Goodhue County residents and county and state officials met in St. Paul before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Oct. 21.
Reps. Steve Drazkowski and Tim Kelly expressed concern with the cookie-cutter approach in siting huge industrial wind projects. Goodhue County is unique and has its own reasons that this type of siting does not work. They asked whether C-Bed status is being abused.
County officials were called upon to explain the very late introduction of Goodhue County’s new ordinance on wind. They explained a need for thorough and detailed work to get it right. Property value, health and safety reasons were cited.
The lawyer for AWA Goodhue Wind objected to the new ordinance requiring a 10 rotor diameter setback from non-participants. AWA Goodhue Wind stated that Goodhue County’s ordinance and objections were “parochial.”
AWA stated that the 30 percent stimulus grant was of major concern. It would appear that money, not the need for renewable energy, is a driving force behind the push to litter Goodhue County with wind turbines.
The PUC called for this case to proceed to a new administrative law judge hearing. The need for a more thorough and detailed study was cited.
PUC Commissioner O’Brian reiterated the need to slow down and take a closer look. O’Brian said the PUC was not on a time clock, but wanted substance.
Members of the PUC said it was time to take a closer look at how siting is handled or they would likely continue to face the objections of the public.
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