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Wind industry holds all the cards  

Credit:  Brad Johnson | The Public Opinion | April 27, 2019 | www.thepublicopinion.com ~~

A “wind farm” of 132 turbines is proposed to be sited on nearly 61,000 acres in Codington, Deuel and Grant counties.

The request for the Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC project was sent to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in early April.

A public notice, last published in Wednesday’s Watertown Public Opinion, said the project will be east of Watertown in Waverly, Kranzburg, Troy, Rome, Goodwin and Havana Townships.

In addition to the turbines, the project will require roads, electrical collector lines, underground fiber-optic cables, up to two permanent meteorological towers and an operations and maintenance facility and will cost about $425 million to build.

It’s no wonder local, state and federal government officials have sold out the public to garner future tax revenue.

The term “wind farm” is quite misleading as this is not an agricultural farm as we know it. It is 132 separate industrial sites being carved out of agricultural and rural residential neighborhoods.

The “Notice of Application” by Nextra Energy Resources, LLC, said the company must prove to the PUC that it “will comply with all applicable laws and rules, will not pose a threat of serious injury to the environment nor to the social and economic condition of inhabitants or expected inhabitants in the siting area, will not substantially impair the health, safety or welfare of the inhabitants, and will not unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region.”

Politicians who write legislation are heavily influenced by the wind lobby, so they include words such as “serious”, “substantially” and “unduly” as these are subjective terms no one can prove. This leaves the PUC in the situation of having to side with big corporations at the expense of small property owners.

Wind is touted as clean energy, but it comes with many drawbacks and at a major cost to taxpayers and electric ratepayers.

A Nov. 2, 2018, story in the Center of the American Experiment, a publication founded by Minnesotan John Hinderaker of Watertown said, “The truth is this: utility companies are increasing their investments in renewable energy, electricity rates are rising at substantial rates, and Xcel’s earnings per share are becoming more profitable.

“These are not just coincidences. Wind energy investments need to be seen for what they are, and that’s anything but beneficial to Minnesota businesses and families.”

Much of the power generated in South Dakota is sent to Minnesota and points beyond.

The wind industry would not exist, save for massive government tax subsidies. Interestingly, most of our politicians talk about controlling government spending. But they shower massive tax subsidies on the wind industry.

While these same politicians say they want to protect existing landowners, they have no intention to do so.

Let’s examine the key words in Nextra’s application. The wind towers cannot “pose a serious injury to the environment nor to the social and economic condition of inhabitants.”

Many studies show wind towers impact rural residential property values.

“Real estate and appraisal businesses maintain that wind power does affect property values,” said an April 4, 2018, report in the National Wind Watch. “Michael McCann of McCann Appraisal, LLC, out of Chicago said that ‘residential property values are adversely and measurably impacted by close-proximity of industrial-scale wind energy turbine projects to the residential properties.’”

Estimates range from about a 20 percent to 55 percent drop, the report said.

The wind industry has studies that say there is no impact on residential value, but common sense tells us otherwise. Almost universally, the PUC and other governing boards seem to side with the wind corporations.

Then there is the requirement that it not impair the “health, safety or welfare of the inhabitants.” It is OK to harm people’s health, safety and welfare it does not rise to the level of “substantially.”

There is conflicting data on whether the sound from windmills, or the shadow flickers cause health problems, but it seems governing bodies again put this burden of proof on the property owner who may not want wind turbines nearby.

For landowners who must live near future wind turbines, this is not a fair fight. Wind corporations, with politicians on their side, will get what they want.

Brad Johnson is a Watertown businessman and journalist who is active in state and local affairs.

Source:  Brad Johnson | The Public Opinion | April 27, 2019 | www.thepublicopinion.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments to query/wind-watch.org.

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