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.
Paul Brouha, resident of Sutton, Vermont filed this letter and accompanying reports with the Vermont Public Service Board to show that the Sheffield wind energy facility (40 MW) is consistently operating in violation of the Board's permit conditions relating to indoor noise levels. A summary of what Mr. Brouha is experiencing at his home can be found below. The findings of independent noise experts can be found by clicking the links on this page.
Author and Journalist Robert Bryce presented these written comments at a hearing before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. The focus of the hearing was on the economic benefits of ecosystems and wildlife and how they “are valuable to a wide range of industries,” including tourism. The purpose was also to examine “how the Administration is preparing to protect” ecosystems “in a changing climate.” Most of Mr. Bryce's written comments are provided below. His full statement can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
This paper was accepted for presentation at the 11th Symposium of the International Association for Fire Safety Science in New Zealand (Feb 2014). The authors aim to summarize the current state of knowledge in the area of turbine fire by presenting a review of the few sources which are available, in order to quantify and understand the fire problem in wind energy. 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. The abstract of the paper can be found below. The full paper can be downloaded by clicking the link(s) on this page. For more information visit this link.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia has recommended a multidisciplinary research effort to determine the impact of industrial scale wind turbines on human health. The attached documents detail the NHMRC's review of current literature on the topic and its draft recommendations for further quality research to address the concerns that some people have raised. The NHMRC is asking Australia's best researchers to address the gaps in the evidence.
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.
This important paper prepared by acoustics expert Les Huson examines the permitted noise limits imposed on the Flyers Creek wind energy facility in the context of actual infrasound noise emissions from other operating wind projects. Mr. Huson determines that the Flyers Creek project will not satisfy the noise conditions or the South Australian EPA Environmental Noise Guidelines for wind energy facilities. Excerpts of the paper are provided below. Readers are encouraged to download and read the full paper by clicking the link on this page.
The Vermont Public Service Board held a prehearing conference on January 8, 2014 to discuss opening an investigation into the issue of appropriate sound standards applicable to facilities constructed pursuant to 30 V.S.A. §§ 248 and 219a. This inludes wind energy facilities. In this order the Board established a process for conducting the proceeding, as well as a proposed scope of issues to be examined through the investigation. A portion of the order is provided below. The full order can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
Paul Brouha, a resident of Sutton, Vermont, filed suit in Caledonia Superior Court against Vermont Wind, Northeast Wind Partners II, and First Wind Holdings over the Sheffield Wind Project, a 40 megawatt (16 turbine) facility. The filing states that the noise from and the visual impact of the project are out of character with the surrounding area, continue for extended periods, and constitute a nuisance. The complaint document can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
Ted Hartke, his wife Jessica and their two children, Phillip (age 9) and Sophia (age 6) have abandoned their home in Vermilion County, Illinois due to turbine noise. This testimony was delivered to the Boone County Illinois county commissioners on May 28, 2013 as the county considered a wind ordinance that would permit wind development. This testimony predates Mr. Hartke and his family leaving their home. A portion of his testimony is provided below. His full testimony can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
Since 1997, an increasing fraction of electric power in the U.S. has been generated from natural gas. This paper examines the reduction in emissions as a result of U.S. power plants shifting away from coal. The abstract and conclusion of the paper are excerpted below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
Canadian health professionals Roy D. Jeffery, MD, Carmen M.E. Krogh, BScPharm, and Brett Horner, BA, published this peer reviewed paper which examines current literature on the impact of wind turbine noise emissions and the impact on residents nearby. The introduction and conclusions of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking on the links on the page.
Town officials in St. Croix county are suing Wisconsin's Public Service Commission after the regulator reversed itself and approved the Highland Wind Farm last year. Emerging Energies is seeking to erect 44 wind turbines, each standing up to 500-feet tall, in the Town of Forest. In February 2013, Wisconsin's Public Service Commission denied a permit for the project due to noise concerns, but Emerging Energies officials urged the commission to reopen the case, citing new technology that permitted the project owner to control the turbine speeds at night. The PSC agreed and approved the permit shortly after.
This paper provides a useful explanation of how wind farms in the U.K. are compensated for not operating. Wind projects operating in areas of limited transmission capacity are straining the system and require that they be turned off during periods of low demand but high wind output. £981 was the highest payment for £50 worth of loss. Last fall (2013) the rules were changed to supposedly prevent “excess profit” being made, but even then the average payment for one day was £84/MWh, with the highest being £149/MWh.
In this paper, Joseph Cullen quantifies the emissions offset by wind power for a large electricity grid in Texas using the randomness inherent in wind power availability. When accounting for dynamics in the production process, the results indicate that only for high estimates of the social costs of pollution does the value of emissions offset by wind power exceed cost of renewable energy subsidies. An excerpt of Mr. Cullen's paper is provided below. The full paper can be downloaded from this page.
Nate Seltenrich, a science and the environment writer, explores wind turbine noise. In this report, he writes that "anecdotal evidence strongly suggests a connection between turbines and a constellation of symptoms including nausea, vertigo, blurred vision, unsteady movement, and difficulty reading, remembering, and thinking." An excerpt of his report is provided below. The full article can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
In this important ruling by the Idaho Supreme Court, the Court upheld the decision of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to deny approval of power purchase contracts between an electric utility and two wind farms on the grounds that the contract rate for purchasing the power was contrary to public policy because it exceeded the utility’s avoided costs. The ruling examines the rights granted to States in defining 'avoided costs' as found under PURPA. A portion of the ruling is provided below. The full ruling can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
Senator Alexander of Tennessee and Senator Manchin led the charge in asking the Senate Finance Committee to oppose extension of the wind production tax credit. The full content of the letter is below. The actual letter with signatures can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
Senator Madigan of Victoria in Australia delivered this speech on the floor of the Australian Senate wherein he announces findings from freedom of information requests that show the Waubra wind farm to be noncompliant, yet the agencies responsible for enforcement of the permit(s) say otherwise. In the speech, Senator Madigan explains that Waubra's breaching of its planning permit conditions is part of a broader culture of noncompliance arising from "systemic regulatory failure that impacts every wind farm in Victoria." The Senator's full speech is provided below and can be downloaded by selecting the link on this page.
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