Resource Documents: Siting (94 items)
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Author: Balotari-Chiebao, Fabio; et al.
Abstract. As a clean and renewable energy source, wind power is expected to play a major role in climate change mitigation. Despite its benefits, the construction of large-scale wind farms in many parts of the world is a cause of concern for wildlife, including the often vulnerable raptor populations. Here, we examined the influence of distance to wind-power plants on the white-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla in terms of (1) breeding success; (2) post-fledging survival; and (3) territory occupancy and turbine avoidance (via nest site changes). Our results show that the probability of a pair breeding successfully is lower when the territory is located closer to turbines, potentially because of collision mortality (to which adults are particularly vulnerable). A capture-mark-recapture analysis showed no evidence for the effect of distance on post-fledging survival, suggesting that collision risk may not have been greater for juveniles that fledged closer to a power plant. The levels of disturbance experienced by birds in the study areas were not great enough to prevent breeding at closer distances to the turbines. Our findings on breeding success underline the importance of building appropriately sited wind farms as a way to reduce or avoid undesirable effects on avian populations.
F. Balotari-Chiebao, J.E. Brommer, T. Laaksonen
Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
WWF Finland, Helsinki, Finland
Animal Conservation. Published online before print, October 19, 2015.
Download original document: “Proximity to wind-power plants reduces the breeding success of the white-tailed eagle”
Author: Amstadt, James; Kuehne, Carl; Meyer, Tom; Schwalbach, Glen
In 2009, Wisconsin Act 40 directed the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (Commission or PSC) to appoint a Wind Siting Council (Council or WSC) to provide advice to the PSC during the rule- making process for the siting of wind turbines. Act 40 also requires that Council to submit a report to the Legislature every 5 years to provide updated information about health research and regulatory developments, as well as to provide recommendations for legislation if needed.
Act 40 specifies the makeup of the membership of the Wind Siting Council and it created a bias in the form of a majority made up of several pro-wind energy interests and pro-wind environmentalists versus a minority of others who would focus on safety and health. Because of that built-in pro-wind bias, the Council’s minority created this Minority Report to reveal the information that the Council majority omitted from the Wind Siting Council report to the Legislature.
The pro-wind bias, as found on the Wind Siting Council, is found on the PSC staff as well. One reason for the PSC’s bias is that it seems they deem that the statute for Renewable Portfolio Standards requires them to “go easy” on safety and health restrictions for wind energy projects. This bias has created wind siting rules in Wisconsin that are not as protective as they should be. Wisconsin’s wind siting law and rules (PSC 128) require local units of government to process applications for all but the largest wind projects. These wind projects are extremely complicated and are often unique to the local land features. But local governments are not allowed to consider safety and health protections that are more restrictive than PSC 128. So, they cannot require protections to suit the local circumstances, to adopt the recommendations of their medical or technical experts or engineers, to accommodate the latest science, or to require the latest protective technologies. Wisconsin law and PSC 128 require local government units to approve these wind projects with noise restrictions and setbacks that the Council’s current regulatory review would consider to be some of the least protective in the country.
This Minority Report highlights areas in PSC 128 that differ from health standards and best practices found in the documents reviewed by the Council for the Majority Report, differences that were downplayed by the pro-wind Council majority. These health standards and best practices are designed to protect non-participating homeowners’ health and property rights. These best practices strike a balance between protecting residents and creating a regulatory environment that the wind industry can use to get approvals that work for both the industry and the communities where they are built.
Because Wisconsin’s wind siting law is so dysfunctional, wind turbine development plans are met with great opposition by the communities where they are proposed. The communities that object are aware of the health concerns that are described in the Minority Report. Wind turbine noise is linked to chronic sleep disturbance, which is linked to more serious physical maladies. Wisconsin law does not allow setbacks that adequately prevent harmful noise impacts to homeowners. Officials are not permitted to set wind turbine setbacks any farther than an arbitrary 1250-foot or 3.1 times the total height, whichever is less, from a neighbor’s occupied structure.
The Council’s regulatory review also found that, because Wisconsin’s setback is from a wind turbine to a neighbor’s occupied structure, some of that neighbor’s land is now inside the “safety setback” distance from the wind turbine. This “safety setback” can overlap as much as 800 feet of that neighbor’s property. This is a “taking” of the owner’s property right to use their land for intended purposes because it is no longer possible to build with local building setbacks near their property line and stay outside of the “safety setback” due to a turbine being located nearby. In other states there is a trend to create setbacks a safe distance from the neighbor’s property line instead of the neighbor’s structure.
A significant study done by a member of the Council showed that the towns in which wind projects have been built in Wisconsin have population densities generally much higher than towns or townships in neighboring states where similar projects have been built. Couple this with the fact that the wind resource in Wisconsin is much less than in these neighboring states, and it is like forcing a square peg into a round hole, whereby there is likely to be some severe damage. Wisconsin’s existing wind projects have been permitted in our more populated areas, and thus, are more often too close to residences with more resultant negative health impacts than in other states.
This Council minority concludes that Wisconsin’s wind siting law needs revision for noise protection and property rights protection. Also, a restructuring of the Wind Siting Council makeup is needed to eliminate bias, as is a restructuring of what information the Council is allowed to review in order to advise the Legislature about wind energy systems. Rewriting the wind siting laws to offer better protections for non-participating residents and correcting the bias of the Wind Sting Council will restore the public trust in the wind-siting laws of Wisconsin, creating a win-win situation for both the wind industry and non-participating residents.
To proceed wisely, the minority, the majority and numerous technical and public policy experts agree that more acoustic and epidemiological studies are needed. Wisconsin wind projects are ripe for such studies before more damage is done, but government funding is needed.
Also, Wisconsin needs a process to compensate those citizens who had to abandon their homes to get relief from negative health effects, who have not moved and suffer negative health effects, or who have taken a financial loss due to a neighboring wind project.
Prepared by Dr. James Amstadt, Carl Kuehne, Tom Meyer, and Glen Schwalbach, P.E.
Additionally signed onto by Mary Brandt and Tim Roehl
(As presented in Appendix F of the Wind Siting Council October 2014 Report)
Download original document: “Wisconsin Wind Siting Council – Minority Response”
Author: Residents of Ohio
Sorry, this post has been removed, to be published later.
The undersigned residents of Ohio communities affected or threatened with industrial wind development wish to bring to your attention the untenable situation we face due to the failure of the Ohio Power Siting Board (“OPSB”) to protect the public interest. We assert that the OPSB has not adopted rules that adequately and faithfully implement the requirements of siting statutes. Moreover, it has acted in ways that contribute to public confusion resulting in the loss of due process. The actions and omissions of the OPSB have abridged our fundamental constitutional right to be protected and secure in the possession of our property. We call for legal reforms to curb the errors and failures in the Board’s administration of the wind power siting program over the past six years.
For example, the OPSB was supposed to complete a mandatory five-year review of its rules through a proceeding it initiated in July 2012; to this end it issued orders adopting new rules in Case No. 12-1981-GE-BRO. Throughout that rulemaking proceeding, OPSB invited the input of utilities, wind developers, parties who recently filed applications, and their attorneys. However, the Board never notified or solicited the input of members of the public who intervened in OPSB matters. The Board did not even notify intervenors who were extensively involved in the development of the Board’s original wind power siting rules in 2008-09. Furthermore, the Board never filed notice of the proposed or final rules in the Register of Ohio, presumably because the OPSB and PUCO are exempt from the notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements of R.C. Chapter 119. In sum, while the Board’s recent rulemaking was open to utilities, wind developers, other regulated entities, and their attorneys, the process was entirely “under the radar” as far as the public was concerned.
Furthermore, under Ohio law, agencies such as the OPSB must file newly adopted rules with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (“JCARR”) so that the rules can be evaluated by the General Assembly based on specified legal criteria. Yet, although the OPSB adopted its new set of rules on February 18, 2014, the OPSB has not filed its newly adopted wind power siting rules with JCARR and is thereby denying the public an opportunity to address the mismatch between the OPSB’s rules and the requirements specified by the Ohio General Assembly.
Time and again OPSB’s hearing process has proven hostile to public participation. Before approving a power siting certificate, the Board must hold both a “public hearing” at which any interested party may be heard and an “evidentiary hearing” at which only the applicant, Board Staff, and approved intervenors may participate. But the Board representatives conducting public hearings refuse to answer questions about the project and refer members of the public back to the wind developer for responses to their questions. In evidentiary hearings, the Board routinely imposes a discriminatory double standard by requiring intervenors (usually members of the public) to submit live expert witness testimony while allowing developers to submit reams of documentary information as “evidence” without expert support. The Board delegates the oversight and conduct of both hearings to an Administrative Law Judge employed by the PUCO, who then prepares the written decision and certificate for the Board’s approval (usually at a single meeting with minimal discussion). No Board member participates in the hearings, which calls into question the depth of the Board members’ understanding of the issues they are called on to decide.
From the perspective of local property owners, who strongly object to the placement of wind farms near their homes and property, we must spend our time and our own money to do the job that the OPSB should be doing for the public and yet we feel we are being undercut by the OPSB at every turn. The net result of OPSB actions works to effectively deprive us of any meaningful opportunity to be heard. At the same time, the OPSB is issuing, over the strong objections of local property owners and local government officials, more certificates authorizing the construction of new industrial wind facilities that intend to violate the minimum setback requirements in current law. In other cases, the OPSB is allowing certificated wind farms to evade the General Assembly’s new setback requirements by improperly extending the life of those certificates before the effective date of the setback requirements.
Contrary to the statutory requirements enacted by the General Assembly, the OPSB is complicit in and protective of unfair and unreasonable wind industry practices. Examples include:
- Permitting legal notice of public hearings to appear at times when the public is least likely to see them;
- Scheduling public hearings at times the public is least able to attend;
- Allowing wind companies to conduct required pubic information meetings without specifying the location of proposed wind turbines;
- Allowing wind companies to meet the Board’s public notification requirements using maps that lack necessary detail, such as roads or parcel boundaries, to enable landowners to assess the potential impact on their properties;
- Enabling wind companies to negotiate unfair and one–sided contracts that obligate the signer to waive impacts they often do not understand; that burden the entirety of a property for up to 45 years; that are negotiated using a divide and conquer strategy ; that include no right of rescission; and that include onerous and overbroad confidentiality clauses. Oftentimes, the property owner is elderly and may not be in a position to understand or negotiate in his or her best interest.
- Failing to establish clear and enforceable standards for audible noise and instead allowing the use of vague “design goals” that fail to consider worst-case impacts;
- Failure to establish any standards at all for inaudible low frequency noise emissions;
- Refusing to consider a report from a Wisconsin power siting proceeding that cited new scientific findings regarding low frequency noise from wind turbines and concluded that there is now enough evidence to classify low-frequency noise and infrasound from wind turbines as “a serious issue, possibly affecting the future of the wind industry.”
- Failing to require that setback waivers be obtained from all adjacent property owners as required by law;
- Failing to require wind developers to specifically articulate the alleged benefits accruing to the described project area and, instead, accepting alleged benefit claims that pertain to unrelated and distant communities even though the impact/burden of the project is borne by the local property owners;
- Failing to accord due weight to local governments who object to applications on the basis of harms to the community’s economic health and welfare or cultural identity;
- Failing to adopt rules for siting industrial wind turbines near public and private recreational areas, including Indian Lake as well as numerous golf courses and equestrian facilities;
- Extending certificate expiration dates without following the statutory requirements for amendment of certificates, such as the requirements for investigation by the OPSB staff and for public hearing to consider substantive changes in the assumptions underlying the original certificate (chief among these changes is the dramatic increase in blade length which increases vibration and low frequency emissions as well as recent medical studies concerning related health effects);
- Failing to consider cumulative impacts in areas where multiple projects are sited;
- Failing to require developers to establish a complaint resolution protocol acceptable to the community prior to issuing a certificate; and
- Blaming insufficient funding/lack of resources to fully carry out their duties.
As the Ohio Supreme Court has stated, “It is axiomatic that the federal and Ohio constitutions forbid the state to take private property for the sole benefit of a private individual.” Norwood v. Horney (2006), 110 Ohio St.3d 353, 365. Yet that is exactly what the Power Siting Board has repeatedly permitted to occur. The constitutionally protected property rights of Ohioans are being harmed in favor of industrial wind development. These massive industrial power plants are being imposed in rural residential communities by private for-profit developers. The developments are structured as limited liability
companies owned more often than not by foreign private equity firms. These massive industrial power plants are not public utilities and are not empowered with the right of eminent domain but through the faulty administration of the law by the Ohio Power Siting Board that is effectively the result. Ohio’s administration of wind power development is unregulated under the guise of regulation.
We request that you halt further consideration of any active industrial wind power siting case until lawful rules are established, eliminate the exemption from rulemaking due process currently afforded to the Ohio Power Siting Board under Revised Code Chapter 119, and require that any application for certificate amendment or extension be subjected to the due process of meaningful public notice, a full investigation, and a fair hearing. If the State of Ohio is unable to administer a fair regulatory program that protects her citizens, siting decisions must be returned to local zoning and control.
Should you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Julie Johnson at juliejohnson/ctcn.net or call 614-284-6151. Thank you for your consideration.
Signed by Residents of Ohio [Whose Names and Addresses Were Attached Hereto]
November 11, 2014
TO: Governor John Kasich
State of Ohio
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117
Lt. Governor Mary Taylor
Senator Keith Faber, President, Ohio Senate
Speaker William Batchelder, Ohio House of Representatives
Senator William Seitz, Chairman, Senate Public Utilities Committee, Ohio Senate
Rep. Peter Stautberg, Chairman, House Public Utilities Committee
Chairman Tom Johnson, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
Download original document: “Letter to Governor Kasich Concerning Ohio Power Siting Board”
Author: Oireachtas (Eire)
An Bille um Rialáil Tuirbíní Gaoithe, 2014
An Act to regulate wind turbines through providing limits on the exportation of product generated from wind turbines; protecting nearby dwellings from noise and shadow flicker by providing minimum set back distances; allowing access to public consultative processes and related matters. …
(1) The generated product from wind turbines within the state and as regulated in 15 accordance with this Act, shall not be exported outside the island of Ireland, until such a time as the Minister is satisfied, subject to the conditions outlined in subsection (2), that the generated product is product which may be deemed excess product. …
Noise and shadow flickers
Every person applying for permission under the Act of 2000 to construct a wind turbine, and every operator of a wind turbine shall ensure the following—
(a) that the noise from the wind turbine does not exceed the noise limits specified in the World Health Organisation Guidelines for Community Noise (1999), or any preceding or replacement guidelines, and
(b) that the distance of the wind turbine is such that any shadow flicker from the turbine does not pass over the dwelling.
Set back distances
(1) Subject to the duties in section 4, the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a dwelling shall be as set out in subsection (3).
(2) If a number of wind turbines are proposed as part of the same development, then the minimum distance requirements in subsection (3) apply to each individual wind turbine.
(3) Wind turbines that are of a height which is greater than 25 metres shall be located not less than a distance of ten times the height of the turbine away from any dwelling.
(4) The height of a wind turbine is measured from the ground to the end of the blade tip at its highest point.
(5) The distance from a dwelling is measured from the base of the wind turbine to the point of the dwelling nearest the base of the wind turbine. …
Introduced by Deputies Michael Colreavy, Brian Stanley and Martin Ferris
13th March, 2014
Na Teachtaí Micheál Colreavy, Brian Stanley agus Máirtín Ó Fearghusa a thug isteach,
13 Márta, 2014
Download original document: “Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014”