Tiptoe Through the Minefieldsv5

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Published on November 21, 2008

Author: tennesseewind

Source: authorstream.com

Tiptoe Through the Minefields: Permitting Wind Projects in Wisconsin :  Tiptoe Through the Minefields: Permitting Wind Projects in Wisconsin Michael Vickerman RENEW Wisconsin Wisconsin Wind Working Group November 2008 About the WI Wind Working Group:  About the WI Wind Working Group Founded in March 2007 Participants include industry professionals (developers, manufacturers, contractors, installers, utilities), NGO’s (e.g., RENEW), and Focus on Energy and state agency personnel involved with wind energy development. Operates list service for internal communications Provides technical support for state and local governments Monitors wind energy project development Circulate updates on issues affecting wind on a bimonthly basis Funded by US Dept. of Energy RENEW provides facilitation support for group Why Promote Windpower?:  Why Promote Windpower? Clean  Environmental Non-depleting  Energy Security Fixed Price  Risk Management Creates Wealth  Economic Development Scalable to Utilities  Practicality A sustainable source of wealth for society!! An Often Overlooked Attribute of Wind Power:  An Often Overlooked Attribute of Wind Power It doesn’t take any fossil fuel to bring the wind to the turbine blades. Solar and Wind Siting Law State Statute 66.0401:  Solar and Wind Siting Law State Statute 66.0401 No county, city, town or village may place any restriction, either directly or in effect, on the installation or use of a solar energy system or a wind energy system unless the restriction satisfies one of the following conditions: Serves to preserve or protect the public health and safety. Does not significantly increase the cost of the system or decrease its efficiency. Allows for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency. State Oversight of Windpower:  State Oversight of Windpower Public Service Commission <-----------------------100 MW----------------------- None – Left to Local Jurisdictions Unintended Consequences :  Unintended Consequences Wind opponents have become more sophisticated – framing their objections in the context of public health and safety Local officials are often unfamiliar with wind technology and operating experience Organized opposition puts local officials in a bind – it’s easier to say no to wind turbines when the debate hinges on alleged risks to public health and safety. The Ultimate Irony :  The Ultimate Irony It is easier to obtain a permit from the State of Wisconsin for a 100-turbine project than one from a township board for a one-turbine installation. However, seeking state approval is an expensive, time-consuming, and lawyer-intensive process. What RENEW Believes Is Reasonable:  What RENEW Believes Is Reasonable Setbacks: 1,000 feet from nonparticipating residences, 1.1 x total height from property lines and public rights-of-way Sound: 50 decibels from the residence Forward Wind Center Brownsville, Wisconsin:  Forward Wind Center Brownsville, Wisconsin Michels Wind Energy is General Contractor Invenergy is owner (Pewaukee, Chicago) 86 GE WTG producing 129 MW of power Completed May 2008 Photo: Michels Wind Eight Months Later … :  Eight Months Later … Forward Wind Center, July 2008 Slide14:  RMT/ Wind Connect is General Contractor Owned by We Energies 88 Vestas V-82 WTG producing 145 MW of power Completed May 2008 Every Project a Legacy:  Every Project a Legacy The most effective refutation of NIMBY talking points is an operating, well-documented windpower installation nearby. Generating public confidence in wind projects requires a commitment to transparency. This is achieved through early engagement with the affected community (especially local officials!). Resist the temptation to “fly in under the radar.” What Does 2005 Act 141 Do?:  What Does 2005 Act 141 Do? 2015 – Sets renewable energy content goal of 10% Increases RE content requirements on utilities 2004 – Estimated percentage ~3.5% 2010 – Increase of 2 percentage points 2015 – Increase of 4 percentage points More than doubles existing quantity of RE Estimated RE growth – 4.2 billion kWh/year Requires state of WI to purchase renewable electricity (10% by 2007; 20% by 2011) Law passed in March 2006 Annual Additions of Wind Capacity (in MW):  Annual Additions of Wind Capacity (in MW) Year WI US World 2001 30 1690 6765 2002 -- 450 5500 2003 -- 1900 8200 2004 -- 400 8140 2005 -- 2390 12,000 2006 -- 2450 15,100 2007 -- 5270 19,500 2008 396 7500 (est.) 19,500 (est.) Total 449 24,300 113,500 Source: Windpower Monthly Physical Impacts of Utility-Scale Windpower Projects:  Physical Impacts of Utility-Scale Windpower Projects Construction activity (temporary) Viewshed (long-term) Vistas Constant blade motion Shadows FAA lighting Sound (long-term) The vast majority of Americans have never lived near tall structures and power plants. Why Tilt at Wind?:  Why Tilt at Wind? Turbines are highly visible, iconic symbols of change. To a majority of people wind turbines symbolize the hope of a peaceful, more sustainable future. To a minority they symbolize alien forces that appear out of nowhere and take over the landscape. (Don Quixote falls into this category. Recall that windmills did not originate in Spain; they came from the Netherlands.) At its core, opposition to wind generation is driven by deep-seated antipathy to changes on the landscape which are beyond the control of area residents. Like Cervantes’ Quixote, wind opponents often compare wind turbines to monsters. Knocks Against Windpower:  Knocks Against Windpower Causes stray voltage – Completely untrue Dairy farmers would never agree to host turbines if there was any truth to that charge. Lowers property values – Not corroborated in studies Noisy – (No WI wind turbine has violated the maximum allowable sound level) Sound studies at Forward and Blue Sky Green Field confirm sound maximum sound levels at 42 dBa, 5 – 8 dBa above ambient Low frequency sound – Not corroborated in studies Land intensive (Reality: <1 acre for every turbine) Shadow flicker (Worst case-scenario – a mildly irritating phenomenon) Low wind speeds (Reality: Class 3 winds are economic today) Kills birds and bats (Reality: Depends on the location – low mortality in WI) How Serious Is Shadow Flicker?:  How Serious Is Shadow Flicker? “Even in the worst situations, shadow flicker only lasts for a short time each day—rarely more than half an hour. Moreover, flicker is observed only for a few weeks in the winter season.” “In the United States, shadow flicker has not been identified as causing even a mild annoyance. In Northern Europe, on the other hand, because of the higher latitude and the lower angle of the sun, especially in winter, shadow flicker can be a problem of concern.” National Research Council: Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy Projects, May 2007. Six Easy Ways to Effectively Ban Large Turbines in an Ordinance :  Six Easy Ways to Effectively Ban Large Turbines in an Ordinance Setbacks from residences – Establish 1,000-foot setbacks from property lines (instead of the house itself) Setbacks from public right-of-ways – Use whole numbers greater than one Siting flexibility – Prohibit waiver agreements between adjoining landowners Sound – Impose thresholds relative to ambient levels instead of an absolute level Studies – Require many of them at the developer’s expense Decommissioning – Impose onerous bonding requirements Bedrock Principles of a Good Neighbor Policy:  Bedrock Principles of a Good Neighbor Policy Early outreach to affected community Environmental due diligence Don’t tie up landowners’ property indefinitely Compensate nonparticipating neighbors (Good neighbor payments) Avoid piecemeal review Note: Voluntary Code of Conduct document does not affect matters covered under permits or zoning ordinances Payoff for Developers:  Payoff for Developers Increased confidence in the developer and in the project itself Reduced concern over project’s impact on property values For More Information:  For More Information Michael Vickerman RENEW Wisconsin Phone: 608.255.4044 Fax: 608.255.4053 mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

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