Despite objections from representatives for Peak Wind energy group, the Barnes County Commission approved a zoning variance and conditional use permit for the Florida Power and Light (FPL) Ashtabula wind farm project at their regular meeting last Tuesday.
Bret Brudvik , attorney for Peak Wind, asked that the Minnesota standard three-by-five setback for wind energy projects be adopted. The Minnesota standard requires that each wind turbine be located at least three to five rotor diameters away from any other turbine site.
For the Ashtabula project, FPL is using a fall-down rule, which requires turbines to be located so a falling turbine would not cross any property line.
Peak Wind argued that the three-by-five setback is necessary to keep from “wind shadowing” potential turbine sites on adjacent properties. Wind shadow is the area downwind from a turbine where air turbulence is created by the turbine rotors. Three to five rotor diameters is the minimum downwind distance at which the turbulence subsides.
Peak Wind looking seven generations ahead
Bill Noeske’s family has farmed his land for 124 years, and now he’s looking forward to farming a new crop, wind.
Noeske and 80 other landowners formed a consortium to develop wind energy and went looking for a partner. After short-listing a number of companies, they reached an agreement with RES Americas Inc.
RES (Renewable Energy Systems) is the American branch of a British company, the Sir Robert McAlpine Group, a 137-year-old engineering company with wind energy projects around the world.
Noeske explained that the Peak Wind consortium was looking for a partner which would agree to work with their philosophy of development.
“The Native Americans used to look seven generations ahead when they made decisions about the land,” Noeske said. “To a good farmer, the land is everything. I’m never going to step outside on my land and not see a wind turbine again. If we’re going to do it, do it right.”
Asked why the landowners in the Peak Wind consortium didn’t sign on with the already-established Florida Power and Light (FPL) wind power project in Barnes County, Noeske said that the issues were: the 99-year leases FPL wants, control of the roads, and revenue.
Landowner and Peak Wind board member Curt Marshall said that the road issue is important to farmers. They want the roads to the wind turbines to be as straight as possible from the nearest section line.
Marshall explained that with modern row cropping, irregularities in the shape of fields add a lot to the cost of cultivation.
For full story, see Friday’s edition of the Valley City Times-Record.
By Steve Browne
Valley City Times-Record
21 March 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding