eagle take permit. The rejection letter is provided below and can be accessed by clicking the link on this page. Iberdrola's application was one of the first to seek a 30-year term on the permit. In addition to the FWS letter, you can also view Iberdrola's cover letter submitted with its permit application where the company cites its interest in a long-term permit.
This paper aims to summarise the current state of knowledge in this area by fire problems with wind turbines. The authors found that fire is the second leading cause of catastrophic accidents in wind turbines (after blade failure) and accounts for 10 to 30% of the reported turbine accidents of any year since 1980’s. In 90% of the cases, the fire leads to a total loss of the wind turbine, or at least a downtime that results in the accumulation of economic losses.The Abstract and Conclusions of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
Collisions and electrocutions at power lines are thought to kill large numbers of birds in the United States annually. However, existing estimates of mortality are either speculative (for electrocution) or based on extrapolation of results from one study to all U.S. power lines (for collision). This paper attempts to quantify bird mortality. The abstract is posted below. The full paper can be accessed at the links on this page.